Unpadded practice usually means less things to report on, but I'm happy to inform you that this was not the case on Friday, the 5th of 6. Read on for your latest dose of observations!
We'll be back next Saturday -- technically Sunday, if you're just reading -- with the final edition of this series...and then it's back to waiting...
- Normally, I try to lead with the unit charts, but the really big news is probably this: Avery Sebastian took some reps with the twos, and participated in several drills (!!) True, there was no contact, which allowed him to get in there, but any Avery Sebastian is better than no Avery Sebastian.
- Stefan McClure, Hardy Nickerson, Mustafa Jalil and company continue to be sidelined, so no change there. Nathan Broussard also made an appearance, working with the second team defense.
- First team offense continues to run Brian Farley out there at right tackle, while Christian Okafor remains with the twos. We'll see if this changes toward fall camp with the arrival of Dominic Granado, but based on the fact that he's remained there the last few open practices, it seems like he's got the job.
- The first team defense for 11-on-11s: Michael Lowe, Damariay Drew, Darius Allensworth, Cedric Dozier, Jalen Jefferson, Maximo Espitia, Ray Davison, Puka Lopa, Harrison Wilfley, Marcus Manley, and Brennan Scarlett. Cameron Walker appeared with this unit during nickel looks.
- The second team defense for 11-on-11s: Avery Sebastian, Vachel Samuels, Griffin Piatt, Trey Cheek, Michael Barton, Drew Bryant, Edward Tandy, Trevor Kelly, Tony Mekari, Jonathan Johnson, and Kyle Kragen. As previously mentioned, Broussard appeared briefly with this unit, hair looking tremendous as usual. Antoine Davis and Todd Barr also worked with the 2s.
- Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper took punt returns. I believe Trevor Davis was also among this group, but it was those first two getting the majority. Harper got chewed out pretty loudly by Marc Tommerdahl early on for letting a punt bounce.
- File this under things of note: I spotted Jordan Rigsbee working some snaps at right tackle, when Cochran worked at center, which I believe was his first open practice action, as well. It may not mean anything long term, but it's at least worth keeping an eye on, especially if Alabama center Chad Lindsay ends up coming...
- Defensive tackle Jacobi Hunter has been missing most of spring with an undisclosed personal issue, and Coach Dykes said he hoped to have an update on him soon, saying it is as of yet unclear if he will return to the team. That would put a huge amount of pressure on Mustafa Jalil to return as an impact player. Ryan Gorcey expects big things from Harrison Wilfley, though.
- WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DECLARE FOR THE DRAFT, MOALA?!?!
- Among the defensive plays of note: Cormac Craigie caught an interception right as Rich Homie Quan's "Some Type of Way" came on the speakers, which initially confused me, because I thought the team was cheering for the song. I mean, I would have. In addition to that, Trevor Kelly had a sack, and Trey Cheek broke up two passes -- one intended for Chris Harper, and the other for Kenny Lawler in the end zone, slapping it away after Lawler already had it caught. A fairly solid afternoon for the defensive back group, although Cheek and Piatt allowed a deep touchdown when the receiver got behind Piatt.
- The Harpers (Chris and Austin) were among those who scored on Friday, as both pulled in touchdowns in the open period.
- It was a shorter, eight period practice, with the appearance of the famed trash can drill toward the middle. I did miss those things. Austin Hinder landed one in the bottom of the bucket, but did throw that aforementioned interception.
- Forgot to keep track of who was doing the punting, but there was a fair amount of shankitude on Friday from whoever it was. Also new wrinkle: the team has ditched the three man shield on punt protection for two men instead, which gives another body in coverage. Special teams got a lot of work today in general, though, and the team even turned off the music during this period, making their instructions largely audible even from where I sat.
- Another clear point of emphasis today: DBs fighting off screens and common screen motions, which shredded us all year last year.
- Decidedly old school vibe to the playlist, too. Thriller, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Rapper's Delight, and Changes were on the CMS speakers, leaving myself and Grant Marek to once again wonder WHO PUTS ALL OF THIS TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY HAVE A PRETTY AWESOME JOB
- A big happy birthday to Vinnie Johnson, and Sonny's daughter Charlie, who received a song at the end of practice. There were also cupcakes.
- As previously made public, Trent Irwin, Brady White, Luke Rubenzer, and Christian Kirk were among those in attendance on Friday, as was former Cal linebacker Zack Follett.
- Here's one more recruit who made it -- Las Lomas' Noah Myers:
POSTPRACTICE CUPCAKES!!! pic.twitter.com/ngS1kNmOc6— Nam Le (@AGuyNamedNam) April 18, 2014
Had a great time watching practice today at CAL and sitting in on an o-line meeting— Noah Myers (@TheBiggMoses) April 19, 2014