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Football: Practice report (Tuesday)

In what has become a familiar trend this spring, Cal practiced among swift winds Tuesday at Contra Costa College. The Bears have had several windy practices, although coach Jeff Tedford said they haven’t been severe enough to affect his evaluation of the quarterbacks.

As I walked into the stadium for the media access at the end of practice, the first thing I saw was a substantially underthrown pass to Marvin Jones deep down the middle of the field. I literally was walking in so I couldn’t see which quarterback threw it. I then proceeded to watch a few more uninspiring reps which included a false start and a fumble by Mike Manuel.

The media only gets to see a small sample size of practice, but what I have seen this spring is an offense that really needs a lot of work.

Tedford was asked about the progress of the offense after practice.

“Making progress,” he said. “Some of the backup linemen are still figuring it out. They’re making a lot of progress. It’s been very productive. Spring ball has been good. We saw a lot of things against our defense, which gives you a lot of looks. It’s been good.”

With center Dominic Galas and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz out for the spring with injuries, a handful of inexperienced offensive linemen are getting reps this spring. Tedford said it’s been especially challenging for them because Cal’s defense does throw a lot of looks and formations at the offense.

“The guys with experience are doing a fine job,” Tedford said. “There are a lot of moving parts and the young guys are learning every day. Playing against our defense, you have so many looks coming at you. It’s a great learning experience.”

I asked Tedford if it was harder to evaluate personnel when the younger players aren’t used to multiple looks they are facing from the defense.

“I would rather see the hardest thing possible so they get the experience,” Tedford said. “If they can block our defense and we can get all that stuff taken care of, we should be in pretty good shape. It’s still about moving your feet. When you block a lot of different looks, it forces you to move your feet.

Tedford has decided not to make up one of the practices that was postponed earlier in the spring. That practice had been switched to Friday, but now the Bears will just close out the spring with an abbreviated Thursday practice and then the final scrimmage of the spring on Saturday (Reminder: Saturday’s scrimmage is open to the public. It runs from 12-2:30 p.m. at Contra Costa College). Tedford said the team would also do a lot of team drills on Thursday.

Tedford said he wouldn’t put too much extra stock in Saturday’s scrimmage because it still  is just one practice and they have plenty of film to go over during the summer. That being said, Saturday will be the last thing the coaching staff and players will remember until fall camp so they would like to finish off with a good performance.

“It’s not going to come down to just that practice,” Tedford said. “I’ve been pleased with all the things that we have on tape and all the mistakes we’ve been able to make. Saturday, you want to come out and be sharp and execute. But we have to come back in the fall and start all over again.”

A couple of notes:

  • Freshman running back Darren Irvin tweaked his ankle and is out again. He came back for one practice before re-injuring the ankle.
  • Center Chris Adcock has been practicing with torn ligaments in his thumb and will have it operated on after spring practice. It will be second time he’s had such a procedure done.
  • Linebacker Mychal Kendricks is still out with a concussion. Nick Forbes was taking his first team reps at the end of practice.
  • One highlight from the end of practice was a crisp out pattern ran by wide receiver Michael Calvin, who made a good catch before going out of bounds. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but the kind of solid play Cal really needs  from Calvin this season.

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.