Coach Jeff Tedford has said repeatedly that Cal's misfortunes at Maryland last season weren't because of the team's travel itinerary. But that doesn't mean he's opposed to trying something different this time around.
The Bears traveled to Maryland the day before the game and got off to a slow start for the 9 a.m. (PDT) kickoff. The Terrapins held off Cal's late charge and won 35-27.
Tedford has decided to have the team leave Thursday for Saturday's 9 a.m. game at Minnesota.
"We want to try it," Tedford said. "Some people do it. You don't know until you try it. We're going to give it a shot and see if that helps us not be so hurried. We want to see what it's like."
Last year's travel plans didn't give the Bears much chance to adjust to the time change, but Tedford had his players establish an East Coast sleeping pattern during the week. The Minnesota game should have less of an impact because Cal is crossing just two time zones instead of three.
The Bears will practice earlier in the day than usual Thursday, then take their charter flight in the evening, arriving in Minneapolis around 11 p.m. It also will allow Cal to hold its Friday walk-through around the same time as Saturday's kickoff.
"We'll still have our walk-through and the meetings that we typically have at the hotel. It won't be anything different," Tedford said.
Sofele woke up at 8:45 a.m., and Tedford asked him to be in his office at 9. Sofele started running toward Memorial Stadium before hopping on a friend's scooter to get there in time.
It turns out all Tedford wanted to do is tell Sofele that the coaching staff was moving him from wide receiver to running back, his natural position.
"I was excited to hear it," said Sofele, who rushed for 1,920 yards and 30 touchdowns last year as a senior at Cottonwood High-Salt Lake City. "I thought I was in trouble. I wasn't unhappy playing wide receiver. But when I started doing the drills for running back again, I just felt like I was at home."
Sofele made the position switch after Langston Jackson was injured and Kevin Lewis was ruled academically ineligible, giving Cal just three running backs. With Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen carrying the load, Sofele knows he won't see the field much anytime soon.
"I know I'm not going to get that much playing time," he said. "I just take mental reps every day and learn from what (Best and Vereen) do."
Sofele had two carries for 36 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown, in Cal's 59-7 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday.