Football: Training camp report – Aug. 10

Filed by Ben Enos, filling in for Jonathan Okanes

A spirited day of practice Monday left the Bears looking forward to Tuesday, the first day they’ll practice in full pads. And, while no earth-shattering news came out of Monday’s workout, both players and coaches seemed to lay the groundwork for what should be an intense next couple of days.

Monday’s practice started under a hot sun, and Kevin Riley looked sharp right from the start with the first unit in 11-on-11 drills. A nice checkdown to Shane Vereen and a slant to Nyan Boateng provided some early highlights and, as a whole, the passing game looked good for much of the first part of practice. Brock Mansion completed a couple nice passes as well, but he also sailed a few high throughout practice.

The best throw of the day belonged to Beau Sweeney who, in an 11-on-11 drill late in practice threw a laser right down the seam, finding Charles Satchell for about a 20-yard touchdown. There was only one real transgression by the quarterbacks, with Riley missing Alex Lagemann and instead finding Marcus Ezeff late in practice.

(And, for those interested in the offensive line battle, the first unit had Mike Tepper at left tackle, Matt Summers-Gavin at left guard, Chris Guarnero at center, Chet Teofilo at right guard and Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle)

What started as a nice day for the receivers deteriorated a bit near the end of practice. Nearly every receiver had trouble holding onto the ball at one point or another, and the drops even made their way to the defense, with Darian Hagan dropping an easy interception in the end zone. All in all, it was an inconsistent day for the receivers, with just as many high points as low ones.

One receiver who is definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s practice is Michael Calvin. Continuing his comeback from a torn ACL last year, Calvin even tried a couple snaps Monday without the brace on his right knee. He looked good running routes and made a couple nice catches in drills throughout the day.

“I feel like I’ll be ready,” Calvin said. “One thing I’m trying to work on right now is working out of my brace. I’m just trying to get my confidence back. I tried it without the brace today and I feel way better than I do with the brace.”

Calvin also added that the drops were a topic of conversation among the receiving corps after practice, saying the unit knew it wasn’t at its best on Monday.

Coach Jeff Tedford was pleased with Monday’s workout, complimenting the enthusiasm and learning taking place at practice. Even with a good session though, Tedford was certainly looking forward to Tuesday’s first practice in pads.

“We get to play real football tomorrow and that’s something you always look forward to,” Tedford said. “You do this thing with just helmets and then you go to shells and it’s a progression into pads. We get to cut it loose tomorrow and play football for real.”

The team worked a little on special teams, working on catching punts and then on punt coverage as well. The group of potential punt returners included Jeremy Ross, Boateng, Vereen, Syd’Quan Thompson and Marvin Jones.

There was one blip in an otherwise uneventful workout when, about midway through the evening, Derrick Hill and Dominic Galas got into a brief shoving match. Both came out of the lineup immediately and were talked to by Tedford but each returned to the field shortly thereafter.

On the injury front, Verran Tucker returned to the field after suffering a leg injury on Sunday and showed no ill effects. Tight end Spencer Ladner wasn’t so lucky, however, as Tedford said the redshirt freshman pulled his hamstring near the tendon. Tedford said Ladner will be out for a while. LB Mike Mohamed missed practice to attend class.

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.

  • rollonubears

    hagan dropped about a dozen would-be picks last year. he’s a great defender, always gets in good position, but can’t hang onto the ball. i’m not sure how you teach that. i guess it’s why he’s on defense. sounds like our receiving corps should be on defense, too.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Excellent reporting Ben. More good articles like the past few ones from JO and you should be enough reason for the CC Times to begin a fee process.

    Rollonubears – now that was a funny statement!

  • Goldenbearglory

    Our receiving corps really seems to have a case of the drops. Every report I’ve read talks about how the receivers have some highs, but a lot of lows. I was really hoping, after getting a year under the belt, the receivers would step up and hang onto the football.

    Also, Riley seems to be up and down as well in every practice. It scares me that he seems to throw a pick or two in every practice – reminds me of what happened to Nate Longshore in the 2nd half of 2007 when he threw picks at the worst times to kill rallies.

  • rollonubears

    hopefully, it’s just that our defense is that good, but for a group that practiced routes all summer, it’s rather embarrassing. unless riley is totally dominating by the end of camp, i’d much rather see one of the younger guys play. this cycle of mediocrity has to stop.

  • Davidson

    Early in fall practice, the defense should be ahead of the offense. Even at the open spring practice, the defense just looked the part and was noticeably better than the O.

    However, as things progress, I would hope that the offense “catches” up.

    Also, if you remember, last year; it was Longshore that looked good in practice and then would come in and throw pick after pick. Riley is actually the one that is less turnover prone. He will take care of the ball.

  • abe

    i am beginning to wonder if the whole preseason expectation has some people on the team on edge considering the relatively high number of ‘blips’ we have had this year already, despite the fact that we are only 4 practices into fall camp. speaking of which don’t be discouraged fellow bear fans, it is indeed really early in camp, there is like 3.5 weeks of day in and out grueling work ahead, and i am sure the passing offense with hit full stride by the end of camp.

  • Bears

    These reports are good but they don’t tell the whole story. Of course as a player you need to practice well because you do practice like you play. But what matters is what the team produces on game day. The team has not even put on full pads or gone live with pads. That will happen today for the first time and it won’t be perfect right away. Still a month until opening day and plenty of time to iron out any kinks.
    No reason to worry about any position right now.
    Everything I’m hearing from practice so far is that the D looks great and the O is way ahead of where they were and have the potential to be very very good.
    Relax, this TEAM is going to be good and could be great.

  • cal85

    I agree with Abe. To quote AI, “it’s just practice”. Okay, maybe that’s not a good reference.

    In all seriousness, having ups and down’s is okay at this stage. I think the biggest difference (especially for very critically trained Cal grads) is that internet has created an atmosphere of microscopic scrutiny. For better or worse, we can know what happens with almost every rep of practice. Consequently, we’re starting to decide the fate of the season based on training sessions. On the other hand, we don’t freak out about our secondary when the offense scores. Are they being equally inconsistent?

    Yes, my hunch is that the QBs & WRs aren’t there yet, but be patient.

  • Davidson

    We’re CAL fans, we worry about EVERYTHING.

    On the flip side, if we had offensive TD after TD…then we would worry what was wrong with our Defense…

  • konamike

    rollonubears re Hagan drops: I agree but like John Madden says – “If cornerbacks could catch they’d be receivers.”

  • AERose

    “i’d much rather see one of the younger guys play. this cycle of mediocrity has to stop.”

    Agreeing for the sake of argument that there is a “cycle of mediocrity” in Cal quarterbacking, starting an inexperienced quarterback because the experienced quarterback is merely disappointing seems like it would more likely perpetuate that cycle than end it.

    If Mansion is ready and Riley isn’t, Tedford will put Mansion in. If they’re both ready, then Cal’s hit the jackpot. If neither are ready, then Tedford will burn that bridge when he comes to it. Otherwise, Riley’s the starter.

    For my part, I think Riley’s going to be the guy we need when the pressure is on.