BERKELEY -- After Monday's sluggish start to spring ball, California head coach Sonny Dykes said that Wednesday's second spring practice was "better," and that the Bears "moved around faster," particularly on offense, though Cal did not finish the way he wanted.
"We're a major work in progress and we have a lot of things we've got to improve on, but our attitude's been good," Dykes said. "The guys are working, they're doing what we ask them to do, and I think we've come a long way in terms of learning how we have to practice and what it's going to take to be successful. We've just got to be sure we get that effort every day, and come out here and concentrate for the two hours that we're out here and keep doing better."
The wide receivers – perhaps the deepest position group on the roster – continued to impress.
"I think the first two days, I've been impressed with the wide receivers," Dykes said. "I think that those guys, we've got some depth and we've got some guys that can make some plays. They're all different and unique in what they can do, and that part of it's fun."
Though Chris Harper was still in a red jersey – something he will eventually shed once he is fully recovered from minor offseason shoulder cleanup surgery – and is currently listed behind Kenny Lawler, there was one wideout who continued to make his mark in Hawaii transfer Trevor Davis.
"I thought he had a good day Monday, and kind of picked up where he left off, today," Dykes said. "There's still a lot of detail things he's got to improve on, get better at, but he's got a chance to be a good player."
Davis will be looked at as a leader once he gets down some of the finer points of the offense, said outside receivers coach Rob Likens.
"He's just been out here, starting for the first couple days, but he was here all last year. He's an older guy, which he'll eventually turn into a leader," Likens said. "He's done fine, and I knew after the first route I watched him run last summer in camp, that he was going to be just fine for us. He'll line up at X, the left-outside receiver."
Cal will practice in pads on Friday and Saturday, with live periods coming in the fourth practice of the spring schedule. While not a full scrimmage, the Bears will be hitting come Saturday, the first practice in full pads.
"We'll go live team, and it won't be a traditional scrimmage for a while," said Dykes. "We'll scrimmage on Saturday and do a live team period. Any time we have a padded workout – there will be eight of those – we'll have it live team periods during the day."
Cal will go in shoulder pads on Friday for the first time.
"Friday should be a physical day," Dykes said. "There's really not that big of a difference, because we won't take guys to the ground. It'll be good to get out here in pads. Football's a game that's physical, and right now, some guys look probably better than they will, and other guys don't look as good as they're going to be until they put the pads on."
One of the big changes to the spring schedule will be the use of those padded days, which will see more contact than last year.
"I think that's the idea. We'll do it differently," Dykes said. "Instead of doing the bulk of them in three or four scrimmages, I think we'll spread it out. We'd like to have significantly more live plays than we had last year, and do it so you're not having 100, 120, 150-play scrimmage, where guys have a tendency to wear down, and that's when you get a lot of injuries.
"I think we've got to learn how to play football. We've just got to get better at playing football, and everything that goes along with live reps. It's important for us to get as much of that as we can get."
Khairi Fortt was in attendance at practice as he continues to ready for the NFL Draft. He was fresh off of an in-person visit to the Baltimore Ravens that he said went well, though he still does not know which team will pick him up in May.
Cornerback Vachel Samuels is back on the roster, but as a non-scholarship player. He will have one more year to play after missing 2010 and 2011 thanks to a broken left and then right foot. He then withdrew from school after the 2012 season, but was unable to get his units to transfer to Prairie View A&M. He spent 2013 working out and training, before asking Dykes if he could re-join the team in February, a request Dykes granted. More to come on his story, which saw him at times without a place to sleep for him, his girlfriend and their child.
Cal played host to a large group of unofficial visitors on Wednesday, including three-star wide receiver Austin Aaron, a trio of prospects out of San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian in Kirk Johnson (2015 RB), his brother Collin Johnson (2016 WR) and 2016 running back Morian Walker, Jr.. Hayward (Calif.) Stellar Prep stars Chandler Gumbs and Darrell Adams were also in attendance, along with Gumbs' father Desmond, the head coach at Stellar.
Spring Practice 2: Work in Progress
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