BTTV: Dykes Talks Wharton, Defense on Day 9

BERKELEY -- Cal head coach Sonny Dykes talks special teams, Vic Wharton, health of key contributors and more.

LIVE PRACTICE THREAD: Practice 9  (members)

BERKELEY -- There was a rash of drops by the wide receiving corps on Wednesday, but a newly-unburdened Vic Wharton had his most consistent day of camp. Down from 206 pounds to 185, Wharton told BearTerritory that he feels like his old self again. California head coach Sonny Dykes wasn't worried about the drops, as it usually comes with the territory this long into fall camp.

In other news, Kanawai Noa continued to see his workload increase, as did Noah Westerfield (ankle) and Jaylinn Hawkins (shoulder), the latter of whom participated in one-on-ones, and had a breakup and an interception. Darius Allensworth added his sixth interception of camp, and has been a mentor to the new class of cornerbacks.

"We were all pleasantly surprised, just as a first year starter, the level of consistency he played with," Dykes said. "He picked up where he left off."

Emergent running back Zion Echols has had a very good last two days, but was laid up with a minor shoulder injury. On defense, Zeandae JohnsonRay Davison (with an assist from James Looney) and Marloshawn Franklin tallied sacks, while Chinedu UdeoguEvan Rambo and Tony Mekari had tackles for loss. More to come later tonight.

Dykes speaks about the freshman class, which is ahead of what the staff had been able to get in years past, in terms of athleticism, length and strength, and that was evident particularly with the young receivers, as Drew Kobayashi and Logan Gamble got into action with the top set of receivers, including their classmates Melquise Stovall and Demetris Robertson.

Also discussed: Getting rid of the kickoff in college football, placing Noah Beito as the primary kickoff leg and Matt Anderson to field goals (he narrowly missed a 56-yarder on Wednesday, coming a yard short).

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