CAMP VIDEO: Blakeley Lays 'Em Out
BERKELEY -- California offensive line coach Zach Yenser told Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian center Caleb Blakeley back in April that he wanted to see the 6-foot-2 offensive lineman snap in person, Blakeley took that as a challenge, and this weekend, he showed Yenser that, and more.
While Blakeley was a bit tentative on the first day of camp, he recorded five pancake blocks in full-pads team work on Saturday, becoming easily the most dominant center in camp.
Blakeley engaged his blockers and drove them back, played with good pad level and plus leverage against defensive linemen both taller and wider than him without any holding calls, and helped plow the way for a strong run game. The longer camp went, the more aggressive and assertive he became, while only recording one bad snap on the weekend. His pass blocking was also notable, giving his quarterback time to get the ball down field.
"I lost one over his head on a bad call, but that's been the only one. Always room for improvement," he said.
Blakeley has seen his recruitment steadily ramp up recently, drawing attention from Oregon State, known for its strong and tenacious line play.
"I was in Oregon for Gold Beach, and talked to Oregon State there, for a bit," Blakeley said. "They like me there. We were at a team camp, and they came down and they were watching us. Me and a linebacker that's here with me, they pulled us aside and talked to us for a while and said that they really liked what they saw during the fall. Then, I'm going down to San Jose on Tuesday, UC Davis on Monday, and then Cal Poly next weekend, so I've got a pretty full schedule."
He took a lot from his experience working with Yenser this weekend, including some refinements to his game in the middle.
"Really, to get off the ball and get your head up. At center, that's the first thing you do: You want to get into the guy with your head," Blakeley said. "It's really helpful when Yenser's getting in one-on-ones with you, saying, ‘Hands up, head out,' looking through the bottom of your [behind]."
Word has it that the staff was very pleased with Blakeley's performance, and they will continue to watch closely during Blakeley's senior season.
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