BERKELEY -- For the Cal defense, Saturday's opening game is about more than the unveiling of renovated Memorial Stadium.
Priority 1 is stopping Nevada's versatile pistol offense.
In 2010, quarterback Colin Kaepernick totaled 329 yards passing and rushing and accounted for five touchdowns as the Wolf Pack torched the Bears 52-31 in Reno.
"Two years ago, a lot of guys weren't in their spots, weren't trusting each other," senior safety Josh Hill said. "If we do what we're supposed to do, we'll be OK.
"Overall, I know our preparation will be better than it was two years ago."
Kaepernick is now a second-year backup with the 49ers, replaced by Cody Fajardo, who took over as the Nevada starter midway through his freshman season in 2011 and wound up passing for 1,700 yards and running for nearly 700 more.
"He's definitely not too far away from Kaepernick," Hill said. "Kaepernick is just an amazing athlete -- you're not going to find too many like him. We just have to focus on our assignments, and we can shut down anything."
Perhaps, but the Bears struggled last season with UCLA and its version of the pistol as quarterback Kevin Prince rushed for 163 yards in the Bruins' 31-14 win.
Senior nose guard Kendrick Payne said the Bears were victimized in that game by a lack of defensive discipline and consistency.
"We do it (correctly) sometimes, but then the next time we don't do it," Payne said. "Don't try to do your own thing -- do your assignments, and we'll be fine."
Nevada provides a unique challenge because coach Chris Ault invented the pistol offense, a hybrid single-back, shotgun attack with three wideouts and an option running attack. The Wolf Pack recruits to the offense and runs it efficiently.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said discipline is critical, but the Bears also will need to keep the Wolf Pack off-balance.
"You can't live on one defense -- they're too good at what they do with it," he said. "You have to show them different looks."
Tedford said Whiteside remains with the team but did not get himself eligible after being academically ineligible during summer school. A starter in three games last season, Whiteside was not listed on the two-deep depth chart entering this week.
Hill said the arrangement draws "a straight line from coach to player. We try to fix things we think are a problem, give him a heads-up."