By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, March 3rd, 2008 at 1:50 pm in off-season stuff.
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.