Amadi looks forward to the challenge

Amadi looks forward to the challenge

One of the key battles to watch during fall camp is the battle to see who will start at cornerback opposite Syd'Quan Thompson. One of the players competing for the job is Charles Amadi, a redshirt freshman from Fresno, who was Cal's defensive Scout Team Player of the Year last year.

The defensive coaching staff rotated the defensive backs throughout practice and at one point Amadi found himself part of a defensive back quartet that included Thompson, Thomas DeCoud, and Marcus Ezeff.   

"It's been cool," said Amadi, who has a 4.0 grade point average.   "It's a nice transition to work with the first team after working with the scout team last year.  It's given me a chance to get better looks and work with receivers like DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins, and Robert Jordan."

One of the challenges that players have is balancing the singularity of focus to compete for a prominent role on the team with being supportive of the efforts of teammates who want that same role.  With more volatile players, it could be a challenge for the coaching staff, but that doesn't appear to be an issue with the Golden Bears. 

"We're all teammates," said Amadi, who lists former Edison players Ricky Manning Jr. and Tim McDonald as players that he's looked up to and high school defensive backs coach Tony Perry as someone who had a big influence.  "There's no jealousy, we're all together. Every one of us believes that the best two corners should start, and we all believe that nobody should start if he's not better than the others."

While a player who's used to playing at a high level and under a spotlight might find it difficult to spend a year sitting and watching as a redshirt, Amadi took advantage of that time to become a better student of the game.

"It might have been hard if I'd come in and wasn't expecting to redshirt," said Amadi, who'll be competing with high school teammate Robert Peele, and Darian Hagan among others for the starting cornerback position.. "But we had a veteran squad and I understand that it would have been to hard to have come here and play right away. Having the year gave me the chance to work on my technique and learn the game better.  Last year I learned a lot about how route recognition, keeping an eye on the quarterback, hustling on every play, and playing with discipline and patience.  There are some things you can't do on defense, or you'll hear about it.  Like, you can't dive at people."

Amadi also became quickly acquainted about the differences between Division I football and playing at the high school level.

"The biggest transition is speed. In Division I, everybody's fast," said Amadi, who was named an ESPN Radio Student of the Month.  "Other things that you notice are having to learn the defense, learning the playbook and being able to recognize things like audibles.  You have to be able to think quickly because there can be different plays coming out of every formation."

While for any player it's tough to watch his team and not be able to directly help, the toughest game for Amadi last year was the team's 35-18 nightmare in Knoxville.

"The toughest game last year was Tennessee," said Amadi.  "I got to travel, and I got to suit up. It was our first game of the year and we had really high expectations.  And then to see us go down like that...." 

"But having that game first on the schedule this year. has us fired up.   We're more focused, we know what to expect. This time we're bloodthirsty."

The 5-11 Amadi currently weighs 182 pounds and may add a few pounds due to an unusual statistic.

"I've got 2.9% body fat, " Amadi said. "It sounds good, but maybe not for football.  It must be my Nigerian blood.  I'd like to gain five pounds, and I'd like to get stronger."

Notes...Highlights from Tuesday's scrimmage included Zack Follett showing good speed while shadowning Shane Vereen on a deep pass play, LaReylle Cunningham made a leaping catch off of a deep sideline pass from Kevin Riley, although it should be noted that Justin Moye would have had a shot at him if they were playing full contact...Jahvid Best showed off his speed on run where he ran up the middle, then took it up the left sideline...The linebacking corps generally did a good job of stringing out sweeps, a slow-developing screen play was blocked emphatically by Rulon Davis...Brock Mansion did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket and completing a pass to TE Julian Arthur who was crossing from the left side...James Montgomery ran a toss play up the middle and broke it upfield for a long gain before the play was whistled dead.

The Bear Insider attempted to get a photo of Nate Longshore's much-talked-about blue hair, but it appears that Longshore's new 'do wasn't a complete hit in Golden Bear World.   Whether it's because the shade was closer to UCLA blue, whether the blue head was deemed un-quarterback like, or whether WWPMD (What would Peyton Manning do?) was invoked, the cause of concern will be left open for speculation. A published photo of Longshore with his newly colored locks would have resulted in consequences and repercussions.  He did say that the blue is gradually wearing away, the blue will be gone by the Tennessee game and pointed to the inside of his helmet where the normally white padding was a shade of light cyan.  He was gracious enough to suggest the following picture, after being asked twice if he was certain there would be no ramifications.

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