April 10 Scrimmage Recap

Position-by-position news and notes from the California Golden Bears Saturday morning scrimmage…


Quarterbacks

As Head Coach Jeff Tedford stated in the post-scrimmage interview, all the quarterbacks did some good things and some bad things.

Kevin Riley continues to look the best in practice, as all his throws are crisp and all his reads are consistent.

In the scrimmage, Riley completed a few nice passes to WR Alex Lagemann and WR Marvin Jones with the defender's back to him. With Chris Guarnero and Dominic Galas out with injuries, senior Donovan Edwards played center with the first team. Since Edwards never played center at Cal, and has never had to deal with the shotgun, Riley had to deal with some errant snaps. Despite problems with the exchange, Riley did a rather excellent job of handling pressure and making smarter decisions, and managed to throw the ball away at the most appropriate time. In the final clutch period, on a 3rd-and-5, Riley managed to regain a wild snap about 20 yards behind him. Instead of running with the ball or looking for a play, Riley simply threw it away, saving yards and clock. The smart decision paid off on the next play, when Riley found a mishap in the secondary to hit Jeremy Ross for a 60-yard touchdown. Riley was also later credited with a touchdown throw on a swing pass to RB Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson.

Sophomore Beau Sweeney had his moments between splitting time with the first team and the second team offense. Among his better throws were a 14-yard completion to Jones on a slant route and a deep pass to Lagemann in 1-on-1's.

Junior Brock Mansion struggled the most as he worked with the second team offense. Mansion, at times, overthrew his targets by a wide margin. He also took a sack in the end zone for a safety when the offense was backed up. In the final clutch period, threw a key interception to Alex Logan to give the defense the victory. With that said, Mansion also made a few nice plays, including one where he threw a bullet to WR Jeremy Ross to score a 20-yard touchdown.

Running Backs

Shane Vereen continued to look like Shane Vereen in his limited reps.

The focus was clearly given to sophomore Isi Sofele, sophomore Deboskie-Johnson, and freshman Desarte Yarnway.

The offense experimented with Sofele on a bunch of different plays with reverses, screens, and runs, and it is becoming clear that he will be a major point of the offense. Sofele's best run came early in the scrimmage when he busted left and cut up field for a 21-yard gain.

Deboskie-Johnson had arguably the best day, as he consistently ran hard and looked good hitting the hole. He scored two touchdowns: one on an 11-yard run in which he pulled left with the benefit of a Matt Summers-Gavin pancake, and the other on catch in the flat from Riley, as he juked a linebacker on his way to the end zone.

Yarnway still does look like a beast with the ball in his hands, but he was kept pretty much in check today. He was the only victim of a lost fumble during the scrimmage.

Wide Receivers

WR Michael Calvin was out with a strained groin, allowing Jeremy Ross, Marvin Jones, and Alex Lagemann to get increased reps.

Ross made the gutsiest catch of the day, when he grabbed a 20-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field before being absolutely leveled by safety C.J. Moncrease. The catch got the offense jumping up and down.

Alex Lagemann was the most consistent worker, as he was pretty much catching everything thrown his way, including a few sliding catches. His best catch came in 1-on-1's, when he laid all out under good coverage to snag a 45-yard pass. Riley noted that any pass thrown to Lagemann would result in a catch.

Jones also continues to be steady, and he is probably making his case to be the No. 1 WR heading into fall camp. Jones ran all the routes and made all the catches, and Tedford made it a point to say that he is Cal's best wide receiver.

In Calvin's absence, WR Ross Bostock took most of the reps in his place.

Tight End

Junior Anthony Miller continues to take most of the reps with the first team. His best catch came at the end of one clutch period, where he snagged a pass and rumbled 29 yards before time expired.

Sophomore Spencer Ladner played with the second team, but made no catches.

Sophomore Jarrett Sparks did not participate.

Offensive Line

With Guarnero, Galas, and junior Mitchell Schwartz out, the offensive line was a bit off.

The first unit consisted of Summers-Gavin at LT, senior Richard Fisher at LG, Edwards at C, junior Justin Cheadle at RG, and junior Sam Demartinis at RT. The second unit featured sophomore Tyler Rigsbee at LT, junior Justin Gates at LG, freshman Mark Brazinski at C, sophomore Brian Schwenke at RG, and freshman Charles Siddoway at RT.

Despite being patched up, the offensive line drew praise from everybody. Riley said that the line played the best since spring began, and Jeff Tedford said that the offensive line "took a step forward today."

