By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 at 10:48 pm in off-season stuff.
Tuesday wasn’t the best day to be a kicker. … or punt returner. … or receiver. Basically, if your job was associated with the ball being in the air for any length of time, you were in for a long day.
Howling winds made practice interesting, although the Bears actually dealt with it pretty well. There were a few dropped passes and a couple of bad snaps, but otherwise Cal braved the gusts with a pretty good practice that was heavy on drills.
There weren’t a whole lot of highlights. The Bears have been spending time with regularity working on two-minute situations, and both Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion led the offense to touchdowns near the end of practice with the hypothetical score having Cal trailing 28-20. Riley converted a key fourth-down pass to Nyan Boateng and then finished off the drive with a short TD throw to tight end Anthony Miller. Mansion wasted no time with the second team, connecting with wide receiver Charles Satchell, who was wide open over the middle for a 30-yard scoring strike. Beau Sweeney’s drive with the first team ended as time ran out.
Another two-minute drill with the Bears trailing 23-21 ended with a successful 37-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio.
There was a brief scare midway through practice when Marvin Jones, who has been the Bears’ top wide receiver this spring, hobbled off to the sideline during a punt return drill. But coach Jeff Tedford said Jones simply reaggravated a lingering ankle injury and should be fine.
The Bears’ secondary was a little depleted Tuesday. With cornerback Darian Hagan missing his usual Tuesday practice to work on academics already, the corps was even more thing because corner Chris Conte sat out with a concussion and safety Sean Cattouse missed practice because he is sick. Tedford said Conte suffered the concussion during Saturday’s scrimmage.
That gave more reps to corners Bryant Nnabufie and Marc Anthony as well as safety D.J. Campbell.
While Jones has been Cal’s top receiver this spring, another wideout who has looked solid is Alex Lagemann. He definitely looks as though he will be in the mix to compete for playing time this fall. Lagemann has demonstrated excellent hands and good route-running ability, and has continually made plays during the spring. He is consistently getting open, and then producing when balls are coming his way.
“He’s doing a real nice job,” Tedford said. “He’s giving great effort. He’s playing fast. He’s getting much more comfortable and making some really nice plays, some really nice catches.”
Lagemann was considered one of the nation’s top wide receiver recruits when he came to Cal in 2007, but a broken foot, and some complications that followed, essentially sidelined him for two years. He spent an entire year getting healthy and then spent last season on the scout team.
“I always thought coming out of high school that he had that potential,” Tedford said. “It was frustrating for awhile because it was a situation where he couldn’t run and it lingered on so long. It’s nice to see him back healthy.”
I talked to Lagemann tonight after practice. Look for more on him later in the week.