Putting the pads on

Three people were near the top of Tightwad Hill late Thursday afternoon taking a quick peek at the Cal football team’s spring practice. The trio was spotted by Cal security and one of them, standing at the top of the stadium rim with a bullhorn, ordered the onlookers to move along.

Yes, things were fairly intense for the Bears’ first day in pads this spring, with plenty of big hits, nice plays and overzealous security guards.  

“First day in pads, I was happy with the intensity,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “Pretty physical today, a lot of hitting. I was pleased with it.”

In early 11-on-11 drills, QB Kevin Riley had a lot of running plays but looked sharp with some of his throws. Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney alos took snaps and had to deal with more pressure from the defense, but overall didn’t look too bad considering it was just the third day of spring ball. Riley said he was already starting to feel comfortable with new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.

With Jahvid Best still nursing a foot injury, tailback Shane Vereen got several reps and found a few holes. Kevin Lewis, the former DB, showed some explosiveness when he was able to get into space. Tedford said Lewis obviously still has to learn some things on offense, but was impressed with his quickness and his ball-catching ability.  

The defense made some nice plays as well with a few interceptions and even a sack, something that’s usually verboten in practice, as Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu corralled Sweeney. Nobody was hurt. Syd Thompson also came up and had a couple of big hits at the line of scrimmage.

The team is off for spring break until March 31. Your boy, J.O., will be back then to fill you in on all the details. I have a feeling he’ll post some items next week, though. He just can’t help himself.

– Curtis Pashelka

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.

  • nedbear

    I like this guy’s tone. Maybe the Times can do a one-two punch with John and Curtis.


    give me a break. SC opens all their practices and invites the fans & community to be apart of the program. the people are the ones who bring most of the money to the program. however if students show up to take a peak they get shooed’ off by security? omg, what state football team has security detail? hahah come on JT loosen the reigns up. perhaps we’d win more late season games if you did.


    or are you working on secret plays so that we can finally beat SC? please tell me that’s the reason.

  • Davidson

    When you have the nation’s best athletes/football players, you can afford to be open with your practices. As the opposition, knowing what USC will not necessarily help you stop them.

    As for Cal, we need every advantage we can take. And also, I’m sure they have some trick plays they are working on.

  • abe

    well how come Sarkisian is holding open practices at washington, i mean he certainly doesn’t have the talent ‘sc enjoys? however it might be too early to make this argument since we don’t know yet how he will improve the husky program but i still think jt should open up some practices to engage the fan base.

  • Tyler M.

    I agree – at least more open practices, in addition to the scrimmage, which is another thing that needs to be modified. I would be more into a blue v. gold game.

  • calbear

    cal isn’t SC. Get over it.


    yea the way JT does it is bush league

  • Big D

    I thought that JT used to have open practices until DeSean got there. Then some agents were trying to infiltrate practices to get to Desean, so that is what I understand the reasons to be. Maybe that is just a rumor.

    Jonathan, what say you about this?

  • nickle

    Tedford can do whatever the hell he wants.

    I’m sure most fans agree with me.

  • Fizz

    Cal, JT and I do not care whether or not whiners see the practices are not. Screw off. Cal is most definitely not USC and does not care how Pete Carroll runs his show. Go watch the Trojans practice if you need to watch drills. We don’t need you. In fact, go become a USC fan. Our only concern is beating the Trojans next year. If the way that JT wants to do that is by closing off practices to the masses, then that’s how it will be. Deal with it.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    USC opens up its practices because Coach Carroll is of the opinion that the players practise harder and more focused when their are crowds watching. A little swagger comes out when the possiblity of one of our 7 Heisman winners or one of our NFL Hall of Famers or 1st round draft picks is watching. It is just human nature to perform at a higher level when you know you are being watched and appreciated for the excellence that you bring to the field of play. Furthermore Coach Carroll doesn’t think there is much of a surprise element to a game against us.

  • AmyFan4Life

    And, how many practices has Amy attended at USC? Zero! She wouldn’t brag if she knew few people attend these open practices (that’s a tices, not tises, Amy!). Plus, the players are focused on their play, not who might be in the stands, least they receive a lashing for lack of focus. Now, how many games have you attended at the Coliseum, Amy? Do you even know how to get there?

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Big, that was before my time but I can tell you that this is my third year on the beat and practices have always been closed.