SAN FRANCISCO — For those Cal players who were concerned playing a bowl game so close to home might not feel like a bowl game at all, apparently all they needed was for bowl week to start.
Now that the Bears have moved into their downtown hotel and have started participating in Emerald Bowl events, any reservations about playing the game just 12 miles from campus seem to have dissipated. Truth be told, Cal's players don't get a chance to go to San Francisco that often, and they seem to be relishing the opportunity to spend a week-long vacation in the city.
"I don't think any of us are unhappy being in San Francisco," Cal linebacker Zack Follett said at a news conference Tuesday at AT&T Park. "There is so much to do. We're in the middle of Union Square. We have everything at our fingertips. We're having a fun time."
Both Cal and Miami took part in a bay cruise and Alcatraz tour Tuesday. The players also will have free time to explore other tourist attractions such as Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.
"Once we started crossing the bridge, the skies were clear, you started seeing the city, and you just said, 'Wow, this is a nice place,' " Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said. "It started having a bowl atmosphere. I don't think the guys get over here that often. There's a bunch of diversity and a lot of things to do. It's going to be nice."
It's a different experience for the Hurricanes, of course. Offensive lineman Jason Fox said he and a few teammates went to Fisherman's Wharf and "did some of the touristy things" shortly after checking into the Hyatt Regency on Monday.
Both Fox and quarterback Jacory Harris sai d Cal has one of the best defenses the Hurricanes have faced all season. The Bears rank in the top 30 nationally in both total defense (315.4 yards per game) and scoring defense (20.2 points per game). "They're a really talented team," Fox said. "They have a lot of great athletes on defense. Their linebacking corps is one of the best, if not the best, we've seen all year. All around their defense is pretty talented."
Quarterback Nate Longshore took all the first-team reps at practice Tuesday, but coach Jeff Tedford said the position is still being evaluated. When asked if Longshore taking all the first-team reps had any significance, Tedford replied: "No ... not yet." ... Emerald Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said about 500 tickets remained for the game as of Tuesday afternoon.
— Jonathan Okanes