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Golden Nuggets: Spring Practice Articles Galore!

Two Golden Bear Greats are in the NBA Playoffs.

NCAA Football: California at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports


  • Although Ross Bowers is still getting most of the reps, the quarterback competition is far from settled.

“It’ll evolve,” Wilcox said after the team’s eighth of 15 spring practices, which included almost as much drill work as 11-on-11 competition. “We’re letting them get a lot of reps and compete. Every guy on the team is thinking about the depth chart, so they want to perform well, but we’re really trying to get them to concentrate less on the other guy and more on what they’re doing.”

Each of the quarterbacks supplied at least one highlight on a pristine day at Memorial Stadium, with Bowers opening the hurry-up period with a perfectly arced pass to running back Patrick Laird on a wheel route and Forrest answering with a throw to receiver Greyson Bankhead up the seam.

Garbers looked good on what became a scramble drill on a fourth-and-6 situation, escaping the pass rush and hitting tight end Gavin Reinwald to keep the drive alive. And on the day’s last play from scrimmage, McIlwain threw a dart that receiver Ricky Walker III turned into a 72-yard score.

The Bears’ next kicker will presumably have an enormous impact on the program for several years, and Gabe Siemieniec (three years of eligibility left) and Chris Landgrebe (four years), both left-footers, appear to recognize the magnitude of their competition.

Their teammates certainly do.

One of the most boisterous moments of the past week’s practice was when Siemieniec was chosen to represent the defense and Landgrebe was selected for the offense. The kickers took turns drilling field goals as the defensive and offensive players inched closer to the kicks and got increasingly louder in attempts to distract.

When Landgrebe finally missed from about 40 yards out on the right hash, the defense celebrated and the offense started running gassers.

The seeds for Toler’s coaching opportunity at Cal were planted back as a student-athlete. Despite being on opposite sides of the ball, he connected with current head coach Justin Wilcox, then the Bears’ linebackers coach. The two maintained their relationship throughout the years until Wilcox offered Toler a chance to come home this past January.

”It’s amazing,” Toler said. “In the college football coaching world, nothing is a shock. You take everything in stride. It’s always huge to continue to build relationships and stay in contact with those people. When I first met coach Wilcox, he was the cool, innovative young linebacker coach here. You strive to learn every day from the mentors who are around you.”

Wilcox said, with a smile, that Toler’s job interview may have been the fastest in college football history.

  • Check out these Spring Practice notebooks from Cal Athletics and Ryan Gorcey. Don’t miss the ones we post here either, of course.


  • Jaylen Brown and Ryan Anderson are in the NBA Playoffs. I will try to put in some articles on them in Golden Nuggets on Tuesday and/or Thursday.
  • Ryan Gorcey talked to Connor Vanover on his commitment to Cal.

“They said I will be the centerpiece for the 5 man,” Vanover said. “Putting on 20 pounds will secure my spot for that.”

Vanover is all of 210 pounds, and has a distinct resemblance to David Kravish at his age. He’ll need to put on 20 pounds -- at least -- to be able to bang in the Pac-12. One of the main activities he mentioned during the visit was eating.

”They didn’t make any comparisons,” Vanover said. “I can kind of be my own person ... my shooting, length, IQ, rebounding, blocking shots, and my presence.”

Vanover is more of a shooter than Kravish was, at any point, particularly out to three-point distance, from which he shot 37% this past season. Given that Cal had precious few shooters in Wyking Jones’s first season, the addition of anyone who can stroke it from three is a welcome one, especially as the Bears will try to move closer to the transition- and press-heavy style Jones favors.


Thanks for reading.