April 18, 2009
BERKELEY - With both sides of the ball creating their own set of highlights, California completed its spring 2009 practice with a final scrimmage before approximately 2,000 fans in Memorial Stadium Saturday.
Going through a series of situational opportunities, the Bears had sessions in almost all facets of the game - kickoffs, field goals, punting and short yardage, as well as late-game and full-field conditions.
"A lot of learning has gone on," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "That's what spring is all about. I was really encouraged by the attitude and work ethic. I think we are doing just fine."
The first set of plays began with the ball placed on the 30-yard-line, and quarterback Brock Mansion led the Cal offense 70 yards down the field in 11 plays. He capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Lagemann. Mansion was 5-for-5 for 75 yards on the drive, with three of the completions going to Lagemann for 47 yards. Mansion ended the afternoon 8-for-11 for 90 yards with the one TD and an interception.
Quarterback Kevin Riley was next to go behind center and he completed his first five attempts for 45 yards. He finished the scrimmage going 8-for-13 for 80 yards with long plays of 23 yards to Nyan Boateng and 19 yards to Lagemann.
Quarterback Kevin Sweeney was 4-for-12 for 65 yards with an interception and a TD. The score was a 36-yard toss down the sideline to Jeremy Ross, who caught the ball over his shoulder in the end zone.
"All three will get a lot of opportunities," Tedford said of the quarterbacks. "Once we get to camp, we'll see if they separate themselves."
The running game didn't get untracked against the Cal defense, as only tailback Langston Jackson managed a rush of at least 10 yards when he burst through for a 13-yard gain. He was the day's top runner with 33 yards on six attempts.
Tailback Jahvid Best, the leading returning rusher in the country after galloping for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall, sat out the spring workouts following elbow and foot surgery in January. He has already begun running and Tedford said he will be ready to go once fall camp begins.
The Cal defense forced six sacks, had eight tackles for loss, and came up with two interceptions and a safety. Defensive back Tyre Ellison brought his pick back 76 yards for a touchdown, while safety Sean Cattouse came up with the other interception in the end zone.
Linebacker J.P. Hurrell led all players with 10 tackles, with DBs Marc Anthony and Chris Little getting eight apiece. Little also had two sacks and a pass break-up. Others who recorded sacks included Mike Mohamed (1.0), Eddie Young (0.5), Cattouse (1.0), Brett Johnson (0.5) and Cameron Jordan (1.0). Jordan and Young combined to tackle Vereen in the end zone for the safety.
One of the biggest cheers of the day came on the first play, when placekicker Georgio Tavecchio sent his kickoff three yards deep in the end zone. Last year, Cal had just one touchback on kickoffs the entire season.
Bryan Anger had a strong day punting, with his first two kicks traveling 55 and 56 yards, respectively. He also had a 46-yard punt downed on the 2-yard-line.
Cal returns to official workouts when the team reports for fall training camp in early August. The season opener arrives Sept. 5 when the Bears host Maryland. Season tickets for the 2009 campaign are now on sale online at CalBears.com or by calling the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS.