Aug. 21, 1997
Defense Sparkles in Cal's First Fall Football Scrimmage
TURLOCK, Calif.-- A much improved Cal defense had an impressive performance in the first fall scrimmage Wednesday in Turlock.
The Bear defenders held Cal quarterbacks to just 7-of-20 passing and only two plays over 12 yards. Cal's defense also held the Cal rushing attack to an average of just 2.9 yards per carry.
However, wide receiver Bobby Shaw showed he still has the knack for getting in the endzone as he hauled in a 60-yard TD pass from Justin Vedder for the scrimmage's only score. Vedder finished only 4-of-10 but threw for 147 yards.
One of the most encouraging developments came on the scrimmages first play when Vedder hit tailback Tarik Smith in the flat and the speedy senior raced 44 yards down the field. Smith ended the day with that lone reception and 13 yards on just three carries, including a 10-yard run.
Wide receiver Kofi Nartey had the second-longest reception of the day on a 32-yard pass. Highly touted freshman tailback Marcus Fields had a 10-yard run while finishing with six carries for 23 yards.
"Our defense played with a lot of intensity and emotion and clearly they had an edge today," said head coach Tom Holmoe. "Our offense had a couple of big plays, but they never could get any continuity and the credit goes to our defense. The most encouraging sign offensively was to see Tarik get in a few good runs and to see (offensive tackle) John Welbourn play well during his brief time."
There were several standout defensive performances. Linebacker Matt Beck had five tackles, including one for loss, while newcomer Albert Dorsey was active all over the field from his linebacker position and finished with five tackles as well.
Prep All-American Andre Carter, from Oak Grove HS in San Jose, was also very impressive as he recorded two sacks for minus 15 yards and had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage overall. Safety Don Lonon also had a big day with three tackles, two pass deflections and one interception.
Cal escaped the scrimmage without any injuries of significance, although preseason All-America defensive tackle Brandon Whiting suffered a bruised knee that saw him hobble off the field. He did not return, but the Cal medical staff believed the injury was not serious.
Several Cal players were nursing minor injuries and did not play. Included in that group were potential starters safeties Marquis Smith and David Burnside, offensive linemen Kursten Sheridan and Drake Parker, tailback Brandon Willis and noseguard James Gibson. Gibson underwent an MRI for a knee injury late Tuesday, but the results were negative and it appears he may be able to return in the next week.
Cal will resume two-a-day workouts on Thursday with a final scrimmage scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday before the Bears break camp and return to Berkeley that afternoon.
Cal will host the annual KGO Family Funfest Sunday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Kleeberger Field next to Memorial Stadium. Fans will be able to meet the Bears and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches. Admission is free.