BearTalk

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Football: Saturday report

By Jonathan Okanes
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 at 10:15 pm in Football, off-season stuff.

The Bears completed their fourth week (out of five) of spring practice today and you get the feeling coach Jeff Tedford wasn’t happy with the performance of his running backs. When asked how the group performed today, he said: “They didn’t have much going today. We didn’t have a lot of holes back there to run through. We put the ball on the ground a couple times, which is not good. We didn’t pass protect as well as we needed to with the running backs. We have some work to do still.”

Of course, if there weren’t a lot of holes  to run through, that says something about the play of the offensive line as well.

So what will be resolved during the final week of spring practice? Obviously, everybody wants to know where the quarterbacks stand. And Tedford said today that there is still a chance there will be an order of thing by the end of next week and that it won’t just be three equal quarterbacks.

Zach Maynard continues to take the bulk of the No. 1 snaps during the portion the media is allowed to watch, but Tedford said part of that is to get him “more reps where he’s used to the offense.” That being said, you combine those No. 1 reps with some of the positive comments Tedford has made about Maynard this spring, and he seems to be the front-runner to go into the summer as the No. 1 quarterback.

Tedford said the Bears also probably won’t go in full pads again until Saturday’s scrimmage which wraps up spring practice. Cal actually will practice four times this week, with a light practice added on Friday (that replaces a practice earlier this spring that was cancelled).

“We’ve done a lot of banging and have made a lot of progress,” Tedford said. “I think we can get  done this week in shells what we need to get done. We can practice fast and do some things and make sure we are sound in our assignments. We’re going to try to get them a little more healthy for Saturday.”

Tedford always brings out an officiating crew for some of the spring practices but it seems even more this year.

“It’s for everything,.” Tedford said. “It’s for alignment. It’s for what is holding and what’s not. It’s all those things you need to work on. If we’re out there, they can get away with holding. That’s what they are here for — to make sure we create good habits.”

Tedford was asked if any of the redshirt freshmen have stuck out this spring and he singled out safety Michael Coley, who has looked good as the nickel back. He also mentioned linebackers Dave Wilkerson and Chris McCain. Tedford also said sophomore Nick Forbes “has  made a lot of plays.”

“All  those young guys have a lot of potential,” Tedford said. “I’ve been very pleased with the young defensive guys.”

No major updates on the injury front, although linebacker Mychal Kendricks sat out practice with what he called a slight concussion.

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  • rotfogel

    Reiterating: Best defense in the Pac 12 this year. Too much talent is a good thing.

  • Yoda

    Reiterating: It had better be because the offense is going to suck.

  • c98

    It’s not a given that this offense will suck. I think there’s a good chance we see improvement in a few areas.

    A more hands-on Tedford will bring one of these qb’s around, and being better than last year won’t take much.

    O-line has more experience and a better coach (arguably the best o-line coach in the pac-12).

    As for filling Shane’s shoes, that’s a tough one, but we are deep and talented at RB (several highly recruited guys). One of them will step up.

  • Dean

    Perhaps I am reading too much into this article, and maybe Tedford doesn’t want to tip his hand, but I am not getting a good feeling about this team. We lose our starting QB and RB. Our OL has issues. 2011 appears to be the “rebuilding” year that is a necessary part of any collegiate football program.

  • CalBearPete

    I agree that the offense will improve. Tedford will coach up quarterbacks; someone will emerge to do at least a serviceable if not a very good job. I have faith in coach Gould to bring along more than one running back who will be a playmaker and get yards. I also feel that Caoch M will patch together a line that will make things happen. Look what he did with Oakland. An optimistic view? Of course; but I am a Cal supporter. Go Bears!

  • Bears

    The RB’s are a concern, when Tedford and Gould say they are not doing enough you know there is a reason for worry.
    Have a ton of faith in Gould’s coaching but until the unit proves itself as a consistent powerful group on the field the jury is out.
    We’ll see what happens when fall rolls around with development of everyone and addition of a jc, and two HS true frosh to the mix. Hopefully at least 3 and ideally 4 will arrive at a high level and produce the way a top BCS team must at RB.

