April 18, 1998
With nine starters returning, the Cal defense is expected to be the strength of the Golden Bear football team in 1998 and that proved to be the case in a 60-play scrimmage Saturday morning in Memorial Stadium.
Several Cal players stood out during the scrimmage, most notably junior Deltha O'Neal who is making the transition from tailback to cornerback. He grabbed one interception and added a pass deflection, showing the type of athleticism that prompted the move from offense to defense.
Redshirt freshman Dewey Hale from Fremont HS in Oakland also had a fine performance as he recorded an interception, one pass deflection and recovered a fumble.
The Cal defensive line was dominant throughout most of the scrimmage as defensive end Jeremiah Parker continued his exceptional spring, making four tackles, including a pair of sacks. Defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach, and ends Mawuko Tugbenyoh and John McLaughlin also recorded tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
"We had a lot of guys make big plays on defense and that's an encouraging sign," said head coach Tom Holmoe. "We used the scrimmage to look at a lot of individuals and we accomplished that. I think our defense is going to be very, very good this year and that showed today."
The Cal offense showed some sparks as quarterback Justin Vedder hit 5-of-7 passes for 61 yards. Back-up Samuel Clemons hit 5-of-12 passes for 66 yards including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Fields. Fields also rushed 10 times for 33 yards.
Back-up tailback Marcus Oliver showed some nifty moves while rushing for 34 yards on 10 carries. The leading receiver during the scrimmage was Phillip Pipersburg who had 3 catches for 59 yards.
The Bears played entire scrimmage without three of its top receivers as Dameane Douglas, Bruce Pierre and Joel Young sat out with various injuries. Douglas is scheduled to have arthoscopic surgery to repair some cartilage damage to his knee on Monday, but is expected back in full health this fall. Pierre also had minor arthoscopic surgery on Friday and, likewise, should be at 100 percent health entering the fall.
The Bears will conclude spring drills next week, ending with the Blue-Gold Scrimmage next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in Santa Rosa at the Oakmond Polo Fields.