The challenge of trying to have all of the units get their work in along with there being just one field to practice on means that the special teams units often don't get a lot of work. When the Bears were working on punts, there were two units working in parallel, and while one set of punts was functional, they went long enough and high enough for the Bears to reasonably execute their punting game, Anger's punts were significantly higher and deeper than everyone else's, with several landing more than 50 yards from where the ball was snapped.
Anytime a talented punter such as Andrew Larsen completes his eligibility, there's always some concern about whether there's anybody who can adequately take his place. But Anger's simply picking up from where he left off last fall, where his kicking was so solid in practice that the punt returners were asking for him to kick the ball so they could get their work in. If he can kick well consistently, the Bears will have one of the strongest punting units in the Pac-10 this fall.
While the competition for starting quarterback is still being closely contested, Nate Longshore had a better afternoon than Kevin Riley, doing well on the short patterns but having more success with crossing patterns and long passes than he has earlier this spring. During a drill where the quarterback has five receivers going against eight defenders, he threw a pass deep downfield that Jeremy Ross caught 37 yards from the line of scrimmage and eluded all defenders for what would have been a 67-yard touchdown. Two plays later he threw a pass with a slightly lower trajectory that Michael Calvin caught 42 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Riley was unfortunate in that during the 11-on-11s, the pass blocking was so ineffective that he often didn't have to set up before being chased by the defensive linemen, primarily Cameron Jordan and Ernest Owusu. He did have a nice pass to tight end Garry Graffort who was running up a seam and caught the ball 27 yards from the line of scrimmage.
He was also a victim of the defensive play of the day when he attempted a short pass over the middle. Defensive tackle Derrick Hill leapt up, snatched the ball out of the air with his right arm and ran back upfield. Defenders who intercept the ball usually keep running until they've passed everyone or reached the end zone. Riley's competitive nature wouldn't allow him to let Hill have a free run. As Riley was about to catch Hill from the right side, Hill extended an arm, and from the resulting collision which didn't end well for Riley, it's safe to say that head coach Jeff Tedford may have a word with his sophomore quarterback about using more discretion when attempting to work on his tackling.
While running back was considered one of the Bears deepest positions going into the spring, the Bears gave a lot of work to Tracy Slocum and Peter Geurts, as Covaughn Deboskie and Shane Vereen participated in drills but were held out of 11-on-11s, while Jahvid Best was used sparingly during drills. Geurts had a few big runs on the afternoon, including one long one with the B unit, when running behind the left side of Matt Laird and Kevin Bemoll. Geurts, a redshirt freshman from Monte Vista, was slow to get up after getting hit hard late in practice, but walked off whatever was ailing him and returned to practice shortly.
Other moments of note:
- Riley completed a pass to tight end Skyler Curran who took a big hit from cornerback Sean Cattouse but managed to hold onto the ball
- Rulon Davis has had some terrific moments with the Unit A defense, but has jumped offsides with frightening regularity in the early going
- Both Slocum and Geurts did very well in finding holes to run through and picking their way through the secondary
- Darian Hagan did a good job of defending deep passes that were thrown his way without drawing any flags, breaking up a pass to Boateng and having good coverage on overthrown balls to Ian Albrecht and Drew Glover. A group of officials were brought in on Saturday, partly because of the coaching clinic that Cal was hosting.
- Longshore threw a deep square out to Calvin and although it looked like Chris Conte was beaten on the play, he recovered enough to jump off and knock the pass down
- Of the Unit B linebackers, D.J. Holt is standing out with his ability to stuff to run and get outside on wide runs.
Note that the A, B, and C unit designations are not official but are simply how the players are divided during 11-on-11s. These units are far from static, although there are quite a few less changes with the A units than the B or C units.
On Saturday, the Bears mixed their lineups considerably so there are several players who played on multiple units. During the initial set of 11-on-11s, Cal just went with the A & B units, which meant that the B unit included several players who usually play on the C unit.
Even with the many substitutions; there were a few things worth noting: D.J. Campbell was getting a lot of work with the A unit; Cameron Jordan took a few reps with the A unit, Michael Calvin, Jeremy Ross, and Nyan Boateng have been mainstay receivers with the A unit this spring, and Eddie Young saw more work with the A unit then he's been getting.
Offensive unit A: Michael Calvin, Nyan Boateng, Jeremy Ross, LaReylle Cunningham, Cameron Morrah, Skylar Curran, Mike Tepper, Mark Boskovich, Alex Mack, Noris Malele, Chet Teofilo, Nate Longshore, Tracy Slocum, Will Taufoou, Peter Geurts
Offensive unit B: Alex Stroud, Ian Albrecht, Drew Glover, LaReylle Cunningham, Skylar Curran, Garry Graffort, Richard Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Kevin Bemoll, Sam DeMartinis, Justin Cheadle, Kevin Riley, Peter Geurts, Brian Holley, R.J. Garrett, Tracy Slocum
Offensive unit C: Alex Stroud, Nyan Boateng, Ian Albrecht, Savaii Eselu, Garry Graffort, Matt Summers-Gavin, Mark Boskovich, T.J. Emery, Alex Mack, Justin Prueitt, Todd Huber, Brock Mansion, Peter Geurts, Tracy Slocum, R.J. Garrett, Brian Holley
Defensive unit A: Mika Kane, Rulon Davis, Tyson Alualu, Cameron Jordan, Michael Mohamed, Zack Follett, Worrell Williams, Anthony Felder, Eddie Young, Syd'Quan Thompson, Bernard Hicks, D.J. Campbell, Chris Conte
Defensive unit B: Cameron Jordan, Michael Costanzo, Ernest Owusu, Derrick Hill, Keith Browner, Ernest Owusu, Justin Gates, Jonathan Karacazoff, Eddie Young, Devin Bishop, D.J. Holt, Charles Johnson, Shea McIntyre, Sean Cattouse, Marcus Ezeff, Charles Amadi, Gary Doxy, Darian Hagan, Chris Conte
Defensive unit C: Justin Gates, Keith Browner, Solomona Aigamaua, Jonathan Karacazoff, Rulon Davis, Mika Kane, Kendrick Payne, Michael Mohamed, D.J. Holt, Charles Johnson, Sean Cattouse, Jesse Brooks, Gary Doxy, Brett Johnson, Syd'Quan Thompson, Darian Hagan
Notes...For those who will be attending the Cal football spring event next Saturday, remember that it's Cal Day, when there will be several activities on campus including several Cal sporting events. Since parking may be challenging, people are encouraged to get there early...The high school coaches in attendance were here for a coaching clinic that Cal was hosting. Several of them stuck around practice afterwards on Friday and Saturday to meet with their former players who are now with the Golden Bears.
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