I was getting distracted while writing this post, so RemoresfulBruinBabe, probably inspired by my mom, offered to write: "How about I rank the players by their butts; they must have good butts from all the squats and lunges." Where are you going to get pictures of their butts? "Isn’t there a ‘men of Cal football calendar’…of their butts?" Sadly, no. The closest thing we have to that was the black and white picture of shirtless Ayoob and Longshore almost cuddling. I couldn’t find it online (I’m pretty sure there are a number of people who don’t want it being seen), but lets just say that Ayoob’s eyes are more beautiful than his completion percentage.
Monday’s practice was a spirited affair with lots of hitting and shouting.
- The offense did well during 7 on 7s, generally dominating the d-line and linebackers. The offensive line open up huge holes for Slocum and DeBoskie.
- They did not fare so well during 11 on 11s when the focus was on passing. The receivers, including Cunningham, were dropping everything.
- DJ Holt got a bit of an earful after making a late break on a pass underneath. Kenwick Thompson (linebacker coach) implored him to be more proactive: "Come on DJ, you saw that one; trust what you saw!"
- The receivers got it going a bit later, sparked by a nice leaping catch by Calvin between two defenders in the corner. He got a foot down in bounds after snatching the ball over Amadi. Tad Smith followed with a fantastic catch between three defenders over the middle, while taking a pretty big shot.
- Follett might have decapitated Slocum on a screen pass if it wasn’t a friendly practice
- The DBs had a terrific afternoon, affecting almost every pass. Jesse Brooks in particular had a nice showing. He picked off a ball tipped by Tad Smith the play after he broke up a pass intended for Cunningham over the middle. This was in contrast to the receivers, summed up nicely by Boateng meekly indicating incomplete pass on a tipped diving interception. For what it’s worth, I thought the ball hit the ground too, but it was interesting to see the defensive backs playing with such confidence and the receivers failing to match the intensity.
- The wise HydroTech refuted an oft stated belief that defensive backs should look back for the ball. On Monday, Hydro received validation from Al Simmons, our new and seemingly very good (the secondary is looking much improved) DB coach. After an incompletion (ball was slightly overthrown to a moderately open receiver), Simmons instructed Charles Amadi, the defender on the play, "Don’t look early - look late, or don’t look at all." The lesson, as always: Hydro, you know more about football than anyone, except coaches and maybe TwistNHook.
- As practice closed, Worrell laid a big hit on Smith in traffic, and Vereen had a big gain down the sideline for the best offensive play of the practice.
On Friday, the team practiced without helmets, taking it easy for a situational scrimmage the next morning ala Cal day.
- The Defensive backs practiced adjusting to overthrown or underthrown passes on fly. Chris Conte showed a nice burst to catch up to a ball and snare it with one hand.
- The QBs and receivers practiced deep passes. In general, I thought the QBs did a better job than the receivers - there were a number of passes that I felt should have been caught but weren’t. If you’re wondering why Boateng and Calvin, guys who have never caught a ball for Cal, are ahead of someone like Cunningham, who’s played well in the past, it’s because of speed. They are clearly faster than any of the other receivers, excluding Jeremy Ross who is hurt at the moment (he practiced catching balls without making any cuts).
- A few days after Tedford said "He’s as sick as I’ve ever seen anybody," Cameron Morrah was back at practice and caught a nice pass on a Riley bootleg. I’ve noticed that our QBs have tended to be a little more accurate when throwing on the run this spring than when standing in the pocket; maybe they’re not overthinking it when they’re moving around?
- On one of the less accurate bootleg passes, Skylar Curran made a slick one-handed catch on pass thrown behind him.
- The funniest play in practice was a short pass that hit offensive lineman Matt Laird in the back. Somehow, I doubt he was the intended target.
- Calvin had a nice catch on the sideline, using his body to shield the defender from Riley’s pass.
- Covaungh DeBoskie impressed with a nimble run down the sideline.
- Syd Thompson, continuing a great spring, nearly picked off a pass to Boateng on a square in. Boateng later had a sweet leaping catch over the middle.