DBs Delight on Second Double Day of Camp

The second week of camp is well under way at Cal. Last week's action saw a number of players step up. On Monday, the players conducted a full-contact practice in the early evening after warming up in shells in the morning. The youngsters continue to show their moxie while the veterans display flashes of mid-season form…

Wide receiver versus defensive backs is arguably one of the top battles to watch in practice at any moment. Whether it be drills, one-on-ones, seven-on-seven, or 11-on-11 action, the intensity between the two positions is always at its highest.

The afternoon session was absolutely dominated by great secondary play.

"The corners made a couple of plays today," Tedford said.

While talented, the California Golden Bear receiving corps is very inexperienced. It was none more evident than on Monday when the wideouts consistently dropped catchable balls.

"I thought they dropped too many balls today," Tedford said. "We need to focus more, maybe we're wearing down a bit, but we have to push through it."

Besides the receivers' rough day, the quarterbacks did not help much. As a whole, the unit did not have one of its better practice sessions. Nonetheless, the day was not a wash for every signal caller and receiver.

Senior wide receivers LaReylle Cunningham and Sean Young displayed some of the day's top highlights along with sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley. Cunningham shows little fear going over the middle to make a catch. With defenders surrounding him, he came away with a terrific grab between the hashes. Of course, it would not have been possible without the great throw from Riley.

Riley's long ball has been consistently beautiful throughout camp. Monday morning, he hit Young in stride with a 40-yard long ball. What made the play amazing was Young's incredible catch. For a player with only three career receptions, he displayed the ability to concentrate and come away with difficult reception.

Despite their lackluster performance on Monday, the play of the day also came from a receiver. Michael Calvin tipped a ball that was deflected by sophomore cornerback Darian Hagan. Calvin was able to maintain his focus and get his hands on the ball for a touchdown.

Nevertheless, the day belong to Hagan and the rest of the defensive backs. He recorded two pass breakups and along with Syd'Quan Thompson, they spearheaded a solid day. In redzone drills, Thompson dove to break up a sure touchdown pass and redshirt freshman Sean Cattouse also broke up another potential touchdown reception.

"The corners made a couple of plays today," Tedford said. "Syd [Thompson], of course, he's pretty solid all the time. "Hagan's getting there. I think he understands what it takes and he's understanding the defense and he has more discipline. He's getting there."

From the linebackers, redshirt freshman D.J. Holt stood out with two picks. Junior Eddie Young continues to have a solid camp. He is pushing for significant playing time and if he continues to deliver blows as he did on Monday, it might be hard to keep him off the field. Young recorded the hit of the day. He was able to get into the offensive backfield and delivered a monster hit that got his defensive teammates fired up. It was easily the loudest ovation by the players from Monday's practice sessions.

A few minor injuries have taken their toll on the running backs and offensive line thus far in camp. In turn, a few players are getting a few more looks. On such player is redshirt freshman fullback Peter Geurts.

"Peter Geurts has been a warrior, he's all beat up and he continues to play and he's very solid," Tedford said.

Geurts is a throwback to the old school fullback, something new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti has a knack for using. Another position Cignetti is known for using is the tight end. The tight ends have seen extensive action in fall camp.

Junior Cameron Morrah has become one of senior quarterback Nate Longshore's favorite targets in camp. On Monday, Morrah caught another Longshore pass for a touchdown. Moreover, what makes Morrah such a weapon is his athleticism and aggressiveness. Not only is he agile enough to give safeties fits, he is physical enough to deliver crushing blows to anyone who gets in his way. He made a defender pay after taking a short pass from Longshore. Morrah lowered his helmet after the reception creating a jarring hit that dislodged the defender's helmet.

Not to be forgotten is converted defensive end Tad Smith. The junior tight end has developed a nice chemistry with Riley over the course of camp. At 6-foot-5 and 248 lbs, Smith has great size but his hands are very soft. They connected Monday on great pass and catch over the middle.

The offensive line is probably seeing the most change in camp. The projected starting lineup has been hampered with key players missing practice.

"We're trying to give people different opportunities at different positions, as well as resting people that have minor dings [on the line]," Tedford said. "We're trying to get those guys fresh, while getting a true impression of some other guys."


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