Ryan Gorcey / Scout.com

Demetris Robertson and Brandon Singleton haul in long touchdowns, Darius Allensworth makes two interceptions

BERKELEY -- Cal's young corps of receivers rules the day, as the Cal secondary gets thinner with the injury retirement of Caleb Coleman.


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BERKELEY -- Because of the time demands of Summer Bridge, this early in fall camp, California players at times will run into conflicts. One such conflict occurred on the first day of camp, for one of the most highly-anticipated freshmen on the team: Demetris Robertson. Practice started at three, and, after rushing up to the stadium from class, he only just got on the field, without even time to stretch.

As head coach Sonny Dykes said, Robertson looked raw. His routes left quite a bit to be desired, and his hands were hot-and-cold. One thing that more than lived up to expectations was his speed. On Tuesday, Robertson had improved in every capacity. His routes were crisp. He made quick snatch-and-tuck grabs. In 11-on-11 work, he blew by Traveon Beck like he was standing still, en route to hauling in a 66-yard touchdown strike from Max Gilliam.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1691941-bttv-peeler-talks-... "Demetris Robertson is a guy that will only get better, transitioning from playing running back in high school -- an athlete, all over the field -- he's really getting acclimated to the receiver position," said inside receivers coach -- and Robertson's primary recruiter, Jacob Peeler"The strides he made in one day, it's huge. The guy's soaking in everything."

Robertson wasn't the only notable wide out on Tuesday. Brandon Singleton had his second strong day in a row after a superlative spring.

"I've just been working," Singleton said. "[Redshirting] gave me a sense of what the college atmosphere is like, and the little things, because I always knew I could play. That was the easy part -- going out and playing -- but the little things that come with it, redshirting allowed me to get used to those things and comeback stronger and wiser."

He was untouchable down field during one-on-ones, and finished off the 11-on-11 portion of practice by reeling in a 35-yard front-corner touchdown strike from Davis Webb against tight coverage, touching his tiptoes inside the front pylon before trotting out of bounds -- a route that Singleton described as one of his favorite. Webb sprinted down field to celebrate with the redshirt freshman. Webb completed all four of his passes on the final drive of 11-on-11.

"They like big plays, and I like making them," Singleton said.

"He has made huge strides in the last couple days," said Peeler. "He's a guy who utilizes those 15 practices [in spring] to get better, but he made a huge jump. You can tell, because he's made some huge plays in the last couple practices.That last one, you can coach a lot of stuff, but guys that can run like that, stretch the field like him, him and Demetris today, you can see those guys really taking the top off, and that adds a huge element to the offense, like you saw last year with Trevor Davis and Bryce Treggs. They have that kind of speed."

The son of former San Francisco 49er Nate Singleton used his redshirt season in 2015 to learn from the six receivers who are now in NFL camp.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1683878-countdown-to-kicko... "He's had football knowledge and background his whole life. His dad has pressed him hard," Peeler said. "He's a guy that was a nationally-ranked 110m hurdles guy, so he's always been fast. You go back and watch his high school film, his junior to senior year, he made a huge jump, just switching offenses. They were able to throw the ball a little more his senior year, so he's made huge strides."

Combining Singleton, Robertson and Melquise Stovall -- who's displayed a remarkably wide catch radius for a 5-foot-9 receiver -- could very well ease the pain of losing the six most productive receivers from last season.

"With the young guys, you've got a guy like Melquise Stovall, I've said before that he's a guy who can do screens, quick things, and he has the ability to make guys miss," Peeler said. "Going through the recruitment last year, we were looking for guys who had that ability. He's a guy that you'll see make that first guy miss, and can turn a simple slant into a big play."


Also turning in his second straight day of stand-out catches was Carlos Strickland, who reeled in a one-handed touchdown grab during one-on-one work.

"He's your tall guy who, you're going to throw the ball up to him, and he's got a Calvin Johnson reach, pretty much," said inside receiver Ray Hudson. "He had some catches in the summer, where I'm sitting there, like, 'Yes, please, let's get that on ESPN. We're going to have more of that coming.'"

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1658735-receivers-bounce-b... Strickland said that he tried to soak in as much as possible from one-handed-catcher extraordinaire Kenny Lawler last season, but admits that Lawler's hands are much larger than his.

"Me and Jordan Duncan have been practicing one-handed catches when nobody's out here," Strickland said. "[Lawler] taught me a lot, but his hands are huge. I think he wears a 3X glove. He gave me pointers on how to catch one-handed. It's like catching it with two, but you've got to cradle it more."

Duncan has dropped one ball over the first two days of camp. He's been one of the most consistent and reliable pass catchers on the roster, and has certainly benefitted from enrolling early for spring ball.

"Jordan Duncan is a polished possession receiver," Peeler said. "He's a guy that, if he gets around, he'll make the catch that'll move the chains, kind of what you saw Stephen Anderson do in the past."


The Cal defensive backfield didn't lay down on Tuesday, as veteran corner Darius Allensworth made two interceptions on the day, with one breakup. 

Opposite him, the Bears worked in Antoine Albert and Marloshawn Franklin with the first-team defense, trying to find a replacement, still, for Darius White.

"If you said, 'Who has a position locked in?' there's very few guys who do," Dykes said. "You see people nipping at the heels. We have a lot of good, young players, and the only thing they lack is experience. They've gotten better every day. Some of the older guys are starting to go, 'Woah, those guys are pretty good.' It's good for us. It makes us better."


Cornerback Jaylinn Hawkins spent the day sidelined, as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Also on the sidelines were cornerback A.J. Greathouse and nickel back Caleb Coleman. Greathouse had shoulder surgery two weeks ago, and will have a "pretty long" rehab, Dykes said. He will miss the season, and will be back "hopefully" for spring football.

Coleman will medically retire, due to multiple concussions.

With Coleman out, Cameron Walker and Trey Turner are the primary options at nickel.

"De'Zhon Grace has done quite a bit of it, as well," Dykes said. "He's played and played well for us. He's probably the third guy, and we'll experiment with some of the young guys."


http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1689352-countdown-to-kicko... Towards the end of practice, quarterback Chase Forrest did his best Jared Goff impression, and booted several punts, all of which landed inside the five-yard line, and some with some very respectable hang time. After watching those, Dykes said he could "maybe" foresee Forrest punting in game situations.

"We've done some stuff with the quarterbacks punting, so yeah, there's definitely a place for it," he said.


Receiver Kanawai Noa worked in individual drills, but did not participate in one-on-ones or team portions of practice, instead doing agility and conditioning.

Noa and Hawkins are on the same rehab pace: Slow.

"They aren't in great shape yet, but they're cleared to do pretty much all of practice, but the worst thing we can do is throw them out here when they're not conditioned quite yet," Dykes said.


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