Football: Wednesday spring practice recap

Highlights from Sonny Dykes’ post-practice interview on Wednesday:

— Dykes said he’s been pleased with the defense this spring, despite injury issues and the fact that they’ve used a fairly vanilla approach, with little blitzing.

“I think we have a chance to have a good football team. Our defense is really going to determine how good our year is. That’s the way it always is,” he said. “If you want to win a championship, you;re going to win it by being a good defense.

“Offense is nice when you score points, but if you want to be a championship program, you’re going to have to play good defense.”

— After what he called a “sluggish” practice on Monday, Dykes said the Bears were sharper. “I thought we were really good today,” he said. “I thought our tempo was good, I thought our focus was good.”

— Redshirt freshman defensive back Damariay Drew is out with what Dykes described as a stress fracture in his upper leg. “Nothing serious,” he said. “Sounds much worse than it is. It’s not a bad injury.” Dykes said Drew will be shelved for about a month.

— The coaching staff still is working out details for Saturday’s spring game. There will be a game (it’s being broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks), but Dykes said he anticipates using some kind of a modified scoring system due to injuries limiting the depth of his squad. “We’ve got basically two healthy running backs. We’re one-deep in the secondary,” he said. “We’re trying to keep our players healthy. We don’t want to have any serious things happen to us on Saturday.”

— At this point, Dykes anticipates dividing quarterback reps equally on Saturday.

— Players who could return from spring injuries to play Saturday include LB David Wilkerson and RB Darren Ervin.

— An update on OT Bill Tyndall, who was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday to repair a broken ankle: “Bill’s probably going to be four months minimum … five months before contact. I think he’ll be back by the time we go to camp in August.”

— Walk-on quarterback Brendan Keeney has left the team.

— Dykes said he plans to take his family to HP Pavilion on Thursday night for Cal’s NCAA tournament game against UNLV. “We were at the first UNLV game. Hopefully, we’ll get a better last 5 or 6 seconds than we did last time,” he said, alluding to Cal’s last-second 76-75 loss.


Jeff Faraudo

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I’m going to try to express why Dykes’ defenses lack. It hit me a few days ago. Not sure I can write it all that well, but I’ll give it a try as I wait for basketball to start.

    It’s philosophical.

    Ge spoke earlier (too tired to hunt for the quote) about his offense, about how speed and execution was his key to success. He gave an example (wish I could remember where it was, but too many entries to look through to find), where he said execution made it such that he could run a slant even when the defense knew it was coming. The paragraph made my BS meter go off the charts.

    First off, the simple answer is NO, you can’t, not if the defense KNOWS it is coming. Suspect? Sure, they’d still have to be cognizant of running right by on a streak. But if the D KNOWS a slant is coming, you press and jump the throw, INT.

    But that is not my point. What I took away from his description of his offense and it’s simplicity was that, paraphrased, “When I do it right, you can’t stop me, Period.”

    This is great for offense, but it shows the problem on D. On offense, failure only happens when you bring it on yourself, as if a DL can’t disrupt a play or bat down a pass, as if a Safty can’t guess on a route, gamble and make a play.

    So, defense CAN’T stop an offense when it executes?

    That completely ignores the chess match aspects of the game. It’s defeatist, IMO.

    I hope, after Dykes gives his speech to the team and goes off to work with the offense, Boo looks the D in the eyes and calls BS, tells them a D can stop even the best execution when in THEY execute while in the correct defensive formation and call.

    Anyways . . . I can’t let everything be unicorns and rainbows today. The win over UNLV will have to be tempered by this reality.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    “The win over UNLV….” Huh? Sorry Cow, I watch alot of MtnWest hoops as a SDSU alum, our beloved Bears hope the Rebels do NOT “know the way to San Jose” for any hopes of a victory.

    As for the rambling point of your post, I think you’re reading way too much into that “execution” quote. I bet if you ask Montana & Rice that slant question they’d agree with Dykes.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    It’s called optimism, Scott (regarding our soon to be win vs. UNLV), something I am rarely accused of having.

    And I’ll have to find the quotes. He was not limiting it to a slant, which can be taken away. Montana and Rice would read the D and Rice would then go in motion, then run that out just across the goal line instead of the slant.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Disagree widsom, and I think the Super Bowl was a perfect example of an offense (the ravens) executing PERFECTLY against near perfect defense (the niners). On a couple plays early in the game when the ravens were rolling, the defense was basically perfectly placed, ready to make a play, but the offense was TOO good, perfect even, and the defense could do nothing. I agree with Dykes, as I am sure Walsh/Belichick/the coach of the Rams when they had Warner…etc. would too. Great offense can execute against great defense even when the defense “knows” whats coming. And in the case of teams with dominant offensive lines, obviously the defense knows they are gonna get run on and often they can do nothing about it, even though they “know” its coming…there is nothing defeatist about that knowledge.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    There are aspects which a O can control, like the back shoulder throws, but even then, the right blitz can make it impossible for the QB to make the throw.

    And BlakeStreet, by the superbowl, the Niner D was exhausted and J. Smith was no where near even 75% of normal, which doesn’t even factor in the CB issues. They were far from perfect.

    If anything, looking back at when the Smiths where on their tear proves my point. The two were able to disrupt the best of offensive execution through power speed and the correct stunt call.

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    Cow, your “half full” view helped the Bears eek out a victory today. I’m eating a giant crow sandwich as I type. Of course, that 0-14 shooting to start the second half by UNLV helped too.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Yeah, but crow eating because your team won when you didn’t think they would doesn’t taste that bad.

    I read an ESPN comment thread entry by a die hard Rebel that openly questioned if they had the right coach (one he liked much originally). They definitely looked flat for many stretches, and the Crabbe rebound was sick. If their head was in the game, they probably could have stolen the game (with all the help the refs gave them, too 😉 ).