Football: Monday quick hit

Cal wrapped up training camp today with its second and final live practice. Jeff Tedford says he won’t reveal the depth chart until Thursday. The team won’t practice Tuesday, but it will hold its annual “Football Olympics,” where the players engage in fun activities on the field (one event, for instance, is a competition where offensive and defensive linemen attempt to receive a punt).

The players then will be off Wednesday, at which time the coaching staff will really dive into evaluating personnel and determine the depth chart.

One of the positions with suspense is cornerback. I’m hearing more and more lately that Marc Anthony is having a tremendous camp. He’s lined up with the 1s a lot more recently and appears to be right there with Darian Hagan, Steve Williams and Bryant Nnabufie. I believe Hagan will earn one of the starting spots. But I’m starting to think Anthony could earn the starting nod over Williams, who appeared to be in line for a starting role through most of  camp. Williams obviously is still a strong candidate to start, but don’t be shocked if it’s Anthony.

Tefdord said he needed to watch the tape before concluding if anything that happened today solidified the depth chart. But he did continue to say that “as of right now,” freshman Keenan Allen is a starter. It’s hard to imagine that would have changed after today. Tedford also said that true freshman Dave Wilkerson and Nick Forbes are backups, meaning it looks as though Keith Browner will indeed start at weakside linebacker.

More to come…


Football: Training camp report — Aug. 22

OK, so this isn’t much of a report. A desk shift prevented me from attending practice this afternoon, but I was told it was just a helmets-only walk-through.

Tomorrow is a big day. It is the second and last live practice of training camp, and really marks the end of training camp. The Bears will have another light walk-through on Tuesday, be off on Wednesday, and then break into scout teams and start preparing for UC Davis on Thursday. Thus, Thursday begins the regular season practice routine, although there will still be practices on Friday and Saturday (Saturday is Fan Appreciation Day).

The coaching staff will use tomorrow’s practice to make final evaluations of players. The positions they likely will be most observing is cornerback, where Darian Hagan, Steve Williams,  Bryant Nnabufie and Marc Anthony continue to compete for both spots. They also will be sizing up whether true freshman Dave Wilkerson has done enough to overtake Keith Browner at outside linebacker. Will Ernest Owusu, Trevor Guyton or Deandre Coleman play opposite Cam Jordan at defensive end? Is Keenan Allen really going to be the No. 2 receiver, or will that go to Jeremy Ross? Who are the starting guards, especially with Matt Summers-Gavin sidelined?

It isn’t likely that these decisions will be made immediately after practice, so there may not be news right away. Typically, the coaching staff reviews the tape of practice and then meets to go over all the positions. In fact, there may not be answers until Thursday. Since the players are off on Wednesday, that is the day the coaching staff can best use the time to make personnel determinations. That being said, the coaches may be leaning heavily enough toward one player at a position that tomorrow’s practice could seal things without evaluating the tape.

Stay tuned…


Basketball: Jabari Brown update

Here’s the latest on Jabari Brown, the highly rated shooting guard from Oakland HS, who ranks at the top of Cal’s recruiting wish list:

I spoke today to his father, David, who confirmed that Jabari’s list of schools includes Cal, Washington, Oregon, St. John’s, Georgia Tech, UConn and DePaul.

But David Brown added there are at least two other schools —  Maryland and Miami — that have joined the picture.

Maryland has scheduled a home visit, as have Washington, Oregon, DePaul and Georgia Tech, according to David Brown. He said the family is trying to schedule a home visit with Cal coach Mike Montgomery on Sept. 28.

Brown has lined up just one official campus visit — to Washington on the weekend of Sept. 17.  David Brown said Jabari likely will take an unofficial visit to Cal — which he’s able to do because of proximity, and would allow him to use his five permitted official visits elsewhere. How things go on home visits will help determine which schools Brown visits.

David Brown said he and his wife, Fannie, will help their son sort things out, but added, “We don’t want it to be our decision. We’re  just trying to make sure he’s looking at the right factors.”

And those factors?

“A big factor is how the school is going to use him. A couple schools said they want to use him at a 3 — we don’t want that,” David Brown said. “Some schools say they’ll use him as a 1 and 2. That’s what we’re looking for. Mostly, we’d like a program that’s going to care about him as a person.”

David Brown said at one time his son was thinking he’d take his time and wait to announce his decision until after his high school season. “Then he said, `I can’t deal with all this,’ ” his dad said. Now the timetable is to make a decision by the November early signing period.


Football: Training camp report — Aug. 20

Running back Shane Vereen is now very close to practicing in full capacity. He wore shells today (helmet and shoulder pads) and took team reps for the second day in a row. Although it wasn’t a full pad practice with no limitations as far as hitting, Vereen still was bounced around a bit by defenders, running through blockers, etc. He displayed the ability to cut, plant, move laterally, burst, etc., without any problems. Never mind the middle screen pass that he dropped  near the end of practice, the Bears are just happy to see him almost completely over his tweaked hamstring.  Vereen could go without limitation as soon as Saturday, when the Bears will have a double-day practice, including full pads in the evening.

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Football: Training camp report — Aug. 19

Today was a benchmark day for Cal.

Today was the day the Bears hit the annual training camp wall.

There comes a point every August where the team simply needs a break. Practices every day – sometimes twice a day – can add up, and the aches and pains can get overwhelming. At that point, it’s time to scale back, take off the helmet and pads and simply focus on the mental part of the game.

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Basketball: An early look at the schedule

I was out of town when the Bears announced their schedule, so I thought I’d take a quick, early look at how the non-conference games shape up.

Here goes:

— Nov. 16 vs. Cal State Northridge: The Matadors were 11-21 last season and return senior forward Lenny Daniel (11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg) along with McClymonds HS grad Vinnie McGhee, a junior guard and one-time Big Sky Freshman of the Year at Sac State. Should be a painless debut for Cal’s freshmen-laden squad.

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