Aug. 18, 2008
Berkeley - The California football team spent its Monday double day practice focusing on game specific situations, among other game planning scenarios, leading into its final scrimmage on Tuesday in Memorial Stadium.
Said head coach Jeff Tedford after practice, "[Tuesday's scrimmage] will be one more opportunity for our guys to get out there and show they can handle being on the field by themselves in game type situations - understand the play, the clock, those type of things - and make plays during game time. You always like the dress rehearsal to be a scrimmage where we're flying around, we're not making mistakes, and we're closer to where we want to be before we play Michigan State."
The primary focus for much of the morning tutorials was a persistent emphasis on fine tuning techniques, blocking, route running, schemes and ball protection. For the defense, coordinator Bob Gregory continued to instruct the linebackers and defensive backs with signals and reads, while the offense worked a 7-on-7 drills and various plays utilizing the running backs and wide receivers.
"We're getting close," added Tedford. "Tomorrow is one more opportunity for guys to show what they can do. From there, we have to create a depth chart because it's time to start preparing for Michigan State."
"It's always important to produce so [evaluation of players] is continual as far as monitoring and making sure people are doing their jobs and making plays. It's a constant evaluation process."
In the offensive 7-on-7s, Tad Smith made a leaping catch, while Will Kapp made a nice catch and run along the sidelines for a sizeable gain. The 1-on-1s (DBs vs. WRs) also provided both offensive and defensive highlights. Ian Albrecht snared three catches, while newcomer Verran Tucker made an over the shoulder grab on a deep pass from Nate Longshore. Freshman Marvin Jones used his 6-2 frame to extended and make a play on the ball near the sideline as well. Defensively, Marcus Ezeff stuck like glue on his defender to break up a pass, and Kevin Lewis recovered nicely to also break up a pass.
Towards the end of practice, Cal went to work in the 11-on-11s. The defense remained aggressive, as Rulon Davis chased down a shifty Jahvid Best, while Tyson Alualu and Brett Johnson road blocked running back Shane Vereen from forward progress in the lane. Cameron Jordan also applied heat to the quarterback, while fellow defensive lineman Ernest Owusu intercepted a pass after Keith Browner applied pressure to the quarterback.
"The elusiveness, the quickness, the speed at which Jahvid plays, certainly makes the defense play fast, but under control," said Tedford. "When you can practice against that type of speed every day, you're much more prepared for a real game."
In the afternoon, the coaching staff spent time working with the team on executing certain game scenarios, such as clock management, onsides kicks and last second play situations.
"The situations we're doing lend to a lot more emotion, a lot more competitive drills," noted Tedford. "I see a real healthy competition on both sides of the football. Both sides playing hard - I notice that both sides are picking each other up, telling each other good play, things like that. The attitude and the leadership have been great."