It’s the dog days of summer and some of the Aggies’ puppies are barking.
But UC Davis football coach Ron Gould says the growing number of red jerseys worn by injured players at practice are not a cause for concern.
“The guys are tired and they’re a little banged up,” Gould explained Monday after another solid morning session at Aggie Stadium.
“They’ve been going extremely hard. The biggest thing right now is to continue to focus on what we have to get done. There’s still a lot of work out there … things we’ve got to improve on. So, that’s were the focus lies.
“As long as we’re doing that, we’re going to be fine.”
Gould went on …
“It’s the second week, the bodies are sore. We have so much … to improve upon that we have less time to worry about whether we’re tired or sore. Everybody in the country is tired. Everybody in the country is sore because of all the banging.”
Late last week, after four days of down-right courteous intrasquad workouts, the Aggies put the pads on. While the temperature heated up, the pads began a-poppin’.
None of the injured players approached by the press seemed to think their aches and pains are anything long-term.
Gould did say redshirt freshman quarterback Garrett Bogart is hurt and “we’re trying to figure out (what’s wrong).”
Meanwhile, Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year, running back Gabe Manzanares, did some accelerated workout on Monday. Manzanares spent the first few days of camp with a boot on his left foot.
Gould said he was happy with what the remaining backs are bringing to practice, but looked eager to have a completely healthy Manzanares in the mix.
The City College of San Francisco transfer gained 1,285 yards and scored 11 touchdowns as a junior, leading the Aggies as they went 5-3 in league, finishing 5-7 overall.
“We’re not exactly sure yet,” Gould said Monday of Manzanares’ projected return to full flight. “He’ running out there today. He’ll be fine.”
Meanwhile, senior Colton Silveria and sophomore Manusamoa Luuga have been solid during workouts, including Silveria going 70-plus yards for a “score” last week. Silveria, it must be remembered, was the Aggies’ leading rusher (590 yards) the year before Manzanares arrived.
Last year, when Manzanares missed the Nevada game, it was Long Beach Poly standout Luuga who rushed for 81 yards (including a 46-yard bolt).
After Saturday’s public workout drew about 50 spectators (including UCD coaching standard Jim Sochor), Gould and Company held a 50-play closed scrimmage on Sunday.
“It was OK,” the former Cal coach reported. “There were a lot good things: we had a lot of energy; we didn’t have a lot of mental mistakes, which was really good considering we have a lot of offense and defense in. There were some good things there.”
Gould — who preaches trust and wants his players to stick to the script — continued:
“As long as we continue to focus on the process, focus on (how) we do, the rest will take care of itself.”
Asked again if he was concerned at all about the number of red shirts walking around, Gould reiterated: “For the most part, everyone is relatively healthy.”
Notes: UCD has 95 players in camp. It returned 51 letterwinners, of whom 18 were 2013 regulars. The biggest ding from graduation is on the defensive line where ends Colin Kelly and Nick King and tackle Anthony Kaspar matriculated. … The Aggies open the season Aug. 30 at No. 11 Stanford.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.