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Cameron Jordan suspended

Posted by Alex | August 28, 2008 at 2:26 pm | In Defense, Games, Players/Alumni | 3 Comments

DE Cameron Jordan has been suspended for the first game of the season.  He was arrested for drunk driving over the weekend.

This lessens the Bears depth along the DL, with Cameron one of four primary players in rotation at the DE position.  Even though he is not listed as a starter, this will still greatly impact the Bears.  The starters at the DE position are Rulon Davis and Tyson Alualu with Jordan listed as the primary backup.

Spring open practice report

Posted by Eric | April 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm | In Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni, Quarterback, Special Teams | 2 Comments

Yesterday, Cal fans turned out a sizeable crowd for the Bears’ open practice/scrimmage. Here is a report, courtesy of GFang:

Quarterback

[Kevin] Riley- did not get to show off his arm too much . . . but when he threw, was very crisp and accurate with zip. He would’ve been perfect if Calvin didn’t drop 2 of his passes (that may be Calvin’s weakness). He had great protection, but he did run for 6 yards when under pressure once. Riley’s best pass was a 20 yard TD strike to Calvin deep in the endzone towards the end of practice. That got the biggest pop from the crowd today. Basically, he looked very accurate and was not afraid to thread the needle.

[Brock] Mansion- struggled, even in warm-ups. Misthrew about half of his passes. Does not have the mechanics that Riley does. I think he needs another year to work out the kinks.

Running Back

[Tracy] Slocum got into endzone twice, including a 15 yarder down the right sideline. He is workmanlike. In general he picked up at least 4-5 yards per carry against the 1st team defense. [Covaughn DeBoskie] is slender but tough. Runs very fluidly. He did fumble once after a nice gain, which was recovered by CB [Syd'Quan Thompson].

Defense

DE [Ernest] Owusu- played 2nd team; registered 3 sacks, including 2 in a row on QB Cory Smits. He will contribute this season!

LB [Zach] Follett, LB Charles Johnson, and DL [Jon] Karacozoff got their names called often, also.

Special Teams

[Thompson] is a natural at returning punts. WR Nyan Boateng also returned punts; his chances to return were limited. I’d definitely pick Squid to return punts, even if he’s our no. 1 CB.

P [Bryan] Anger is the real deal. Got big pops from the crowd. Thunderous leg! The 2nd chance he got, he launched it 10 yards over [Thompson]’s head and the offense recovered it. The 3rd time he punted, the returner stood way back lol. Anger will be able to consistently kick 50-55 yard punts with great hangtime. Right now he’s at about 70% consistency. I predict he starts for the next 4 years.

Feel free to chime in with any additional observations or thoughts about the scrimmage.

Defense steps up in spring ball

Posted by Eric | April 6, 2008 at 6:45 pm | In Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni | No Comments

On Friday, the offense had trouble moving the ball in the off-season’s first practice in helmets and shoulder pads. As J.Okanes reported, “neither Nate Longshore or Kevin Riley separated himself” on a day when the defense stepped up.

* Secondary

Apparently, Syd’Quan Thompson took only “minimal reps,” with cornerbacks Charles Amadi and Jesse Brooks getting in the rotation on the first team. However, this might just be an effect of Thompson’s suspension earlier this week. When asked about the front-runner to start at cornerback on the other side (see video interview), Thompson said:

I don’t even know, everybody’s out here competing. I mean, I’m even competing to keep my job. Like I said, we’re just out here trying to work to get better as a unit.

The “open competition” mindset seems to be paying off. When pressed about competing to keep his spot:

If I felt comfortable, that would mean I could take days off. I can’t afford to take days off.

Thompson also talked about taking some reps at punt returner — apparently, he was very good at it in high school.

* Defensive Line

On the ends, Rulon Davis and Cameron Jordan are looking very good. J.Okanes mentioned that Davis “stood out” and had this to say about Jordan:

[He] looks like he could be a real force next season. Already blessed with rare athleticism, Jordan looks as though he’s put on a great deal of muscle since the end of the season. He no longer looks like an undersized defensive end, and the extra weight doesn’t seem to have affected his athleticism. When lineman run sprints at the end of practice, he still blows the competition away.

Jordan already made an impact as a true freshman last year, so it will be exciting to see how he will fare with a year of experience and added bulk.

