Anger is aiming high and far with his expectations

Cal punter Bryan Anger was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award last season, and he is aiming for even bigger things this season.

Anger ranked eighth nationally in 2008 after averaging 43.1 yards per punt. Anger, who entered Saturday's season opener against Maryland on the preseason watch list for the award this season, said he averaged about 48 yards per punt during training camp.

"I'm pleased with that," Anger said. "I started camp kind of mis-hitting the ball. I tried to work on my drop a little bit, getting it a little more consistent. Ninety percent of the kick is the drop. If the drop is good, then the kick will pretty much be good."

Anger said special teams coach Pete Alamar enlisted an aide to chart punts this fall, so Anger could determine what to work on and gauge how he is doing. He also is breaking in new long-snapper Matt Rios after the departure of highly regarded Nick Sundberg, who signed a free-agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

"Matt is really good. There isn't too much of a difference," Anger said. "Of course, Nick is going to be a little bit better because he has four years on Matt. But Matt is doing really well."

  • Saturday's win makes Cal 28-4 at home over the past five years and 5-0 in season-openers at home since Jeff Tedford took over as coach in 2002.


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    "I think it's the environment that you come to play in here," Tedford said. "There's a lot of familiarity with what we do here. Our players are comfortable here. We practice on that field every day. But I think it's the environment we've created here, that the fans have created. This has turned into a tough place to play."

  • Tight end Skylar Curran and wide receiver Alex Lagemann each caught his first career pass. Curran's was a 3-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, while Lagemann's was a 23-yard catch in the third quarter. ... Jahvid Best's 73-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the ninth of his career that has gone for 60 yards or more. ... Starting safety Brett Johnson left for the locker room in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury but returned in the second half.

    — JONATHAN OKANES