Some good and bad news today, which was the first day in full pads. Starting with the bad news (injuries):
Eric Stevens sustained what appears to be a knee injury, during the full team session He was helped off the field, but hopefully it isn’t too serious –
Schwartz was again limited – he was suited up, but Tyndall got lots of LT reps in his place. Miller also got shaken up during the team session, but returned to the field after sitting out a few plays, while Crosthwaite suffered a stinger (according to JO). Jackson Bouza reportedly is out with a broken finger – tough break for him, as he had been catching almost everything thrown his way.
Steve Williams left the field early, reportedly due to a cut on his hand that required stitches (according to JO). Stefan McClure stepped in admirably for him at CB, while Jason Gibson suffered an ankle sprain. Lastly, Sofele left the field early with leg cramps, so CDJ & Yarnway both got a chance to show their stuff –
Now onto the good & not-so-bad news (O first, then D):
Maynard was sharper today – while he wasn’t perfect, he made several nice throws and also hit KA21 multiple times on timing routes. Using the “family tree” to great effect, they connected for a couple TDs during red zone drills. In fact, the last play of practice was a scramble and perfect pass by Zach, finding Keenan in the back of the end zone, after Keenan had shaken off the DB. Bridgford and Mansion also did some nice things, and Hinder continues to show nice touch and looks very fluid out of the pocket.
Sofele left the field early due to cramping, and also coughed up the ball once while fighting for extra yards. CDJ made the most of his opportunity – he ran hard and looked pretty explosive at times, including a nice TD run up the middle in the red zone. He appears to be on track to earn playing time, as at least the #2 guy. It was good to see Yarnway out there taking a few reps with the ones as well. Bigelow, Lasco, Ervin, Anderson and Manuel all took some turns but CDJ was arguably the most impressive back today.
Kiesau’s coaching is having a positive effect, as Allen, Jones, Calvin, Edmond, Harris all made some nice plays. Allen’s best of the day was a sweet juke vs the DB which led to a quick strike TD during red zone work. Jones made a great leaping grab on the sideline, displaying nice vertical range. Harris also made a nice one-handed TD catch, cradling the ball with Kam Jackson draped all over him. Hagan got alot of work at TE (after Miller), and he looks bigger than his listed 220lbs. Wark fought for and made a tough grab over the middle, and Richard Rodgers proved that he is a huge target, by catching a TD pass in the corner of the end zone.
The defense again had a solid day, led by the D-line. King and Coleman rotated in with the 1s often, and found themselves in the backfield stuffing ballcarriers more than once. Scarlett and Barr also made a few nice tackles, including one play where Scarlett shed a block and chased down Debo from behind. While the LBs were solid, McCain had another spectacular day, recording both a sack and a pick, and also knocking down a Maynard pass with his long Inspector-Gadget arms. Based on his play so far, there’s a pretty good chance he could be starting by the FSU game.
Fellow rookie McClure also acquitted himself well at CB, getting plenty of #1 reps – both as an outside corner and in the slot (nickel along with Hill). He looked really smooth and comfortable out there, despite being a freshman. It was great to see Cattouse back on the field, giving the secondary a noticeable physical presence. Anthony was solid at the other corner, while Kam Jackson and Adrian Lee both made some nice pass breakups as well.
A quick note about special teams, before wrapping up today’s practice report: It appears that JT is making ST a point of emphasis this year. During punt drills, he was out on the field personally coaching the PRs (Allen, Jones, Edmond, Manuel). This was all while Bryan Anger consistently boomed the ball, with plenty of hang time.
One last general comment – once again, guys were encouraging each other and whooping it up after big plays by their teammates. Also, to lead off post-practice cool-down stretching, the whole team chanted “Whooooose House? OUR HOUSE!!!” – which was great to hear. It looks like Coach Tedford & Coach Blasquez’s “Team Matters” motto is being taken to heart. We need our fellow Cal fans show up in full force this season, and AT&T may indeed be Bear Territory – Go Bears!!!