Football: Thursday night update

Practice ended a little early tonight, thanks partly to kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. The kickers once again did the drill where they have to kick the ball into a box formed by the players, and Tavecchio actually missed one (they’ve run the drill three times now and between Tavecchio and Vince D’Amato, there have been just two misses in 20 attempt). But before coach Jeff Tedford blew the whistle to have the team line up for gassers, defensive end Ernest Owusu yelled out “Double or nothing!” That prompted some encouraging hoots and hollers from teammates, although linebacker Keith Browner appeared to dislike the suggestion.

It all worked out for the Bears, as Tavecchio got the extra chance and kicked the ball into the box, barely staying inside the left wall of players.

Tavecchio actually has been booming the ball on his kickoffs this spring. He’s had several touchbacks and is consistently getting it to the 5 or deeper. He’s been kicking it consistently farther than D’Amato. Right now, Tavecchio is the No. 1 guy on kickoffs and field goals.

  • Quarterback Brock Mansion suffered a sprained foot at practice tonight and Tedford said his status is doubtful for Saturday’s controlled scrimmage. As many of you might now, Saturday’s scrimmage is open to the public as part of Cal Day activities. It is scheduled to start at 8:35 a.m., although Tedford said tonight as part of the scrimmage the team will simulate pregame activities. That means they will do their usual pregame activities that they would do before a game, as a way to have a dress rehearsal. This is mostly being done for new coaches Clancy Pendergast and Jeff Genyk.

If Mansion can’t go, walk-on quarterback Ryan Wertenberger may get some reps, although Tedford said he might just go with two quarterbacks.

  • Every once in a while you learn something about a program. Today when asked a question about concussions in football, Tedford said equipment manager Ed Garland checks every player’s helmet before every practice. It reminds you what a thorough and detailed a production college football is.
  • Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz continues to sit out with a tight back and Tedford now says he probably won’t practice again this spring. But center Chris Guarnero, who has missed the past three practices with a pulled calf, is nearing a return and could play Saturday.

Despite a pretty long list of injuries this spring, Tedford said it’s not having a negative effect in terms of evaluations. He said the increased opportunity for reps for other players is resulting in enhanced improvements and should make fall camp that much more competitive. Tedford singled out guys on the offensive line like Donovan Edwards, Brian Schwenke and Sam DeMartinis that are taking advantage of their opportunties.

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.

  • Nice to see DeMartinis being productive…

  • noduck

    good to hear about the kicks. do you get any looks at kick return defense?

  • Bears

    Very good news that kick offs are consistently going deep. How about hang time on KO’s? Has that improved too? Our special teams need to be special again.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Noduck, the only time I’ve really seen the kick defense this spring was during last Saturday’s scrimmage and they actually looked pretty good. Most returns were bottled up for short gains.
    Bears, Tavecchio is definitely getting some hang time with his distance. They look like strong college kickoffs. D’Amato is not getting the same distance but the hang time is OK.

  • CruzinBears

    JO thanks for both updates, that is a very promising start to revamping our special teams play… Can’t wait to see it tomorrow at the Spring Practice!