Despite some errant snaps in the shotgun, Edwards looked decent for it being his first day on the job. Jeff Tedford made it a point that, with time, the snaps will become more natural for Edwards and easier for the offense to operate.

The offensive line still committed a few false start penalties, but also blew open some nice holes in the run game. Summers-Gavin and Schwenke had some noticeable pancake blocks.

Defensive Line

The defensive line was missing a few players, including senior Mike Costanzo and junior Trevor Guyton, which limited depth. As a result, sophomore Kendrick Payne and senior Derrick Hill would split time on the line and even play some DE.

Payne suffered a scare during the clutch period when he awkwardly landed while trying to chase down Riley. After a few moments, Payne was told that he was okay and that nothing serious had happened. The first unit defensive line featured senior Cameron Jordan and junior Ernest Owusu on the ends, with Payne in the middle.

The defensive line consistently got pressure and broke through to the backfield, despite being limited. Sophomore Aaron Tipoti made some nice stops in the run game, and Jordan made his usual batch of athletic plays, including one where he chased down Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson from behind for a loss.

Linebackers

The starting unit featured senior Keith Browner at SLB, junior D.J. Holt and senior Mike Mohamed in the middle, and sophomore Chris Little at WLB. On passing downs, senior Jarred Price finds himself in for Browner.

The linebackers were solid for the most part, as the running game never really broke open and the tight ends could not separate themselves downfield. Among some of the better plays was a sack by freshman Steve Fanua, in which he burst untouched through the line and a couple of nice stops by sophomore Robert Mullins.

Secondary

The starting unit featured sophomore Josh Hill and senior Bryant Nnabuife at corner, and senior Chris Conte and junior D.J. Campbell at the safeties.

The star of the day was freshman Alex Logan, who had a couple of big hits and an interception to end the clutch period. He also nearly had an interception earlier in the scrimmage, when he almost tipped a pass to himself for what would have been a touchdown. Safe to say, Logan was all over the field. C.J. Moncrease also had a bone-crushing hit on WR Jeremy Ross on his touchdown reception, but Ross managed to hold on.

Nnabuife and freshman Steve Williams were solid in coverage and made it difficult for the receivers to do much.

Special Teams

In the cold climate, the kickers had trouble knocking the ball deep on kickoffs. The emphases seemed to be more on hang time to allow the coverage to get downfield.

Junior Giorgio Tavecchio had a kick reach the end zone, the six, the five, and 12 yard lines. He also made both of his field goal attempts (from 24 and 29 yards) in the scrimmage.

Sophomore Vince D'Amato did not look as crisp on kickoffs. He shanked one kick to the 12, and only managed to kick off as far as the eight yard-line. D'Amato missed his lone attempt – a 32-yarder.

Junior Brian Anger was a bit inconsistent with his punts. His first punt only traveled 37 yards, while his second punt was blocked. However, he had some of his typical hang gliders, as he booted a 45 and 53-yard punt as well.

Head Coach Jeff Tedford Quotes

On the overall practice:
"Obviously we have a lot of work to do. But there were some good things today and things we can learn from."

On DE Cameron Jordan:
"He continues to impress, and he's fun to watch. He's more experienced, he's playing fast, and I think that's giving him more confidence."

"He's grown. You can see a little bit of a different attitude about him on the field."

On the quarterbacks:
"They all did something positive, and I thought they all did something negative. I thought Kevin [Riley] did a nice job today with the couple of bad snaps and, in the situation, got rid of the ball real quick. He understood what was going on. The other two took sacks in the red zone in situations you can't do it. Brock [Mansion] took a sack in the endzone for a safety and Beau [Sweeney] took one out here that took the offense out of field goal range. Those are the things that we have to continue to practice and understand the situation. That's why you put them in situations like this."

On Kevin Riley going into his senior year:
"I think he's grown a lot as far as a person and his maturity level. He's been so up and down as far as a lot of hype and a lot of negative stuff. So I think, now, he has everything put in the proper perspective to know what he needs to work on, knows how serious it is, and what a serious role he plays in order to be your best. And to be your best, you have to keep working hard."

On Marvin Jones progression:
"Marvin is our number one receiver, without a doubt. He works very hard, and he cares. He is very motivated, and has a lot of passion for what is going on, and is one of the great leaders on our team, as well, though he's a young guy."

On competition and its results:
"I see it day to day. You just hear it with the energy level that we have, and the things that we say, and the attention to detail. Like today, when the defense had to do three up-downs, the offense yelled, 'Why not five?!' It means something to them. But it's not about that, it's about a situation that is competitive and you need to think about winning; what's going to help you win in that situation?"

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