Kyle Boehm returns to the rotation. Oh you rascals, you Bear Raiders. I wasn't thinking about Boehm at all in the quarterback competition, but back he comes, ready to take that #2 spot until Luke Rubenzer arrives this fall. Austin Hinder just doesn't appear like he's making a sizable dent with his reps, so it's Boehm winning favor. Boehm appears to be the best running option Cal has at quarterback (hence his WildBoehm stints last season) and can keep plays alive once the initial pocket breaks down. That could come in handy if the offensive line doesn't immeasurably improve.
It should be emphasized that he's winning the two spot. That doesn't mean he's anywhere close to challenging Jared Goff to anything outside of a game console, regardless of what Sonny Dykes says about "competition". The extra snaps are nice though; hopefully he can just keep on improving given more chances under center and get him on a level where he's a serviceable #2.
I still know nothing about our running back situation. With Khalfani Muhammad barely practicing, Daniel Lasco is pretty much running unopposed. Jeffrey Coprich is making some upward steps to try and crack the future rotation as one of the three main runners.
With John Porchivina also supposedly coming in to play running back along with Tre Watson and Vic Enwere, this staff just doesn't seem like they know if this is the rotation they want to use down the line. I imagine the running back situation will remain in flux for quite some time, and we won't have any definitive answers on the rotation until we hit the fall.
The receivers remain the best unit on the team. Although the cornerbacks do seem to be a bit more capable this season, it's clear that if Goff is throwing right, it's very difficult for them to handle receivers in man coverage. I doubt many teams will decide to play straight man to man against us in the passing game and will test our vulnerable tackles with plenty of zone blitzing packages to try and throw our developing quarterback off.
Defenders provide pleasant surprises: Maximo Espitia finding himself a spot at linebacker and potentially challenging to start could be real handy in establishing some much-needed linebacker depth. He'll still need to pack on some pounds, but by all accounts he has the right instincts for the position. Vachel Samuels has returned and provided Cal with an extra cornerback I don't think any of us were counting on having this year.
Kicker? Noah Beito was the backup kicker last season, so I guess it's no surprise that he's winning this race with Matt Anderson and James Langford. Good for the walk-on for getting a chance to shine.
Biggest concerns so far?
Defensive tackle. With Jacobi Hunter out, Cal has relied on Marcus Manley and Harrison Wilfley so far. Both have combined for zero snaps of meaningful play at defensive tackle. Wilfley is really undersized for a defensive tackle (last reading has him at about 265 pounds; those are about the same dimensions as Brennan Scarlett).
Second team defense. All the coaching in the world won't save us if we get hit by the injury bug next season. Take a look at our potential backups for next season and you'll see freshmen, walk-ons, redshirt freshmen, and all sorts of names that got run over by the best in our conference. Here's to better conditioning and quick recoveries by some of our still-injured players.
Snapping. This is an irritation that I would like to see end. Three years in a row Cal has struggled to snap the football, which is about three years too many. Until Chris Adcock returns to the lineup, I'm not sure we'll have an immediate remedy. Jordan Rigsbee is the best lineman on the team and center is where he's needed right now, but I'll feel a lot more comfortable with a Rigsbee-Adock-Borrayo/Crosthwaite interior next season. I'm not sure if the Alabama center would help or not in this situation (the Crimson Tide tend to be an under-center team). It can't hurt to have more centers on a team that shoots itself in the feet due to a football landing at them.
Opening it up to the rest of you: Who's standing out so far from these reports? What are some of the biggest areas of concern?
Monday spring practice notes
Post-practice, Sonny said Hinder took most of the #2 reps today & played alot better, Boehm was a bit limited due to a (minor) muscle pull.— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) April 15, 2014
Also from Sonny: Sebastian is ahead of McClure recovery-wise (Stef has a strained/pulled calf). #Cal— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) April 15, 2014
Bummer alert: Sonny said Broussard still limited (knee) & will be noncontact all spring. #Cal— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) April 15, 2014