Exiting their third week of practice, the Aggies have a new feel about them.
Not that what went on over the past 40-some years of UC Davis football wasn’t exciting enough (a streak that included 37 consecutive winning seasons and 20 straight conference crowns) but there is a masterful new leader and young — we hope envelope-pushing — staff in town.
The media, sworn to secrecy by first-year coach Ron Gould about exactly what is brewing during summer camp at Aggie Stadium, knows it’s a different feeling from years past.
(Don’t read that something was missing under retired mentor Bob Biggs, just know that Gould had tremendous success, especially with running backs, in Division I.)
Staged with a sense of urgency, workouts have no wasted motion. Gould is delighted with the pre-camp condition of his troops and loves their practice energy.
Gould isn’t quite ready to let his multiple-set cats out of the bag just yet, but come Aug. 31 on the road at South Dakota, we’ll all know if the former Cal associate head coach, who spent 16 seasons with the Golden Bears, has our boys on the right track.
The following week, the Aggies visit Nevada.
It won’t be until Sept. 14 when Northern Arizona comes calling that Aggie Nation will get its first up-close look at the football stew that accomplished cook Gould has been fixing.
Mercifully, UCD has scheduled a couple of public events this weekend that will at least let local fans get a sneak peek at their new-wave Aggie players and coaches.
Aggie Women’s Huddle at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the stadium will let female team fanatics in on some of the CIA-worthy secrets harbored by the UCD offense.
Then Saturday, the Aggie Football Fan Fest replaces the old Blue-Gold Scrimmage.
Practice (10:15 a.m.-12:20 p.m.) is open to the public, and those in attendance are welcome to come down on the field afterward.
Visitors can get autographs, meet coaches and players and take pictures. Gould’s Aggies also have other activities planned to welcome their fans.
The Aggie Pride Outlet will be open and selling Aggie gear, and there is no admission charge.
On Friday evening, women will be allowed on Jim Sochor Field and move from station to station, taking part in blocking, catching, passing and kicking drills.
Gould, his staff and Aggie mainstays like QB Randy Wright and DE Nick King not only will demonstrate skills, they’ll teach those techniques to any woman interested in going home and dazzling her husband with Z-drag, 34 red zone coverage.
The session should last about two hours.
“The Aggie Women’s Huddle has become a highly anticipated part of the preseason each year and a great and fun opportunity for fans to meet and interact with the team,” says Mike Robles, UCD’s athletics communications director.
Tom Coolidge (530-754-7548) has more information and is taking reservations. Tickets are $45, which includes a T-shirt designed to mark the occasion.
While I Have You Here: Former Aggie Colton Schmidt is making his presence felt at San Francisco 49ers camp.
The All-Big Sky punter is averaging 50.3 yards after four attempts and has dropped a couple of seven-irons inside the 20. Veteran Andy Lee has seven kicks for a 45.6 average with one inside the 20. It takes a lot to give a returning kicker the boot, but Schmidt just might have the leg for it.
Did I mention the 5-11, 220-pounder also has a tackle? The 49ers next play Sunday (KCRA, Channel 3, 5 p.m.).
From the Gould’s Guys Department: Bad news from Denver Broncos training camp.
Cal grad C.J. Anderson will miss at least six weeks with an MCL injury. It’s a shame because Anderson rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries in the preseason opener against the 49ers.
In case you didn’t know, Gould has worked with 13 current or former NFL running backs, including Anderson.
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.