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Monday practice

The Bears began the final week of the spring with a pretty lively practice at a frigid Memorial Stadium on Monday night. As has been the case for most of the spring, the defense has outplayed the offense.

As the Bears do often at practice, they practice the two-minute drill near the beginning. The first two plays were a floated incomplete screen pass by Kevin Riley that could have gotten a tailback killed, followed by a drop by wide receiver Michael Calvin. After a solid gain on a screen to Tracy Slocum, Tyson Alualu knocked down a Riley pass. Riley then completed short passes to Calvin and Nyan Boateng.

Backup quarterback Brock Mansion struggled in the two-minute, making a bad throw that was almost picked off by Darian Hagan, overthrowing a screen pass to Shane Vereen and then overthrowing tight end Skylar Curran.

All that being said, the Bears generally practiced hard. They showed great enthusiasm and work ethic during individual drills. Defensive end Rulon Davis continues to impress with his high motor — he abused left tackle Mike Tepper during a one-on-one exercise.

The offense made a comeback later in practice during a drill in which it goes against the defense’s front seven. The offensive line dominated the drill, opening up gaping holes for running backs to run through.

Speaking of the offensive line, redshirt sophomore Richard Fisher has opened some eyes this spring. He’s spent the past several practices taking most of the first team reps at left guard, taking snaps away from Mark Boskovich. Fisher, a walk-on, is one of several young promising offensive linemen for the Bears. So far, he’s emerged from that group as the one who has progressed the most.

During crossover near the end of practice, Calvin made a terrific catch tiptoeing down the sideline. Tight end Tad Smith then made an incredible grab in traffic, falling down as he was well-defended by Charles Amadi and Brett Johnson and somehow hanging on as he hit the turf.

Fellow tight end Cameron Morrah missed practice. Coach Jeff Tedford said he had an asthma attack earlier in the day. There also is a flu bug going through the team that led to a handful of other players missing time.

Tedford said wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who suffered a sprained ankle on Saturday, will miss the rest of the spring.

Jesse Brooks got some rare reps with the first team at free safety. Bernard Hicks played rover with the starters while Marcus Ezeff backed him up. As I’ve said all spring, the lineups should be taken with a grain of salt, especially on the defensive side where coordinator Bob Gregory has been liberal experimenting with different combinations, especially in the secondary.

When asked what he was looking for during the last week of practice, Tedford said he wanted to see his team “cut it loose” on Wednesday and Saturday. Should make for a couple of interesting practices.

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.

  • FedUpBear

    Hey JO. You — for some reason that is beyond me — favor NL as the starting QB. That’s ok & I respect that. What is NOT ok (IMHO) is to continually besmerch Riley for his performance IN PRACTICE based upon YOUR judgment (“floated incomplete passes…that could have gotten a tailback killed”). What the frack is that? Not that you should need a lecture on journalism, BUT there is a difference between reporting FACT and reporting INTERPRETATION of that fact and the two should be clearly distinguished. They weren’t in this case. (The incomplete passes were fact. The “could have gotten a tailback killed” phrase was an INTERPRETATION meant to influence your readers.) So you don’t like Riley. We GET that. Say that. Say: “I don’t like Riley because he throws too many incomplete passes in practice”. That’s fine. That’s your opinion. That’s what you are SUPPOSED to do. But that’s NOT what you did here (or have done in the past). Heater was always good about that. You aren’t.

  • Don

    FedUpBear

    Were you there? Did you see what happened? If not then shut up already. Maybe the “interpretation” conveys some of the “fact” without getting into specifics that JO doesn’t want to get into.

    Besides this is blog, not an actual news article. He’s entitled to some interpretation as he sees fit so long as its not overdone.

    Not like it really matters what he writes anyway. The quarterback competition for Cal isn’t a popularity contest. You and a billion others can love Riley to death. But whether Longshore or Riley will start in Fall will be up to Jeff Tedford. And his decision isn’t swayed by what some newsreporter writes or how many internet know it alls prefer Riley. So stop being a jackass over a minor little comment.

