Friday night saw the Bears put on pads, which meant we saw actual hitting. Hitting! Which meant the defense won. Which meant it's like every other start to spring practice that we've heard reports about.
1. Quarterback performances. Starting to look like it's inevitable that Zach Kline will be at least a top two quarterback. Only one quarterback has taken significant reps all three practices (Kline). Only one quarterback has moved up in the practice rotation at several points (Kline). Only one quarterback has been relatively mistake-free throughout his practices (Kline). After one week, he's definitely been the top performer.
The bigger surprise is Jared Goff. He's getting into the rotation early. He continues to throw an accurate, catch-able football. Goff's offense in high school seemed to be very focused on accurate routes that would get the football distributed to all the receivers, and he's showcasing that he has a lot of upside. He still has to work on things like strength, but early reviews are solid.
Austin Hinder didn't see a lot of snaps on Friday, but he got some action near the end. Hinder is probably right in the mix to be in the top three; depending on the reports you read, he's had some inconsistent moments but also has thrown probably the second best set of footballs behind Kline.
Allan Bridgford is falling off the pace and losing snaps. Not a good sign.
Kyle Boehm seems to be another tier off.
Right now it's Kline, Goff and Hinder likely to battle for the top two positions on the depth chart.
Cal Football: Sonny Dykes Post Practice (3/1/13) (via calathletics)
2. Interviews! Lindsay Brauner caught up with Bryce Treggs (this was from Monday night).
On Friday, she managed to chat with Kline.
3. Assorted observations from Nam & Cal Football Blog
Cal premiering a couple new formations tonight. Mostly working with 2 receivers on each side the first few days. Some unbalanced stuff 2nite— Nam Le (@OneLifeOneMic) March 2, 2013
Kline's arm is part flesh part bazooka— Cal Football Blog (@CalFootballBlog) March 2, 2013
Mike Barton has solid, solid coverage skills. He's been impressing me today.— Nam Le (@OneLifeOneMic) March 2, 2013
Franklin is quite an animated guy. Complete opposite of Ludwig— Cal Football Blog (@CalFootballBlog) March 2, 2013
The standouts at spring practice for me so far: Kragen, Lawler, and Kam Jackson.— Nam Le (@OneLifeOneMic) March 2, 2013
One thing about Dykes, he seems to let all his staff take control of practice while he observes— Cal Football Blog (@CalFootballBlog) March 2, 2013
4. Standout performers, offense
Kline: Throwing footballs halfway across the field when under duress for completions are usually the sign that you have a special quarterback in your rotation.
Kenny Lawler: There were various observations that Lawler looked a lot like a modified version of Keenan Allen. Allen is more of an athletic specimen who was overwhelming for defenders to deal with at the college level, but Lawler does seem to be a smoother receiver who can make quick catches and accelerate after he gets the ball.
Darius Powe: Powe is playing deep threat so far in this offense, and he had a series of catches that went beyond 20 yarsd.
Cal Football: Kenny Lawler - WR Post Practice (3/1/13) (via calathletics)
4. Standout performers, defense
Kyle Kragen: Kragen is making his impact felt immediately. He blew up Freddie Tagaloa one-on-one multiple times. Having a pass-rushing defensive end could be a huge deal
Michael Barton: With many of Cal's outside linebackers moving to defensive ends, this should open up opportunities for the younger backs to enter the rotation. And Barton looks like an athlete, making an incredible chase down run of Darren Ervin and knocking heads several times. The linebacking rotation is stacked but Barton could try hard to get in the second spot.
Kameron Jackson: Jackson is the number one cornerback at this point. Almost every throw that comes his way is either well-defended or has a chance at getting picked. Stefan McClure is performing alright, but he's spottier so far and still seems to be trying to regain the range.
Cal defensive line: Whipped the offensive line. Other than Kragen, Gabe King, Keni Kaufusi, Antoine Davis, Mustafa Jalil all had excellent moments in getting the better of their counterparts. The O-line hopefully will start showing better the more the team plays in pads.
5. Link snippets
The core of the first team offense - at least thus far - appears to be: Bryce Treggs, Darius Powe, Darren Ervin, Freddie Tagaloa, Jordan Rigsbee, Mark Brazinski, Bill Tyndall, and Jordan Rigsbee. The other two wide receiver positions have been filled by Maximo Espitia and Joel Willis at times, but not consistently enough to say with any certainty. Quarterback, obviously, also continues to rotate.
Dykes, however, was troubled by poor ball security and fatigue on offense. Those issues converged at the running back position, where there was a noticeable step back.
"Anytime you put the ball on the ground as many times as we did it is disappointing, but it is a positive because it means the defense is doing a good job stripping the ball," Dykes said. "Those guys really did a good job of flying around, getting to the football, and stripping it."
"It’s hard to put too much into it," he said. "We’re just trying to go through and see who we think deserves to get some more reps. What you do is you eliminate guys as much as you decide on somebody as a starter or decide to give somebody a lot of reps. It’s a moving target right now, really."
"The coaches are about to decide on a top two," Drake Whitehurst told GoldenBearReport.com on Friday night. "They'll have certain wide receivers that will go with each of them. It should happen in the next one to two weeks."
6. Oh hi Jahvid!
7. Next practice via CalBears.com
The next opportunity to see the Bears get better is Monday, March 4 (6:30 - 9 p.m. PT). All practices at Memorial Stadium, open to the public and admission is free. Fans should enter the stadium through Gate 1 on the north end, where they will be directed onto the concourse level and into available seating in the lower area of sections EE, F, FF and G. Fans are not allowed onto the field.