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Cal football fall camp 2014: practice report #1

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In which football-like substances are spotted in Memorial Stadium

Some quick announcements before we begin:

I've chosen to structure around some main themes for now, and will be adjusting it as needed for each day's events.

Also, from where I was sitting, it was very difficult to get a look at the offensive line/defensive line drills, so I'll also be trying to adjust for that in the future. Today's report will be sparse on those details.

Here we go.

Transfers

  • If the expectation is for the 6'1 Darius White to win one of the cornerback jobs, it certainly wasn't awarded to him on Monday -- the Itawamba transfer had probably the worst showing of the team's defensive backs, getting thoroughly and repeatedy dusted in 1 on 1 drills against Trevor Davis, and then mistiming a potential pass deflection against Maurice Harris. That mistake -- which happened because White jumped a bit too early -- allowed Harris to catch one of the few long passing scores on the day. White did redeem himself a bit by diving to the ground to deflect a pass later on, but suffered a jammed shoulder after that one, which kept him on ice for the rest of practice. Coach Dykes said that the injury was not expected to keep him out for too long.
  • Instead of White, it was AJ Greathouse who flashed highlights. Although he had some trouble keeping his footing during the individual drills, the new cornerback -- who has three to play three, as per Cal Rivals' information -- did play tight in coverage and broke up several passes on the afternoon, drawing praise from Sonny for his play. I was surprised by his length.
  • Same with linebacker Arthur Wainwright, who has some very, very long arms with that frame of his. He could be one to watch as the days continue, although I didn't catch anything too remarkable from him on Monday.
  • As mentioned above, I will be trying to spot Chris Palmer and James Looney more in the next few days. Apologies.
  • Freshmen

    • Quentin Tartabull had an interception of Rubenzer in WR/DB one on ones. When I ran into him in the SLC after practice, I asked him for comment, he jokingly shook me off and said "Rasta man don't do no interviews." No, seriously.
    • Coach Dykes praised both freshmen quarterbacks, but at least from where we were sitting, Grant Marek, Eugene, and I all seemed to agree that it was Chase Forrest who had the better day of the two, looking far better than anyone anticipated. His arm looked stronger than Benz's, he made no interceptions, and he scrambled a bit himself, at one point pirouetting away from an oncoming linebacker to dump a pass to Vic Enwere.
    • No disrespect meant in typing this: 6'0 is a very, very generous measurement for Luke Rubenzer. Having seen his first day and Jared Goff's, I'd say that there's no question Goff was far steadier, more consistent, and if memory serves, mistake free, while his Arizona counterpart nearly had two or three passes picked. Rubenzer did flash wheels here and there, scrambling for at least one third down conversion.
    • I can't wait to see what both running backs do in pads on Friday, but both were off to good starts. Vic Enwere drew raves from every writer in attendance for his grown-man frame and his unusually fluid movement for a 225-230 pound back. For proof of how intimidating his size is, there was a moment where Stefan McClure came up -- unpadded -- in the left flat, trying to make a "tackle", and I feared for him, not Vic. Backfield mate Tre Watson ran smoothly and showed some nice hands himself. To be honest, he had one of my favorite moments of the day in catching a swing pass during 3rd down drills and diving for the conversion -- that's a sign of sure effort.
    • Addison Ooms took over as the third team center. The other freshmen linemen -- Kamryn Bennett, Michael Trani, and Deion Oliver -- all repped on third team too.

    Healthy guys

    • Mustafa Jalil, who many are banking on to win the defensive tackle job, took only limited action as the team brings him along slowly. Still, it was hard not to get excited by what occurred in that limited action -- Jalil immediately looped around toward left tackle and forced a pressure on his first play, combining with Brennan Scarlett for a sack on Jared Goff. He did take it easier later on, though.
    • Speaking of Scarlett -- and since he's healthy too, technically -- he recorded a second one later in the day.
    • Adcock took the first team center slot, now back from his knee injury last fall. J.D. Hinnant was the second team center, although snaps continue to be an issue.
    • Didn't see much from Broussard. Doesn't mean he didn't play well -- it just means I didn't see it. I only have so many eyeballs. He's another guy I'll be trying to watch for going forward.
    • Hardy Nickerson did only drill work.

    Returning guys

    • I don't think it's anything to worry about, but I didn't see much of Chris Harper on Monday, while his other wide-receiver mates -- Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler, and Trevor Davis -- were the ones who shined the most. Treggs in particular stood out for me, smoking pretty much every DB trying to work with him in the slot. Acknowledging that we don't exactly have a bunch of worldbeaters here, opposing safeties and linebackers should still have an extremely a tough time keeping pace with him on crossing routes and in the short game, not to mention tackling him after the catch. Lawler chipped in with a brilliant, Jordy Nelson-esque full extension on the sideline during practice, although I feel like he occasionally loses focus -- he has silly drops and DBs bat away balls that should be his more often than anyone.
    • Both guys penciled in as defensive back starters so far -- Cameron Walker and Darius Allensworth -- held their own, playing reasonably well. My favorite play from this duo came courtesy of Walker, who broke fluidly and beautifully on a pass thrown to Kenny Lawler on the right sideline, leapt, and deflected it. I believe he had two PDs on the day. Walker, who now weighs 190 pounds, also showed some nice aggressiveness in the screen drills.
    • A svelte(r) looking Trevor Kelly had much better mobility on Monday, making a couple of tackles for loss. Watch this space.
    • Goff looked like the same old Goff to me. Didn't have very many scoring drives, although it could be argued that the better time to judge him will be once the team goes full 11s and pads on Friday. He didn't really have the full run game to work with, for example.

    Depth chart

    • So far, the depth chart released last week held true for Monday -- that was the order everyone ran out in, for the most part. I'll be keeping a tighter track on this in the days to come. Probably by day 3 or 4.
    • The only major changes involved Dominic Granado working in place of Jordan Rigsbee as the first team right tackle. Matt Cochran slid in as right tackle on the second team, as well.
    • Luke Rubenzer took most of the second team reps, and Chase Forrest followed. There was almost no Austin Hinder to be seen, which may speak more to the staff knowing what he offers already, more than anything else.

    Other

    • A big congratulations to Bryce McGovern and Lucas Gingold, who both earned scholarships on Monday. Very well deserved by both.
    • THERE WERE NO RED JERSEYS!
    • Coach Dykes announced a flurry of roster changes at the end of practice, although all those losses can be overcome to one degree or another. The only tremendously unfortunate loss was Espitia, who had an unspecified violation of team rules.
    • Bryce Treggs, Joel Willis, and Trevor Davis took punt return.
    • No update has been given on Damariay Drew yet. We were told that his omission from the depth chart was just a typo/oversight.
    • Focuses for later today: OL/DL stuff. Defense.
    • I've announced this a couple times, but just in case anyone missed it, this will be the final set of camps I'll be able to cover for us before I enter the working world and all that, so I'll do my best to make this a good one. See again tomorrow morning -- same as always.