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WATCH: Day Two Highlights
ANALYSIS: Day Two: Three Up, Three Down
BERKELEY -- Day Two of California’s fall camp saw redshirt freshman Zach Kline take the helm of the first-team offense, and like Jared Goff on Monday, Kline made a strong case for the starting quarterback gig.
“We’re all Elite 11 guys, all highly recruited,” said Kline, who’s also competing with redshirt junior Austin Hinder. “I think the main thing is, for everybody, is to complete the ball and not take sacks.”
On Monday, Kline had some errant throws and took a bit too much time in the pocket, of which he was more than aware.
“Day one of practice is always going to be your hardest, the most growing pains, coming off not having an organized practice since spring, so it’s definitely a different kind of intensity. We’ve had captain’s practices in the summer, but this is totally different,” Kline said. “I took a few too many sacks and I need to complete the ball, and I can’t turn the ball over. I’m going for no turnovers this camp – that’s my goal – and keep the sacks to a minimum. That’s the thing: Don’t turn it over, complete the ball, score.”
Tuesday was a different story, as Kline rolled right early in 11-on-11s, and, finding no receiver open, made a break for it and gained a good chunk of yards. Another issue Kline has had has been taking a bit off the ball, rather than using his plus velocity, to make short swing passes and quick out. On Tuesday, he completed a quick out to H-receiver Junior Espitia and then a swing pass early to speedy freshman tailback Khalfani Muhammad. Espitia had another strong day on the inside, showing good acceleration and a smooth stride, as well as plus hands.
Late in practice, Kline hit a 30-yard dart to Chris Harper in the back of the end zone, over coverage, and then found Kenny Lawler on a short curl route on the right side, showing the ability shown on Monday by Goff to vary his speeds.
Goff, for his part, was just as consistent as he was on Monday, showing the same increased velocity on the shorter timing routes, as well as superior touch down the field. Late in practice, while running a full-team period, Goff hit a well-timed drag route to Darius Powe down deep, and the big sophomore – crossing right to left – ran in easily for a touchdown.
On one play early in practice, Goff made a difficult read, looking left and then right to see not one, but two receivers open -- Richard Rodgers underneath and Kenny Portera about seven yards further out, up the seam. Goff zeroed in on Portera and threw a zinger just over Rodgers, who had to resist the instinct to reach up, snapping his hands down just in time for the ball to sail right over his head and into Portera’s hands.
Goff also got a little help from running back Darren Ervin, who caught a ball in a team period in the middle part of practice on the right sideline, where linebacker Michael Barton was waiting for him. Ervin planted hard and cut back, making Barton miss and then turning up field for a sizeable gain.
Later on, Goff threaded the needle between cornerback Stefan McClure and Barton, finding Hawaii transfer Trevor Davis in the end zone. Davis was one of the standouts on Day Two, and though he won’t be eligible this coming season, he’s certainly shown enough over the first two days to make a strong case for inclusion in the 2014 receive rotation. Davis continually makes great adjustments to the ball in flight, and is a smooth, deceptively speedy runner.
Sophomore receiver Bryce Treggs continues to show veteran savvy and incredible precision, for the second day routinely juking oncoming cornerbacks with quick plant-and-turn moves that got rave reviews from offensive players.
Hinder spent most of the day throwing short passes, and has shown an increased sense of accuracy since spring ball. He looks much more comfortable in the pocket and deftly moved the ball down the field. Hinder did run into a bit of trouble late, thanks to an improving defense, when Mustafa Jalil blew by right tackle Christian Okafor, forcing Hinder to miss a fade route. On the next play, defensive end Chris McCain helped to stall the drive in the red zone with a sack.
Earlier in the day, Hinder was the beneficiary of newly-christened inside receiver Kyle Boehm’s athleticism, finding the former quarterback for a leaping catch in the back of the end zone. Shortly thereafter, Hinder found Boehm going against linebacker-turned-safety Jason Gibson, as Boehm got behind the former outside linebacker for an easy touchdown up the middle.
[WATCH: Catching Up With Jason Gibson]
Head coach Sonny Dykes said that each quarterback will get his chance with the first-team line as the staff tries to decide who will take the first snap on Aug. 31 against Northwestern.
“We’re still just kind of going with the plan and getting those guys reps,” Dykes said. “We didn’t re-adjust based on yesterday’s performance ... The thing is, we’re rotating guys so many times [that] a lot of times it’ll be the one offensive line and the three receivers, or sometimes the one receivers with the two offensive line. We’re just constantly rolling personnel, so it’s really, in a lot of ways, we just want to try to balance this stuff. It’s not an indication of anything, obviously. We just want to make sure getting the one offensive line is the most important. Receivers don’t matter as much. We’re going to blow through 15 guys in one game, anyways, so we want to get them accustomed to doing that in practice.”
As for when the decision will be made, it is – as ever – fluid.
-- Middle linebacker Nick Forbes was held out of practice on Tuesday after experiencing some back pain on Monday. He was replaced by Nathan Broussard, who had his second straight strong day in the middle. Defensive lineman Brennan Scarlett and freshman offensive lineman J.D. Hinnant were still in red jerseys.
“We held Nick out a little bit today,” Dykes said. “He had back issues. We’ll see what he can do tomorrow. He’ll probably practice in a limited role tomorrow. The thing you don’t want to do with a guy like him or a guy like Scarlett, you don’t want to blow them up right now. You want to bring them along slowly so they get accustomed to practice. They’ve shown that they both know what we’re doing, so we’re not going to try to press it.”
-- Defensive tackle Austin Clark was once again held out of full practice.
“He’s got a little bit of a knee,” Dykes said. “Same deal. He’s a guy who, you think, as we progress through camp, will start to become a little bit more active. We just limit him early and try to balance some of these things, because what always happens is, we’re going to have a D-lineman who gets banged up at some point, who has to miss a day or two, so the thought is, at that point, we’ll get Austin in and get him some more reps, rest him a day or two after that, and just work those guys through and let them get healthy.”
-- For the second straight day, punter Cole Leininger looked very strong, while Noah Beito bounced back a bit from a rough afternoon on the first day.
Kameron Jackson was among the kickoff returners on Tuesday, and Gibson also spent time on the kickoff return team, along with Boehm, as primary shield blockers. Jackson returned kicks along with Darren Ervin, Joel Willis, Treggs and Muhammad.
-- Offensive tackle Freddie Tagaloa returned for most of Tuesday’s practice after being limited on Monday following a Sunday night trip to the emergency room thanks to a nasty ear infection. Tagaloa was held out later in practice after a lower-body tweak.
The right guard spot continues to be unsettled, with Alex Crosthwaite having a rough day in team work, though the redshirt junior did well in one-on-ones, with a notable stop on Harrison Wilfley, and consistently manhandling junior college transfer Marcus Manley.
-- McClure gets stronger and stronger each day. He even saw some time at nickel late in practice, as that spot is still up for grabs.
-- Aside from the usual suspects at tailback -- Brendan Bigelow, Daniel Lasco and Muhammad -- Jeffrey Coprich made a nice move on Tuesday, with running backs coach Pierre Ingram praising the redshirt freshman’s physicality and aggressiveness.
While Ingram’s predecessor Ron Gould used a boxing glove on a stick to attack his backs’ hold on the ball, Ingram has gone a bit more high-tech, employing slick sleeves over the football to enforce proper ball security. One football staffer told BearTerritory that Gould came back after accepting the head job at UC Davis to retrieve his treasured implements.