Saturday was perhaps the finest display of offense since the Bear Raid arrived in Berkeley - the team's second scrimmage was filled with everything fans hoped for when Sonny Dykes was hired: razor sharp and precise passes, explosive plays, and an even more explosive tempo.
What did defensive coordinator Andy Buh think, having to face down all of that?
"We had some missed tackles out there," he lamented. "We'd like to improve that. Any time we get into live situations, it's good to get that part of that game evaluated. We don't get a lot of opportunities to tackle."
"But overall, we saw improvement in some areas, and I thought the team played really well together today."
Some notes gathered from an ensuing conversation with Coach Buh:
- Perhaps not wanting to tip his hand too much, questions about the defense's progress resulted in mostly veiled answers. Coach Buh said Saturday that "about 90% of what we want" in the defense is installed at this point.
- When asked if he saw any main areas of concern or weakness, Buh pointed to the recent string of injuries as the prime concern. Considering four starters missed the scrimmage, it was a fair point, if an unrevealing one: "Obviously the concerns all around the country would be just to keep guys healthy - you know, get to the first game with a full crew."
- One of those players who is not yet healthy is Avery Sebastian. Buh sounded impressed with backup safety Damariay Drew, though, who had an interception returned for a touchdown at the scrimmage. "I thought [Drew] did a lot of good things today," Buh said. "We'll take a look at the film and see where he's at after today's performance, but overall, he's really profiting from all the reps that he's getting right now."
- Also helping the injury concerns a bit is the presence of two new freshmen who have played themselves into the rotation - Jacobi Hunter and Johnny Ragin. Of those two, Buh said: "I just see two freshmen who have come in here ready to play college football. It's nice to have guys who are coming in that are college ready where they're at right now."
- Throughout camp, there have yet to be any real starters at defensive end - nearly everyone has seen some time playing with the ones - but Coach Buh said that it would not become a mix and match type of thing. "We'll settle with some starters, but throughout training camp, we're taking a look at a lot of different combinations. As we go into the season, there'll be somewhat of a rotation with all the tempo that we play." In short, expect all of Barr, Lopa, McCain, Davis, Camporeale, Kragen, Agu - and Scarlett, when he gets back - in some capacity. No word on which of them will be the starters are just yet, but we'll keep a close eye on who starts to come out with the first team this week.
- On McCain: "Chris is doing a tremendous job. He's been super explosive when he's been in there. We're just really happy to see him do his thing out there every day."
- Isaac Lapite is "battling for the 1s spot," but was confirmed by Coach Buh to be the team's nickel defensive back at this point.