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A view from the 50 yard line of the new California Memorial Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley is seen here as construction nears completion on the $321 million seismic retrofit and renovation project in Berkeley, Calif., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. The new stadium is scheduled to be completed and reopen on Sept. 1, for the school's first home football game. (Anda Chu/Staff)

BERKELEY -- In the pregame locker room Saturday morning, Cal quarterback Zach Maynard will be seeking quiet. "For me, it will be as calm as I can get," he said. "I like to develop that chill zone."

The atmosphere will be far different when the Golden Bears take the field at renovated Memorial Stadium for a noon kickoff in their season opener against Nevada.

"It's going to be rockin'," Maynard said.

"The environment's going to be crazy," agreed senior center Brian Schwenke.

Back on their home field for the first time in 21 months, this isn't just a big deal for the Golden Bears. A capacity crowd of 63,000 will be on hand for the unveiling of the $321 million redo of a facility first built in 1923. The school announced Friday that the game is officially a sellout.

Construction workers still were delivering the finishing touches and doing last-minute cleanup Friday. But for generations of fans accustomed to the splinters of old wooden benches, a jammed concourse and dreadful restroom facilities, this will be the start of a new era.

"There's no question, it's a big day," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.

Cal takes on a Wolf Pack squad that hasn't won in Berkeley since 1903 but spanked the Bears 52-31 in Reno two years ago.

"Some of the older guys want to get back at them for how we lost at their home," Schwenke said. "I'm really excited to kind of beat 'em up."

Tedford said the Bears don't need extra motivation.


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"That was two years ago. Really this is about how have we prepared, how are we going to execute," he said. "We're very ready. We're as ready as we can be without playing a game."

The Bears began practicing in the latest generation of Memorial Stadium barely a week ago, but the players already have begun to feel the benefits.

A year ago, workouts were held above Memorial Stadium on Witter Field -- a rugby field. On game days, the team trekked across the Bay Bridge to play at AT&T Park.

The Bears' locker rooms, meeting rooms and weight facilities were housed in trailers alongside the practice field until the companion Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance opened late last year. Now everything the Bears need -- including medical facilities, a dining room and academic study center -- is integrated into a new complex that makes life far more efficient.

"It brings another bond because we're here all day," star receiver Keenan Allen said. "It's definitely going to help our team."

To beat the Wolf Pack, the Bears will need to solve Nevada's tricky pistol offense and provide time for Maynard to show he will be more effective than a year ago.

Tedford said playing anyone in the opening game is problematic.

"I don't know what this (Nevada) team looks like," he said. "You hope you know who you are, but you don't really know until you get there."

For Maynard, it's a dream to play his final season alongside half-brother Allen back in Memorial Stadium.

"AT&T Park was an adjustment for the team and the fans," he said. "Being back home this year, in a rebuilt stadium, everything is new ... it's going to be magical."

Saturday's game

Nevada (0-0) at Cal (0-0), noon, Pac-12 Networks