Spring has almost sprung

Hi, folks.  Well, I’m back after taking some time off and we find ourselves only two weeks away from the beginning of spring practice. There obviously are going to be a lot of storylines this spring and I will spend some time leading up to it previewing them here.

Before spring begins, Memorial Stadium also will be filled with activity on March 11 when Cal holds its Pro Day. NFL scouts will flock to Berkeley to evaluate the Bears’ pro prospects. Seven former Bears took part in the NFL combine last week and this will be another chance to improve their stock with scouts, should they choose to do so.

It will be interesting to see what DeSean Jackson does. It may not be in his best interest to run the 40-yard dash again after putting up the best time of any wide receiver at the combine (4.35). And his biggest shortcoming, the fact that he weighed in at just 169 pounds, isn’t going to change.

Pro day may be a chance for Lavelle Hawkins to improve on his combine 40 time of 4.56. Hawkins was very impressive during the Senior Bowl in January but his combine wasn’t at the same level.

Pro Day also includes activities for juniors, who can be tested and give themselves a gauge of where they stand heading into their senior season.

In other news, defensive back Robert Peele is no longer on the team. No further information was available. Peele once was a highly regarded recruit who started this past season as a backup defensive back and played on special teams. But he suffered a sprained ankle against Oregon and never played again the rest of the year.

The Bears may need to work on improving their depth in the secondary. Peele’s departure follows Brandon Jones, who also left the team since the end of the season. Jones had a good year on special teams and was one of the best athletes on the team. Certainly, he would have eventually been in the mix for some playing time on defense.

Cal has to replace Thomas DeCoud at free safety and doesn’t have much proven personnel to back up the defensive back positions. Assuming Syd’Quan Thompson and Chris Conte are your starting cornerbacks next season, who are the next in line? Most likely, Darian Hagan. After that is anybody’s guess. Maybe Sean Cattouse, who will be a redshirt freshman this season. Or it could possibly be incoming freshman Marc Anthony.

We’ll take a closer look at who replaces DeCoud and the secondary in general as we get closer to the beginning of spring practice.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • RollOnBears

    secondary depth may be an issue, but Thompson/Conte/Hagan/Uzeff should be solid this year. but please report as much as you can on the defensive line during spring practice, this is the team’s achilles heel. will derick hill be in shape this year and what about rulon davis? I can’t remember if he’s coming back this year. and can you ask bob gregory if he will think about switching to a 3-4 since it got our best players on the field and turned the armed forces game around?
    thanks for keeping up the posts.

  • Big D

    What about Brett Johnson? Didn’t he get some playing time at FS in the AF Bowl?
    I’m sorry to hear that Peele is gone. I thought he was coming on pretty good.
    When Spring ball starts, could you check out the JC DB we just got? Thanks.

  • n8bear

    what’s up with the new blog format? It sucks. Can you talk to someone about that?

  • Robert

    J.O., Do you have any info that can be reported on why those two players are no longer Bears? What are the possibilities for DJ Campbell? Where would he fit in? Thanks

  • Jan K. Oski

    Big D, Go to calbears.com, and you can answer those simple questions that pop up. Johnson did play sparingly at Safety during the year and the AF bowl.

    N8, the blog is fine, but the forum stinks.

    Welcome back, J.O. We missed you!


  • Big D

    Thanks Jan, but my question was for Jonathan.


    JO can the fans go and sit in the stands and watch Pro Day. Last year we were able to sit up in the stands do you think it will change this year???


    suggest to TEDFORD that the Bears’ following would perhaps like more access to the team besides on Saturdays in the fall. I mean every other school in California opens their activities to fans in the spring & fall camp. I mean there’s two days outta the year, Cal day & the fan day were the teams is accessible. I don’t mean to complain but I’ve seen how they do at many programs and we just seem not to embrace that in Berkeley?

  • morencsarecoming

    Al Da Berkley KID

    For once I agree with you. Pete Carroll opens up every single spring practise and I believe every Fall one too. Pete sees it as a way for the players to have fun, showcase their abilities and for the fans to get behind the team. Very few people outside the SC family also know that Pete goes out into the community two times a week and works with at risk teens. He is also known to have successfully gotten kids off of the streets. People are proud to be associated with the program since it means more to the community than just Ws and Ls. I suggest you take some time and see it for yourself.

  • CBKWit

    How’s UC Davs Amy?

    We already know he got kids off the street, and got them some serious cash too. Reggie is grateful, especially because, like Leinart, (and Mike Williams and Winston Justice and etc…) he is turning into a big time bust.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Roll, Rulon Davis definitely is back and they have high hopes for him. Of course, they had high hopes for him last year also but he simply couldn’t stay healthy long enough to make an impact. The 3-4 definitely is something in play. I don’t know if they’ve made the decision to totally implement it as their base defense, but you can expect to see much more of it.
    Big D, Brett Johnson definitely is a candidate to replace DeCoud. I talked to DeCoud after the season and he thought Johnson would have the inside track. But I think D.J. Campbell also is a strong candidate there. He had a great season on the scout team.
    Robert, I don’t have any new information on Peele and Jones. All Tedford said about Jones is that he needed a change of scenery.
    Al, Pro Day is closed to the public.

  • CBKWit

    Ezeff definitely bears consideration. He was our best DB for the first 5 games (even regardless of the legendary hit at the Oregon goal line) until he got hurt. He has to be at the top of the list for the rover spot.

  • Big D

    Just ignore the moron.

  • Big D

    It does seem like we have a glut at Rover (Ezeff, Hicks, and Doxy) Will Tedford give any of them a look elsewhere?

  • Jan K. Oski

    Hey Robert,

    Check this out:


    ***Anybody changing positions? Tedford’s reply, “I’ve asked Brandon Jones to move on, so he will not be back next year. Tad Smith, we’re going to try him at tight end instead of defensive end. Worrell Williams is always trying to get me to put him at fullback, but I think we’ll keep him where he is.***

    I don’t mean to contradict you J.O. on your own blog, but it reads like Tedford asked Jones to move on. Could this be a move for the sake fo team chemistry? Why else would a coach ask a player to leave?

    Ezeff is the Man. In my opinion, he won the Oregon game for Cal, even if he admits to being out of position for that decisive fumble. I’ll always remember Dan Fouts throwing a hissy fit about that play.

    this bad video has foot’s whining:

    this good video doesn’t have it:

    To Big D, I wish ignoring Amy would encourage her to move on, but we are dealing with a psycho. Sensible solutions don’t work with such people.


  • curtis birch

    BTW, how is Best doing?

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Jan, I had already reported that Tedford said Jones “needed to make a change.” It’s obvious there were some off-the-field issues going on; don’t have the specifics.
    Big D, I think Ezeff and Hicks are both best-suited for rover. I suppose Ezeff could give it a try at corner or free safety, but I doubt it. I think Cal is just going to be happy it has depth there.
    Curtis, all indications are that Best is recovering well and will be ready for the fall.