Cal's football team will switch gears and play a spring game for the first time in three years Saturday.
"I think we're going to be able to get after it," coach Jeff Tedford said of the event that marks the end of the Bears' spring practice season. "We'll break up into blue and gold teams and play pretty much a game."
The site is Edwards Stadium, the school's historic track and field facility.
For weeks, Tedford declined to commit to winding up spring ball with more than a scrimmage, worried that a series of minor injuries wouldn't leave enough manpower at certain positions. But now, it will be in a game format for the first time since 2009.
As the Bears prepare to move back into rebuilt Memorial Stadium this fall, they will give fans a glimpse of their 2012 team during what they are calling the Cal Spring Football Experience.
Gates open at 10 a.m. The free event begins at 11 a.m. Players and coaches will be available to sign autographs and take photos afterward. Some former Cal players now in the NFL also are expected to attend.
In particular, he's been happy with running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks and the defensive front. He said the young offensive line, which is replacing two departed starters, has made strides recently.
"We need to get a lot better in every area," Tedford said. "But I'm really pleased coming out of spring that a lot of guys that really needed the experience and the time and reps, they got it."
Two consistent standouts have been sophomore tailback Brendan Bigelow and sophomore tight end Richard Rodgers.
Bigelow, who carried the ball just six times last season while coming off knee surgery in high school the year before, got plenty of opportunities as the coaching staff kept a short leash on starter Isi Sofele this spring.
"You could tell he's healthy," Tedford said of Bigelow. "He has a lot of trust in his knee -- that wasn't an issue whatsoever."
Rodgers, whose father (also Richard) was one of the participants in The Play in 1982, has earned repeated praise from Tedford during the spring.
"I think he'll be a force for us on offense," Tedford said. "He's a guy who can play at the line of scrimmage but can get down the field and catch the ball. You can do a lot of different things with him."
At 6-foot-4, Rodgers played wide receiver in high school but has gained 30 pounds since last summer and weighs 265.