Cal's football team held its first practice Friday since earning a spot in the Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl against Texas, and the mood was businesslike.
"We feel like we have to win this game," junior quarterback Zach Maynard said. "We've got a chance to go to a big bowl game, playing against Texas. It's huge for us."
Maynard said no one is approaching the trip to San Diego as merely a bonus or a vacation. He said the players feel the same pressure they did late in the season as they were fighting for bowl eligibility.
"We have to win this game," said Maynard, who grew up a Longhorns fan. "It's going to put us in a good position for next season. We're taking this game very seriously."
The Holiday Bowl matches two 7-5 teams that both missed playing in a bowl a year ago. But Maynard's brother, sophomore wideout Keenan Allen, said the Longhorns have his attention.
"They've been good for a long time and still are good," said Allen, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection. "Neither one of us, in my opinion, should be 7-5. We should be way better than that.
"We lost a couple games early in the season when we didn't have our mind right. We're ready to go now."
Maynard won't be surprised if both teams need a couple series to find their rhythm on Dec. 28 after not playing for more than a month.
"It's going to be a fast game, a little out of control, big hits here and there," he said. "There's going to be a lot of big plays. I'm very excited."
Friday was mostly about shaking off the rust after the players were given the first four days of this week off.
"We've been running, lifting weights. Haven't been handling the ball a lot," Allen said. "We just ran simple plays (Friday).
"It was definitely relaxing," he said of the time off. "Gives the legs a break. It feels good."
"It's lovely," running back Isi Sofele said of the chance to rest up. "It feels too good. I'm ready to go."
The Bears also are hoping outside linebackers Chris McCain (concussion) and David Wilkerson (knee) might be available for the Holiday Bowl.