Football: Spring practice begins

For the first time since Jeff Tedford became Cal’s head coach, the Bears took the field for a practice Thursday without Bob Gregory running the defense.

New defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and new special teams/tight ends coach Jeff Genyk were on the field doing their thing as spring practice got underway at a chilly Memorial Stadium. The Bears practiced for 2 1/2 hours, with some new faces getting significant reps, especially on defense.

Even though it was the first practice of the spring, the Bears got some 11-on-11 sessions in. There was a lot of mixing and matching going on so it was hard to get an accurate gauge for a spring depth chart, but here are some general observations:

  • The Bears are pretty thin at receiver until the newcomers arrive in the fall. Marvin Jones and Alex Lagemann appeared to take most of the first team reps with Jeremy Ross and Michael Calvin being next in line.
  • Last year’s left guard Matt Summers-Gavin got some reps at left tackle, along with guard. Donovan Edwards took the first reps at left tackle.
  • Michael Costanzo appeared to take the first reps at the defensive end spot opposite Cameron Jordan. Ernest Owusu and Trevor Guyton also got reps at end.
  • The first team inside linebackers were Mike Mohamed and D.J. Holt. Keith Browner was at weakside outside linebacker and Chris Little was on the other side.
  • Sean Cattouse and Chris Conte started the spring as the safeties with Bryant Nnabufie and Josh Hill at cornerback.
  • Cornerback Darian Hagan sat out practice after suffering a sprained ankle yesterday. Coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t expect Hagan to be out very long
  • The quarterback depth started as last season ended — Kevin Riley, Beau Sweeney and Brock Mansion. But Sweeney and Mansion got plenty of reps with combinations of first teamers and others.
  • The comparisons of Trajuan Briggs to Marshawn Lynch may be a bit premature. Briggs does have some similarities but he’s nowhere as big as Lynch. That being said, Briggs said he’s already had one person think he was Lynch on campus.
  • Former NFL quarterback Akili Smith, who Jeff Tedford coached at Oregon as offensive coordinator, has joined Cal’s staff as a graduate assistant.

Cal will next practice on Saturday.

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

    Short but sweet review, JO! Thanks! It looks like I’m on the same page as the coaches on the WR depth and safeties. I’m a lil surprised by Summer-Gavins test on the blind-side, but I’m hardly perplexed since he is the best returning O-lineman.

    Go BEARS!

  • Lynch was 5’11 / ~212 lb; what are Briggs measurables?

  • GoldenBear 77

    Hold on Jan…don’t sell Mitchell Schwartz short. He is the best returning O-lineman, and he puts the pads on every day.

  • Dan

    Briggs is listed on Scout.com at 5-11 / 192. So he is probably really 5-10 / 190 the last time his stats were updated, which could have been by as much as a year ago. I would say by fall, he’s probably 5-11-ish (we’ll call it) and 195-200. Not quite Lynch size, but getting there.

    With a year or two in the strength program and training table, he will have no problem getting to Lynch-size. The question will be is if that makes him stronger, more poweerful, quicker and faster- the entire package.

  • dball

    Lynch = Beast Mode
    Briggs = Monster Mode

  • Jan K Oski

    77, I’m no expert in the battle of the trenches, but even I saw a visible difference in blocking with Summer-Gavins versus without him. Of course, Schwartz played very well last year, but he obviously needed another able body to keep things sane for Riley ‘n Company. The win-loss record is my witness.

  • GoldenBear 77

    I guess you have to look at wins and losses and the opponent. Besides 22 people play the game (actually probably 65), and we should not be so eager to crown one the diffence maker, especially a single lineman (yes, that was hard to say since I played on the offensive line).

  • Juancho

    Akili Smith! That’s pretty cool. He has name recognition, and can teach the qbs something. Even if he was a bust as a player in the NFL, he still has gone through a lot of situations that he can help teach the qbs at Cal about.

    I’m rooting for Conte to win that safety job. Not sure why, but I just have always liked him as a player.

  • Davidson

    MSG is my favorite O-lineman.

    Dude has a motor and a mean streak (good, linemen need to be mean, not of this Tepper-I’m-a-Teddy-Bear crap). He’s like AMack, plays to the whistle.

    I’ve seen him pancake his opposition, wait for him to get back and pancake him again. It’s actually quite hilarious. 🙂

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Akili Smith played for Arizona. The other guy who played for Oregon was a complete bust in the NFL. He was one of the worst draft picks ever. I don’t think JT would sink so low so as to hire that guy.

  • Calduke

    Jonathon –

    Do we get a preview of the Special teams & Kicking Game??

  • Calduke

    Excuse me Jonathan.