It’s a good thing Cal pushed back the beginning of spring practice. Had the Bears tried to start at their original date of March 17, they would dealt with a lot of heavy rain.
The recent storms cleared up just in time for Cal to get it going on its new start date, which was today. It was a beautiful day at Skyline High School, where the Bears put the helmets on and had an organized practice for the first time since the end of last season.
Tuesday marked the first chance to see some of the transfers and mid-year enrollees. Guys like quarterback Zach Maynard, linebacker Cecil Whiteside, linebacker Chris McCain, offensive lineman Matt Williams, safety Avery Wallls and tailback/athlete Darren Ervin all practiced for the first time with the Bears today.
The quarterback competition will of course get the most attention this spring. Jeff Tedford said after practice today that there is no depth chart as spring opens. Different quarterbacks will get work with the first team on different days. He did say that he plans on cutting the competition down to four guys after Thursday’s practice. Those four figure to be Brock Mansion, Beau Sweeney, Zach Maynard and Allan Bridgford.
There was a report in another Bay Area newspaper today that Tedford will call the majority of Cal’s plays this season. Tedford said today that although he will be more involved with playcalling than in recent years, assignging the playcalling has still yet to be determined and he expects more than one person to be calling plays during games.
“We’ll see as we go through spring and as we go through fall,” Tedford said. “We’ll figure out who is going to be on the sidelines and who is going to be in the press box.”
Tedford also said that while he hopes to keep the offense basic at the beginning of spring for the quarterbacks, especially the inexperienced ones like Bridgford, Maynard and Hinder, he still hopes to install the offense as the spring goes along.
“As we grow and the new guys get a little more comfortable, we can start broadening the scope of what we are doing,” Tedford said. “As we keep going and going, it’s going to be real important to make sure the new guys get plays they are comfortable with so we can evaluate them. Maybe the older guys are able to do a little bit more with the offense. You can’t stop the growth of the offense just because of the quarterbacks.”
Other notes from the first day:
- Tedford singled out Whiteside and McCain as players that caught his eyes, simply on an athletic basis.
- Defensive back Josh Hill is not enrolled at Cal this spring. He is taking classes at a junior college. But Tedford said he expects him back in the fall. Hill was at practice Tuesday to watch.
- Tedford said Cal didn’t petition to get a redshirt year for linebacker Nick Forbes last season because he played in too many games. Forbes is a sophomore in eligibility next season. It’s not official yet, but Tedford expects linebacker Dave Wilkerson and tight end Jacob Wark to be granted medical redshirts from last year. Both are listed as redshirt freshmen on the Cal spring roster.
- Several players will practice only in limited fashion this spring because of injuries/surgeries: Among them are left tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back), center Dominic Galas (shoulder), fullback Will Kapp (shoulder) and nose tackles Kendrick Payne (shoulder) and Aaron Tipoti (shoulder). All of these players were there and in their gear today doing individual drills. But they won’t be involved in team drills.
- Sam DeMartinins and Tyler Rigsbee took first team reps at offensive tackle today, but Tedford said it will be “musical chairs” at that position. “That’s going to be a day-to-day situation.”
- Mychal Kendricks took reps at inside linebacker. Kendricks played strictly on the outside last season but has played inside at other times in his career. Tedford said they will look at Kendricks playing both this year.
- A reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune, who is visiting every school in the Pac-12’s spring practice, was on hand. He said Utah’s joining the conference is a huge story in Salt Lake City.