Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no quarterback news. Jeff Tedford said he is going to wait all the way up until pregame warm-ups to decide who will start Saturday’s game against Arizona State. He may know before that, but he won’t make it public, partly because he’d like to keep the Sun Devils guessing.
I know this, it’s impossible to tell from watching practice. For the third straight day, Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore took exactly the same amount of reps with the first team and second team. And they both have looked good, especially Thursday. It seemed like every pass was on the mark on all types of routes. Maybe competition really does bring out the best in everyone.
A couple of interesting developments along the offenisve line: Now that Mark Boskovich is the starting left guard, Matt Summers-Gavin is taking reps at that position with the second team. But the Bears also like Richard Fisher at that position, but Fisher has spent most of the season taking second team reps at center. Fisher is back to taking some reps at left guard, so the Bears have taken freshman Dominic Galas off the scout team to take some center reps with the second team.
For the second straight day, it appears walk-on freshman Giorgio Tavecchio had the best practice kicking the ball deep. Tedford wouldn’t say who would handle kickoffs on Saturday, but did single out Tavecchio as kicking the ball the best this week. That might imply he will at least start the game handling kickoffs, as he did against Michigan State. Tavecchio had one kick go inside the 5 on Thursday, the only one to do so between him and David Seawright.
Both cornerback Darian Hagan (knee) and linebacker Anthony Felder (back) practiced and were deemed ready to go for Saturday.
Safety Bernard Hicks is back at practice and will play Saturday, but defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said Brett Johnson will continue to start. He also said he was happy with how Sean Cattouse played against Colorado State and should once again see extensive playing time.
For the second time this week, and in his blog, Tedford has made a point to implore the crowd to make a difference Saturday. Part of this is because when Cal visited Arizona State last year, it was an electric atmosphere. The Sun Devils were undefeated at the time and climbing the national rankings, and the game against the Bears was considered huge. Tedford would like to return the favor.
Gregory lamented the loss of defensive end Rulon Davis. He said Davis was having a superb game Saturday before he suffered a leg injury on the last play of the first half. It was a play that almost never happened — Colorado State claimed it called timeout with one second left and time was put back on the clock as half the Bears were headed up the tunnel for halftime. Davis was hurt on the next play.
“We’re walking off the field and we lose a guy. There’s no question that’s tough,” Gregory said. “Anytime you lose anybody, that’s tough. But he was playing well and added a lot to the pass rush. Anytime you lose a guy like that, it hurts. We have to create some pass rush in other ways.”
Finally, Tedford said the quarterbacks did some work with wet balls because it may rain Saturday. The current forecast calls for the rain to hit the area Friday night and subside by Saturday morning.
“Rain is not that big of a deal,” Tedford said. “It’s only when it’s a real rainy, windy, nasty day that you have to make sure you have a game plan ready for that.”