April 17, 2010
BERKELEY - Both sides of the ball had bright spots when the Cal football team hosted its annual spring open practice on a beautiful morning under clear skies at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. An estimated crowd of 3,000 enjoyed a rare opportunity to take in a Cal football practice. The event was presented by Peterson Tractor as part of the Cal Day festivities that take place on campus each April.
Cal's offense scored six touchdowns and a pair of field goals during 17 drives of full 11-on-11 team action, while the defense recovered a pair of fumbles and the special teams scored on an 82-yard punt return by Jeremy Ross.
"It's really important that I try to help this club by being a playmaker because in a game momentum is essential," said Ross. "It's very important to make those big plays and bring the spirit of the team up."
Ross and Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson scored twice each with Ross also finding the end zone on an 11-yard reverse and DeBoskie-Johnson scoring on runs of one and eight yards, respectively. Two of the Bears other scores came on a pair of long touchdown passes, with Beau Sweeney hooking up with Marvin Jones for a 60-yard strike and Ryan Wertenberger finding Spencer Hagan down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown. Dasarte Yarnway also plunged into the end zone on a one-yard run.
Giorgio Tavecchio nailed both of his field goal attempts, capping a 19-play, 76-yard drive on the third series of practice by making a 21-yarder and then hitting from 43 yards out later during the workout.
Kevin Riley completed 11-of-16 passes for 126 yards, while Sweeney was 5-of-14 for 96 yards and Wertenberger 3-of-5 for 55 yards.
Isi Sofele led the ground game, rushing eight times for 51 yards. DeBoskie-Johnson notched 28 yards on nine carries, while Yarnway also had nine carries and gained 22 yards. Eric Stephens rumbled 43 yards on his only carry, while Trajuan Briggs and Langston Jackson both had three rushes for 19 yards.
Alex Lagemann led the Bears with four catches for 51 yards, while Jones' 66 receiving yards on two receptions were a team-high. Quinn Tedford caught three balls for 25 yards, while Ben Ladner (2-30), DeBoskie-Johnson (2-19), Sofele (2-10) had two receptions each. Hagan (1-43, TD), Anthony Miller (1-18), Ross (1-8) and Solomona Aigamaua (1-7) picked up one catch apiece.
"I thought there were some good things," said head coach Jeff Tedford when asked about the Bears' offense. "We still had some turnovers and fumbled snaps down in the red zone, but I thought they moved the ball and some guys made some plays."
"I thought we did some good things," added Riley. "On that 19-play drive we were stuck in a lot of bad situations, long third downs, and moved the ball continuously. But we have to finish. When you get down inside the one-yard line you have to score. That's how you lose games, but overall I thought we did a good job controlling it."
Defensively, fumbles were recovered by Derrick Hill and C.J. Moncrease with Jarred Price forcing the one Moncrease pounced on while Hill fell on a botched snap. The defense also finished the practice on a high note, holding the offense out of the end zone on its last two drives after the offense had scored in each of its previous three.
Moncrease, Price and Chris Little shared the team lead with five tackles each. Price also recorded one of the team's 5.0 tackles for loss. Hill had an active day on the defensive line with four tackles, a tackle for loss and his fumble recovery, while Ryan Davis and Kendrick Payne each had one of the team's two sacks with both chasing down Riley six yards behind the line of scrimmage on separate plays. Ernest Owusu picked up the team's remaining tackle for loss when he nailed Shane Vereen for a six-yard loss. Others with four tackles included Chris Conte, Tyré Ellison and Steven Fanua. Andre Coleman, Kameron Krebs and Vachel Samuels had three stops each.
"This was a great opportunity for both our fans and our players," said Tedford. "It gave some of our young guys the chance to play in front of a crowd, which created more of a game-like experience, while our fans had a chance to see some of our younger guys in action that they haven't seen much of to this point."
Cal will conclude its 2010 spring football next week with a couple of practices that will be closed to the public. The team's 15 spring workouts began on March 10.
"This is the hardest and most physical spring we've had," said Riley. "We're getting better, but we've got to continue like always ... This is my last year and I want to make it a great year, the best year of my life. I'm going to work my hardest to make that happen."
Cal opens its 2010 season vs. UC Davis on Saturday, Sept. 4. The upcoming campaign will be the final year with the current configuration of Memorial Stadium and also includes visits from Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington during a seven-game home schedule.
Call the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS or visit CalBears.com to purchase your season tickets now.