  • milo

    More than half the starting o-line is out for Spring so it’s difficult to really say how good or bad the o-line and thus running game is or isn’t. Add in the depth on D and how D is usually ahead of the offense in spring, the running game and o-line probably won’t start gelling until Fall.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    The offense just needs to be competent. Limiting turnovers and limiting “3 and outs” would go a long way with this defense. A decent scoring percentage in the red zone would be ideal.

    If the offense can manage 13 points a game off long drives (starting inside the 30) and the defense can provide a decent number of short field opportunities (which they probably will), the team will be competitive in every game.

  • CrumpeckerSherm

    Whoever said we are deep and talented at RB has their head up their @ss.

  • c98

    Whoever denied that we have a large large group (read: deep) of highly recruited (read: talented) RB’s is ignorant.

    Some of them are injured, none of them are proven, but to deny that there are quite a few of them and that they are talented is something only an idiot would say.

  • MikeD

    if the o-line play isn’t going to significantly improve this year then it would seem that playing a scrambling, elusive QB would possibly be a positive difference maker. Trying to have the QB pass out of the pocket without decent o-line play will result in the continuing disaster we’ve seen for the last few years. Personally I’d rather see Bridgford at the helm based on what I’ve heard about his decision making and throwing accuracy, but I also hear that he is not as mobile which would cause him to take an unneeded beating and create an ineffective offense. my .02 and prob not worth that…

  • fatoski

    I think fans are placing too much emphasis on the QB mobility issue. Was Aaron Rodgers mobile enough when he played at CAL?

    Mobility is more than being able to take off and run; it involves good footwork to avoid defenders, the ability to know when to step up in the pocket, to keep your eyes fixed down the field under a rush.

    Everything I have read about Bridgeford indicates he is at least as mobile as Rodgers. If he has good decision making skills and can go through his progressions and keep passing plays alive consistently, he will be our starting QB. Good QB play is more than just being able to run.

  • Bobby

    “Everything I have read about Bridgeford indicates he is at least as mobile as Rodgers.”

    What about everything you’ve seen in person?

    Is it possible that Maynard also has “good footwork to avoid defenders, the ability to know when to step up in the pocket, to keep your eyes fixed down the field under a rush”?

    “Good QB play is more than just being able to run.” Are you implying that the only reason why Maynard might start ahead of Bridge is because he is faster? Because that would be shockingly inconsistent with nearly all of the practice reports, and Tedford’s own comments that Maynard can make all the throws.

    I’m not saying Maynard should or shouldn’t be the starter, just saying that you might want to temper the conclusions until after you’ve at least seen them perform in a game or two…

  • CalChicago

    What I have heard from Tedford and people that have watched practice is that Maynard has very good mechanics and footwork. Sounds like Bridge isn’t too shabby in that department but his slow release has been noted and could be problematic.

  • CrumpeckerSherm

    Talented doesn’t mean squat unless it shows up during game time. Big deal.

  • Bob49

    I still say that the surprise of the QB’s will be Kyle Boehm, who won’t show up till the fall. I think he will be at least second string by his sophomore year and could likely take over the starter’s rule his junior year. But I admit I have not seen Maynard or Bridgford play one down, and I’m intrigued by what I read about both of them.

    Boehm’s got a big time arm, a quick release, is mobile in the pocket (though he needs to improve on that), and is a true running QB to boot, not just on broken pass plays. His running ability gives the defense more to think about, which I think Tedford has come around to agreeing with, which I think is a principal reason is why he is so high on Maynard.

  • rotfogel

    I’ve seen tape on Boehm…he’s the most talented QB Cal has ever had…TALENT DOESN’T LEAD TO CHAMPIONSHIPS OR GREAT PLAY FOR THAT MATTER. He’s got a cannon arm and runs about a 4.7 forty with size to boot. Tedford doesn’t play true freshman QBs however so we won’t know anything about his ability to play Qb in college for another year at least. But that kid is the most talented QB CAl has ever had.

  • The Real Sherman

    Hey Amy/CrumpeckerSherm! Time to add another persona on the grease monkey list, Cal fans…

  • GldnBear71

    I remain VERY skeptical. The defense shines because the offense is junior college-ish