Football: Wednesday night update

While cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson sat out another practice Wednesday, Cal actually is suddenly healthier than it has been almost all season.

For the first time this season, reserve tight end Spencer Ladner practiced in full capacity. Ladner had been making incremental strides the past couple of weeks, but he was cleared by doctors Wednesday to practice without limitation.

In addtion, second-string nose guard Kendrick Payne also is back to practicing fully for the first time in weeks. Even reserve linebacker Robert Mullins is back in full capacity.

Neither of these developments should have a major impact right away. Ladner will take awhile to get into midseason form, and he still has Anthony Miller and Skylar Curran ahead of him. But Cal coach Jeff Tedford said Ladner was having a good training camp before he suffered a strained knee and could have been in the playing rotation this season.

“He was working his way into the rotation,” Tedford said. “He was having a really good camp before he got hurt.”

Aaron Tipoti still is taking the second team reps at nose guard as Payne (plantar fasciitis) works his way back into shape. Mullins, who had been taking consistent second-team reps during camp before incurring a knee injury, figures to be down on the depth chart for awhile.

As for Thompson, Tedford said all indications are that Thompson (back bruise) still will play against Washington State on Saturday. Tedford was unsure if Thompson would practice Thursday.

“Every day it’s progressing, but it’s still sore,” Tedford said. “It all depends on how he feels in the morning, how he feels before practice. You just don’t know.”

It looks like kicking duties will return to Giorgio Tavecchio this week. Starter Vince D’Amato hasn’t kicked yet this week because of a sprained shoulder and Tavecchio acquitted himself well last week after D’Amato got hurt.

Left guard Matt Summers-Gavin is back wearing a yellow jersey at practice, meaning he is limited. Summers-Gavin played against UCLA after missing the USC game with a shoulder sprain, but Tedford said “he’s not quite 100 percent.”


Wednesday is the day Jahvid Best speaks to the press. Of course, when Cal fans think about last year’s rout of Washington State, they first think about Best’s 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

“It was just blocked perfectly and I had a one on one with a safety about five yards past the line of scrimmage and i was able to make him miss,” Best said. “It was a footrace from there.”:

That was the beginning of a 200-yard game from Best, who is coming off a 102-yard performance against UCLA. Ninety-three of those yards came on one play.

Best said he was bothered by dehydration and asthma during the game and had several rushes where he lost yardage. But he said that was simply due to UCLA’s tough defense.

“They have a great defense,” Best said. “They were getting penetration. They had a great scheme.”

But Shane Vereen seemed to be able to run upfield all day long, finishing with 154 yards on 17 carries. Vereen said that was simply because he happened to be on the field when the Bears made┬áthe right calls against the Bruins’ defense.

“I think a lot of it has to do with who’s in at specific times,” Vereen said. “I think if Jahvid was in on the plays I was in, he would have just as much success.”

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

    Even though this isn’t the Year, these young men make me proud. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Vereen made the right moves to run wild against Price and Company. Best simply didn’t have it in the tank for the game. I have to commend him for trying, but it was tough to watch except for 2 of his plays. I don’t know why CoVaughn wasn’t given some tries with Best apparently struggling all game. There are a lot of games still to play… I look forward to every one of them running circles around the kittens.

    Go BEARS!

  • ToparchiBear

    J.O. I kinda agree with you in some point. But, disagree on some point. I am very proud of these group of guys too.

    And, I think Best did alright. UCLA were trying to follow the last too teams on gaining against Best whenever he is on the line. They knew it would be a run play whenever Best is on, So, Best will have a tougher time to run past those guys. In contrary, Shane deceived the defense for a pass play, and have more room to run.

    What I have suggested that the coaching staff should have some screen plays to Best where the QB draw the defenders in and Best is behind them to have more room to run. See the one with Best on action play then wide out to receive and the rest is history. 1 on 1 with Best the defender will have no chance.

    And, I agreed that they should have use Deboskie in the second half when he was dehydrated. And, they were playing on a day that was 100 + degree.

    However, if Best is healthy this week, he will have another 200+ yards day in Berkeley.

    Go Bears! Beat WaSu.

  • Bears

    I’m excited to see Ladner, Payne and Mullins get PT the second half of the season. Ladner and Anthony Miller (who looks to be the real deal) are an exciting TE combo that has potential to be very good.
    If MSG is not healthy I’d love to see Schwenke get the start at guard. He appears to be the future at one of the guard positions. Get him in there for significant PT if someone is hurt, his RS is gone.
    Hope Payne and Mullins can add something to a defense that still has a ways to go. A real positive sign would be the defense improving and maturing into Novemember and early December. It’s not just the defense though, the entire team (O, ST, and D) can and should get better, it’s at the point in the season where players need to execute and make plays. No more excuses for being young or inexperienced, if you don’t do the job their better be a back up ready to jump in and grab the starting spot by making an impact.
    Lots of depth and potential but that only goes so far, on game day all that matters is production.
    Hope these guys improve throughout the season, I believe they can and will do that. Finish strong.
    Go Bears

  • Pete Carroll

    I disagree with the screen pass suggestion. Every play that Best is in opposing defenses will put a spy on him. The Bears need to use more two back sets. Put Best and Vereen in, fake it to Best and screen it to Vereen. Make the defenses pay for stacking the box to nullify one player.