Cal's second-stringers deserve some extra credit. After all, they spend each week game planning for two teams.
Coach Jeff Tedford has introduced a significant change to the team's practice routine this season, having the Bears' backups also serve as the scout team. That means not only do they have to know the game plan against that week's opponent, they also have to familiarize themselves with what that opponent is going to do to them.
"It's good for them because they're getting some reps," Tedford said. "It really is benefiting our second team, and it's helped our defense play a lot faster. We're getting really good work with the format of practice right now."
In the past, the scout teams were made up of younger players, primarily freshmen who were redshirting the season. Scout sessions moved at a slow pace, as the players looked at play cards before every play and Cal's offense or defense went through the motions against the alignment the scout team was attempting to simulate.
Now, the second-stringers incorporate what that week's opponent does into their own playbook, and practice moves at a faster pace.
"It's great," linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "When you go with the scouts, it's a lot slower. Everybody is just looking at the cards. But when you go against the 2s, you see everything full speed. That helps a lot."
After a disappointing end to last season, Tedford said he'd evaluate everything the program does. He determined that using his second-team players -- many of whom get significant playing time in games -- to prepare the starters during the week would pay off on game day.
"That definitely helps a lot," linebacker D.J. Holt said. "The speed is almost close to what the game speed will be like."
Cal (2-0) at Nevada (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN2