Aug. 12, 2008
BERKELEY - While continuing to focus on situational exercises, the University of California football team held a two-plus hour practice in full pads on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The situational drill which created the most energy on the field was a goal-line situation with crowd noise being pumped into the stadium. Redshirt freshman Shane Vereen and sophomore Tracy Slocum both scored touchdowns in the drill, while the defense also had highlights, including a stop in the backfield by sophomore Keith Browner.
"I like that both sides had success and it was very competitive," head coach Jeff Tedford said of the drill. "There were a couple walk-ins, but for the most part it was very competitive down there. There was a lot of energy, excitement and good hitting. It was a good drill. I think the kids were really pumped up for it."
Tedford was also asked about the performance of the quarterbacks - all four of whom had highlights on the day. Sophomore Kevin Riley had a nice hook-up with redshirt freshman Michael Calvin in 11-on-11 action and then lofted a perfect pass to the corner of the end zone for a leaping Calvin in a red-zone situation. Senior Nate Longshore had solid connections with senior Drew Glover and a pair of tight ends - junior Tad Smith and freshman Anthony Miller, while in red-zone action, he found senior LaReylle Cunningham for a TD in the corner.
"I thought all of the decisions [by the quarterbacks today] were pretty good," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "One of the receivers should have got out of bounds with eight seconds to play so we could get a time out, that was not good."
When asked if he thought one of the quarterbacks might establish himself as the starter before the season, Tedford responded, "We'll see if one separates; right now, it kind of goes back and forth and back and forth. We'll see if one establishes himself in the next couple of weeks. If not, we'll make a decision on who will take the first reps and go from there."
Redshirt freshman Brock Mansion also made use of his tight ends, including a strike into the hands of freshman Spencer Ladner over the middle, while also delivering a ball to freshman Charles Satchell, who turned it into a sizable gain. True freshman Beau Sweeney continued to show off his scrambling ability, while also tossing a pass to sophomore Garry Graffort who held on despite a big hit from junior Brett Johnson.
When asked about freshman defensive tackle Trevor Guyton, Tedford was quick to point out the contributions of many of the young newcomers.
"Trevor Guyton has really made a strong showing," Tedford said. "He's a big guy who's really quick. He really shows up quite a bit. Guyton, [Kendrick] Payne, [Mychael] Kendricks, [Bryant] Nnabuife, Josh Hill, Marc Anthony; all of those guys have made a really strong showing and any one of them could play as freshmen on the defensive side of the ball. On the offensive side of the ball, obviously the receivers, and Anthony Miller could very easily contribute as freshman. And then the kicker, David Seawright, he was perfect today on field goals, so he could see some time."
Other highlights included strong running from both Slocum and Vereen, multiple quarterback pressures from redshirt freshman Ernest Owusu, another interception by D.J. Holt (who had a pair in Monday's action), a pick-off by Bernard Hicks on a tipped ball and a Marcus Ezeff interception in red-zone situations.
Cal was scheduled for another double-session on Wednesday, however, with final exams and final papers coming up for many of the players in summer school, Tedford is making it a mental day to focus on school work while also giving their legs a rest. The team will not practice as scheduled, instead only holding a walk-thru.