BERKELEY -- After Cal's 21-10 loss to Texas at the Holiday Bowl last December, the Bears' players exhaled with a late-night trip to the House of Blues in San Diego.

Not running back C.J. Anderson.

"I went right up to my room and closed the door," Anderson said. "I was upset about the game, upset about the way I played.

"I said (to myself), 'If you want to do something about it, change it.' And that's what I did. That was the night I figured out I had to switch it all up."

Seven-and-a-half months after that game -- in which Anderson carried the ball four times for 2 yards -- things have changed.

The Bears' No. 2 tailback last season as a first-year player out of Laney College, Anderson figures to essentially share the position with Isi Sofele this season.

"He's pushing to be the No. 1 back," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.

Tedford said Anderson had a great offseason, highlighted by rushing for 85 yards in the spring game. The 5-foot-11 senior has trimmed down from 217 pounds when he arrived at Cal a year ago to 210, and has become a team leader.

"He looks great right now," Tedford said. "He's probably our most well-rounded back."

Anderson cut out burger stops at In-N-Out and asked his mom to cook him more healthy meals. He ran more, worked harder.

"This is the player they recruited," said Anderson, who rushed for 1,644 yards at Laney in 2010.

Anderson said he came to Cal believing he already had arrived as a player. "I was unfocused," he said. "I felt like it was going to come easy."


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Instead, he averaged fewer than six carries per game while Sofele emerged as the every-down back, totaling 1,322 yards -- the sixth-best single-season total in school history.

Tedford said the two could be on the field together at times, and Anderson believes both players can be more productive if the load is shared.

"There will probably be a lot more touchdowns," Anderson said. "He'll be fresher, won't get pounded so much, and you'll start seeing the explosive Isi runs he can make."

Identifying Sofele as his best friend, Anderson said the competition has not impacted that relationship.

"Me and Isi have the greatest love for each other," Anderson said, "and the fact that we get to share this season is going to be great."

  • Tight end Richard Rodgers, one of Cal's emerging offensive players, injured his left shoulder while extending to make a catch during Thursday's practice. His shoulder was taped, and he didn't return to the field.

    "He's fine. It's nothing serious," said Tedford, who hesitated when asked if Rodgers would practice Friday. "You don't want to rush anything -- there's no need."

  • Cal will not move practice back to Memorial Stadium next Wednesday, as expected, but is hoping to hold one workout in the renovated facility the next morning, then move in permanently by Aug. 24.

  • The Bears were in pads Wednesday and Thursday for the first time but will back off a bit Friday. "We've had two good days of work ... a lot of good hitting," Tedford said. "I'm really pleased with what they're doing."

  • Sophomore linebacker Brennan Scarlett, who played just three games last season and sat out all of spring because of a right knee injury he originally suffered in high school, is getting lots of reps with the first team.

    "It's so nice to see him playing, finally. He's got a smile on his face," Tedford said. "It's nice to see his big, physical, fast body show up. He can do a lot of things."