Two-a-days yesterday led to shoulders only today, so let's get into it.
[Coach Dykes was not available for post-practice comments due to an obligation at another Cal Athletics event or something like that, so here's Coach Chachere talking about the LBs.]
- Of the peeks I was able to get at the OL/RB vs DL/LB drills, Tre Watson had probably the most impressive moment of all, showing some incredible patience with the blocking in front of him on a score. He was stopped in the backfield for what looked like a loss, but instead of pressing forward into the wall of bodies, he paused long enough to see a cutback lane open up, and ended up with six points instead. The defense didn't do a great job -- and actually probably overplayed, from what I could see -- here but that's a very impressive display regardless.
- Luke Rubenzer saw the majority of time at Thursday's practice, and getting a look at him down in the red zone, it also became a bit more apparent that his touch from that range is still developing too. The team gave him a bunch of shots throwing red zone fades with only mild success. A few of the passes just went off-line completely.
- He was already doing this some last year, but I'll mention it again -- Jared Goff has the patented Aaron Rodgers "draw the defense offside, throw it up anyway" play down pat.
- Darius Allensworth intercepted Goff in the final 11-on-11 period on an overthrown pass -- both he and Trevor Davis were heading deep down field with Allensworth ahead, and Goff just threw it too far up the field and with too much air on it for Davis to make a play. The result was a ball for the redshirt freshman.
- When I first got to check out Darius Powe two years ago, I thought he was destined to become a problem for opposing defenders simply because of his size and how he was throwing his body around. Granted, I only had four opportunities to observe him back then, thanks to Tedford's much tighter media policies, and though I'm not sure why Powe never quite broke out since, Ray Hudson is starting to remind me a bit of what Powe looked like he could have been. Today, Hudson was physical in the middle of the field, completely blowing up Arthur Wainwright blocking for a Luke Rubenzer run, not to mention snatching pretty much everything thrown his way in the 7-on-7s. I noted before that he was the biggest receiver -- weight-wise -- on the two deep already, and Thursday, he acted like it. Had to be his best practice that I've seen, personally.
- I expect Hudson'll be in rotation, since our offense does play receivers. Last year, they said they expect to run 8-10 total, with the first six of those being obvious: Treggs, Davis, Harper, Lawler, Harris, Anderson. After that, it's probably Hudson, Powe, Drake Whitehurst, and Jack Austin all in some capacity or another. Grant Marek thinks Patrick Worstell will crack the lineup too. The majority of the reps will go to those first six, in all likelihood, but you'll see contributions from probably everyone listed in this section.
- The other clear standout to me was Daniel Lasco, who remains so, so slept upon by people. They haven't run him or Khalfani too much -- or Bryce Treggs or Chris Harper, either, for that matter -- this camp, perhaps because they want to keep those guys fresh and ready to go, or because they already know what to expect from each. Whatever the case, he sure made the most of his touches again on Thursday -- his first carry in the third down drills went up the right side and flashed right into the end zone, almost untouched. A few segments later, in the practice ending 11-on-11 series, he weaved through for another 40. Power. Speed. Smoothness in the open field.
- Wasn't a perfect day for Lasco though. Fumbled in the modified Oklahoma drill against Mike Barton. Did pushups after.
- Some not so great play from freshman running back Vic Enwere today, who was stuffed on 3rd and short for what might have been the first time all camp, and then on the very next play, slipped receiving a screen pass.
- Second Erik Brown sighting. The four-star recruit worked at outside wide receiver and saw some reps at the 2s. Caught a beautiful fade from Luke Rubenzer from about 30-35 yards out with Trey Cheek giving chase, only to have that score called by a false start up front.
- Not a lot of work for Jared Goff today, who left the majority of 7-on-7 work and WR/DB drills to the rest of the guys on the depth chart. Even Joey Mahalic got run on Thursday afternoon, and completed all the passes he threw when I was looking.
- Both Quentin Tartabull and Nathan Broussard were at practice on Thursday, with the latter still participating in what looked like a very active role coaching and mentoring his position group, from where I was sitting. While Tartabull's injury is a huge bummer, he will have plenty of time to rest up and recover, being a true freshman. Broussard's hurts quite a bit more because he had just fought back from an ACL tear, and he was a projected starter.
- Ken Montgomery pointed out that thus far, we are still up on Northwestern in the injury/departure department, as the Wildcats have lost two starters to our one. Some time was spent debating on how many wins are feasible for this team.
- I did not see Jeffrey Coprich, but that might have been a bit more understandable, since he just had surgery on his foot this morning.
- Total nonsequitur, but Michael Lowe sported only one compression sleeve today, which is pretty much the best look if you're going for that. Just very smooth and Allen Iverson inspired. This will end my backseat player fashion critiquing.
- The second team offensive line still looks a little bit overmatched. Sometimes it's hard to tell who technically "wins" a matchup for me, but this much isn't -- they're getting pushed back a lot of the time in the one on ones.
- Jordan Rigsbee ran with the 1st team at right tackle again. Still doesn't seem like he's fully back in form yet, though.
- Didn't catch this, but apparently Hamilton A'noai took some reps at MIKE, according to Coach Chachere, because he believes in just rotating guys in to help them be versatile. Not sure what the situation is with Hardy Nickerson -- whether it's that he's not physically ready to go or that they really just want to give reps to Downs. I will continue assume it's the former until I see something that indicates otherwise.
- Unless my notes are totally wrong, Avery Sebastian saw some 11-on-11 action for the first time in over a week, rolling with the second team.
- No changes to report of note on first team defense, nor first team offense. Second team defense saw Harrison Wilfley slide out away from defensive tackle to end, instead, which is interesting. Certainly fits his 260, 270 pound frame better.
- There was an Arizona Cardinals scout in attendance today. You can tell because he wore his Arizona Cardinals gear. Wonder who he was looking at, since most of our team isn't seniors...
- A second visitor came in the form of Cal legend Mike Pawlawski. He spent a ton of time hanging out with Ken Montgomery a few rows up from me.
- Matt Anderson continues to be unimpressive in my eyes, leading me to think more and more that James Langford has pole position for the kicking job. Both took about 10 or 11 consecutive attempts from the 31 yardline, as the team worked on rushing and blocking. Langford missed one of these attempts, according to my notes, but it was Anderson who looked shaky even in sinking each field goal. He seemed like he was tiring as the drill continued, because the trajectory and distance of each kick started to vary kind of wildly, altering between low arc and high angle. One came dangerously close to being blocked, even.
- Langford was once again the first choice kicker to take a practice ending field goal, rolling wide right from 53 yards out. Distance looked good from where I was sitting though.
- Three more open practices left: Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then I am retired from these duties.
- Closing today's column with an adorable photo I took, although I don't know who the child is.