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.”
Kaileb Rodriguez said committing to Cal a couple weeks ago has only boosted his confidence and motivation.
I talked on the phone with the 6-foot-9 junior forward from ThunderRidge High in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and he told me he chose Cal over Nevada and USF after making an unofficial campus visit with his parents during spring break.
“I liked everything about it,” Rodriguez said. “I’d never been to Berkeley. Walking through and seeing the magnitude of the campus and all the facilities was great.
“To be honest, the biggest selling point was Mike Montgomery. He’s such a prestigious bigs coach. They showed me a lot of clips of different big guys. It was everything I’ve been looking for.
“Throughout high school, I got the ball a lot, but not as much as I wanted. It seems all they do is run their offense through their 4-5.”
The prospect has Rodriguez pushing himself to a different level.
“Once I committed, it really boosted my confidence,” he said. “I felt like now I have something to practice even harder f0r every single day in practice.”
Colorado will play its first Pac-12 basketball season without its best player after Alec Burks announced Thursday he will forgo his final two seasons to enter the NBA draft. It was no surprise, but leaves the Buffaloes in a complete rebuilding state after the departure of the club’s four double-figure scorers.
Here’s a look at how CU hopes to reload in time for next season.
(By the way, Colorado’s Carlon Brown scored 15 points against Cal while playing for Utah in 2008-09).
Bowling Green coach Curt Miller has interviewed for the Cal job, according to this report. No word on when that interview took place. Miller and former Cal assistant and current UCSB coach Lindsay Gottlieb are the only known candidates to have interviewed so far.
Not too much more to report after watching the end of practice tonight. The offense attempted some red zone possessions and wasn’t very successful. Quarterbacks Zach Maynard and Allan Bridgford struggled to complete any passes.
Some other updates:
- Offensive lineman Alex Crosthwaite has a sprained ankle; that is the reason for his walking boot.
- Wide receiver Coleman Edmond is out with a pulled muscle.
- Linebacker D.J. Holt has a broken bone in his hand. Jeff Tedford said he’s fine to play with his cast.
- I didn’t see WR Michael Calvin at the beginning of practice. Not sure if I just missed him or he showed up late, but he was on the field at the end of practice.
Maynard took the first reps at both the beginning and end of practice. But when asked if the quarterback competition is starting to take more shape, Tedford said no.
“Spring is about competing at the quarterback position,” Tedford said. “They’re getting better every day. There is a lot of learning going on. I see them progressing. Maybe by the end of spring, somebody will separate himself.”
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks is starting to get some early offseason recognition. Kendricks’ has a toughness about him that translates into good leadership, and now that he is playing in the middle of the field again, he really is emerging as part of the heart and soul of the defense.
“He’s really done a nice job of maturing and being a leader for the defense and the team,” Tedford said. “He’s a veteran. He and D.J. both really understand what we’re doing.”
A few notes from the first 20 minutes of practice today:
- Former Cal center Alex Mack is here, and he’s not just watching. Mack has been working with the offensive linemen. A handful of former Cal players now in the NFL have stopped by this spring because of the lockout.
- Linebacker Chris McCain, who has been out since the first week of spring with a concussion, was back practicing in full.
- Linebacker D.J. Holt has a wrap around his hand and wrist. Will find out what the injury is. He’s still practicing in full.
- Wide receiver Michael Calvin is not here. He may have a school obligation. Running back Isi Sofele missed Tuesday’s practice to take a mid-term.
- Offensive lineman Alex Crosthwaite has a walking boot on his right leg and is out.
- WR Coleman Edmond is out with an injury.
- LB Ryan Davis, who sat out Tuesday after getting his foot stepped on, is back.
- Got to see some teamwork, as the Bears worked on the two-minute drill. Zach Maynard once again ran with the first team and completed a pass to Keenan Allen for a nice gain on first down. Most of the other plays were running plays, although Maynard did get sacked by Holt on another dropback. Maynard also had a nice run up the middle on a keeper after faking a handoff to Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson.
- Brock Mansion ran with the 2s and was intercepted by linebacker Nick Forbes on a pass that hit Forbes right between the numbers.
UC Santa Barbara coach Lindsay Gottlieb is interviewing for the Cal head coaching job today, according to a report in the Santa Barbara News-Press.
Gottlieb was an assistant at Cal under departed coach Joanne Boyle for three seasons before taking the job with the Gauchos. Gottlieb is 56-39 in three years at UCSB.
The report also said the Bears are considering two highly successful mid-major coaches — Bowling Green’s Curt Miller and Fresno State’s Adrian Wiggins. A source said Wiggins has not been contacted by Cal about the job. Miller reportedly had a second interview yesterday for the vacancy at New Mexico.
Gottlieb was the Big West Coach of the Year in 2008-09.
- One more clarification: The only open practice remaining during the spring is on April 30. It will be held at Contra Costa College from Noon-2:30 p.m.
- Ten former Cal players are participating in the 49ers local pro timing day today. They are: QB Kevin Riley, RB Shane Vereen, C Chris Guarnero, OG Richard Fisher, OT Donovan Edwards, WR Jeremy Ross, DT Derrick Hill, LB Keith Browner, DB Darian Hagan and DE Cameron Jordan.
- My notebook from yesterday: OL Richard Fisher may have graduated, but he is still very present at Memorial Stadium.
The Bears were back at Contra Costa College this afternoon as Cal embarked on the final two weeks of spring practice. So was the offense any sharper today than it was during Saturday’s sloppy scrimmage?
“We caught the snaps. That went right today,” Coach Jeff Tedford said.
Yes, it’s more than a little early for this kind of thing, but why not?
ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi has projected Cal as a No. 9 seed in the 2011 NCAA tournament. Lunardi has the Bears facing Clemson in a first-round game at Pittsburgh.
Of course, the official bracket won’t be announced for more than 10 months, so you might want to delay purchasing your airline tickets.
The Pac-12 will earn five NCAA berths next season, according to Lunardi’s vision. He also has Arizona (without Derrick Williams) as a No. 3 seed, UCLA (without Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee) at No. 7, Washington (without Isaiah Thomas) as a No. 10, and USC (without Nikola Vucevic) as a No. 12.
Here’s the full bracket.