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Cal football fall camp notebook: Kyle Kragen shining, Nathan Broussard & Joel Willis healthy?

Our last pre-scheduled weekday open practice before the season. Sorry that was long. We have one more open practice scheduled for Saturday before Golden Bear Day. Let's take a look!

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Rob's Practice Notebook:

  • After another 2-a-day spent at De La Salle yesterday, the Bears were in full pads but took it easy once again.
  • Injury update: Griffin Piatt was the only one in red today. That means that all of our other injury worries for Stefan McClure, Nathan Broussard, Joel Willis have finished and they look to be ready to go for Sept. 5th.
  • There was a lot of work done on specific pass and run sets, and simple walk throughs. It seems the team is fine-tuning everything. Once again a lot of emphasis on the fundamentals for defense, handwork and footwork were specifically highlighted.
  • The team is also sick and tired of hitting each other. The defense just wants to lay down some hits. The offense wants to rip through defenders. There was a fall camp high of 3 scuffles today. All were wrapped up quickly, but the team is building up a lot of adrenaline to unleash on Grambling State.
  • The D-line looks impressive every practice and they will definitely be a better unit that last year.
  • On that note, Kyle Kragen has been a rejuvenated player. He looks faster and stronger than when we last saw him this healthy which was 2 years ago. He made some perfect reads yesterday and blowing up some hand-offs and screen passes.
  • The freshman DBs have been outstanding and will push into the rotation for a few snaps. Evan Rambo, Malik Psalms and Jaylinn Hawkins have been the most impressive with their coverage and learning how to play at the college level. Granted they still make freshman mistakes, but they're making leaps and stride playing against our WR corps.
  • Brandon Singleton might be the fastest player like Coach Dykes said at Media Days. On one play he blew by his coverage with just his speed and acceleration. There was no stutter step, no double move. Just a simple slant route.
  • Kanawai Noa has been the surprise out of the freshman on the offensive side of the ball. He had a few great grabs today, highlighted by a one-handed grab in traffic and holding onto the ball despite hard hits from Damariay Drew and Kyle Kragen.
  • One thing that most everyone will notice is the fact that because our D-line is applying more pressure up front our DBs can play without the pressure of the QB getting acres of space and endless time to throw. To sum it up, our defense is playing really well as a whole unit.
  • Bug Rivera might not ever play but its sure fun watching him in practice. He had a 40 yard run today and carried Jacob Anderson on his back for an extra 5 yards.
  • There were a few touchdowns today on 1-on-1s and passing game practice. Chase Forrest and Ross Bowers took the majority of the snaps and they played really well. Ross Bowers has gotten better in his intermediate to long throws. Chase Forrest has gotten to make his read faster and can make every throw on the field consistently.
  • The best drill to watch today was a Pick-6 drill run by Coach Kaufman. The DBs jumping up for a tipped ball or bad throw and everyone else running in front to block.
  • A few highlights from 11's today:
      • Matt Rockett made a quick catch and trucked Luke Rubenzer.
      • Malik McMorris laying down some punishing blocks. He helped seal a defender to give Vic Enwere a huge hole for a TD.
      • Juju Coprich lost a fumble, on an otherwise impressive fall.
      • Kyle Kragen had a Sack and TKL in 11s. Very quick in analyzing a play and making the right pursuit.
      • Marcus Manley with a huge TKL.
      • Puka Lopa with a sack as well.
      • 11s was highlighted with a clean read and pick by A.J. Greathouse on a throw by Ross Bowers.
The Bears looks like they can't wait to lay punishment on Grambling State. The team has worked hard so far and the camaraderie and chemistry around the team is really impressive to see after 2 seasons of underwhelming results. So I leave you with the highlight of practice yesterday.

California Love. California Rising.