Football: Thursday night report

The only real nugget of news today is that Giorgio Tavecchio will continue to kick off. After Tavecchio struggled to kick the ball deep during Saturday’s season-opener against Maryland, Tedford took a look at field goal kicker Vince D’Amato on kickoffs during the week, as well as focused on what ailed Tavecchio. It turns out that Tavecchio had a problem with his mechanics on Saturday, and the team is satisfied that it is now all worked out.

Tavecchio explained that he was too excited for the season-opener and he was rushing to the ball on his approach. That caused him to over-stride and strike the ball too low, causing an upper-cut type of swing that gave the kicks too much altitude and not enough distance.
Coach Jeff Tedford said Tavecchio showed improvement during the week.
“We changed his approach a little bit,” he said. “I think he’ll hit the ball more consistently.”
By all reports, Tavecchio was kicking the ball consistently between the 5-yard line and goal line during practice, but couldn’t get that to translate into the game. Even at halftime Saturday, Tavecchio was kicking the ball deep as he warmed up.
“I definitely underperformed,” Tavecchio said. “I’m happy there’s another game coming up this Saturday. I’m itching to get back out there. I definitely can do much better.

I talked with defensive coordinator Bob Gregory tonight about a couple subjects. He elaborated a little on the improvement of defensive end Ernest Owusu, who came out of nowhere to record two sacks against Maryland.
“Everybody kind of clicks differently, and it certainly clicked for him,” Gregory said. “To be honest, I didn’t really expect that, so it was great to see that. It’s great for him. A guy like that who has been working his fannie off shows up — we’re all really proud of him.”
Gregory explained the situations when Owusu, Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan were all on the field together came on pass rushing plays. In those situations, either Jarred Price or Devin Bishop plays rush linebacker to give the front four guys applying pressure.
I also asked Gregory about the decision to redshirt JC transer Ryan Davis. Many thought Davis could contribute right away as a rush linebacker, but Gregoroy said the team felt it was deep enough to allow Davis some extra time to develop.
“You never quite know until you have them,” Gregory said. “I think Ryan Davis is going to be a great player for us. We kind of felt like we had enough depth and we were good enough in all the spots that we could take a year and help develop him. I think that is what’s going to happen and he’s going to be a really good player for us.
Gregory added that Davis could possibly play defensive line as well.

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.

  • Jan K Oski

    Good stuff, JO! But, what about the QB competition?

    Go BEARS!

  • milo

    Jordan, Alualu, Owusu and a rushing LB on the line. That’s monster. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

    Go Bears!

  • ToparchiBear

    I am looking for the the Oct 3. the mother of all PAC-10 game this year. I want to see our DE chasing and take down the run away Barkley.

  • ToparchiBear

    I don’t think there is any QB competition any more. Riley’s stella performance solidify his position with a PAC-10 offensive player of the week.

    Go bear! crush down the Eagle.

  • Pete Carroll

    I think Tavecchio needs a hypnotist or Phil Jackson to help him clear his mind. Just like a golfer, it’s when you try to hit it harder that you hit it poorly. He needs to feel the calm. If he thinks the games are exciting now, wait until PAC-10 play starts. He better have it dialed in by then.

  • rollonubears

    what phil jackson uses to clear the mind, you can get plenty of right in berkeley.

  • mbbear

    QB Competition-THIS JUST IN: Riley played very well, was Pac-10 QB of the Week!

    Unless you wanted an update on Riley’s QB competition in terms of being All Pac-10, this question is dead for awhile.

  • cal85

    C’mon guys. You’re really accentuating the “old” in Old Blues. Can’t you recognize Oski’s Berkeley sarcasm anymore?

  • Goldenbearglory

    While everyone is focused on the depth of the kickoffs, I hope to see better kickoff return coverage. Aside from the fumble that was recovered by Campbell, they were giving up HUGE returns each time. Hope they tighten that up.

  • Davidson

    GBG. Yes…while really like Sofele (20) Moncrease’s (8) speed, they often overran and missed tackled the returner. I assume its because they are too fast and pumped and missed the guy, or is it because they are on the outside lanes and have to stay in their lanes for any cutbacks?

  • Jan K Oski

    Thanks, 85! I’m glad someone got my joke. After 2 years of a QB controversy, I guess some old Blue have a knee jerk response.

    Davidson, I think your lane comment is silly, since they overran the player with the ball. This is another example of when speed kills. It just shows how great an athlete Best is. He obviously has exceptional speed, but he knows how and when to use it. Fortunately, Cal has several players to try on the outside, and I hope Alamar gives all of them a chance in the next game.

  • Pete Carroll

    It all starts with the depth of the kick. When you’re running downfield, you don’t know where the ball is. If in practice you routinely expect the ball to be caught at the 5 you’re significantly off your rhythm if it’s caught at the 15. 10 yards on a 60 yard kickoff is pretty short.

  • 66Bear

    Thanks for the good stuff, JO, and to you guys for your posts. Once more, it’s time for me to hold my nose, swallow, and root for U$C against the Buckeyes tomorrow, and hope that the PAC-10 can embarrass the Big-10 yet again. Go Bears! Beat the Eagles!

    P.S. For those of you who don’t get Comcast and are looking for free audio of the game tomorrow, Eastern Washington has free streaming audio of the game at http://www.teamline.cc. Last year, I had trouble finding free web radiocasts of some of Cal’s games.

  • BluenGold

    The game is listed as being shown on CSNCA, which is the same Comcast station that shows the A’s games that are televised. It’s channel 89 in the Walnut Creek area Comcast system. Check your listings for other areas.

  • Primo

    Tnx, BnG, and 66Bear, but, does this mean i have to buy one of Sandy’s $20 radio’s from the vendor to hear real-time radio at the game??? and, do u have to buy thm every game?? wtf is with that idea, anyway? how many did they sell last week? 50? Let’s see…that’s bout $1000…not enough to pay for the card stunts.

  • BluenGold

    Hey Primo,

    You can always take your own radio and listen to ‘what a bonanza’ Joe Starkey on the regular radio broadcast (AM 810).

    I have no idea about those radios they sell at the games. Do they receive the regular radio broadcast or something different? I kinda dig Joe Starkey myself lol.