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Cal Football Fall Camp 2017: Practice Notebook #4

Halfway point of open practices

NCAA Football: Oregon at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The California Golden Bears are now about to hit the halfway point of fall camp. Saturday’s practice will be the three-week mark until Cal’s season opener in North Carolina. So with camp now in full swing, lets take a look into how the Bears look with a good amount of practices in the books.

  • Seeing the different blitz packages and schemes is really exciting. Any offense playing the Bears won’t know who will be coming at them—or when. It also looks like every player is getting comfortable with their role and what they are asked to do in any scheme, whether it’s to play man, play zone, or blitz.
  • Every QB looks comfortable stepping up into the pocket and taking off if they see an open field. They also seem just as comfortable shifting in the pocket to try and throw.
  • Speaking of QBs... Ross Bowers was the best QB on the day, making great throws and scrambling just enough for plays to develop. The only knock on him was during the 2-minute drill where he decided to run on 3rd and long with only 11 seconds left on the clock. (I had flashbacks of Kevin Riley in 2007 against OSU.) (Sorry I brought that up.)
  • QB Brandon McIlwain was electric on his first play during a redzone drill, lofting a perfect pass to the back of the endzone to Jeremiah Hawkins. He then went check down and almost two interceptions afterwards.
  • Today was the first time I saw the Oklahoma Drill in real life (Only seen it in Madden). The team went three levels: OL/DL, LB/RB/TE, DB/WR, and a ball carrier. OLB Alex Funches, NG Siulagisipai Fuimaono and S Quentin Tartabull were the standouts defensively as they were able to shed their blockers and bring down the ball carrier. WR Demetris Robertson as a ball carrier was pretty much unstoppable—be excited about D-Rob part 2 folks... Be excited.
  • The also had a couple of periods of 3rd-down drills. QB Chase Garbers was excellent in drawing the defense offsides, twice drawing them across the line. All the QBs were less than stellar in this drill, though. Garbers went 1 of 4. Bowers went 0 of 4. Chase Forrest went 2 of 4.
  • All of the defensive line and linebackers flew across the field today. Guys like OLB Russell Ude, DE Tevin Paul, ILB Devante Downs, Funches, ILB Raymond Davison, OLB Cameron Saffle, and OLB Evan Weaver were consistently in the backfield and breaking up plays around the line of scrimmage.
  • During the 2-min drill, it was evident the defense is a lot further developed on rhythm and confidence. They consistently got stops and broke up big time plays.
  • Elijah Hicks looks like a real star in the making at CB. Hicks almost had 2 INTs today. Both picks were on passes intended for Taariq Johnson. On one, Hicks jumped the route and dove for the ball; on the other, he and Taariq both went up for it, but Hicks got inside positioning on him and almost brought it in.
  • Matt Anderson knocked in his sole kick of the day from 55 yards out. (Could’ve made it 60 as well—it was that high and clear of the upright.)