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Cal Football Spring Ball 2018: Practice Notebook #5

Halfway to spring game!

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

Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve done a practice notebook so I may be a little rusty, but here are the things I highlighted for practice! (If you have any questions about specific players or groups, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them throughout the week since this is the only open practice this week.)

  • Starting QB Watch! Our starting QB is... TBD. Comeback next week as the wheels continue to turn around the bases of destiny to be fired into the goal of the tennis court.
  • In all seriousness, each one of the four QBs has done things well throughout the duration of the open practices I was able to watch.
  • Brandon McIlwain has done some great things with his feet and extending plays while keeping his eyes downfield. He was the only one without a turnover in this practice, but he also missed badly on some throws.
  • Chase Forrest made some moves with his feet and made all the right decisions with his throws. The only issue was that some of the throws just was not accurate or far enough to the target.
  • Ross Bowers is taking his time in his decisions and trusts all of his playmakers. He still takes some gambles, but makes sure those gambles are in favor of his recievers instead of what he did alot of last season which was just to throw highlight reel plays.
  • Chase Garbers might actually have the best arm talent, but he still looks unsettled in the pocket and is still making the game too cerebral for himself.
  • The swagger and hype that the DBs plays with is insane. They do not take a play off. They do not take a single a break off. They are so much fun to watch and Gerald Alexander may have the most complete DB group Cal has had in years.
  • Speaking of position groups, the Tight Ends are developing into a formidable weapon in the Cal offense. There is enough bodies and players with experience that the group now has a better balance of skill sets that they can mix and match for blocking or pass-catching.
  • Taariq Johnson is undoubtedly having the best spring out of the wide receivers. He has taken full advantage of the absence of Demetris Robertson, Vic Wharton III, and Kanawai Noa and cemented himself as a sure hands WR that rarely drops any catchable balls. His route running is solid, there are still a couple of times where he ran the wrong route, but thats just playbook and on-field reps that he missed out on by redshirting last season.
  • We all know how good Patrick Laird is. We also know his job as the starter is locked up. What we did not know is what the depth chart behind him looked like. With only 4 RBs on the spring football roster, we were going to see high reps for all of them. The two that have jumped out is Derrick Clark and Alex Netherda. Clark has shown some impressive explosion through the gaps and tenacity to his runs. Alex Netherda has surprised with his ability to make defenders miss and use his hop steps to bounce into running lanes.
  • Lone Toailoa Isara. A name to remember for this upcoming season. He still has alot to learn and improve on but when he flashes what he can do, he is one heck of a find by the staff. He had the play of the day. He was engaged with his blocker on a pass play, kept engaged with his right hand but used his left hand to bat the pass and intercepted it with his left hand. Incredible reflexes and quick twitch to make that play.
  • The return of Melquise Stovall is here. He looks to finally be getting into the shape that we expected him to be in last season. All his injury troubles seem to be behind him and is almost at 100% in terms of game stamina.

Thats a condensed and consolidated version of what I jotted down for my notes. Are you excited for football season? Any other questions you have for us that have been to practice? Let us know in the comments below!