Takeaway 2: Defensive Backs
Scrimmage Live Thread (members)
As I had expected, the California offense stayed away from cornerback Darius Allensworth's side of the field. With six interceptions this camp, it's not surprising, though he did tally one pass breakup.
With the offense passing for 288 yards and just one interception -- by freshman Traveon Beck on a 25-yard try by quarterback Ross Bowers -- there wasn't a lot of good to be taken from the defensive backfield.
"It wasn't good enough, as far as defense and as far as my performance," said safety Evan Rambo. "[I'm] really critical on how we did today. We have to watch the film, get everything corrected, but we're much better as a defense, much better than what we did out here."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1689352-countdown-to-kicko... Safeties coach Greg Burns was as diplomatic as he could be when discussing the pass defense. Before going on camera, Burns muttered, "Not good enough."
"Overall, for the -- not necessarily first time live -- usually in first scrimmages, the biggest issue is going to be tackling, so it's always a deal for improvement," he said. "Overall, from calls and checks and adjustments, it looked pretty good."
Khari Vanderbilt -- the frontrunner for the starting safety job, opposite Rambo, who had a forced fumble and two tackles -- was not available.
"He's got lingering injury," Burns said. "He could have played today, but we're waiting until Monday to get him going, get him ready for Hawaii."
Rambo has put a stranglehold on one of the starting safety spots, and his length gives him a leg up against bigger receivers. His strip of Patrick Laird forced the ball out and right into the hands of linebacker Aisea Tongilava for a 23-yard touchdown return.
"We needed something," Rambo said. "I read my B-gap fit, he bounced outside, I made him cut back in, he was holding the ball loose, so I had one arm trying to secure the tackle and the other trying to get the ball out."
Cal got breakups from freshman Nygel Edmonds on the final play of the scrimmage (on a pass from Max Gilliam to Justin Dunn), Josh Drayden (on a pass from Chase Forrest to Patrick Worstell) and Ashtyn Davis (on a ball that went through the arms of Demetris Robertson in the end zone), as well as two tackles and a tackle for loss from safety Jacob Anderson. Anderson, head coach Sonny Dykes said, has been on of the biggest pleasant surprises of camp after redshirting last season.
With Vanderbilt out, Anderson took the opportunity to shine.
"Anderson is doing outstanding, outstanding," Burns said. "I knew he had it in him. It was just a deal of how fast can he pick up the system and stop playing slow. Now, he knows the system, so he's utilizing and playing fast. I knew he had the athletic ability, but now it's just all coming out because he knows what he's doing."
The transfer from Huntington Beach (Calif.) Golden West College fit his gaps well, dropping Vic Enwere for a seven-yard loss on a screen pass.
"Yes, Vandy's with the ones, but I like what Jacob's doing," Burns said. "It makes everyone a little nervous, and competition always breeds good performances."
"Jacob's done a good job for us," said Dykes. "He's been one of the real surprises of camp. I think he played corner for us last year, and I think the move to safety fits him. He's a good athlete, he's physical, he's willing to tackle. He shows up a lot. He plays really fast. He has a real knack for being in the right place at the right time, and I've been very, very pleased with him. I think he's one of those guys -- there's always two or three players who really make a jump from one year to the next. It's just about finding the right position, and getting comfortable, and, physically, he's changed his body. He's a good athlete, so he's starting to show up a bunch."
Takeaway 2: Robertson and Hansen (members)
Takeaway 4: The Defensive Front (members)
Quotable: "A lot of the guys didn't play much. We played with some young D-linemen quite a bit. Looney and some of those older guys -- DeVante Wilson -- they didn't play a lot of snaps. So, we're trying to keep them healthy. We've been banging on them pretty good. We've just got to make sure, again, when we blitz, we get things shored up, get the guys in the right gap. Somebody gets out of a gap, and all of the sudden, you look up and there's a big play." -- Sonny Dykes on the Cal defense
Takeaway 5: Linebackers? (coming soon)
Quotable: I think the big thing is the older two guys who are playing – Devante Downs is way ahead of where he’s ever been. I think Ray Davison is taking a leadership role, coming along, and then everyone else is kind of in a developmental stage. I’ve got to get them as much work as I can.” -- Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman