In this edition of the Bear Republic Podcast, we’re talking fall camp, recruiting and some basketball down under.
California completed its first of two double days of camp this week on Monday, starting on the campus of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. Head coach Sonny Dykes wanted it to be 120, to simulate what temperatures could be like in Austin, Tex., when the Bears play the Texas Longhorns on Sept. 19, a game that has some heavy implications.
“The big thing is, we want to get them into the heat,” Dykes said. “We had 95 degrees over there today, so we’ll get over there again [Wednesday], and get over there again on Friday, as well, try to get into the heat. I also like change of scenery. I think it’s good for your players, because they’ve gotten accustomed to seeing the same thing.
[READ MORE: Notes From Day 10]
“Any time you can change it up a little bit, I think it’s good for them. They have to adjust, and I think that’s important for a football team to be able to adjust to a set of circumstances. When we go over there and practice, it’s a different surface. The field is a little bit smaller, in terms of area to practice in, and sidelines and that kind of thing. It’s good for our guys to see something different and have to adjust to something different.”
We also delve into the offensive line situation, and how that’s changed over the last four days, as Aaron Cochran spent both practices Monday with the first team at left tackle.
“It’s still coming together,” Dykes said. “We feel pretty good about five guys right now, and with some guys nipping at their heels, which is what we want. We want to come out of camp with eight players that we feel pretty good about, and I think right now, we’re probably at six and a half, getting towards seven, and by the end of this, we’d like to have eight or nine.”
Dykes had wanted to see what Cochran would be able to do with more time on the first team, and with one more padded practice and one practice in just helmets, he got just that.
“I thought it was good,” Dykes said. “From what I saw earlier today, he looked good. He’s more consistent. He still is not as consistent as we need for him to be. Right now, his bad plays are bad, and his good plays are real good, but he’s got to have less bad plays. He’s getting there. He’s making progress. I’m pleased with where he is, but he’s got to keep coming along.”
As expected, Cal rested tackle Steven Moore, putting Brian Farley at right tackle, while Cochran took over at left tackle.
“He’s like everybody else – he hadn’t played a lot,” Dykes said of Cochran. “We need for him to develop into a good player. He’s a redshirt sophomore, and that’s typically when offensive linemen start to come into their own. You can recruit some exceptional guys that play early, but typically, it’s a two- to three-year process for an offensive lineman. When we signed him, we knew he was going to be a little bit of a project, and he needed to change his body and do some work in the weight room. He has. He’s much better. Now, he’s got to master the technical part of it.”
In our second segment, we break down the commitment of three-star defensive end Evan Weaver. Weaver committed to the Bears over the weekend, and we went in-depth with him shortly thereafter. How good can Weaver be? What’s his biggest asset? We break that down.
In our third segment, we go Down Under, as the Cal basketball team opens up its Australian tour with a 100-63 win over Victoria Select. How did freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb look in the romp in Oz? What did big men Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh look in real action? We discuss that and more.
More from Fall Camp:
Dykes on the kicking situation: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised, honestly, with our kickers. I think they both had potential. I’ve been really pleased with how consistent they’ve both been so far in camp. As we get a little further along, we’ll test them in more situations.”
Dykes on the punting situation, with Dylan Klumph and Harry Adolphus sporting some new kicks and Cole Leininger as the incumbent: “I’ve been slightly disappointed in our punting up to this point. It hasn’t been as good as I’d hoped it would be, but we’ve got some time to get them straightened out. We’ve got to keep the kicking situation where it is and keep bringing it along, and we’ve got to get our punters more consistent. At times, they’re doing some good things, but it hasn’t been consistent.”
Dykes on conditioning, and the addition of more double days this camp, compared to relatively few during his first two falls: “We can come out here and do this now, and get through it. Now we can get into the heat and do it. It was hot yesterday out here, and it was good for us to drive through it. We had a long practice, full pads and tackle, and I thought our guys responded well. We were a little fatigued, and I was anxious to see how they responded this morning. I thought we responded very well. I thought this morning’s practice was very sharp and spirited. I thought this afternoon, the mindset was exactly what we needed.”
One player who’s responded well to the new conditioning regimen has been DeVante Wilson. The JuCo transfer gained too much weight during the spring, when he got access to a real Division I weight lifting program, getting up to 275 pounds by the spring game, before getting back down, and he’s seen large gains in speed, quickness and mobility.
“Having the whole summer got me in great shape,” Wilson said. “My strength went up, definitely, and I lost some weight, so I’m able to move a little bit better. This is the normal weight that I’m used to playing at –250, around there – and I feel way lighter out there. I feel like I’m just moving differently in the spring.”
As for his initial gain, Wilson laughed, “I guess the food was too good, or I was eating too much. At my junior college, we didn’t really hit the weights that much, so I wasn’t used to putting bulk on.”
When he put that bulk on, it came on quickly. He had played at 245 at Riverside Community College.
“I just bulked out,” Wilson said. “This summer, I leaned out, definitely, and kept my strength, and I’m back down to my normal weight. I also wasn’t focusing on my legs so much, so putting weight on my legs made my weight jump.”
When the Bears tested during the spring, Wilson still ran a 4.9 40, and that was coming off a pulled hamstring.
“They didn’t even want me to run it, but I just wanted to run anyway, and I was mad,” Wilson smiled. “I shouldn’t have run it.”
Though Cal didn’t test again after the summer, Wilson feels that he would have run “way faster” than a 4.9.
“I couldn’t wait for camp, because I feel like a new person,” Wilson said.