Golden Bear Sports

Cal freshman Traveon Beck tallies four breakups and Darius Allensworth adds his fifth interception

BERKELEY -- Traveon Beck tallies four pass breakups after a night of studying junior cornerback Darius Allensworth, who, coincidentally, pulled down his camp-leading fifth interception.

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BERKELEY -- With yet another interception on Tuesday -- a tip off the hands of Melquise Stovall after a hit by Jacob Anderson on the final 11-on-11 drive in full pads -- California junior cornerback Darius Allensworth tallied his fifth pick of camp. Having played -- and started -- all 13 games last season, Allensworth is the one returning constant in a defensive backfield nearly bereft of experience. 

In 2015, Allensworth tallied 12 passes defended, 11 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards) and one interception.

Over the first seven practices of fall camp, beyond just the five picks -- more than anyone else in camp -- Allensworth was the most physical, the most disruptive and the most consistent presence in the defensive backfield. "When the ball's thrown, he has the confidence to go get it," said cornerbacks coach John Lovett. "He did that in the spring, in early play ... He'll play with a lot more confidence this year. He won't be thinking as much, and I think he'll be able to focus, to finish those plays."

The only player to come close has been Luke Rubenzer, with four interceptions. Is there a picks pool for fall camp?

"If there is, I'm going to win it," Allensworth said. "I'm just trying to get better each and every day. Luke has four, and he's been nagging me the whole time, but we're out here trying to get better, and get the young guys better."


Allensworth, perhaps unwittingly, helped freshman corner Traveon Beck get better in a matter of 24 hours. Beck hadn't distinguished himself much over the first seven practices of camp. He had a physical rep here, a strip there, and the odd breakup. Then, on Tuesday, after a night of studying, he seemed to be everywhere at once, with four pass breakups and on near-interception. "I was watching his film last night, his practice film," Beck said on Tuesday. "Coach Lovett told me to look at his technique, and I really tried to mimic what he does, today, and it really helped me, because I had a hard time learning the technique, initially, when I first got here, but now, it's coming along, getting better, getting used to the game. Watching him really made me better."

Allensworth, throughout this camp and in spring ball, is always first on the scene when a younger defensive back makes a play, and that extends to the film room.

"Coming from high school, you're the guy," Allensworth said. "You're able to do everything you want in practice. Here, you've got to compete like it's a game. I'm just making sure they understand how to practice, and they're coming along well, as you can see."

Between the safeties and cornerbacks, there are six defensive backs who played significant snaps last season who are not available this year, due to graduation, injury and retirement. When the Bears brought in five new defensive backs in the 2016 signing class, it was with an understanding that some of them may need to play right away.

"It was a little bit of pressure, coming on," Beck said. "We have great receivers, and great quarterbacks, all four of them. They're going to always put the ball on the money, so you have to be in tip-top shape coming into practice, because you know it's going to get you better for game day."

Beck tallied 10 interceptions in three varsity seasons for Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, returning them for 110 yards. College is a different animal.

"In high school, one of the things that h did was, he played off quite a bit, so coach Kaufman likes to play some tight coverage, and get them used to getting up and getting on guys, using their speed and quickness," Lovett said. "That's a change up. That's something new that he has to do, and he has the athletic ability to do it, but he just has to get used to doing it."


Lovett lamented that the young backs were "not fast enough" in picking up the nuances of Art Kaufman's defense.

"They are picking it up," Lovett continued. "They're all intelligent kids. They all have playing experience, played in very good programs in high school and they've all been coached pretty well. They have come in, they have embraced what we're trying to do and I'm very happy with the progress that they're making. It's just a matter of them growing up fast." JuCo corner Marloshawn Franklin doesn't have the physical maturation to go through like his younger counterparts, and has been playing big with the pads on, coming off the edge on a corner blitz to stone the slippery Khalfani Muhammad for no gain in full 11-on-11 work.

