Practice 17: The More You Noa

BERKELEY -- Kanawai Noa will have his own cheering section in Australia, plus more notes from practice and the Sydney Sendoff.

Live Practice Thread From 8-19-16 (members)

Full Sydney Sendoff Transcript (members)

BERKELEY -- On Saturday, Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich -- a graduate of Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic and a former athlete and football coach at City College of San Francisco -- named a Richmond (Calif.) Salesian graduate -- Ikaika Woolsey -- as the Warriors' starting quarterback against California for the season-opener in Sydney, Australia.

Ikaika will be throwing to -- among others -- freshman Kumoku Noa, the brother of current Cal sophomore Kanawai Noa. The Noa clan has a deep history with the home stat school. The Noa boys' father, Henry, was a tight end for the Warriors, and older brothers Kilinahe (linebacker, 2001-04) and Waikaloa (defensive back, 2006) both suited up, as did cousin Kaulana (1996-99), for good measure.

"I think it's going to be good seeing some of the family, and also [Kumoku] on the other side," said Cal's Noa, who will have quite a contingent coming out to Australia for the game. "I want to say five family, and a bunch of other people."

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1697869-surf-s-up-dykes-re... The matriarch of the family, Keolani, will not, however, be in attendance. Henry, Kilinahe and Waikaloa will be there, as will on of Noa's sisters, but Keolani will be by the side of Noa's oldest sister, who is due to have a baby the day of the game.

"They'll be watching on TV," Noa said.

When Noa originally found out that Cal would be playing Hawaii, he didn't get much beyond the first line of the story.

"I was super excited, because I thought we were playing them in Hawaii," Noa admitted. "So it's like, 'Wait, I can't go home?' But, I think it's going to be a good experience down in Sydney, Australia. It'll be fun seeing a lot of friends on the team."

Noa struggles to count just how many friends and acquaintances he'll be playing across from, but comes up with a number: At least 15.

"There's a lot of island boys on the team," he said.

That includes some players who Noa could come nose-to-nose with, like freshman defensive back Keala Santiago of Hau'ula (Oahu) Kahuku, and defensive lineman Ka'au Gifford of Wai'anae (Oahu) Kamhameha.

"Old high school rivals," Noa explains. "On the offensive side, there are actually people that came from my school (Punahou)."

That includes senior running back Steven Lakalaka, redshirt junior running back Ryan Tuiasoa, and redshirt sophomore tight end Dakota Torres.

Another Punahou alum -- Semisi Uluave -- was out of practice for two days this week, but did put the shoulder pads on, on Friday. He's questionable for the match-up with Hawaii, but Noa is finally coming into his own, healthy after being limited all of spring.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1697794-dykes-williams-tal... Around the Oregon game last season, Noa tore his meniscus, and didn't get corrective surgery until after the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force.

“I kind of knew something was wrong, but I didn’t think it was that serious, so I just played through it," he said.

The first week of fall camp, Noa was limited to individual work, conditioning and rehab. No contact. No one-on-ones. No team work.

“It’s always frustrating to wait, and have to watch the guys go out and have fun, and you’ve got to sit on the side and do other stuff just to get ready, but it’s definitely a good mental experience for me," Noa said. "I got tougher, mentally, as well.”

Noa also got tougher, physically. A soft-spoken wisp of a receiver, when he's gotten the ball in his hands this fall, Noa has been a bully. Part of that, he said, is due to the fact that he's a year older, and more mature.

“That, and also confidence level, coming in more confident this year, because a lot of guys left last year," Noa said. "I’m just trying to pick up for any guys coming in, this year.”

"I would expect, as we get into game week, middle of next week, he would get a pretty good lion's share of reps," head coach Sonny Dykes said.

After Noa moved from the outside Z to the inside Y, behind Melquise Stovall, he has thrived, particularly on routes over the middle that take advantage of that speed and physicality. On Friday -- Cal's final open practice before leaving for Australia tonight -- Noa made a basket catch in seven-on-seven work, turning on a ball by Chase Forrest to put himself between the ball and his defender. Later, he reeled in a slant over the middle for a 13-yard first down. He's easily been the Bears' best and most consistent wide receiver outside of Chad Hansen.

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Also on Friday, Cameron Saffle continued his strong camp, beating up on right tackle Steven Moore during 11-on-11 work. Saffle has grown by leaps and bounds not only from last year to this, but from the start of fall camp until now.

