Cal Football Spring Practice Report #1: Pick Up The Pace

Cal Bears Online

How did Allan Bridgford, Austin Hinder, and Zach Kline stack up taking the reps at quarterback in the first practice under Sonny Dykes?


It's weird covering the Bears in spring. It doesn't feel real. It feels staged. Like I'm watching some Dadaist with a hundred scattered spectators checking out hundreds of bizarre moving masses all forming together in masses of motion, and no one can really process what exactly is happening.

So Monday night was a blur, mostly because I couldn't process what exactly was happening, and also that the Bears wouldn't stop moving. Everything was all about movement. Move, move, move.

I've always wondered what a Chip Kelly-coached practice would look like, and Monday gave me at least an imaginary answer of what I think I might see (no blaring dubstep music or whatever the hell they play at those practices in Eugene though). Cal's offense was all about getting the ball up, getting the ball snapped, getting the ball back to the line of scrimmage to get snapped again. The result of the play didn't mean as much as the breakneck pace, which the Bears will try and employ with greater effectiveness throughout the scrimmage.

I watched mostly the offense on Monday, and it was clear these Bears were all about pacing when it came to actual scrimmaging on the plays. A lot of it was still basic stuff, but the Bears seemed equipped to move the football down the field on multiple occasions. It was a far cry from previous years when Clancy Pendergast's defenses seemed to maul the offense practice after practice, and the ineptitude showed on gameday. Hopefully the pattern repeats itself.

The only thing of significance to me was who got quarterback reps, and it was the three imagined suspects. Zach Kline looked very sharp. Kline hit targets on the numbers and had very good looks. He throws an exceptionally hard football that is tough for many receivers to catch and occasionally escaped the grasp of some of his targets. He has an unusual body motion when throwing where he'll have to crack whip nearly every part of his body to get the most out of his talent to produce what he needs to produce. More importantly it appeared as if Sonny noticed that Kline was that good, and put him with the starters more and more throughout the practice. (HT BearlyLegal)

There are some who will say Allan Bridgford did not look good on Monday night. To my untrained eye his three dozen or so throws were more on the not-so-good side as opposed to the good side. Many of his throws were slow and off-target (and often picked). His movement was tentative, even with the 1s. The good news is his accuracy was decent in places it wasn't was last season. But with the new pace and the quick-hitting offense, it'd be silly to draw conclusions from one practice. He has room for improvement.

Austin Hinder was the player who had the chance to step up the most, and there were moments where he looked really good. He was able to find numerous receivers from the pocket, although he did make some occasional mistakes. But at least from Day 1 there was a lot to like about Hinder's potential first significant moments as a Bear.

There wasn't really much else that really stood out, other than Stefan McClure coming back and looking 110%. The only thing that stood out were that the Bears are back in action, and we all have a chance to see it.

Next practice: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

More spring practice notes

We're going as anti-Stanfurd as possible, as the tight end has been abolished. Richard Rodgers, Jacob Wark, Spencer Hagan are all considered wide receivers now.

Nam (our blueandgold15) did a dispatch for Bear Insider. He tracked the important depth chart notes.

The first team defense included: Kameron Jackson, Stefan McClure, Michael Lowe, Avery Sebastian, Khairi Fortt, Nick Forbes, David Wilkerson, Todd Barr (at end), Keni Kaufusi, Deandre Coleman, and Dan Camporeale (at end). Perhaps the only name on that list that is a surprise thus far is Keni Kaufisi, as Viliami Moala was present at practice, but without a helmet for reasons unknown.

How's the offensive line looking?


What is Dykes looking for in a quarterback? Jeff Faraudo takes a look.

Dykes is looking for timing, accuracy, leadership and the ability to inspire confidence in teammates.

"The whole key is being consistent," Dykes said. "The 3-yard completion, if the ball is thrown in the right spot at the right time, it results in a big play. If it's not thrown in the right spot at the right time, then you get a lot of 3-yard completions."

Hard to see if anyone really fits that criteria after Monday's practice. Still worth watching out for!

Here are press conference notes. Here's Sonny Dykes talking to the media (with Lindsay, being the professional that she is, deciding to photobomb the entire interview)


Here's Kline.


Then Bridgford.


And Bryce Treggs.


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