Aug. 5, 2008
BERKELEY - Day two of the University of California preseason football camp featured a two-hour practice in helmets only on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The session included individual drills, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 action, as well as special teams preparation. The Golden Bear defense was impressive throughout, but the offense came on strong in the second half and had its share of highlights as well.
"[In these early practices], we're hoping to get the kinks out, get a jump-start on offense, defense and special teams as far as terminology and schemes," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "We can get the young guys acclimated and evaluated because they're getting some reps right now.
"[To evaluate during these practices], we focus on mental assignments, people making plays on balls, being in the right spot, taking the right steps. You don't worry so much about the physical part of the game because it's all different with pads. Mainly it's mental. It's assignments, it's plays on balls, it's getting the snap count down, things like that."
The defensive highlights included an impressive pass break-up by sophomore Darian Hagen, who went on to pick off a pass later in the day. True freshman Chris Little and redshirt freshman D.J. Holt both added interceptions in situational play, while true freshmen Mychal Kendricks and Aaron Tipoti and redshirt freshman Solomona Aigamaua all put good pressure on the quarterbacks.
"It was fun today," said Aigamaua, who is making the transition from the line to linebacker. "The entire defense is making a great effort. It wasn't just me today, the defensive line was giving me plenty of openings to attack the gaps and pressure the quarterback."
Sophomore Jeremy Ross had a pair of solid receptions in the early action and redshirt freshman Michael Calvin had a spectacular leaping grab over a defensive back. However, the offensive highlights were multiple hook-ups between senior quarterback Nate Longshore and junior Cameron Morrah, including a 25-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown ball to the tight end's fingertips.
"I'm just trying to get back into things," Morrah said. "Everything's going real well right now. Workouts have been going well; we're working on getting our timing down with the quarterbacks and just trying to make plays."
Much of the post-practice focus from the media was on true freshman receiver Marvin Jones, who has been impressive in the first two days of action.
"So far, so good [for Marvin Jones]," Tedford said. "He's shown he's got the ability to make plays, he has very good hands, he can run, he has good body control. Now we have to check how he does with the learning curve. He's still young. He just needs to keep working hard every day, but he has shown signs of being a special player."
The Bears will add shoulder pads for Wednesday's practice which should give the coaching staff more pertinent information for study.
"We've only been here two days without pads; there's a lot of evaluating still to do," Tedford said.