Filed by Ben Enos, filling in for Jonathan Okanes
With Jahvid Best using Thursday as a rest day, the rest of the Cal football team focused on position drills and even worked in their first two-minute drill of camp in a well-paced workout.
Best was fully dressed and assisted his teammates in drills, but didn’t do much in terms of football activity. He did spend some time on the stationary bike. Shane Vereen took the majority of the first-team reps.
Vereen yielded a couple first team reps to freshman Dasarte Yarnway, who looked sharp working with both the first and second teams. Yarnway even showed his ability to take a big hit, getting popped from the side by linebacker Charles Johnson and springing right back up. The Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco grad said he’s progessing well in his transition to the college game and that Thursday was a good opportunity to show his skills a little.
“We want to be the deepest group and the most talented group and also the hardest working group on the field so when Jahvid takes a day off, we’re just trying to continue to push the tempo and keep the intensity up,” Yarnway said.
The defense looked particularly good on Thursday, even with the absence of mainstay defensive backs Darian Hagan (sore knee) and Sean Cattouse (pulled hamstring). Syd’Quan Thompson, who returned after missing Wednesday’s practice, had a couple nice pass deflections and Charles Amadi and Brett Johnson also made impressive plays in the secondary. Johnson had maybe the hit of the day when he leveled Anthony Miller as he tried to haul in a Kevin Riley pass in the end zone.
The defensive line also looked impressive, with Tyson Alualu seemingly always in the backfield. The Bears spent a few minutes working on their interior run game and the defense certainly held its own, getting good penetration and making a couple stops in the backfield.
“The defense made some good plays. Syd covered real well, Amadi down here in the corner made a great play on Marv (Jones),” coach Jeff Tedford said. “It was really competitive, guys were really working well together. It’s nice to see. You don’t want to see it one sided. You have concern if it’s one sided.”
On the quarterback front, things remained status quo. Kevin Riley continued his work with the first team and had several nice passes to go with a couple stray bullets. Brock Mansion did largely the same, and Beau Sweeney, after struggling a little in 7 on 7 drills, rebounded to throw some nice balls in 11 on 11s. The receiving corps had a good day, with Alex Lagemann, Marvin Jones, Jeremy Ross and Michael Calvin all standing out with a couple nice catches and a relatively small amount of dropped passes.
The Bears wrapped up practice with their first two-minute drill (although they really only set the clock to 1:30) of camp. Riley was first under center and, after fumbling the snap on the first play, found Vereen and Marvin Jones to move the ball down to the defense’s 25-yard line. Another completion to Jones gave the offense one more play but Riley’s pass for Miller was dislodged by Johnson to end the drive.
Mansion ran the next drive and found Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson for about a 15-yard gain. The next play was the big one though, as Mansion found tight end Skyler Curran behind the defense with a perfect strike, a play that ended with Curran being tackled on the 7-yard line. After an incomplete pass and a Mansion scramble to the 1, DeBoskie-Johnson punched it in for a touchdown.
On the injury front, Nyan Boateng donned the red jersey and did not practice with a concussion. Hagan and Cattouse were out, and Quinn Tedford also missed practice with a concussion. Spencer Ladner was also in red as he continues to rehab his pulled hamstring. Linebacker Eddie Young was back in action after sitting out Wednesday.