It was a slippery day on the field for the California Golden Bears today. Drills focused on Offensive, Defensive, and Specialists areas. The players finally got to put on the shells, but there was not much contact as players made sure not to injure themselves in the rain.
- At the start of practice, before stretching, the Defensive Line Coach—Tony Tuioti—did a couple defensive run throughs at the 40 yard line to work on the positioning of the players.
- The quarterbacks were at the far end working on passes from the 20-yard line to the end zone. Brandon McIlwain threw a bit behind his targets for all five reps, but were all catchable balls. Ross Bowers took awhile to get adjusted to the rain; he struggled with his accuracy as well.
- Placekickers Chris Landgrebe and Gabe Siemieniec worked off of a snap at the 30, each kicking about 50 yards in distance.
- Players who are in the gunner role had some fun running down the sideline, then tackling a pylon onto a mat, but due to the rain they were sliding a good 5–7 yards after contact. Who doesn’t like a little waterpark fun?
- Tight Ends worked on receptions with Quarterbacks, but most fell incomplete. The conditions of rain really had an impact on the field today. They were generally aimed pretty high at the helmet.
- Taariq Johnson and Greyson Bankhead really stood out and consistently had solid catches
- Patrick Laird ran easily past the defensive line and gained yardage to the end zone during third-down drills. The offensive line created some solid running lanes for the RBs
- QBs worked on throwing the fade route with the famous net basket. Mcllwain hit the target six out of seven times, Chase Garbers and Chase Forrest either overthrew or threw too wide left. Bowers had some clang off the rims, but his throws were not as accurate as Mcllwain’s.
- Defensive Ends and Linebackers worked on tracking and were able to get some contact in.
- Chigozie Anusieum easily intercepted both passes from Bowers during 1-on-1 play drills
- Josh Drayden had a great pass breakup as well
- Luc Bequette had a solid tackle in the team third-down period
- Brandon McIlwain had the throw of the day on a perfectly weighted ball through the center of the field that just sailed over a fully extended Trey Turner III who came over from safety to make the pick. The pass found Jeremiah Hawkins 20 yards downfield and was an absolute beauty of a throw.
- Demetris Robertson looked comfortable on the field today. It was exciting to see him get some reps in and cover some ground. The return of his agility and speed makes him one to keep an eye out this season. ICYMI, you can read more on why he missed most of the 2017 season.
- Taariq Johnson was one of the star players. He seems to have been put a lot of work into his footwork and technique to an already impressive body frame. He could be a big weapon for the Bears if he continues impressing this spring.
- There is much anticipation about who the starting quarterback will be. Mcllwain has been getting the first reps, but everyone is rotating through. So it is hard to say, now just four practices in, who will be the starter come fall. The Mcllwain–Johnson, Bowers–Robertson pairs are building some solid repertoire.
- Defensive Backs are always a fun group to watch. The shells got them really pumped up and energetic today. They were definitely giving the offense a challenge, both mentally and physically. Its intriguing to see how they will perform when it’s a full contact practice.
- Quentin Tartabull had a hard hit on Kanawai Noa. The only time it happened in practice. see what DC Tim DeRuyter had to say about that in the video below.
- Alex Netherda showed some great wiggle and worked the gaps between the tackles.
- Coach Wilcox’s competition drill to end practice was a field-goal contest between Landgrebe and Siemieniec. They both made it from the 27-yard line, but Siemieniec came on top at the 32. Siemieniec represented the defense, so the offense ran a couple sprints to end the practice.
It was an engaging practice overall; the players hard some difficulty adjusting to the rain. Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter saw the weather as a great opportunity to strengthen the players’ ability to adjust under such conditions so that they are much more equipped to play against teams in Washington and Oregon.
What are your takeaways from this practice? Excited to see what some of the young guys can do with full contact? Let us know in the comments below!