Freshman tailback Dasarte Yarnway participated in full-contact drills with the Cal football team for the first time in more than three months Wednesday. And there wasn't much use in trying to contain his enthusiasm.

"He made a comment that he forgot how fun this is," Bears coach Jeff Tedford said. "It was really good for him."

Yarnway, who was rated the third-best running back in California by scout.com coming out of Sacred Heart Cathedral High in San Francisco, had high expectations for the 2009 season before he suffered a torn ligament in his right big toe in mid-August. Instead of risking further damage, he elected to have surgery and was redshirted.

Tedford said Yarnway looked fine in Wednesday's scrimmage with other scout team players, carrying the ball five or six times. Yarnway also practiced in noncontact drills Tuesday.

"It was a good reminder of how it feels," Yarnway said. "After you go through a struggle, it's kind of hard to foresee the future. But at the same time, when you do things like this — get back in the groove with your teammates on the field and in the weight room — it reminds you that you can get up off the ground, have perseverance and make it through."

Yarnway began to work out roughly three weeks ago and felt some discomfort. But he said the most difficult part of the process was staying patient, going through rehabilitation and watching his teammates play without being able to contribute.

Yarnway already has next year's season-opener against UC Davis on Sept. 4 circled on the calendar, and he hopes to be stronger — mentally and physically — than before.

"Now it's all about confidence and continuing to master the playbook," Yarnway said. "I think the future is going to be very bright."

  • Tedford said tailback Jahvid Best is still nursing a sore back and added there's no timetable for when Best will return to practice. "It's not something that we really discuss. It'll be something when he feels 100 percent ready to go. He'll let us know, and we'll take it from there," Tedford said.

  • Cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, who sprained an ankle late in Saturday's game against Stanford, did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday. Tedford said that Thompson was feeling better and should be ready to go next week.

  • As has been the case all season, field goal kicking duties for Cal's next game, Dec. 5 at Washington, will be largely determined by who is kicking better in pregame warmups, Tedford said. Vince D'Amato had two field goals and four extra points against Stanford, and Giorgio Tavecchio averaged 53.4 yards on seven kickoffs. That includes a short fourth-quarter kickoff that traveled 42 yards.