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After having his thigh taped on Thursday due to an aggravated contusion, Darius Allensworth was unencumbered on Friday, breaking up the first pass in 11-on-11 work, from Davis Webb to Ray Hudson. One pass later, he locked up Hansen to redirect his route, forcing him away from the ball. Allensworth also had an interception in scout team work.

"The biggest thing that’s a positive for me is the older guys that have been there, like Darius, what he’s grown from, in two years, from the ‘14 season to the ‘15 season to now, maturity level, intelligence level of what we’re doing, and how he’s going to execute his skill set," said defensive coordinator Art Kaufman.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1697815-former-cal-kicker-... That coverage was so good that, even against the first-team offense and receivers, the defense covered so thoroughly that Webb was unable to find an open receiver on his first play in seven-on-seven, and took a coverage sack. He did, however, find Hansen open on the next play, and then hit Jordan Veasy for a big gainer up the seam.

Later in seven-on-seven, Traveon Beck made a leaping breakup on a ball intended for Patrick Worstell that saw him vault at least 36 inches into the air. On the very next play, Antoine Albert also tallied a breakup, his first of two on the day.

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"Traveon Beck has shown some great things," Allensworth said. "The kid can really play."

Khari Vanderbilt came free off a safety blitz and forced a quick throw by Forrest, as the defense overall had a very strong day.

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While Kamryn Bennett continued his strong one-on-one performances, he did get beaten by Zeandae Johnson for his fifth sack in the past week. Johnson also provided consistent pressure off the edge, and helped collapse the pocket, leading to a sack by Chinedu Udeogu.

*****

Friday's practice eschewed one-on-one work between defensive backs and receivers, focusing mainly on situational work and special teams. Dykes was particularly enthused about the special teams work on kickoffs, yelling. "How about that kick, Tommerdahl? Get you some of that!" after a particularly strong kickoff from Matt Anderson.

Anderson hit four 40-plus-yard field goals in a row to end practice, including one where he was intentionally iced. He had gone 0-for-4 over the last several days, and struggled over the last week, overall, but both he and Noah Beito hit all of their kickoffs to the goal line or deeper during Friday's kickoff work, with Ashtyn Davis providing a particularly good cover on one boot. The coverage unit, as a whole, has vastly improved over the last week, and that, Dykes said, is due mainly to the experience and depth Cal has coming back.

“For us, having the depth that we have now, makes a difference," he said. "With our coverage units, we’ve got more speed, more athleticism. We have more bodies and backups and guys that we can train to do those. What happened to us some was, defensively, we’re playing 80 snaps a game on defense, and we don’t have a lot of depth, so guys wear down, and all of the sudden, you’re trying to save them a couple of snaps on special teams. Maybe you’re sending somebody out to cover a kick or a punt who’s not ready. Fortunately, we’ve got enough young players now, in our program, that we’ve had an opportunity to train. I think it’s going to make a big difference in our teams.”

Punter Dylan Klumph had a very strong day, with a hang time average well over 4.0 seconds. He even had a 4.5-second bomb from his own 10 to the opposing 25, and a 50-yarder that hung up for 3.79 seconds, and another that hung up for 3.98. His best was a 4.75-second punt from his own 40 that settled at the goal line.

"Dylan Klumph, I think, has the chance to be a really good punter," Dykes said. "He’s got a big leg. I’m excited to see how he progresses, because I think when he becomes consistent, he can be one of the elite guys around. I’m looking forward to that.”

*****

In a pre-practice Sydney Sendoff, Dykes said that Caleb Coleman and Damariay Drew will travel with the team, along with the 105 players in camp, despite the fact that their careers are over.

There are several players among that 105 that won’t be available, like the injured Aaron Cochran and Uluave, who’s been laid up for two days (he practiced in a limited capacity in uppers on Friday).

“We’ve had an opportunity to trade some guys out during fall camp," Dykes said. "[Cochran and Uluave] will travel. Damariay Drew will travel. Caleb Coleman will travel. Some of the kids that are still a part of our team and part of our program, will travel. It’ll be a great experience for those guys. They’ve certainly earned the right to do that.”

*****

We'll have a much deeper feature on Cal's use of virtual reality during the week leading up to the Australia game, but a tidbit for now: Webb watches more film than anyone in the nation, including the 6 NFL teams that use the same Stryver system as the Bears, according to video coordinator Matt Fox.


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