New QB Order on Day 5
BERKELEY -- With news that fifth-year senior Allan Bridgford would not be at Wednesday's practice, and likely several more, as he mulls things over after being told he was not one of the top three quarterbacks through the first four practices, the remaining top three signal-callers got the lion's share of reps on Wednesday in California's fifth spring practice.
[RELATED: Bridgford to Think Things Over]
A rotation of Jared Goff, Zach Kline and Austin Hinder took first-team reps through the afternoon.
In one-on-ones, true freshman Goff looked to have his best day of the spring, pump-faking Cedric Dozier hard to free up receiver Drake Whitehurst for the easy catch.
Goff overall had perhaps the best day out of the quarterbacks, with some overthrows, but generally good accuracy, particularly on short passes.
Both Goff and Kline excelled in screen pass drills, with Kline's superior velocity giving him a slight edge as far as delivery time and precision.
[MESSAGE BOARDS: March 6 Practice Thread]
Redshirt junior Hinder has shown a great affinity for the new offense, especially since it plays to his mobility, which is one of his strengths. Hinder had two big runs during team drills, including a 10-yard scamper to get the first down with the No. 2 offense, showing good vision to bob and weave to open turf.
"They've got to develop, and they've got to be more consistent and become more skilled, and that comes from reps and work," said head coach Sonny Dykes.
Both of the two young quarterbacks were victims of redshirt junior Adrian Lee on Wednesday, as the cornerback from Dallas (Tex.) Skyline picked off each signal-caller during 7-on-7 work. Lee had a standout day in the defensive backfield, with several break-ups.
"Adrian, I think is getting more comfortable," Dykes said. "I think he's healthier than he was, and I think he's starting to pick things up a little bit faster than maybe he was. He's a guy, I think, who's just got to get comfortable. I think he's a good athlete. I think the more reps he gets, the more he can play with his athletic ability, and quit thinking so much. I think that's kind of his issue up to this point -- he's been thinking -- and now, I think he's getting more and more comfortable. Now, he can come out and play."
Lee, Dykes said, could see some action at nickel, but he will primarily stay at corner.
The receivers were, as a whole, much better than they were on Monday, when even Bryce Treggs dropped several passes that he should have easily caught. On Wednesday, Treggs made a leaping, stretching grab on a screen pass by Austin Hinder, then turned up field for a good-sized gain. Treggs made much better adjustments on the ball on Wednesday, and the quarterbacks as a group were much more consistent.
Kenny Lawler continues to impress, as does Joel Willis, who re-made his body in the offseason and looks very strong and stable. Lawler finds seams well, while Willis is the more physical of the two, though Lawler has put on over 10 pounds of muscle.
Willis made a nifty, leaping grab against safety Avery Sebastian in 7-on-7 work, showing no fear against perhaps one of the harder hitters on the defense. Sebastian was dealing shots for much of the afternoon, as he has for much of spring. One of the reasons Cal has not gone in full pads yet has, in fact, been because there have been too many players going to the ground.
"You want guys competing for balls, and I thought it was really competitive," Dykes said. "I like the way that the guys have competed against each other. I'd like to see them stay up more. I think we practiced a lot better today, overall. We didn't have as many guys on the ground as we did on Monday, so that was a real positive."
Dykes said that Saturday's scrimmage will be in full pads – the first time the Bears have suited up this spring.
"We would have [gone in full pads] today, but we just wanted to emphasize staying up today, because we had so many guys on the ground on Monday," Dykes said. "We basically had a scrimmage on Monday, in shorts, so we just wanted to try to get them to stay up today, and that's why we originally were going to go in pants, but we wanted to emphasize today staying off the ground."
Tight end Jacob Wark showed much-improved hands in his first practice since the middle of last week, after a weekend road trip with the Cal baseball team in Houston. His time in right field for David Esquer has certainly helped to improve his ball skills.
The top unit on defense consisted of a linebacking trio of Khairi Fortt, Nick Forbes and Jalen Jefferson, a defensive line of Mustafa Jalil, Deandre Coleman, Todd Barr and Dan Camporeale and a defensive backfield of Kameron Jackson, Avery Sebastian, Michael Lowe and Stefan McClure, who has looked better with a knee sleeve or brace on than most corners do with it off.
Camporeale has really taken to the position switch from outside linebacker to defensive end, and during one-on-ones against the offensive line, displayed a dizzying spin move to get by tackle Matt Williams.
On the offensive side of the ball, Matt Cochran spent his second day as the starting center, with much of the rest of the line remaining the same, save for right guard, which saw Alejandro Crosthwaite taking over for Geoffrey Gibson.
"We're still substituting guys, still trying to figure out who the best five are," Dykes said. "Both [centers] have gotten into the mix, and Matt's kind of gone with the first team more, and again, that's subject to change, based on what we see on film today. We'll evaluate it and come back out on Friday and see where we are."
Sophomore Freddie Tagaloa continues to look strong at left tackle, spending his fifth straight practice as the No. 1.
"He's been good," Dykes said. "I think he's becoming more and more comfortable. There are some technique things he's got to work on. He over-sets sometimes. He's got to be a little more patient with his punch, just some things that are minor details, but he's big, he's athletic, he's strong. We want him to play a little more physical than he has."
On the Sidelines
While earlier spring practices have seen Jahvid Best and Brian Schwenke on the field, taking in the action, Wednesday saw a trio of former Bears make appearances in running back C.J. Anderson, defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti and defensive back Marc Anthony.
Anderson was a big proponent of hard-running fullback Lucas Gingold, who went head-to-head with Sebastian on Monday, popping a desert-plate-sized hole in his helmet, and yet, Gingold kept rolling. He had another strong day on Wednesday, and continues to impress, despite the fact that Tony Franklin's offense does not use a fullback in the traditional sense. Yet, he's been on the field in every team drill, particularly in the diamond formation.
On the Shelf
David Wilkerson, Alex Logan and Jordan Morgan did not dress for practice on Wednesday.
Dykes said that Wilkerson "got dinged a little bit," and did not yet have a prognosis. Todd Barr had a shoulder issue during practice, but it did not appear to be major.
Logan will be out the remainder of spring with a knee injury, but Dykes says that it will not require surgery.
Morgan is also "dinged a little bit," according to Dykes, but he will be re-assessed and may go on Friday.
Both Viliami Moala and Puka Lopa have been in yellow jerseys since the first practice, and are both suffering from pulled muscles, though nothing major, according to Dykes.
Dykes said that Friday's practice will be abbreviated by about 20 minutes so that the Bears can come out to Memorial Stadium on Saturday fresh and ready to go for a scrimmage.
"We'll reduce the reps prior to the scrimmage and just go a live team period on Saturday," Dykes said. "It'll be somewhat controlled, but we'll let them move the football and just sort of see what happens. We'll put them in some situations."
Cal will not have referees on Saturday, but will likely have coaches pull on the zebra stripes.
While daily depth charts have been circulated among the players, Dykes said that the staff is still anticipating having a public depth chart by Monday.
"That's the idea, to come out and have a semblance of a depth chart," Dykes said. "Again, that'll be subject to change, but we'll have a pretty good idea after this weekend. Usually after the scrimmage, by the time you come in and look at it on film, you can start making some assessments."
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