Monday press conference
Quickly, here are the updates from Sonny Dykes.
The most interesting tidbits are that Chris Adcock is ahead of schedule in recovery and could be back in the mix in the summer. Maximio Espitia (who has been moved just about everywhere the past year and a half) could also find a spot in the defensive rotation after being moved to outside linebacker and impressing there, and Ray Davison has also been doing quite well there as well. Darius Allensworth fell on his shoulder but the injury is supposedly not serious (HT CalRivals for some of these updates).
Here's also a press conference with Jalen Jefferson.
Week 1 recap
With no open practice yesterday, it’s a good time to sum up first week observations based on what has been seen from the two open spots we’ve had (you can review both of Nam's recaps from Monday here and Saturday here).
How nice is it not to have a quarterback controversy. I’m sure this will change in the fall when we hear the inevitable "GIVE LUKE A CHANCE." cries by game 3 or 4, but for once we can have a peaceful spring camp without talking about whether another quarterback will be taking the reins at any point. The only way that happens is if Jared Goff’s shoulder acts up, in which case CHAOS WILL REIGN.
The offensive line looks stable. Chris Borrayo came on strong at the end of last season and now seems like he’s firmly sitting in a starting guard spot. It’s hard to go wrong with Jordan Rigsbee at center. That’s all fine and dandy. The outside is a bigger concern. Steven Moore holds the left tackle spot, and then it’s either Brian Farley or Christian Okafor on the other side. The good news is they all have a year under their belt at those spots. The bad news is that they had real struggles at those positions last year. How much will they have improved from those 2013 troubles?
I’m hoping beyond all belief that we find five guys and run a majority of the plays for them this spring. Lack of continuity on that front destroyed our ability to compete during the Pac-12 season. We are always one body short and seemed to always sport a new lineup every game.
The running back situation is still very much unsettled. Daniel Lasco has become the de facto number one with Khalfani Muhammad participating in track this spring. But I imagine when Muhammad comes back he’ll have just as much a say as to who gets that starting nod.
What is important is that the running backs that are regularly practicing (like Jeffrey Coprich and Austin Harper) seem to be getting down the field a bit further. There has been definite improvement from that unit, but also offensive line continuity means the world here. If they keep on improving, our team stands a chance of being able to run that ball more.
However, they are going up a defensive line in flux. There is no DeAndre Coleman or Vei Moala for these guys to run up against and I have no idea what our defensive tackle situation will be like yet. Outside of Scarlett and probably Jacobi Hunter, this two deep is still very much unsettled. Can Kyle Kragen hang onto his spot? Will Trevor Kelly provide instant relief? Keep in mind that this improved offense might have something to do with this makeshift defense they're currenlty facing.
The new defensive coaches look like the real deal. Andy Buh seems like the nicest dude in the world, but the contrast between him and Art Kaufman in demeanor is striking. I never really saw Buh really being aggressive on the sideline or during practice (Randy Stewart would do most of the yelling defensively.). Kaufman definitely gets into his coaching play after play and is always talking and communicating with his players. It's not just encouragement and criticism, but a quick dissection of the basic things going wrong from play to play and providing instant feedback of technique, scheme, and other various kinks. I’m guessing he’s going to make a few defenders on this team look much better than they showed all last season.
Ditto Greg Burns and Fred Tate. All three new faces are very active and hands-on through one week of camp.
Too many potential fall starters aren’t able to either practice in full or practice at all. The disastrous fall injury bug that plagued our team still is preventing us from learning too much about the team that we’ll see next fall. Matt Cochran and Chris Adcock both figure to get back in that offensive line rotation the moment they’re ready to go, but it’s likely that this won’t happen until the fall. Avery Sebastian and Stefan McClure are still wearing the red jerseys. Hardy Nickerson is being held out. Potential impact freshman Devante Downs is also not doing anything contact-wise.
So we just have to hang in there until some of these guys come back. There are a lot of spring guys that we heard last season that were excelling that didn't end up seeing anything outside of extended fourth quarter garbage time. However, the coaching staff seems to have upgraded.
Guys to watch out for + new faces who will see the field next year if healthy
- Brennan Scarlett is back. That sentence brings me joy.
- Griffin Piatt’s name keeps on bring brought up to the point where I’m starting to think he can crack that safety two-deep chart. Good for the preferred walk-on! Also keep your eyes peeled for David Garner (son of Dwight) too.
- Trevor Davis seems like a shoo-in to join the rotation, although he’ll have a big fight with Harper to maintain his current starting spot.
- Ray Hudson is doing all the BONE things that Lucas Gingold did last year, so I’m guessing we see him try and bring some new elements to the position. Pass catching out of the backfield would be much appreciated.
- Darius Allensworth is entering the cornerback rotation as a current 1, and he has been doing some solid things in both run support and pass coverage. Really looking forward to hearing his name on Saturdays.