    And JO, good job. Don’t listen to this fool.

  • Wyoming Bear

    Left Badger Country, passed through Hawkeye Nation, then was Cornhuskerville, and soon will be in Cowboy Country, but where do I long….BEAR TERRITORY!

    Give the Job to whoever wins it. Simple as that. Then if one falters, the number two guy gets his shot. People forget how incredible Longshore was 2 seasons ago when he was healthy. I’ll take a healthy Longshore any day, but I like what I see of Riley. It is not a problem to be deep at quarterback Bear fans. I am more worried about our green receivers getting open.

  • PasadenaBear

    Fedup is your typical spoiled baby whiner. He thinks he knows everything and whines about everything. I bet he’s great to have at a party.

  • ho

    JO – you’re doing an awesome job. I totally appreciate your blog

  • Killer

    J.O. I appreciate your reports, they are the next best thing to being there. Your reports are objective, descriptive, informative and entertaining. Keep up the great work and congrats on the new addition to the family. Killer.

  • n8bear

    Wyoming
    Longshore was great two seasons ago–for three quarters (of the season and each game.) He’s good when it’s easy. He choked in Arizona, remember. And he let the game slip away at USC–I was there. He not only doesn’t have the killer instinct, he has no stamina. I just hope Tedford sees that. I would still advocate a two QB rotation–NL first half, Riley second.

  • MemorialSectionHH

    JO – Thanks for the reporting! Contrary to what the first post said, I appreciate the “color commentary” that you provide. When you describe the pass as “could have gotten a tailback killed” it adds a layer of description and I feel like I was there to see it. We all know he can throw on a frozen rope, so that’s good he’s working on touch passes at practice. Thanks for being our eyes on the field!

  • ramy

    While some may take issue with your interpretation I for one appreciate any coverage. It seems coverage of Cal football compared to other other programs is minimal at best. I often find myself surfing the net to get any relevant information on the team. Frankly, the lack of interest and coverage by the local media is embarrassing & disappointing. Many thanks JO,looking forward to the next report.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Why no coverage on rugby? I think club sports should get coverage too especially ones where less than a quarter of the universities in the country participate. Few reports are circulated around the country so avid rugby fans need as many as they can get.

    Best regards

    MoreNCsarecoming

  • DanP

    N8bear, I don’t even favor either Longshore or Riley. But you oversimplify those two games in 2006. In the Arizona game, there were numerous issues that lead to us losing. From Lavelle Hawkins catching a wide open pass and then stumbling on the one yard line. Then not being able to punch it into the endzone on first and 1 with a supposely Heisman candidate for a tailback. A question pass interference call on a Daymion Hughes interception in the end zone. A pass to Desean Jackson that would have been a touchdown except for his feet being half an inch on the sideline. All those things but what does everybody remember? Nate throwing that interception.

    Against USC? Listen WE LOSTED THAT GAME. USC was the better team. Period. They had a better defense and theirs held when it needed to and ours didn’t. Its ridiculous to blame that loss on Nate Longshore alone.

    Nobody is saying Longshore is a Heisman candidate or anything. But he was a solid quarterback and was able to lead the bears to a very good 10 win season. That was the whole point of bringing up the 2006 season. Not for people nitpick about the couple of losses that they had.

    I honestly don’t know if Riley or Longshore is the better quarterback. I do know I’m not going to praise Riley too much based on one good game. I think Tedford should take a flexible approach to who starts next year. My opinion is that Riley’s performance in Armed Forces bowl earns him some playing time in the coming year to see how consistent he is in more games. If he turns out to be for real after a couple of more starts, keep him in. If he turns out to be overrated, pull him out and put Longshore back in. Problem solved.

  • http://www.lross.net Lawrence Ross

    Hey,

    MoreNCSarcoming? Really? When? FedupBear? Shut up. When you’ve written for a newspaper (and not your local campus one), call me.

    JO: One question I have. Can you describe the running styles of Tracy, Shane and the new freshman (name escapes me).

  • JanKOski

    Lawrence,

    The clown has written for his school’s paper? That’s hilarious. I guess if their aim is to lose readers, then that would be true.

