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Cal Football Fall Practice #1: Khairi Fortt On His Way

For those who want a detailed practice report, check out what Jim McGill of Bear Insider and Ryan Gorcey of Bear Territory had to write!

The big news of the day after day one of Cal football practice has to do with the incoming Penn State transfer linebacker Khairi Fortt. Basically, he wasn't there for Saturday's practice, but he'll be here this weekend, and will hopefully process quickly enough to become a regular member of the rotation. The situation with regards to Fortt's surgically repaired knee has yet to be significantly discussed; solutions should come shortly.

After the jump, technical football material, plus Zach Maynard's presser.

C.J. Anderson taking first team snaps. Felt this could happen after how good C.J. looked after spring camp. He provides a totally different skillset to the position that needs to be tested on the first unit. He'll be called on a lot more this season if he's as comfortable as he looked this spring. Both Tedford and Maynard seemed really impressed with Anderson's development this offseason.

Although Sofele will still be the feature back, it probably won't be your typical running back lineup where there's a clear #1 and a clear #2 (like Lynch-Forsett or Best-Vereen or even Sofele-Anderson last year). If Anderson has really improved up to the level we believe he's capable of playing at, it wouldn't surprise me to see one spell the other when they need the rest, but also to be utilized in situations that satisfy their skill sets. For example, Sofele could get snaps in standard downs as the more versatile back while Anderson works in short-yardage as the power bruiser.

Richard Rodgers: The Gronky Bear? Remember when Gronkowski shredded our vaunted 3-4 D in 2008 into Hamburger Helper? It was one of the most helpless feelings in the world, but you kind of lived with it because only a tornado (or as it turned out a bum ankle) was going to stop that boy.

It'd be nice to see the tables turned and have the offensive flexibility to use a premier tight end option to drive our offense when all else fails.

Cal utilizing two tight end sets the way the Patriots do is intriguing, but it does seem like a lot to ask Rodgers to replicate Gronk. Rodgers is a little shorter and a bit heavier, so he clearly isn't quite ready to be a triple threat like Gronk, but there's potential there. A lot of potential.

However, the second tight end might be the harder dealio. Spencer Hagan has bulked up to tight end size, but Hernandez is of a lighter model, so there are questions as to whether he can handle H-Back responsibilities. Jacob Wark has the feel of a more conventional tight end.

The name that Tedford used that I thought might fit the Hernandez-role is Maxmio Espitia. Espitia is a frosh though, and I don't know the last time a H-back/TE has excelled as a true frosh. Best to wait and see.

Other notes

  • The punter can punt! At least that's what Tedford thinks of Cole Leninger. Not easy to be impressed after Anger time, so a promising sign. Steffan Mos is the walk-on punter we have to push Leninger.
  • Eric Stevens is back. So happy to have him. He's a top-level conference fullback if he's healthy.

    At fullback, 6-2/242 senior Eric Stevens was a welcome sight after missing last season with a torn ACL. Stevens has great fullback size and ran well when he caught a nice pass down the left sideline. A healthy Stevens could really provide a nice boost to the offense with his bruising blocking and solid pass-catching ability.

  • Gorcey focused on the defensive side of the football in his free post, and singled out the deep rotation of linebackers plus more accolades for Bryce Treggs.
  • Geoffrey Gibson apparently was starting at right guard in place of Dominic Galas. The note that he struggled there as spring ended probably means we'll be seeing struggle there at the position.
  • Tedford discusses other subjects like Cecil Whiteside's reinstatement and what happened during the Fortt transfer and how involved Cal got in his recruitment (hint: Fortt called Cal, not the other way around).
  • Tedford likes the incoming frosh. I doubt he's alone in this sentiment. He dosen't mention names though.
  • In his presser, Maynard mostly talks about his academic load this summer.
  • One of the reporters tried to get Tedford to bite on potential bulletin board material. He was greeted with Tedford pokerface.