Cal's football program may not have a permanent home these days, but at least staff and players no longer have to embark on a short hike to use the bathroom.
Because of renovations to Memorial Stadium, the football program has had to temporarily vacate its facilities. The Bears have moved into portables adjacent to Cal's softball field and will remain there until stadium renovations are complete in 2012.
According to Cal coach Jeff Tedford, the temporary facilities have sufficiently duplicated what the Bears were used to inside Memorial Stadium. There are some sacrifices, but he believes some of the features are better.
Those upgrades include bathrooms inside the football office. At Memorial Stadium, staff and players had to make a short walk through the breezeway to reach the nearest bathroom.
"We've never had a bathroom in the building before," Tedford quipped. "Now we have three of them."
Tedford only is half-joking about being excited about the new plumbing. What he's even more content with is that the football program should be able to operate much as it did inside Memorial Stadium.
The temporary offices are in portables along Centennial Avenue, above the East rim of Memorial Stadium. There are administration offices, coaches offices and team meeting rooms. There also is a temporary locker room as well as a weight and training room.
"We can do everything we need to do here, and even better in some cases,"
While the temporary facilities shouldn't have a major impact, there are a couple changes that will result in adjustments for everyone involved in the program. Because the facilities are above the stadium, they are farther away from the heart of campus.
That makes quite a trek for players who walk to practice rather than ride bikes or scooters or take public transportation. Access through the stadium is currently blocked because of construction, making for an indirect route to the facilities. Parking also is at a premium.
The biggest difference for football is that position coaches no longer have separate offices and meeting rooms. That cuts into coaches' privacy, although typically players are shuffling in and out of their position coach's office throughout the day anyway.
"The inconvenience may still be yet to be seen, like privacy for the coaches," Tedford said. "But that's not a big deal whatsoever. I don't see it being an issue."
The temporary facilities also will affect Cal's routine on the day of home games. The locker rooms at Memorial Stadium are gone, so no longer can players just show up on game day and use the same locker they do during the week.
For Saturday games, players will have to pack up their lockers on Thursday and Cal's equipment managers will move their gear to a temporary pregame and postgame location. Then everything will have to be moved back up the hill for the following week of practice.
"At first, I think everyone was kind of hesitant," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "It's kind of a big change, moving everything up there. So far, I think we've adjusted to it pretty nicely. We all know it's just something we have to deal with. We actually like the facilities."
The Bears not only are changing their locale, they are changing their sleeping patterns for the 2010 season.
Tedford has decided to move all football activities during the week to the morning, meaning players will have to be at the facilities before 7 a.m. twice a week and 8 a.m. another day. The Bears will be done with position meetings and practice before lunch, leaving players the rest of the day for classes, studying and free time.
"Waking up early is going to be tough, but I think once we get going guys will get adjusted," Mohamed said. "I think this will help the day go more smoothly."