Aug. 17, 2006
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears held their first scrimmage of fall camp Thursday afternoon at Memorial Stadium and the return game provided the top highlights of the afternoon affair. Junior receiver Lavelle Hawkins returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and sophomore receiver DeSean Jackson ran past the coverage for a 70-yard punt return for a score.
"When those guys get the ball in their hands, they're pretty explosive," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "DeSean and Lavelle both looked great doing it. They have tremendous speed and they are very explosive."
Quarterbacks Nate Longshore and Joe Ayoob each threw a touchdown during the scrimmage. Ayoob's score was a 31-yard pass to freshman tight end Cameron Morrah. Ayoob scrambled away from the rush and hit Morrah streaking towards the sideline. Longshore's touchdown was a 13-yard pass to true freshman running back James Montgomery. Longshore dumped the ball over a blitz to the true freshman tailback, who scampered into the corner of the end zone.
"I thought the quarterbacks handled the huddle very well," Tedford said. "For the most part, it was error-free that way; there weren't a lot of penalties. We still need to do a better job of executing. We still have a ways to go."
On the day, Longshore finished 7-for-12 for 48 yards, while Ayoob went 5-for-8 for 66 yards. The third quarterback vying for the starting job, Steve Levy, was 2-for-2 for 52 yards. Levy threw the longest pass of the day, a 40-yard strike to junior receiver Noah Smith.
"For the first time to go out and let the guys do it on their own, I thought we handled the huddle and the clock well with the one's and the two's," Tedford said. "Obviously when the three's are in, it's a different story, but they get their feet wet; it's their only opportunity to do it."
On the defensive side, sophomore defensive end Rulon Davis had an eye-opening Golden Bear debut, tallying three sacks and a game-high five tackles on the afternoon. Freshman defensive tackle Tyson Alualu had a sack along with three tackles while sophomore linebacker Worrell Williams, freshman defensive back Robert Peele and sophomore linebacker Anthony Felder each collected four tackles during the scrimmage. Linebackers Kyle Kirst and Desmond Bishop snagged three tackles as well. The other sack of the day came from junior defensive tackle John Allen, who added two more tackles.
"The defense played really well," Tedford said. "We're fortunate to be able to practice against that defense every day because they can really, really run. It gives our guys the true look of how fast things are going to be on the field. It's very obvious today that our linebackers are very fast, they're scraping and making plays. That's what it takes. It takes getting used to that type of speed. Our defense ran to the ball very well; I thought they tackled well. I am very pleased with the defense."
Jackson also had the most receptions for Cal, hauling in four passes for 18 yards. The leading rusher for the Bears was redshirt freshman tailback Bryan Schutte, who ended the afternoon with eight carries for 45 yards. Junior Heisman Trophy candidate Marshawn Lynch did not play in the scrimmage as Tedford noted that the tailback has had an outstanding camp and there was nothing they needed to see from him in an intrasquad outing.
"[We need to continue working] to be sharp, to be consistent," Tedford said. "We're hit-and-miss from time-to-time. Up to the first scrimmage, that's typical. We just need to hone in on some things. We have the whole playbook in right now, so we have to narrow things down and practice those things. Typically at camp, our philosophy is to put everything in and get all of the terms, all the schemes in, then cut it back and only utilize certain things. When we start to focus on those things, you have more time to hone in certain things."
Following the season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m. (PST) on ESPN, the Bears host Minnesota in their home opener on Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. on TBS. For ticket information, call 1-800-GO-BEARS.