"He didn't get in here as early as we'd like," Lovett said, alluding to Franklin's planned spring enrollment. "Conditioning for him, and for the freshmen, is a little bit different, and at times, out on the field, when you see a breakdown, a lot of that has to do with conditioning, not talent or knowing what to do. They're gassed. None of those guys want to tell you that, but you can see it in their body language. Right now, we have enough guys, so we're OK, but we've got to keep these guys fresh so they can learn and they can practice their technique well. It's hard to practice technique when you're banged up."

Lovett said that freshman cornerback Josh Drayden has "jumped out early," and that Antoine Albert has made significant progress. It still appears as though Albert has a slight edge on Franklin when it comes to the starting corner gig, opposite Allensworth. Albert had a near-interception in seven-on-seven work, but had to settle for an end zone breakup.

"Antoine is a physical guy that has been in this system for a year," Lovett said. "So, he's had a full year of training, strength and conditioning coaches, so it's helped his conditioning, and he's gotten a lot stronger and a lot more flexible. That's going to help him. He knows what to do now; he's not guessing."


Linebacker Ray Davison added his second interception of camp (after a pick six on Saturday), this one on quarterback Davis Webb during the seven-on-seven portion of practice. Shortly thereafter, Allensworth broke up a fade from Webb to Chad Hansen in the end zone. During the red zone portion of the seven-on-seven period, though, Webb, for the most part, was exceptional, until missing Stovall in the back corner, which was followed by the Davison and Allensworth interruptions.

Before that gaffe, though, Webb was perfect. On two successive reps, Webb threaded the needle between Davison and Devante Downs to find Drew Kobayashi (who, on Saturday, Dykes said, had the three best one-on-one reps he's had this fall), and then, found Hansen in the back of the end zone. Not quite done yet, Webb delivered a seed through no fewer than four defenders to find Jordan Veasy for a touchdown to finish off seven-on work.

In full 11-on-11, Webb wasn't quite as sharp, going 6-for-13 for 82 yards and one interception, overthrowing Demetris Robertson in the back of the end zone from the defense's 29. Webb's biggest completion was a 42-yarder to Patrick Worstell, who was brought down by Albert.

Ross Bowers, unofficially, was 4-for-7, for 19 yards.

Redshirt sophomore Chase Forrest went 3-for-4 for 21 yards, with his highlight a 12-yard completion to freshman Matt Laris to get across the 50-yard line.

Freshman quarterback Max Gilliam had one drive, went 1-for-5, with his only completion being a 14-yard gainer to Logan Gamble. During that drive, Beck broke up a screen intended for Robertson, and another pass intended for speedy Brandon SingletonCamryn Bynum also broke up a pass on that drive, batting it down at the line of scrimmage.


Fabiano Hale got quite a bit of run in the backfield, rushing five times for 27 yards and picking up a block on a blitzing Quentin Tartabull to allow Forrest to hit Gamble. "It was a good, spirited practice," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "We went live again, and got close to 50 plays. We got a bunch of work done in a pretty small amount of time. We're probably up to 160-something plays live, this far into camp, which is good."

Vic Enwere rushed six times for 30 yards, but on the whole, the running attack was uneven, with five of the Bears' 15 runs going for under three yards. Though the defense didn't get any tackles for loss or sacks, the front looked to hold up well.

"I think it was alright. We were doing a lot of different things, so we were looking at some drop-eight, kind of third-and-long stuff at times, and a lot of stunting and blitzing and different things," Dykes said. "The offense creased the defense a couple of times, got a guy out of a gap here and there, but other times, guys made some plays. It's kind of hit-or-miss. When you're active and you've got guys who can cover on the back end, that allows you to be much more creative, defensively. We're to that point where we have enough depth, and we're comfortable with our guys being able to recover that now, we can do more things on the back end.

"We corner blitzed a bunch today, and when we do that, it's great, because it gives you that edge pressure, but you've got to make sure someone gets into that gap. A couple times, they popped one, but they also made some good plays in the backfield."

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