Football: Training camp report — Aug. 19

The Bears practiced for the second and final time at Evans Diamond this morning, once again getting players acclimated to playing on a field that contains infield dirt and natural grass.

It was the last chance for Cal to practice in such conditions. Evans Diamond won’t be available again as the fall semester is getting set to begin and fall baseball will commence soon afterward.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford explained the value of practicing at Evans.

“Trying to work on the dirt, trying to get our footing, things like that,” he said. “Make sure we’re under control, we’re not slipping. The grass as well — both grass and dirt are something that’s a little different than what we’re used to playing on. We feel good about it.”

Believe it or not, there are only three more days left of training camp. The Bears will have a double-day Saturday, with the evening session in full pads before getting Sunday off. Then Monday comes the second and final scrimmage, the last time coaches will evaluate players before setting the depth chart. On Tuesday, the team will hold a helmets-only practice at Candlestick Park, to start getting acclimated to the field there in preparation for the Sept. 3 opener against Fresno State.

Then Wednesday, the Bears will start game planning for the Bulldogs. Scout team assignments will be in place and we will know (for the most part) which freshmen are intended to redshirt and which ones will play.

There may not be to much more to evaluate Wednesday. Tedford said the coaching staff has a pretty good grip on the depth chart already.

“I think we have a pretty good idea right now,” he said. “We’ll discuss it this weekend and find out who needs more reps. Wednesday is when we will really start to solidify the depth chart and some of the scout teams and things like that.

As far as starters go, the weakside outside linebacker spot seems to be the only spot still undecided. It’s a battle between freshmen Chris McCain and Cecil Whiteside and senior Ryan Davis. Wednesday could help give that position more shape, but you can likely count on Davis and at least one of the two freshmen playing there at times.  

Other important spots that need to be determined are the backup offensive linemen, the next three or so players after the five starters that can provide relief. Tyler Rigsbee is slated to be the backup tackle on both ends of the line but is still sidelined with a severe contusion. Tedford hopes to have him back by the scrimmage.

There is also good battles at defensive end behind Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu. Deandre Coleman and Gabe King are the the best bets but true freshman Mustafa Jalil and Brennan Scarlett could make a push there. There is also  intrigue with the defensive back depth, as Josh Hill, Michael Coley and Avery Walls all have had good camps and could make arguments to be the nickel back.

In injury news, wide reciever Maurice Harris is “out awhile,” according to Tedford. Harris suffered a bone bruise in his knee during Wednesday’s scrimmage. Offensive guard Brian Schwenke sat out Friday with knee tendinitis and linebacker Dave Wilkerson also rested with back spasms.


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.

  • rotfogel

    I thought before practices began J.O. was a bit hesitant to say the D Line was good. I had no idea of what he was talking about. With that depth, I’ll be surprised if they aren’t the best in the Pac 12 with USC a distant 2nd. That front 7, as a whole, is the most talented group of players perhaps in Bears history.

  • covinared

    that’s quite a statement.

  • charlie

    D line play is uber important.

    With so much talent i see Cal playing a lot more 4-3, at times.

    Think: Owusu, Tipoti, Moala, Guyton up frong with Wilkerson, Holt, Kendricks behind them. It’s going to behard to run agaisnt this defense!!!

    And the second unit?: Coleman, Payne, King, Scarlett up front with some conbination of McCain, Whiteside, Davis, and Forbes (once he gets healthy) behind them!!!

    P.S. IMO Forbes will overtake Mullins and Fanua once healthy.

  • BA

    Wilkerson has been playing weakside OLB and most say he will be starting, while the other guys named have been playing the strongside.

    Scarlett has been working with the linebackers lately, so his role would seem to be very much up in the air. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing a sort of hybrid pass rushing position.

  • wehofx

    Yeah! Front 7 sounds very strong. Have a feeling the secondary will hold up their end, too.


  • We all would agree this is one of the best defenses the Bears have seen as a group. The D-line and linebackers will control the game . The D-line are all league with great depth and the linebackers with D.J.,Mychal and Wilkerson its all over for the Offense. Go Bears

  • B

    A lot of sunshine pumping, I see. I think y’all are overrating the defense/front 7 quite a bit. Guyton and Owusu aren’t that great (solid enough, but neither is nearly as talented as Cam or Tyson were), and most of the other guys in the mix have never played a snap of Pac-10 football before. Coleman is talented, but can he step up and perform at a high level consistently? Cam wasn’t able to until his senior year. I think Coleman could be starting before the year is up, but I think expectations should be tempered on the basis that most of the real talented kids are really young, and probably not ready to dominate.

    At NT, the upperclassmen just aren’t that good. Certainly not a strength. Moala looks like a pretty special talent, but he’s a true freshman – I wouldn’t count on him being a dominant all-conference performer yet, especially since he’ll probably be a part time player.

    Similar sentiments from the LB’s. Kendricks is probably the best player on the team, so that’s a plus. Holt is experienced and seems solid. The two outside positions, though, are being manned by Davis and a bunch of freshman who have never played before. Especially since it’s a critical position in a 3-4…I would temper expectations. The kids look talented, but they still might need more experience before they play consistently at a high level.

    Overall, I think 2012 might be more of a stepping stone to great future things, but I’m not sure the D will be ready to step up this year right away. Just too much inexperience, youth and unproven talent.