clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cal football fall practice report: Evan Rambo, Damariay Drew, James Looney shining

Offense continues to shake-off rust, and defense continues to be extremely competitive.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good Day, or Night depending on when you're reading this. I would like to preface this with a confession that this is only the 5th or 6th full practice I have ever seen. I am still new and learning so I hope you excuse my novice observations. With that out of the way; Allonz-y!

The day's practice was conducted in the midst of a perfect Berkeley weather. 

Spotless Sky 8/9/15

Not a smidgen of a cloud in the sky.

The practice went through the same drills it has for the last two days. The key difference is the fact that the players were now wearing "torso pads" or "shoulder pads" (not sure about the verbiage). The main change that I was able to notice was in the 1st Team O-Line up: #58 Semisi Uluave the previous RG was swapped with the previously 2nd team #55 Dominic Granado during today's practice. Another wrinkle that I saw was #75 Aaron Cochran getting some reps later in practice on both Tackle spots replacing #59 Brian Farley with #64 Steven Moore filling in on both sides of the O-Line.

Besides that #73 Jordan Rigsbee continues to start at C. His snaps continue to be erratic as I was able to note at least 2 high snaps from him during 11-on-11s and other drills.

During the 11-on-11s and 3rd down drills, a lot of the DBs would rotate and mix throughout the drills, thus sometimes we would have 3rd teamer SS/FS with 1st team CBs. It looked like the chemistry between them and the LBs wasn't disturbed by the mix-and-matching of the player squads. This is an encouraging sign that the chemistry of the defense and the flow is independent of the squad the players belong in.

Quick Notes on the Offense:

  • The QB to WR/RB Red-Zone drills were much smoother than the previous two days. A lot of completions and good catches were recorded during the drills. And unlike during the previous two days, the WR/RBs were not making a lot concentration drops nor did they take their eyes off the ball as often as they did. However, after the warm-ups the concentration drops as well as bad passes came back as the passing drills moved further away from the red-zone.
  • #16 Jared Goff (AKA our Goffensive Leader) flashed his arm strength and accuracy during the warm-up period by slinging it down the field 55 yards with pin-point accuracy. All that without making it look hard. #14 Chase Forrest showed that he was no slouch and threw a 45 yard laser down the field right after Goff's pass. In the realm of decision making I do see #16 Jared Goff taking a bit longer than normally to make reads during 7-on-7s, without the pass-rush he sits in the "pocket" a little too long for the WR/RBs to open up. Hopefully as more practices come the passes will come out quicker too.
  • #23 Vic Enwere and #5 Tre Watson played with their hairs on fire. They are definitely not shying away from contact or working really hard in dragging the defense with them for extra yards. A few scuffles resulted after their plays as they definitely brought some fire to the field.
  • #2 Daniel Lasco continues to show why he is our starting RB by showing both strength to go through the middle and elusiveness to take the ball on outside zones as well as catching the ball in space on the flats.
  • #20 Jeffrey "JuJu" Coprich showed a lot elusiveness as he exploded from his own 5 yardline for a 60 yard gain running past the secondary that struggled to get a good angle on him.
  • #31 Bug Riviera and #24 Patrick Laird are showing a lot of promise by playing fast and finding space in the space between the LBs and DBs. Bug despite his size is showing a lot of heart, speed, and agility during the drills.While Laird keeps making great catches on the side-lines.
  • #4 Kenny Lawler, #9 Trevor Davis, and #1 Bryce Treggs continuously show that if Cal was in a NCAA game, they would all have at least 90s for spectacular catches. On multiple plays, Kenny Lawler specifically, would show great focus on one-handed catches and contested catches in the end-zone. Bryce Treggs on the other hand showed smooth routes and really nice top end speed when he grabbed a 50 yard touchdown pass in 7-on-7s from Jared Goff.
  • O-Line with "shoulder pads" on and with the aforementioned #55 Dominic Granado in the mix had a much better showing than the day before. This is possibly due to the fact that the pads were on they were able to engage the pass-rush much better. They definitely worked on individual drills in practice such as hand techniques as well as ways to improve leverage.
Quick Notes on the Defense:

  • The Defense continues to play with a lot of swagger and ferocity that is making me uncomfortably optimistic. After spending 3 years as a Cal football and sports fan I am still convinced that "WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS."
  • On that note. RAMBO. EVAN. RAMBO. #24 Evan Rambo is making plays. During today's practice he has show a lot of play-making ability by picking off Ross Bowers twice. The first play was from an errant pass that sailed over the target's head right into Rambo's arms. The second play was a one-handed INT up the middle while he was covering #17 Jack Austin. Besides that he showed a nose for the ball and the speed to lead him to the ball pronto. ALL ABOARD THE RAMBO HYPE TRAIN.

  • Another encouraging sign for the secondary is the emergence of #27 Damariay Drew at the Safety spot. Today he had two key pass-deflections during the 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. A lot of his speed is credited by HC Sonny Dykes to the loss of weight that Drew had over the year-off he had.
  • #9 James Looney continues to show a lot of speed and strength. Even if he wasn't getting to the QB he kept disrupting the pocket with pressure often collapsing it thus flushing the QB out with the other D-Linemen. Him and his while D-Line have shown a lot of growth from last year. The urgency the QBs have shown is quite noticeable as they shuffled around the pocket. #16 Jared Goff definitely showed a lot of awareness as he Houdinied his way pass a handful of Cal linemen both O and D, but had to throw it out of bounds since no one was open.
  • I didn't notice much about the LBs, and for that I apologize. I noted that #47 Hardy Nickerson began taking more reps today during practice.
Quick Notes on Special Teams:

  • Both #16 Cole Leininger and #38 Harry Adolphus have shown powerful punts during practice. Adolphus specifically launched a 50 yard punt followed by a 55 yard one, while as Leininger's shorter punts had a much longer hangtime.
  • The kicker competition seems still open as both #9 Matt Anderson and #19 Noah Beito kicked FGs after the practice was over.
My general impressions of the practice are both positive and negative. I am encouraged by the way our defense is shaping up and its existence on the field in general. However, the O-line continues to struggle in pass-protection leading me to be concerned about the long-term health of the Goffensive leader.

However, please take my notes and observations as well as hype/nega-bearness with a pinch of salt because to quote the immortal words of Allen Iverson; "We're talking about practice."

The truth will reveal itself in the coming days and on the gridiron during the games. And I am looking forward to them with every inch of my Blue and Gold soul.