After cutting the first two days of practice this week a little short, Cal worked overtime today.
Thursday is usually more of a polish day, so my guess is the extra work with tempo, pace and conditioning was lightened a bit today. But coach Jeff Tedford was very happy with the look the scout team gave the defense this week, and the conditioning and pacing the team went through.
Tedford said another thing the defense has put an extra focus on this week is tackling. Against most spread offenses, there tends to be more open-field tackling. That becomes even more crucial against the Ducks because of their speed and athleticism.
“They get you in space and have a lot of athleticism and a lot of speed,” Tedford said. “Being sure tacklers is a major part of this game. It’s been a major emphasis this week.”
The tackling is even more paramount with the back end of the defense. Typcially, defensive linemen dont’ make as many plays in a game like this.
“There has been a major emphasis this week on the back end with open-field tackling and doing it at a very fast pace, where you get them gassed and they still have to tackle,” Tedford said.
I asked Tedford today to compare new quarterback Brock Mansion’s comfort level today with last Thursday.
“I think each week it’s going to improve,” he said. “He practiced really well, threw the ball really accurately. He’s playing with confidence and studying really hard to make sure he knows the game plan. He’s had a good week.”
On another note, Tedford confirmed some of the players that will be redshirting this season: wide receivers Kaelin Clay, Tevin Carter and Terrence Montgomery; linebackers Dave Wilkerson and Nick Forbes and defensive back Michael Coley. That’s in addition to some of the other freshman that we reported were redshirting near the beginning of the season.
He said in the case of Wilkerson, it will actually be a medical redshirt. Wilkerson sustained a concussion earlier in the season.