BERKELEY -- California got back to work on Day 5 of spring ball on Wednesday, the penultimate practice before the team takes off for spring break.
[READ MORE ABOUT PRACTICE 5 HERE]
The stars of the day were unquestionably Lonny Powell -- who started off his 11-on-11 work with a big eight-yard run by bowling over Devante Downs over the middle – and Jared Goff, who arguably had his best practice of the spring.
Tre Watson, Powell and Vic Enwere really took the wood to the defense on the ground, as the offensive line looked as physical as it has all spring. Jordan Rigsbee and defensive tackle Trevor Kelly got into a tussle or two during 11-on-11 work, but those fires were quickly doused.
The first-unit offensive line consisted of Matt Cochran at center, Chris Borrayo at left guard, Rigsbee (who, his father said, loves being back at guard) at right guard, Brian Farley at left tackle and Dominic Granado at right tackle, as it's been all spring so far.
The top four receivers were Trevor Davis, Kenny Lawler, Bryce Treggs and Stephen Anderson.
Ray Hudson got a lot of time at inside receiver, and at attached tight end, and has made several big plays a day so far during spring. It looks like he’ll be used much more this coming season.
The first team defensive consisted of DeVante Wilson and Kyle Kragen at defensive end, with Tony Mekari and Kelly in the middle. The first-team nickel defense saw Darius Allensworth -- who had several pass break-ups – as well as Caleb Coleman, converted quarterback Luke Rubenzer, Derron Brown and Cedric Dozier take the field as defensive backs.
In nickel, Michael Barton and Hardy Nickerson, Jr. were the linebackers. The full defense saw Jake Kearney added to the linebacker mix.
The defense was much more aggressive than we’ve seen on Wednesday, and defensive line coach Fred Tate attributed that to maturity and experience, particularly along the defensive front, now that the vast majority of the players in his charge have a year in the system under their belts, and are more confident with the scheme.
We’ll have more from Tate, as well as offensive line coach Brandon Jones, during the weekend.
Jones said that the group returning had 26 “administrative penalties” last season, and that he’s striving to eliminate those completely this year, with running (though if someone pulls up lame, they are allowed to beg off) and doing up-downs to punish infractions, which are called by referees that are on-hand.
Refs will again be on-hand on Friday, at an open-to-the-public scrimmage practice. There will also be Pac-12 referees on the field for scrimmage situations.
Matt Anderson hit a 41-yard field goal at the end of practice, followed by a pressure-cooker make by Robbie McInerny, with Daniel Lasco yelling, “Win us this game!”
Brian Farley (59 white)
Antione Davis (24 blue)
Aaron Cochran (75 white)
Noah Westerfield (33 blue)
Kamryn Bennett (72 white)
Chris Palmer (96 blue)
Addison Ooms (57 white)
Marcus Manley (92 blue)
J.D. Hinnant (77 white)
Puka Lopa (75 blue)
Jonathan Johnson (11 blue)
Bradley Northnagel (48 white)
Nick Allard (89 blue)
Dominic Granado (55 white)
DeVante Wilson (95 blue)
Michael Trani (56 white)
Tony Mekari (97 blue)
Jordan Rigsbee (73 white)
Kyle Kragen (13 blue)
Trevor Kelly (91 blue)
Matt Cochran (74 white)
Arthur Wainwright (15 blue)
Sonny Dykes Interview Transcript:
“I thought it was pretty good today. What I’m starting to see – that we need to see – is, I think our defensive backs are getting better. The coverage is a little tighter, and that’s encouraging. We’ve got some guys, receiver-wise, who can make some good plays on the ball, and it’s a little frustrating for those guys at times. They’ve got good coverage, and somebody goes up and makes a really good play, and I know they get frustrated. But, the coverage is tightening up a little bit, and I think it will continue to get tighter and tighter and tighter, which is encouraging.”
“I’m starting to see some guys do some good things. Darius Allensworth, I’ve been very impressed with, and I think he’s grown up. He’s more physical, and plays tougher and competes harder. I think you sit down, and you look at what makes a good cornerback, it’s the guy that competes hard, and is not afraid, and I think he’s getting some confidence.”
“Ced and Darius both are making some improvements, as well, so that’s encouraging. De’Zhon Grace has done some good things out there, as well. He’s a guy that, I think, has worked himself into becoming a guy that can be a factor at that position. There’s some encouraging things happening out there.”
Rubenzer in red: “We’re just going to leave him in there. He’s got a little bit of a shoulder deal. He probably won’t have a lot of contact this spring. We’ll try to bring him along, bring him along, get him comfortable, and then probably rehab him. It’s nothing major. Just a little shoulder strain. We don’t want him to injure it and have to miss spring ball. He needs the reps if we’re going to stay with that change. He needs the reps and he needs the chance to improve.”
Jack Austin in red: “Same thing. He’s got a little shoulder deal. It’s nothing. I would expect he’d be out of that, when we come back after spring break.”
Jeffrey Coprich returning and working out at inside receiver: “I haven’t seen a whole lot yet. Still early. He’s going to look good, because he’s going to have fresh legs, a little bit, when he comes back, and he’s a quick kid. I haven’t had a chance to see a whole lot, yet, and I’m anxious to see a little bit more on Friday, and especially as we come back, after the break.”
So many DBs coming in, and also so many guys coming back from injuries, does it make it tough to assess the defensive backfield: “You’ve got to get the guys that are here practicing better. The encouraging thing is, I can see them improve. That’s encouraging. All the other stuff, they’re not here, and so you worry about them when they get here. We’ll see how it plays out. I see an improvement, so that’s what you want to see.”
