Wednesday practice

Cal’s offense had one of its better practices of the spring, as quarterback Kevin Riley had one his best sessions in a while, as did the Bears’ receivers.

Riley looked more confident during the two-minute drill near the beginning of practice, dealing with the defense’s pass rush to complete short passes to Nyan Boateng and Tad Smith and a screen to Tracy Slocum. During one-on-one drills, Riley also made a nice pass deep down the field to Boateng, but it was broken up on a nice defensive play by defensive back Jesse Brooks, who had a pretty good day of practice. During the same drill, Riley also connected with receiver Michael Calvin on a deep ball down the sideline, a pass in which Calvin made a nice catch while being pretty well-defended.

During crossover near the end of practice, Riley threw about a 65-yard touchdown pass to Calvin, on a play where cornerback Chris Conte stopped running and Calvin was wide open down the field.

Calvin also had a terrific catch on a long pass from Brock Mansion, with Brooks draped all over him. Calvin had another touchdown catch when he took a pass from Mansion on a crossing pattern and turned up the sideline all the way to the end zone. Defensive back Marcus Ezeff tried to run him down but couldn’t catch up.

Receiver LaReylle Cunningham, who has been limited in the spring as he’s recovering from a knee injury, had one of his better days of practice. He performed well in drills and made a nice catch in traffic during crossover on a pass from Mansion.

Wide receiver Drew Glover made a nice catch during the two-minute drill on a pass from Mansion, going over the middle and taking a big hit but still holding on.

The offensive line looked very good during a crossover drill without receivers or defensive backs. The drill includes the line, tight ends and running backs, and virtually every play is a run. The line consistently opened up big holes for Cal tailbacks, and Shane Vereen looked explosive during the drill. Vereen looks pretty healed up from the hamstring that has hampered him throughout a lot of camp. He’s hitting the hole hard and exploding down the field.

Linebacker Zack Follett was a force during the two-minute drill near the end of practice, forcing Riley to scramble on three consecutive plays. Follett gave right tackle Chet Teofilo all he could handle during the drill.

The flu bug that is running through the team caught up to defensive end Tyson Alualu, who missed practice. Tight end Cameron Morrah is still out, and coach Jeff Tedford said he believes Morrah has pneumonia. “He’s as sick as I’ve ever seen anybody,” Tedford said. Defensive back Gary Doxy also has missed the past couple practices with the flu.

Tedford also said defensive back Sean Cattouse will sit out the rest of the spring to concentrate on academics, but he fully expects Cattouse to be back for the fall.

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.

  • buddhabear

    Thanks for the update JO, glad to see the young QB’s connecting with our WR’s.

    “He’s as sick as I’ve ever seen anybody”-doesn’t sound very good… I hope the staff has him in seeing a doctor, pneumonia is no joke.

  • Matt S.

    Tang Center should fix Morrah right up. I agree that its nice to see our offense to have a good practice. Our defense seems to have the leg up in the Spring. Hopefully this indicates that our offensive unit is progressing (and not that our defensive unit is regressing). Thanks for the update JO.

  • dball

    Tang Center? Haven’t heard that name since I was a student, what a disaster, I hope that the coaching staff has better medical experts available to diagnose things like pneumonia.

    Based on JO’s report from Monday practice, Cameron Morrah had an asthma attack earlier in the week. Unfortunately being asthmatic makes one extra vulnerable to pneumonia and bronchitis. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, but Morrah could be out for a long time.

  • MemorialSectionHH

    JO – nice to hear vereen is getting his shot. is best still getting in a few reps? when the line does the crossover is it against a 3-4 or a 4-3? finally, have you noticed any changes in the offensive formations/plays under cignetti? thanks for the coverage.

  • Bear

    Haven’t heard much about Slocum lately. How is the battle looking for the #2 RB spot? Who is leading?

  • Jan K. Oski

    If Morrah is on antibiotics, today, he’ll be fully recovered in 2 weeks. That’s harldy long-term. I suffer from the same problem, so I’m talking from experience…

    It is refreshing to see that the WR corps is finally connecting with the QBs. Looks like the boys are responding to Tedford’s call for extra effort which shows team chemistry could be solid.

  • dball

    Jan, not to take away from your medical opinion. I’m asthmatic and somewhat athletic, and I was sidelined from football for 2 months despite 2 doctors and a respiratory therapist in my family. Maybe my family was the problem 😉 Enough said, let’s hope Morrah’s back as soon as possible and if not, sounds like Tad Smith is shaping up nicely as a replacement.

  • N8Bear

    uh, what’s crossover? Is that when all the defensive guys dress like offensive guys and vice versa?

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    Any response to this?

    “The trend among Cal Pac 10 1st and 2nd team All Academic football honorees (not a lagging indicator) is not as positive:

    2002 – 11
    2003 – 10
    2004 – 9
    2005 – 4
    2006 – 5
    2007 – 4

    You can see what Tedford has accomplished once the recruits of his predecessor finished their eligibility. Those 2005, 2006 and 2007 honorees are almost all his recruits.”

  • Jan K. Oski

    Absolutely true about Smith, Dball! But, Tedford will need Morrah in those 2 TE sets to get those tough yards. I know he has been weak on blocking in his history, but I’ve got this gut feeling of breakout year for him. I’m sure he has read the facts like us, why Smith is over there. Competition always seems to bring out the best in athletes. So, let’s start praying for his quick recovery!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    JO – interesting analysis…care to comment?

    By changing how they calculate grad rate, the NCAA departed from the previous Federal standards for graduation rate. It gave all schools a potential bounce just by redefining who is included in the stats. As it turned out, it didn’t affect Stanford’s grad rate in any statistically significant way, probably because the vast majority of our football players graduate in 5 years rather than the 6 years the NCAA uses. But Cal’s “bounce” has to be evaluated with this gift from the NCAA in mind.

    Also, before claiming heartening gains, Cal supporters should recognize that the 2008 number finally gets back to where Cal was in 2004 with intervening years of decline conveniently forgotten. So, as a public service Cal’s football grad rates by year:

    2007– 44%
    2006– 47%
    2005– 48%
    2004– 50%

    There’s a trend in there, all right. I think statisticians call the phenomenon regression to the mean. If you look at the trends, Cal gets a break with its anomalous 44% number in 2007, but its improvement is really only 4% over its long term mean, and that’s with the NCAA rule-change “bump”.

  • toparchitect

    Yep! Pneumonia is really no joke.

    One of my church member just die three weeks ago with a Pneumonia. The doctor missed it and sent him home. By the time they discovered later, it was too late. He was in his early 30.

  • PasadenaBear

    Can you say malpractice…

  • NotSoOldBlue

    When I was at Cal, oh so long ago, I remember being told that 40% of a Freshman class didn’t make it to junior year. So you’re talking about a 60% graduation rate at best overall at Cal. Think of all the JC folks who come in for the last two years. Clearly, football grad rates should be better than they are and players should get all the support they need – and they get a lot more than I did as a random student. But I also wonder if the academic environment at Cal, which is tougher than at Stanfurd (where it’s hard to get in, but even harder to get kicked out once you’re in), should also somehow be considered when looking at those stats.

  • CalAlum97

    LOL, N8bear, good one.

    oooDon’t feed the troll!ooo

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Memorial, Best is no longer getting reps. That was just the first few practices. But he still is participating in individual drills every day. As for the defense, it’s been exclusively a 3-4 all spring. I haven’t noticed anything dramatically different under Cignetti.
    Bear, Slocum still looks good. He’s still getting first team reps in practice.
    N8, nice try, but it’s when the offense goes against the defense 11-on-11.