By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 10:46 pm in off-season stuff.
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.