BERKELEY -- The California football team intends to use every single one of its conference-allowed eight full-pad practices this spring, mainly because, as head coach Sonny Dykes the Bears still need to learn the game.
"The biggest thing is we just had to learn how to play football, just tackle and get off blocks, just all the stuff that you have to do in a football game, and so, for us, according to Pac-12 rules, we're allowed to have eight, full-tackle practices. We wanted to utilize all of them," said Dykes. "We didn't want to rely on the three scrimmages that people have, where they'll go 120 plays. Our thought was to spread it out a little bit, actually get more live reps, but just spread it out over practice."
The Bears did just that in a fully-padded practice on Wednesday, with mixed results in 30-35 plays of live hitting. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin was notably upset with the performance of the offense, and Dykes wasn't exactly pleased, either.
"I didn't think we were near as sharp, just in terms of practice, as we had been," Dykes said. "I was really pleased Friday-Saturday-Monday, and then I thought we just didn't have that kind of intensity and pop that we've had the last couple of days, so that was a little disappointing. We've got to get that fixed by Friday."
Cal will go in helmets only in Friday's open practice, before going with more of a scrimmage-type look on Saturday.
"What happens, a lot of times, is when you go into those [long] scrimmage situations, you get a lot of guys hurt when they start getting tired, so I think it's helped keep us more healthy this spring, because we haven't had those long team periods that have dragged on, and guys fatigue and have a tendency to have injury," Dykes said. "We've tried to keep the team periods relatively short, and I think it's paid off for us."
It paid off certainly on Wednesday, when wide receiver Bryce Treggs returned to full-contact work, adding to an already-impressive group of receivers that's expected to have quite a lengthy depth chart when the full document comes out some time next week, Dykes said.
"We've got a lot of guys that can play. I think our depth has got to be probably as good as anybody's, in terms of guys that have played, and guys that are starting to come into their own, and then you throw Trevor Davis in there, as well, and we think he's going to be a productive guy. There's a lot of good players out there, a lot of guys that are fighting for positions and fighting for footballs, which is a good thing. You want it to be competitive, and it's good to see Bryce back out there, full-speed today. I thought he looked better."
That depth chart could include players who haven't been a full-go all spring. For instance, Chris Harper will likely be one of the starters listed at wide receiver, and Nathan Broussard will likely be listed as the second MIKE linebacker. Drake Whitehurst, according to receivers coach Rob Likens, has made "a really big jump" since his move to the inside, and he could crack the two-deep, as well.
Spring Practice 10: Depth Chart Imminent
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