Defense Shines in Final Blue-Gold Spring Scrimmage
April 25, 1998
BERKELEY, Calif. - The Cal defense registered 10 sacks during a 65-play Blue-Gold scrimmage in Santa Rosa which signaled the end of spring drills for the Golden Bears.
The Cal defense, which is expected to be one of the best in the Pac-10 this season, held the Cal offense scoreless during the final scrimmage. It was Cal's defensive line which did most of the damage as juniors Jeremiah Parker from DeAnza HS in Richmond and Mawuko Tugbenyoh from De La Salle HS in Concord each had two sacks. Senior defensive end John McLaughlin and junior college transfer Kasey Jackson added 1.5 sacks a piece as the Bears swarmed over a Cal passing attack that saw the Bears play without its top three receivers due to injuries.
A pair of Cal defensive backs also shined during the scrimmage as freshman Dewey Hale from Fremont HS in Oakland had five tackles while Deltha O'Neal from Milpitas HS had a pair of pass deflections and one tackles behind the line of scrimmage among his four total tackles.
Starting quarterback Justin Vedder completed 5-of-10 passes for 74 yards, while back-ups Samuel Clemons was 2-of-9 for 9 yards and Wesley Dalton was 4-of-7 for 24 yards.
The leading receiver was freshman tight end Corey Smith who caught two passes for 55 yards, including the scrimmage's longest play - a 43-yard pass from Vedder. Tailback Marcus Fields ran 7 times for 29 yards while Marcus Oliver rushed for 35 yards on 6 carries. Senior Brandon Willis rushed 9 times but gained only 7 yards.
Head coach Tom Holmoe was obviously pleased with his team's defensive effort.
"Our defense is starting to meld as a unit and that's a great sign for this football team," said Holmoe. "We're not anywhere near where we want to be when we start the season, but there are a lot of elements in place. Our defensive line is doing some great things and we have great depth there.
"Jeremiah Parker has been a force all spring and he's start even in our starting unit right now. We want to get him on the field and we'll look at some options, but having the type of depth on our defensive line that we have is something that not many college teams enjoy. It's a huge benefit for us."
Holmoe said the Cal offense would look much different with the addition of several players who sat out the spring with injuries but who should be in the starting line-up in September.
"It's hard to do a lot with the passing game when you don't have your receivers. We started the spring with nine receivers and we finished with just three. When we get Dameane Douglas (knee scoped on Monday) and Bruce Pierrre back and we have that talented group of five high school receivers arrive, it will really help things.
"Our offensive line also has struggled at times during the spring, but getting Yauger Williams back (out during the spring with a sprained knee) will make a big difference and we'll start to settle into a rhythm."
Cal opens the season on September 5, hosting the University of Houston in Memorial Stadium.