When Cal lines up against Arizona State on Saturday, there’s no guarantee Darian Hagan or Josh Hill will be playing the cornerback position opposite Syd’Quan Thompson.
Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said tonight that he’s opened up the competition to include not only Hagan and Hill, but Chris Conte and Bryan Nnabufie. He said he did so based on the fact that neither Hagan or Hill played particularly well on Saturday, and also that Conte and Nnabufie have been improving.
Gregory acknowledged that Nnabufie did give up the 68-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to Johnny Forzani on Saturday, but said in general Nnabufie has been coming on of late. And Gregory has really liked the recent play of Conte, who has been seeing more and more reps during games.
Conte started three games as a freshman in 2007.
–Starting nose tackle Derrick Hill (shoulder) missed his second straight practice and his availability is in doubt for Saturday. Gregory said Hill’s absence wouldn’t affect Cal’s flexibility if and when it decides to play with four down linemen at certain times, something the Bears did last Saturday for the first time this season. Gregory said the Bears will continue to go with the extra lineman, depending on what they are seeing from the opposing offense.
–Left guard Matt Summers-Gavin continues to be bothered by the sprained shoulder that kept him out of the USC game. He practiced on and off the past two weeks but still played in the games, but didn’t practice at all today. Coach Jeff Tedford said Summers-Gavin is day-to-day.
If Summers-Gavin can’t go Saturday, it won’t necessarily be Mark Boskovich that takes his place again. Tedford indicated that junior Richard Fisher is now in the mix to challenge for playing time there.
–Good news for Cal: Thompson has practiced both days this week and is good to go for Saturday. Tedford said Thompson’s hip/back bruise isn’t completely healed and it’s just something he has to deal with. But Thompson has already practiced more than he did last week.
–Tedford still hasn’t decided on a kicker for Saturday and left open the possibility of using one kicker for kickoffs and another for field goals.