BERKELEY -- As the California football team entered its 10th practice of the spring, both the wide receivers and defensive backs turned things up a notch with an extra bit of physicality on Friday night.
Sophomore Maurice Harris delivered a vicious stiff-arm to drive back corner Dan Fadelli during seven-on-seven work, Chris Harper turned in a difficult spinning, over-the-shoulder grab against good coverage by Avery Sebastian and Drake Whitehurst battled with safety Damariay Drew on a ball up the west sideline, only for Drew to rip the ball out on the way down for a pick.
Not to be outdone was quarterback Kyle Boehm, spending his second day pulling double duty as an F-receiver, going up to get a pass from Austin Hinder against Cedric Dozier, yanking the ball away from Dozier for a leaping grab, drawing ooh's and aah's from his teammates and a crowd of high school coaches, on the field as part of the program's coaching clinic.
Dozier gave as good as he got, though, later breaking up a corner route from Jared Goff to Whitehurst in team periods.
"It was good tonight," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "It was a competitive practice, which is what you want. That's been pretty consistent so far this spring. Guys are playing hard and getting after it. I like what I've seen from both sides, really. The receivers, I think this bunch is pretty physical. They block well, and I think that's been a pleasant surprise, how well they've adapted to the techniques and the way we teach blocking. It's certainly not perfect, but they're working hard at it."
Kameron Jackson and Sebastian were both in top form, with Jackson going up against Bryce Treggs in seven-on-seven work and laying out the 6-foot, 175-pounder as he hauled in a pass from Zach Kline.
"Avery Sebastian's a physical guy, Kam Jackson's a physical guy, and those guys mix it up," Dykes said. "The good thing is that the receivers are competing, and that's what you want to see."
As has been the norm throughout the first two-thirds of spring ball, there was a little dust-up between the offensive and defensive lines, but Dykes was far from concerned.
"That's what you want," Dykes said. "You want guys competing hard against each other, and sometimes a guy's going to get a little bit angry about something and that's what you want. You want guys to handle it the right way, and if they mix it up a little bit, that's fine. They've just got to get it done and not carry it into the locker room."
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Viliami Moala continued to see increased playing time in full-team periods after spending the first seven practices in a yellow no-contact jersey.
"He's powerful and an explosive guy," Dykes said. "I like what I see out of him. I think he has the chance to be a really good player. I think Barry Sacks has done a really good job with him, and I think he's really responded to Barry. It seems like they've got a really good relationship. He's working hard, and he's having fun playing football. He has a big smile on his face, his personality is starting to come out. He's just starting to get comfortable, and he's got a chance to be a dang good football player."
Gabe King has also seen a wealth of improvement along the interior of the defensive front, beating the stout first-team center Matt Cochran on a get-to-the-QB drill in the middle of practice.
"He's starting to show up more," Dykes said. "He's still got to be more consistent. He's got to be a little tougher and finish better, but he's making progress. I think the thing that he's done is he's working. He's still learning kind of what our expectations are, and the good thing is, before, he was falling short all the time, and now he gets there occasionally, and he's just got to be more consistent."
Receiver Bryce McGovern did not practice, and looks to be done for the spring with a knee injury requiring a hip-to-ankle brace.
Running back Lucas Gingold was back at practice after seeing light duty in Wednesday's session due to an illness.
During team 11-on-11s, linebacker Jalen Jefferson sniffed out a handoff to Jeffrey Coprich on a high snap to Goff, notching a tackle for loss.
Kline evaded a sack at the 30-yard line against a blitz, running for seven yards after Kyle Kragen bull rushed past Freddie Tagaloa.
After three straight incompletes during his end-of-practice drive, Kline was lifted for Boehm down deep. Out of the diamond formation, Boehm battled his way for three yards, but was stopped at the goal line by Michael Barton. On the next play, Boehm -- who had almost exclusively run the ball inside the five -- popped a quick pass to Kenny Lawler on a dart for a touchdown.
During seven-on-seven work, Kline delivered a 35-yard pass a hair late to Stephen Anderson, but the lanky wide receiver reached back to spear a one-handed catch.
Kline later delivered a hump-backed liner on a slant route to Jackson Bouza for a 30-yard TD on a risky pass over defenders. On the next play, Jordan Morgan picked off Hinder to start a red zone drive.
Also during seven-on-seven work, Boehm caught a pass on a crossing route against safety Michael Lowe, positioning himself well and securing a tough grab.
PRACTICE REPORT: Getting Physical
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