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Cal football: Training camp report — Aug. 12

Jeff Tedford was pretty direct after practice tonight: Unless a player is injured, the reason for his inactivity will remain undisclosed.

A pair of defensive starters — cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson and linebacker Eddie Young — didn’t practice. When asked after the game why they were held out, Tedford said: “If there is something wrong with guys, I’ll let you know. Besides that, we don’t need to comment on things that go on out here. If there’s something wrong with them and they can’t practice and it’s newsworthy, then it’s newsworthy. If it’s something that we’re doing in-house here, nobody needs to know about it. Let’s leave it at that.”

Thompson and Young still attended practice and Young did push-ups intermittently throughout the sesson. There didn’t seem to be any tension. This doesn’t appear to be anything more than your run-of-the-mill missed class or meeting. We’ll see if they are back on the field tomorrow.

On the field tonight, quarterback Kevin Riley sent notice that he plans on keeping his job as starter. Riley, who has been efficient and sharp so far, had arguably his best practice of training camp. One of his signature plays came during on 11-on-11s when he faked a handoff and rolled right, only to have linebacker Charles Johnson in his face (Johnson was getting Young’s first team reps). Riley made a quick decision, promptly dumping a pass off to tight end Anthony Miller in the flat.

It wasn’t a big gainer, but it demonstrated that type of command and awareness that Tedford puts such a premium on.

Riley also put nice touch on a beautifully thrown pass on a wheel route to Jahvid Best, who had the pass drop off his fingertips. Riley also was very accurate during 1-on-1 drills.

Tedford said after practice that he’s been very happy with all three quarterbacks so far.

“The quarterbacks are much improved, even from the spring,” he said.

That being said, Riley has clearly been more accurate than Brock Mansion. Mansion certainly has had some good moments, but he’s consistently missed more receivers than Riley. He actually threw a couple of nice balls Wednesday night, but also made a few mistakes. One came during 11-on-11s when he had Alex Lagemann open, but waited too long to pull the trigger, allowing the defense to close and break up the play.

Marvin Jones continues to shine, but Michael Calvin had a rough stretch where he dropped a handful of passes. Nyan Boateng made a tough catch during a hurry-up drill at the start of practice, falling to the turf after slipping but still hauling in a pass from Riley while lying on his back.

The Bears did their first work of camp with kickoffs, albeit briefly. It was a drill mostly designed to have the kick team practice its run-up to the kick, but all three kickers still got a couple of chances to boot the ball downfield. Giorgio Tavecchio kicked it to the 4 and the 9, David Seawright got it to the goal-line and the 12, and Vince D’Amato’s one kick went to the 3.

All three kickers practiced short field goals and all were accurate on almost all of them, although Seawright went wide left a couple of times.

One other dynamic of practice that is new this year: During 11-on-11s, a horn will sound and the offense and defense must drop everything and spring to the end zone. Tedford said this is designed to prepare players for a sudden change during a game, such as a penalty wiping out a long gain or an interception that sends  the defense right back on to the field after the kickoff.

“It’s putting condition in the body during practice,” Tedford said. “You have to get back, you have to pay attention to detail when you’re a little bit winded. I’ve been really happy with the shape they are in.”

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.

  • calbear91

    Awesome report. Worth waiting for tonight. Thank you and Go Bears!

  • George

    Thanks Jonathan. Go Kevin Riley.

  • hbear

    good job jo keep em coming

  • Mack Attack

    Mmmm, that hit the spot JO. God bless you.

    Although now I’m curious to know what’s up with Quan? So many questions, so few answers…

    How are the new coaches (o-line & o-coordinator) looking? Anything different you’re seeing out there in terms of drills/workouts? Any motivational techniques I can implement in my own life on a daily basis?

  • Calduke

    Mack Attack – you have the same interest in Quan that I’ve observed the last 2 years. Lots of national and local publicity about him and maybe it has affected his ‘team’ attitude.
    I’m afraid he may have developed the DeSean Jackson
    ‘me-best’ virus during his last year.
    I hope my observation s wrong.

