BERKELEY -- Even just six days into camp, the legend that is Viliami Moala has so far lived up to the hype. After proving himself against the lower-string units on the California football team's first day of full-pads practice, Moala went up against the first-team line today during three-man drills with Mustafa Jalil and high school teammate Puka Lopa on Thursday.
"We did a little drill, and Moala flashed, had a great drill," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "We had a three-on-three drill and he was real firm in there, real strong."
Moala reportedly stuffed upwards of five straight runs by top tailbacks and played far from nice with the linemen who tried to block him. Finally, after several failed attempts, No. 2 tailback Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson broke through for a short gain, but didn't get very far.
"He did a good job," Tedford said. "Brennan Scarlett was excellent. They're all doing their thing. Moala's pretty stout in there."
Fellow defensive tackle Aaron Tipoti remained sidelined with post-concussion syndrome.
"He'll probably be a while," Tedford said. "It was pretty serious. I think [Robert] Mullins should be back on Saturday, but Tipoti still has symptoms. Mullins is symptom-free, but now he's got to go through the impact test tomorrow. He'll be back on Saturday if all goes well tomorrow."
Blocking for the tailbacks got a little tougher after Wednesday's practice spelled the end of the season for fullback Eric Stevens. After a pass intended for Stevens picked off by rising linebacker star Chris McCain, Stevens hit the deck with pain in his knee.
Tests later found that Stevens had injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, spelling the end of his junior season.
"He's out for the year with an ACL," Tedford said. "The guy's put so much hard work into this, and he's done a great job with his body in shape. He's such a great kid, so committed to the program and the team, and it's just really unfortunate that something like that happens."
Stevens was a walk-on, but had played his way into a scholarship. He has one year of eligibility left, but could petition for another, sixth year. He has already used one redshirt year, and will petition for a medical redshirt.
Last year's staring fullback, Will Kapp, will take over as the No. 1.
"All the guys are about the same as far as what they can do," Tedford said. "You just have to get into the depth a little bit with [Nico] Dumont, [John] Tyndall, those guys now move up and become more of a factor. Plus, we've got Kapp, who was the starter last year."
After being a bit disappointed in his offense's performance on Wednesday, Tedford said that the team looked better on Thursday.
"I just thought the energy was better," Tedford said. "They were challenged today to pick it up. Everybody's sore, everybody's tired and sore, but you're going to be tired and you're going to be sore in a game. I thought they responded well."
Starting tailback Isi Sofele returned to practice after getting the knots in his legs literally sucked out using a therapy known as cupping.
"He practiced all day, the calves are good," Tedford said. "They've drawn those knots out. That's what they were trying to do. They've got these little suction cups that they put on there and just suck them out. It creates blood flow."
True freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow made some strides on Thursday, as well.
"He did a couple things," Tedford said. "He ran the ball up inside and it seemed like he was a little bit more confident."
One of the receiving stars of early camp -- Jackson Bouza -- will be sidelined with his broken finger for three weeks.
Senior left tackle Mitchell Schwartz saw his workload increase as he eased back in from a tight hamstring. Tedford said that he is "getting closer," to returning to full, active duty.
Freshman linebacker Jason Gibson's sprained ankle, though, isn't looking as promising.
"That's a high ankle sprain, so those things take a while," Tedford said. "I wouldn't expect him back for quite a while."