Enwere: “Yeah, you know, man, when he gets through the line, there, there’s nobody that wants to really see that guy running, screwing up right at them. His deal is, kind of our team, a little bit: Bigger, faster, stronger, with more confidence, and just a better understanding of what he has to do, to be good. Those things, and I think he’s running with his pads much lower. As I said, just playing with some confidence. You get that dude running through the line of scrimmage with a full head of steam. That’s a scary proposition for a defensive back.”
Halfway through, what does he want to focus on in the second half: “We talked a little bit about that today: Just continue to do the little things correctly. We’ve done a lot of teaching here, and Friday, there will be a little bit more team-based activity stuff. We’ll put the ball down and scrimmage, move the football, that type of stuff, on Friday. Then, we’ve got to continue to work situations. We’ll work some situational stuff on Friday. We’ll run the four-minute offense, the two-minute offense, and a little it more specific work on Friday, then, have the break and then come back and work toward that end again. We’ve got to still play a little bit more physical.”
“I’ve told the guys today: We’ve got to play a little bit more physical, across the board, as a football team, and I think we’re improving on the little aspects that we need to improve at, but we’ve just got to play tough, and we’ve certainly made some strides, that way, but we’ve got to continue to do that, continue to e physical in everything that we do, and develop that physical mentality.”
Goff said the OL won’t take crap from anyone: “I just think it’s a different mindset than we’ve had, up front, for us, and I think that’s good. I think that’s what we need. I think we needed to develop a little bit of toughness. I’ve always believed that those guys set the pace for your entire football team, in a lot of ways. Whatever their makeup is, seems to permeate your team, and sets the tone in so many ways for your football team, so for those guys to play with more confidence and to play more physical and to play tougher and to play with more certainty is certainly a step in the right direction, and I think it’ll make a difference in our entire program.”
Center still up for grabs among Matt Cochran and Ooms: “Yeah, they’re battling. A bunch of guys are battling. I think Vinnie Johnson’s really starting to make a move, and do some good things. I’m glad to see that. Kam Bennett has done some really good things for a young guy. It’s good to see guys out there, improving. It really is. J.D. Hinnant is somebody else who looks, at times, to make a move. He’s just got to continue to develop some consistency. I’m liking the competition in spots, and I think it’s going to make everybody better.”
Spats in practice, would it be a bad thing if that never happened: “Yeah, you don’t want to see it. You don’t want to see it. We’re better about not fighting all the time. We’ve had periods here where we’ve had a bit too much of that stuff, and I like our approach – a little bit more businesslike, up to this point, than maybe we’ve had in the past, and I like that. I think it’s a sign of our maturity. You also want to see guys competing, and sometimes, that carries over to something after the whistle. You don’t want it, but I think, at the same time, you’re a little bit concerned if you don’t see guys going hard and competing.”
Hard to prevent that with competitive guys like Rigsbee and Kelly: “At times, you’re going to have some guys mix it up. Typically, it’s Rigsbee (laughing). But, I’ve been really impressed with Jordan. I think he’s indicative of our team. He’s grown up a little bit. He’s just mature and more focused and committed, so I think, in a lot of ways, I think it has an impact on everybody else.”
Using a tight end more: “We did it a lot in the fall. We’re playing around with it. The good thing is, we’ve got some guys that can do it. Stephen Anderson and Darius Powe, they’re not your traditional tight ends, but they’re still big enough to go in there and hold their own against guys. What I like about it, is that it gives us something that’s hard to prepare for, because we have the same personnel grouping in the game, and you don’t know if it’s going to be a tight end set or a four-wide receiver set. So, having that six-man blocking surface changes a lot of things for a defense, and makes it pretty tough to be as predictable in some ways. It’s something we played with last year, and as those guys have continued to get bigger, and really develop into good players, we’ll use it more and more.”
Hudson is more of a traditional tight end: “Yeah, all those guys. Ray, in some ways, is. Ray’s probably a little bigger than some of those guys, but Stephen Anderson’s about as tough as anybody. So is Darius, really. Darius is strong, big kid, so between those three guys, Ray is somebody who, in my opinion, has really taken the next step, and has gotten better. He’s one of those guys that I really like the way he’s playing. He’s consistent, knows what he’s doing, and does it with some attitude, and he’s doing some good things. I like to see that. But, again, we’ve got three guys that are big enough. They’re not your traditional guys, but they’re probably big enough to go in there and hold their own.”
Kicker situation still unsettled: “It’s early. They’ve all had their moments. Today wasn’t our best. We didn’t kick very well today. I thought Matt Anderson really kicked well early, and kind of went through a little funk, and kicked better Monday than he did today. Franklyn Cervenka has been pretty consistent, most of the time. We’ll just kind of keep seeing. McInerny hit the field goal at the end today, which was good to see, and Robbie’s a guy who we’ll continue to get more and more reps. He’s got to get a little bit stronger. I like those guys. I think there’s some confidence with the group, and there’s competition. We’re still, in my opinion, a long way away from being settled. I think that’ll go into fall camp, and we’ll see what happens between now and then.”
Goff helping to instruct freshman quarterback Ross Bowers: “It’s good to see. We’ve come a long way. It’s good to see that. Man, those young quarterbacks have been good. Those guys, we haven’t missed a beat, so I’ve been really encouraged with both of them [Bowers and Chase Forrest]. It is good to see. It’s good to see all these guys coaching the younger guys. That’s what you want to see. That’s when you start to have a good program, is when the older guys have some initiative and want to correct the young guys, and know what they’re doing well enough and have enough confidence in order to be able to do it. That’s always the sign of a young football team growing up, when the older guys are starting to coach the younger ones.”