  • Mack Attack

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…I don’t think we have the same perception on Quan. At no point in time did I think he had developed a “me-best” attitude. I just want to know: why the best defensive player on the team is sitting out of practice? If that’s the reason (he’s become “me” over “team) I’m definitely shocked, and that would be very disappointing. However, until someone legitimately proves this, Quan has my utmost respect for the dedication and effort he has given to Cal football. I’m not sand-bagging my boys.

    22 days…Best for Heisman. Go Bears!

  • rollonubears

    Hey JO, just so I don’t sound like putz when pronouncing your name, is it o-caines, o-can, o-con? Or am I way off?

  • Jan K Oski

    Mack, it is simple. He broke a team rule, and if a Coach is going to maintain order and discipline, he cannot tolerate the breaking of his rules. They could have been horsing around during film study, late to a meeting or skipped a class/tutoring session. These might be minor things, but Tedford needs to make it clear to the incoming kids. Plus, Syd and Young aren’t going to kill the team’s chances for a stellar season if they miss one practice.

    One question for you: are you a parent? If so, do you ever saw NO to your children in public? Do you feel a need to explain it to every person present? Why should Tedford make it public? How would it benefit his relationship with his players? This is a very wise move by Tedford, as he is restoring order, while not giving into gossip. By avoiding gossip, he is showing faith in his players that they will not repeat the incident. In Tedford I trust!

    CalDuke, you’re wrong. Most kids learn one or two lessons from the school of hard knocks. It doesn’t mean we are all primadonas. Oh yeah, what is the annual average of 5-star high school recruits selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft? It is around 90%. That’s pretty good, when you consider there are only around 60 5-star players in the nation, if you include all players listed on Rivals, Scout and ESPN.

    Go BEARS!

  • Andrew

    Why is everyone going off on Mack. He was just wondering. Oski, he never mentioned anything about Tedford, nor bagged on him for not disclosing the details. I, and am saying this from what I read, think he is just curious and was wondering what actually was the reason Syd did not practice. No ones ignorant to believe that one practice will kill a team’s chances, so these comments are just unneccesary as well.

  • Andrew

    You know NCsarecoming I rarely agree with you. But this might be one of the few times I do.

  • Robert

    J.O. do you have a feeling for how strong the O-Line will be?

  • Calduke

    Jan Oski – You sure raised some fur. I still like you.

    Tedford lost control of the team 2 years ago – due to egos and the “I can do what I want because I’m so important to the team. Coach won’t do much – he needs me”. I hope that is not the case here.

    Perhaps JO was being nice to the coach by using the
    term ‘pretty direct’- which may be an understatement of Tedfords actual mood.

    It’s time for football!!

  • Jan K Oski

    Duke, I usually don’t like discussing too much about spilt milk that be cleaned and thrown out. However, I think Tedford lost control of the team, because he primarily wasn’t paying attention to team chemistry, while holding his huge play card. The disease of egos were merely a result of the lack of his attention. Perhaps, that’s what you’re saying, too?

    Also, could you provide some quotes from Syd, which suggest he has gone that route? Syd by all accounts (JO and MoragaBear) is a soft spoken individual. That personality doesn’t fit into the Look-at-Me Mentality. Syd is also a father, and I’m sure he is greatly humbled like I and most of us from that experience.

    Oh yeah, I enjoy your replies, too. You should really join us on BearInsider for you’d learn a lot from the wide variety of posters on there. I’m jankoski over there, too. I don’t use multiple profiles to play games.

    Go BEARS!

  • Golden Bear

    Syd will NEVER be Desean in terms of attitude and demeanor.

    Bet the farm on that.

  • Calduke

    Matt Barklay???

  • Golden Bear

    Nice to see this thread was cleaned up. The deletions were necessary and appreciated.