Meanwhile, DL Tyson Alualu shined in one-on-one drills against the OL, “consistently beating his man and getting kudos.”

This is all good news, as the defensive line unit was one of the weaknesses of last season that needed improvement.

* Other notes

(Continue reading “Defense steps up in spring ball”…)

Thompson returns, and more spring updates

Posted by Eric | April 3, 2008 at 1:36 am | In Coaches, Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni | No Comments

* Thompson returns to practice

CB Syd’Quan Thompson returned to practice today (Wednesday), following a one-practice suspension for violating team rules. Coach Jeff Tedford gave Cal fans a scare on Monday when he suggested that the suspension might be indefinite. While the reason for the suspension has not been revealed, Thompson said:

“I’m just glad to be back out here and have a chance to make up for what I missed Monday.”

Thompson didn’t waste any time getting up to speed, as he and CB Chris Conte intercepted QB Kevin Riley on consecutive plays.

* Best takes limited reps

While Tedford indicated that RB Jahvid Best would not be participating in any team practice drills for the spring on Monday, Best already took a few reps with the first team offense today. Of course, he was still wearing a red non-contact jersey, and he is not expected to take any hits for all of spring ball. Tedford said:

“Actually, I think he did sneak in on a couple of plays . . . He’s going to do some ball-handling and he’s going to run some, but we’re not going to bang him.”

* OL Mike Tepper moves to LT

Mike Tepper has been moved back to left tackle, where he played two years ago. There was some speculation that center Alex Mack might be moved to LT following his decision to stay his senior year, but it looks like Tepper will be the guy protecting the QB’s blind side. In general, left tackles are chosen higher in the NFL draft than centers.

* WR Glover, WR/PR? Boateng emerging

(Continue reading “Thompson returns, and more spring updates”…)

DeCoud Pac-10 PotW

Posted by Eric | September 25, 2007 at 10:56 am | In Awards, Defense | No Comments

Free safety Thomas DeCoud has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week (defensive) for his massive effort in Saturday’s victory over Arizona. He was a key player in stifling the Wildcats’ spread offense, and this award is well-deserved.

DeCoud, a senior from Pinole, Calif., made the big plays on defense in California’s 45-27 win against Arizona. DeCoud posted 10 tackles, including a quarterback sack for -12 yards. He also intercepted a pass, forced a fumble that a teammate returned for a touchdown and recovered a fumble that set up another California touchdown. The Golden Bear defense forced four Arizona turnovers.

RB Justin Forsett was also nominated for the award (offense).

Mebane, Hughes also first day draft picks

Posted by Eric | April 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm | In Defense, Players/Alumni | No Comments

DT Brandon Mebane and CB Daymeion Hughes have both been selected in the third round of the NFL draft. Congratulations to them both.

Mebane was selected as the 22nd pick of the round (85th overall) by the Seattle Seahawks. Hughes was selected as the 35th pick of the round (98th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts. Mebane’s selection comes much higher than most draft projections predicted. To be honest, I was very surprised to see Mebane picked earlier than Hughes, but it may be for the best as Hughes will be a great fit in the Colts’ Tampa 2 defensive scheme.

Some news articles on the picks:

  • CalBears.com: Mebane and Hughes Join Lynch On First Day Of NFL Draft
  • Associated Press: Seahawks wait, choose … DT Brandon Mebane
  • Seahawks.com: Seahawks Take DT Brandon Mebane in the 3rd Round
  • Colts.com: Getting Defensive: Colts Use Third-Round Selections on Defense
  • Seahawks.net (Scout): Seahawks 2007 Draft: As It Happens
  • ColtPower.com (Scout): Colts grab corner in third round

From ESPN/Scouts Inc. draft analysis:

Cal CB Daymeion Hughes’ stock plummeted after he turned in an abysmal 40-time at the combine, but he has the tools to develop into an excellent Cover 2 corner. He is physical, reads routes well and is a playmaker. Indianapolis should be happy to have landed him in the third.

Notes from the end-of-spring practice/scrimmage

Posted by Eric | April 15, 2007 at 1:45 am | In Defense, Offense | No Comments

Today’s open practice was a welcome preview of the 2008 Cal football team. The morning rain cleared up to make for a pleasant time in the stadium, and the players put on quite a show.