    Clown,

    Don’t forget your meds!

    J.O.,

    excellent reporting! I appreciate the details. Keep them coming…

    Everyone else,

    Don’t feed the trolls!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Oooops….you know what they say about “glass houses” and those who live in them.

    http://origin.insidebayarea.com/dailyreview/ci_9003796

    Best regards

    MoreNCsarecoming

  • CalAlum97

    No feeding zone!

    OOOOO O O
    O O O O
    O OOOOO O
    OOOOO O O OOOOO

  • Anxius in Antioch

    It sounds like this year’s Spring Practice was somewhat compromised by a slew of injuries to the young receivers and running backs who really could have used the reps. Nate’s injury made it harder to do a Longshore/Riley evaluation. From what I gathered from practice reports, the receiving corps has a long way to go before it reaches the level of performance we saw last season. I’m cautiuosly optimistic about the defense. Except for the O-line the offense seems like a real work-in- progress.

  • toparchitect

    JO.

    Thank you for the updates. I enjoy every moment of it. Can’t wait to see the next. It’s been very boring to wait for the next season. So, This give us some insight of how the team comes together.

    Please don’t be bothered by those nuckle stubborn head that gave you negative comments.

    We will take it all as information, and not as opion.

    Keep it comming.

    Go Bears.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    JO – while you are at it would you please research and comment on these numbers.

    Football Graduation Rates: Pac-10
    Stanford 94%
    Washington 66%
    Oregon State 60%
    Oregon 59%
    UCLA 59%
    Washington State 57%
    Arizona State 56%
    USC 55%
    Cal 44%
    Arizona 39%

    Stanford continues to have the leading football graduation rate in the Pac 10. Cal’s graduation rate continues to languish near the bottom of the conference. We hear from Cal’s administration and fans that things have changed, and the football graduation rate is improving. We’ve heard that before, but so far, we haven’t seen it in the NCAA’s numbers. It may be true that Cal’s grad rate really is improving now. If so, the results will show up in future years. In the meantime, Cal football’s 44% grad rate in the most recent NCAA report reflects Cal’s performance during the recent past. We think it’s fair and responsible to hold Cal accountable for that performance.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    JO – We would appreciate your comments on these too.

    Bottom 10 Football Grad Rates: Division I-A
    San Jose State 32%
    Florida Atlantic 33%
    Arizona 39%
    Texas 40%
    Georgia 41%
    Central Florida 42%
    New Mexico 43%
    Cal 44%
    Alabama 44%
    Minnesota 44%
    UTEP 44%

    San Jose State has been showing up on the “bottom 10″ list every year, and finally has landed in the absolute bottom spot, with the worst football graduation rate in all of Division I-A. Last year, San Jose State had the worst basketball graduation rate, so the Spartans have the sad distinction of having the worst grad rate in the nation in the two major sports in consecutive years. Joining San Jose State in the bottom 10 this year is another Bay Area program: Cal. Texas and Alabama

  • Jan K Oski

    Anxious,

    There are always injuries in spring ball. I think I read someone being surprised by that fact every year. Yes, they are happening to players at Cal’s big questions, but it is too early to predict what this team is made of. In August, we will have a much clearer picture.

    Don’t feed the trolls!

  • CalAlum97

    But it’s true, other than the experienced O-line, the offense is indeed full of yet unproven rookies, even Best (though I expect great things from him). The offense will undoubtedly struggle in the early part of the season: getting comfortable with the playbook, eachother, themselves, game situations, etc. I do think they will adapt nicely and gel pretty quickly, however, and begin to excel. Maybe by the Zona St. game. In the meantime, look for the defense to win games for us!

    ooooooooooooooooooooooo
    ooo NO FEEDING ZONE ooo
    ooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Lawrence, I wouldn’t say there is any dramatic difference between the tailbacks, although Vereen may be the most explosive. Covaughn DeBoskie perhaps is the more powerful runner.

  • http://www.lross.net Lawrence Ross

    Thanks JO! Now get some sleep.