SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Ed Burke, Torrey Pines High coach who is serving as coach of the California team in the 47th annual Shrine All-Star Football Classic, was in high spirits during practice Thursday at Rancho Capistrano Conference Center.
Burke raced a manager to retrieve loose footballs, jumped into the backfield during a play to help pick up a blitz and displayed a cheery and relaxed attitude.
Burke's tone grew serious when he was asked what sort of quarterback rotation California will utilize today against a team of Texas all-stars.
"Right now I don't plan to balance the playing time; Carson Palmer is our quarterback," Burke said of the USC recruit from Santa Margarita High.
Asked what that meant for Jason Thomas of Compton Dominguez, another Trojan recruit who also plays quarterback, Burke shook his head.
"You didn't see Jason Thomas out here this morning and because of that he's unbalanced the scale," Burke said. "He's in bed sick with tireditis and I have no doubt he's been out after curfew since he's been here."
Asked how players could break curfew when they are not allowed to have cars at at the secluded conference center, Burke laughed.
"They don't have cars, but their friends do," he said.
Both teams spent much of the week living and practicing at Rancho Capistrano, a lush resort featuring mission-style architecture.
The players' rooms were in two-story buildings that looked out of an expansive grass courtyard, but Justin Fargas of Notre Dame said the setting left something to be desired.
"It's nice and all that but they haven't got any televisions or phones," Fargas said.
Bright yellow signs posted at Rancho Capistrano warned visitors to "beware of snakes", but Texas players and coaches tromped heedlessly through brush and undergrowth on their way to the practice field.
Asked if he had seen any snakes, Stan Higgins, Shrine training camp coordinator, shook his head.
"No snakes yet, but then it took me two days to see the signs, so I'm probably not the right person to ask," Higgins said.
Joey Cuppari, the wide receiver from Westlake who was selected to play in the Shrine game, is out after recent emergency surgery for a burst appendix.
His absence leaves Fargas as the only representative from the region.
Shrine officials replaced Cuppari with linebacker Anthony Daye of Laguna Hills but Cuppari said he will be on the California sideline for the game and will receive a team jersey.
The Shrine All-Star game was first played in 1952 with a Northern California vs. Southern California format. The Texas-California format was adopted in 1995, when California won, 6-0. California won in 1996, 27-12, and last year, 31-6.
Among the college destinations of players involved in the game, UCLA leads with 10 recruits, nine from California and Steve Morgan of Dallas Skyline High.
USC has seven recruits, all Californians, Texas has six, Colorado has five and Michigan and Notre Dame have three each.
Just the Facts
* What: 47th Shrine All-Star Football Classic
* When: Today, 5 p.m.
* Where: Falcon Field, Cerritos College, Norwalk
* TV: Fox Sports West
Shrine Game Rosters
No. Player, High School Pos. Ht. Wt. College 1 Frank Strong, Stockton Franklin RB-DB 6-1 205 USC 5 Justin Fargas, Notre Dame RB 6-1 195 Michigan 6 Sultan McCullough, Muir RB 5-11 175 USC 7 Anthony Kelley, Muir TE 6-3 215 Washington 8 Robert Thomas, Imperial LB 6-2 235 UCLA 9 Roger Ratliff, Oakland Skyline FB-LB 5-11 205 San Jose St. 11 Eugene Childs, Westchester WR 6-2 185 BYU 13 Hayden Epstein, Torrey Pines PK 6-1 195 Michigan 15 Carson Palmer, Santa Margarita QB 6-4 215 USC 16 Steve Parker, Bishop O'Dowd QB 6-5 205 Northwestern 17 Jason Thomas, Dominguez QB 6-5 225 USC 20 Herman Ho-Ching, Long Beach Poly LB-RB 6-0 205 Oregon 22 Andy Peeke, Peninsula FB-LB 6-1 200 Colorado 24 Adam Geitner, Torrey Pines LB-ATH 6-1 215 UCLA 25 Jashon Sykes, Gardena Serra LB 6-3 218 Colorado 26 DeShaun Foster, Tustin RB 6-2 210 UCLA 28 Andrae Perry, Fontana DB 5-10 190 Washington 30 Joey Boese, Mater Dei DB 5-11 170 Wisconsin 31 Donte Stallworth, Scrmnto Grant WR-DB 6-2 195 Tennessee 32 Audie Attar, Claremont DB 6-1 195 UCLA 33 Anthony Daye, Laguna Hills LB 6-2 235 USC 34 Joe Hunter, Vacaville DB 6-1 180 UCLA 36 Chris Cash, Stockton Franklin DB 5-10 165 Colorado 44 Rusty Williams, Vista DL 6-6 245 UCLA 48 Jermaine Brooks, Rncho Cmnga DL 6-3 265 Arkansas 64 Robert Richardson, San Clemente C 6-3 245 Villanova 65 Aaron Higginbotham, Yucaipa OL 6-6 300 Arizona 66 Scott Huber, Peninsula OL-DL 6-4 250 USC 67 Ken Kocher, Patrick Henry DL 6-3 285 UCLA 68 Raul Gomez, Oceanside OL 6-3 275 San Diego St. 69 Zach Wilson, Mayfair OL 6-5 275 USC 75 Elliot Zajac, Bakersfield OL 6-4 295 Washington 76 Blake Worley, Capistrano Valley OL 6-7 295 UCLA 77 Anthony Fletcher, San Dimas DL 6-4 280 UCLA 78 Greg Schindler, Live Oak OL 6-6 300 Stanford 82 John Minardi, Santa Margarita WR-DB 6-3 190 Colorado 88 Joey Cuppari, Westlake WR 6-0 175 Colorado St.
Coach: Ed Burke, Torrey Pines High