DAY 16: Lucky Seven
BERKELEY -- Earlier this week, California fans were treated to several interesting looks on the offense, including the jumbo super-bone formation with Junior Espitia and Richard Rodgers and wide receiver Chris Harper in the wildcat.
On Wednesday, the Bears practiced extensively with the famed jumbo line formation, which featured seven offensive linemen.
"We've played around with it," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "It's the first time we've done it as much as we did today. It's something we'll do. It'll be something in our arsenal. We'll see if we use it the first game or not. Sometimes we'll play with seven, eight, maybe nine, depending on who it is and who we think we have, and if we think we have nine guys that can play and help us. It's just part of our deal we do."
From left to right, the seven-man front featured Brian Farley, Mark Brazinski, Alex Crosthwaite, Chris Adcock, Matt Cochran, Steven Moore and Christian Okafor against the No. 1 defense.
Bill Tyndall also saw some time with the jumbo line, as well as with the second-team offense both at guard and tackle, as he continues his return from offseason ankle surgery.
"Tyndall will play both tackle spots. I think he'll be there at both tackle spots," Dykes said. "Okafor is going to kind of major at the right tackle spot."
Okafor took over at times for Moore at the right tackle spot, and even at left tackle, as the lines were shuffled a bit with starting left tackle Freddie Tagaloa on the shelf.
"We held Freddie out today," Dykes said. "We wanted to rest him a little bit."
Also out was guard Geoffrey Gibson, who stood on the sidelines in a jersey and pants.
"He warmed up, went through stuff today. He got dinged a little bit yesterday," Dykes said. "I'm not quite sure where he's at. He probably won't practice for a couple of days, but we'll see how it plays out."
As the shuffling continued, Matt Williams saw time as the second left tackle, while true freshman Chris Borrayo continued to impress as the No. 2 left guard.
Behind the seven-man line, freshman starting quarterback Jared Goff started the day off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rodgers in the back of the end zone in 11-on-11s against the first-team defense.
Redshirt freshman Zach Kline finished the first round of 11-on-11s with a 15-yard back-shoulder fade to Hawaii transfer Trevor Davis over Isaac Lapite for a touchdown.
Goff started off his first skeleton period with four straight completions, and finished his drive with a 60-yard TD. With Michael Lowe pressuring, Goff stepped up and delivered a strike over the middle to James Grisom on the right hash against Kameron Jackson, who tried to make a diving trip at Grisom's feet, but came up empty, as the junior trotted in for the score.
Later in skeleton work, Goff, from the opposing 35, checked down through two reads before delivering a perfect-touch touchdown to Khalfani Muhammad at the goal line.
Kline also had a strong seven-on-seven drive, finding a jumping Bryce McGovern for a 15-yard gain to get across midfield, and then found Grisom on an inside screen for five. Kline then hit a quick timing route to Darren Ervin for four, and then checked down from his first read to Jeffrey Coprich at the opposing 45 for a gain, though the redshirt freshman tailback was sandwiched between Cedric Dozier and Chad Whitener to stop any further advancement.
In scout work, Harper was a catching machine, as he's been all camp, pulling down a 15-yard strike to the right sideline from Goff and then, later in the drive, getting open in the right front corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown.
"I thought he's been pretty consistent," Dykes said. "He's been a guy, and that's really been the good thing about all of those outside receivers, that there's been a level of consistency that we've been really pleased with. They have come out every day and gotten better and better, and they're doing little things correctly, and it seems like they're starting to get on the same page with the quarterbacks. It's good. I like what I see out of all those guys, really."
Jackson Bouza showed up regularly, as did McGovern, as both have proven to be dependable options on the inside. During the second set of first-team 11-on-11s, Bouza caught a third-and-seven pass from Goff over the middle for a first down, and also moved the sticks with a nine-yard grab from Goff.
Aside from those two, Stephen Anderson also had a few notable grabs, including a five-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone on a timing route with a zinger from Kline.
"Rodgers, right now, is a guy that's going to play," Dykes said. "Bouza's a guy that's going to play a lot. Stephen Anderson's going to play a lot. There'll be a lot of guys that play in there. [Espitia] will play some. I would think probably as many as six or seven guys – Bryce McGovern will probably play some in there."
Wednesday also saw more new looks out of Brendan Bigelow as far as passing sets were concerned, and there was an increased emphasis on pass catching out of all the running backs, as Pierre Ingram worked his charges through diving-catch drills with a Juggs machine early in practice.
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