Cal Football Spring Practice Video Review: Astute Observations

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 29: Brendan Bigelow #5 of the California Golden Bears is tackled for a loss by Andrew Abbott #26 of the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at Rose Bowl on October 29, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Previous reports: Thursday 4/11; Tuesday 4/10; Monday 4/9; Wednesday 4/4

Remember, spring practice at Edwards, 10 AM. Show up. CGB will be there somewhere.

With no spring practice reports (covering the Bears appears to be an optional activity for beat reporters), it's time to break down the sudden glimpses our football team has provided us with recently. Let's start with last Saturday, and move our way ahead, shall we?

April 7th

Cal Football: Spring Practice Recap 4/7/2012 (via calathletics)

0:16: Tailback #34 Darren Ervin is the ball-carrier. TE #84 Jacob Wark takes on LB #42 Steven Fanua one-on-one. Wark tries to force Fanua to the sideline, but Fanua does get to the inside shoulder of Wark. Fanua is originally upright, so Wark manages a nice recovery and gets underneath to at least push Fanua back. Fanua doesn't get cut, and he recovers to get Ervin from behind.

0:21: Whoa, Austin Clark tosses Chris Adcock (at least I think that's Adcock) aside like nothing! Keeps his legs low to the ground, gets his hands on the inside of the snapper, then pushes him aside. Clark was getting Big Game snaps last year, and plays like these seem to amplify why Clark deserved rotation snaps when the players in front of him got injured. Solid technique there, something you'd love to see from an undersized defensive tackle (5-10, 268!)

Ball-carrier #27 Mitchel Bartolo (walk-on) does a nice job eluding Clark with a little leap. If this was a real game he'd probably have been pile-drived by the incoming linebacker. LB #28 Matt Mayes (walk-on) sheds the tackle of WR #88 Kaulin Krebs (transfer from OSU) and nails Bartolo in the open field.

0:27: Bigelow. Bigelow. Bigelow. Spin, shed, cutback through the past block, touchdown.

The snapper is one of your super-frosh, one #76 Christian Okafor, and here he's placed on a linebacker, #7 RS frosh Jalen Jefferson. Okafor does a good job holding his ground, getting his hands underneath Jefferson's pads, then pushing him back and making it hard for the LB to attack Bigelow from behind, allowing the Bigs to go all the way.

I'm not sure who #85 on offense or #26 on defense are.


0:34: TE (#39 Nathan Philip) on OLB (I believe it's Campo). Campo does a good job driving Philip back and getting a hand on the ball-carrier, although the carrier does a good job bouncing off. Still, even though the RB does manage to get yards, in a real-game situation this would likely be a win for the D, especially since there would be a second level defender back there to finish things off.

What's interesting is that Bryce McGovern is coming out of the backfield. McGovern isn't big enough to be an H-back at this point. Is this practice in running through blockers part of becoming one of the primary return men?

0:39: C (#57 Brian Schwenke) on LB (#37 Robert Mullins). The O-lineman dictates the snap, driving the LB back and away from the running line of the ball-carrier. Open field for the walk-on Bartolo. Nice power running on the inside there.

0:43: Okafor now takes on LB #11 Nick Forbes, and Forbes does a good job fighting Okafor toward the side by getting his hands on the outside of Okafor's pads. Forbes then sticks Bigelow by wrapping up on the shoulder, getting the left arm around his back, then getting low to the ground, getting the second arm around him, and putting him on his back.

0:48: IT'S GOOD! AND THE BEARS HAVE WON THE SPRING!

0:52: Nice quick moves by J.P. Hurrell and a good hand punch to the side. Hurrell's going to have to face some stiff competition to hold onto the starting job, but right now he seems to be playing with the 1s.

0:57: Chris McCain! Now there's one guy we know will be starting.

1:01: Tyler Rigsbee holds his own against DeAndre the Giant. Coleman's looking a little bit trimmer though and does eventually beat the block, although it still feels like he's more suited to the inside.

1:08: Finally, Moala almost immediately beats Adcock to his left shoulderpad, and Adcock has to clearly hold Moala to prevent a clear rush into the backfield. I look forward to seeing many holding calls take place in such a manner.

So, based on this...

  • Bigelow looks so much more confident with the football. He's going to have to get his share of touches. Gould generally favors a primary ball-carrier, but this is one of those strange situations where I wouldn't mind running back by committee, at least going three deep, possibly four or five depending on how far Lasco and Ervin are along.
  • Gibson's been getting the pub to challenge hard for the ILB spot, and I wouldn't be surprised if Forbes isn't right there with him. The fact that he's lining up against tackles might mean they're willing to play him either on the outside or the inside.
  • Again, the thought of Moala as a full-developed nose just has to make you giddy.
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