Football: Back at it

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.

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.

  • Bobby

    Go beers!

  • Calduke

    OK J O

    List the injuries

  • GldnBear71

    I remain skeptical.

  • wehofx

    I’m a JT supporter but:

    >>>…and he expects more than one person to be calling plays during games.>>>

    That sounds like a really bad idea.

    Go Bears!

  • Jan K Oski

    Wehofx – One of the biggest problems over the past few years has been predictable offensive play calling. Too many defensive teams knew exactly what the Bears were going to do before they even did it. If there’s more than one person involved, wouldn’t there be a better chance of that not happening?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Why would Utah joining the Pac 10 be a big deal? didn’t they destroy you guys two years ago in that Mickey Mouse Bowl game…you know the one with the red flowers.

  • rollonyoubears111

    I also feel that JT needs to be THE play caller as he did during his earlier years at Cal. It was an obvious mess when JT + flavor of the year OC were making calls together. We had some pretty gruesome blow out losses when this occurred (Oregon 2010, SC pick a year). There needs to be a strategically cohesive chain of events that should be mindfully implemented to be effective on offense. “talking it over” during a huddle may bring a lot of “spur of the moment/power of suggestion” events that may seem reasonable but ineffective and predicable. If the other guy was thinking it, then what makes you think the opposing team wasn’t?

  • rollonyoubears111

    oops oregon 2009

  • covinared

    scanctions and schame…

  • ScottyBear

    Oregon and Chip Kelly call the plays literally as their offense lines up and sees the defensive formation. Brilliant! I don’t expect Tedford to be that innovative, but somewhere between what Chip Kelly does and Tedford’s three or four same mundane plays there must be a happy medium that moves the ball for Cal. And that does not include taking a knee against Stanford with the ball and 18 seconds left before halftime. Go Bears!

  • Bears

    I don’t care who calls the plays or if more than one do it or whatever.
    Just execute and win.

  • D-MO

    Tedford trying to channel Hairball with the multiple playcaller system? Whatever works Jeff, because this slop we’ve seen on offense the past few years is unacceptable.
    This offense you install every year seems to be too much for our QB’s.
    Riley got rattled and thought too much.
    Nate was limited and injured.
    Mansion…gees SHOW ME SOMETHING DUDE.
    Sweeney- no.
    Let’s hope the offense gets simplified but less predictable, that Bridgford or Maynard takes control, and
    that our O-line returns to its dominate self.

    ROLL ON!

  • Raf

    This season is a train wreck you can see coming. We have an anemic and predictable offense and now to improve the situation we have no OC or QB. Great. Well, at least we can just hand the ball off to a proven RB behind a stonewall OL. Whoops. Well, good thing we have clutch kicker who can consistently make them from deep. Shoot. Humm, then I’m glad we have a dependable return man to at least give us good field position. Err. Ahh… Defense! We’re returning our top two defensive play makers. No? Well, no one is gonna throw it on us because we have shut down corners.

    Ok ok, look at the bright side, at lease no one will know how terrible we are! I mean it’s not like we have two nationally televised Thursday night games on ESPN or anything!

  • ScottyBear


    At least our players will be rested from not having to take bus rides to 8 different practice fields so Teford makes sure he accommodates all the sports writers who want to watch all of the practices. We run such a new complicated and unpredictable offense that he wants all of the media to come admire it!

  • takeoffthatREDshirt

    i think we have to be realistic – a bowl game would be a major accomplishment with this roster. 5 wins will be not be easy even with our schedule.

    Tedford will have another chance after the team is back at Memorial to show that this was a quick downturn and that the new recruiting classes are playing as well as expected.

    i hope another 5-7 season will not make people go crazy. all programs (that don’t cheat at ridiculous levels) face rebuilding years and i truly believe we’ll be back after this year.

  • Will

    Whoa, More Unemployment Is Coming is back! I guess she got laid off her job…