The practice began with drills and later became a full-contact scrimmage with play sequences executed from various scenarios.

The passing game is a work in progress; Nate Longshore looked good but misthrew a few passes and Kyle Reed needs some more work. I feel confident that this will be sorted out by September 1.

The run game was not spectacular, with James Montgomery making a decent showing but Justin Forsett getting few carries. A surprise was Lavelle Hawkins making a couple rush attempts, including one for a touchdown. I sense that the run game will improve as the offensive line gains more experience together.

Overall, I felt the defense looked better than the offense overall - not unusual for spring ball, but comforting considering the loss of our key defenders to graduation and the NFL. Meanwhile, it seems like special teams (especially return coverage) could use improvement. Two punts, back-to-back were returned for touchdowns.

Also, Scout.com has a nice writeup of the day as well, with some stats too. Take a look.

Heater’s blog, with insider position info

Posted by Eric | March 10, 2007 at 8:07 pm | In Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni, Quarterback, Special Teams | No Comments

EDIT: Jay’s done with all the positions, so check them out.

The Contra Costa Times’ Jay Heater is on a roll, with a special series on his blog detailing the situations of each of the team’s positions. It’s very informative stuff, so take a look:

  • 2/28: Middle linebacker: Coach Kenwick Thompson, Zack Follett, Greg Van Hoesen, Matt Russi
  • 3/01: Outside linebacker: Justin Moye, Anthony Felder, Eddie Young, Worrell Williams, Shea McIntyre, Mike Mohamed, Devin Bishop, Alex Cook, more
  • 3/02: Cornerback: Syd’Quan Thompson, Darian Hagan, Charles Amadi, Brandon Jones
  • 3/03: Offensive line: Alex Mack, Mike Gibson, Brian De La Puente, Noris Malele, Mike Tepper, Chris Guarnero, Chet Teofilo, Matt Laird
  • 3/03: Safety: Thomas DeCoud, Bernard Hicks, Brandon Hampton, Robert Peele, Marcus Ezeff
  • 3/05: Defensive line: Matt Malele, Mika Kane, Derrick Hill, Mike Costanzo, Cody Jones, Rulon Davis, Tad Smith, John Allen, Scott Smith, Phillip Mbakogu
  • 3/06: Running back: Justin Forsett, James Montgomery, Tracy Slocum, Bryan Schutte, Jahvid Best, Shane Vareen
  • 3/07: Fullback: Will Ta’ufo’ou, Brian Holley, RJ Garrett
  • 3/08: Wideout: DeSean Jackson, Robert Jordan, Lavelle Hawkins, Sam DeSa, Sean Young, LaReylle Cunningham, Jeremy Ross, Daniel Lofton
  • 3/09: Tight end: Craig Stevens, Cameron Morrah, Julian Arthur, Skylar Curran, Garry Graffort
  • 3/09: Special teams: Tom Schneider, Andrew Larson, DeSean Jackson, Nick Sundberg, more
  • 3/09: Quarterback: Nate Longshore, Kyle Reed, Kevin Riley

Enjoy.

Cal pro day: Hughes improves 40

Posted by Eric | March 7, 2007 at 1:28 am | In Defense, Marshawn, Players/Alumni | No Comments

Cal had its pro day today (March 6) for NFL teams and scouts interested in pro prospects on the team. According to NFL.com:

CALIFORNIA: MARCH 6
22 teams were there. Two NFL position coaches worked out RB Marshawn Lynch — Tom Rathman (Raiders) and James Saxon (Chiefs). DB Daymeion Hughes ran a better time than he did at the Combine, in the mid 4.5s.

This is great news for Hughes and it should keep his stock up for the draft.

EDIT: The SF Chronicle has a more in-depth article about pro day, mentioning the four NFL combine participants but also Marcus O’Keith, David Gray, Andrew Cameron, Mickey Pimentel, and more.

Pre-spring Q&A with Tedford

Posted by Eric | March 6, 2007 at 7:45 pm | In Coaches, Defense, Offense | No Comments

There’s a nice Q&A with Coach Jeff Tedford up at the official Calbears.com site to kick off the upcoming spring training. He talks mostly about personnel in various positions and how they are shaping up for next season. Take a look here.

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