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Practice reports

This post was going to be about how the practice reports are showing that Mansion is doing well, has a quick yet powerful release, seems to have good command of the offense and the receivers are happy.

Which all sounds great… BUT…

Isn’t that what all practice reports sound like? I mean, when’s the last time we heard a practice report, other than injury reports, that said something negative? It’s reached the point that when I read that stuff about Mansion, I have no idea what to think and most definitely don’t take it at face value.

Which got me to thinking, is this a Cal specific problem? Do other schools have this problem? I mean, Cal reporters are not exactly kind when it comes to the playing field. They’ll tell it like it is with the best of them. But yet, all we get out of practice is about all the “progress” and how things are gelling. Why is that?

Post spring depth chart

Cal released its post-spring depth chart and I can’t help but wonder if it was done while all the eyes were on the NFL draft on purpose… but that could just be my conspiracy theory side talking.

In any case, you can view it here.

Some thoughts:

  • I think far too much is being made of the lack of any depth for the QB. Some think that putting “OR” next to each guy is a big deal, but I don’t think so. They’re still in the same order they’ve been in all along and I just view the “OR” as a sign that Tedford is reserving the right to change the order in fall. And why shouldn’t he? None of the three is really separating themselves right now. Perhaps if Riley had finished the spring the way he started it, but he didn’t and he needs to know that he needs to get back what he had at the beginning of spring if he expects to be safe at the starting position.
  • The fact that Darian Hagan still got the starting spot over Conte despite the fact that he didn’t play all spring is significant to me. The coaches must have a lot of confidence in Hagan. Conte did a pretty good job during the spring and seems to have improved a bit. Don’t be surprised to see more of him on the field, perhaps in nickle packages, perhaps substituting for a safety because of his progress.
  • For the opposite case, Verran Tucker lost his starting spot while being out this spring to Marvin Jones. Jones has come a long way, so it may have been the case that was the real reason for the swap. But I also think it is clear Tucker doesn’t have the confidence of the staff that Hagan does.
  • Also note that there are 7 WR’s on this “two-deep” depth chart. Between putting in a slot receiver as a third WR position, Michael Calvin got listed as 3rd on the depth chart for one of the three positions. Besides Tucker, the other player seeing his stock fall is Ross, who didn’t get the slot position which instead went to Lagemann, who was perhaps the spring’s best WR.
  • Look at how big this offensive line is. With the exception of Guarnero at center at 275, everone is over 300 for an average of 312.4 (or 321.8 without the center). That’s one big line.
  • The biggest surprise to me on the O-Line is that Cheadle drops to 3rd string at right-guard. Everyone else is about what I expected. The one with the biggest upside this spring was Summers-Gavin who is beginning to live up to his promise when he was recruited (and as a redshirt freshman is doing it pretty quick).
  • If there’s a weak spot on the roster it is fullback. Brian Holley looked pretty sharp early in spring ball but has looked less impressive as practice wore on. Both Tyndall who seems green despite being a redshirt sophomore and Will Kapp who is small and light to be a fullback at 5-10, 210 don’t quite seem poised to challenge Holley for the spot. Hopefully one of them can step up.

Overall, I think this is one solid and deep depth chart. Generally speaking when I look at each position I look at who is 2nd string and think “tough break for that guy” instead of looking at the first team guy thinking “this is the best they can do?” Between guys like Cattouse who I’m not sure what they have to do to prove their capable to be 1st string to Ross, Payne and Conte who seem to all be in the same boat, this is a pretty deep depth chart.

Other thoughts?

At spring practice on Wednesday

On Wednesday I was at Spring Practice and got to watch the 2008 Bears in action. I did my first podcast of the year on the way home and will post it tonight after editing it all together. (I would have done it last night but between Church responsibilities on Monday evening, a sailing club board meeting on Tuesday and practice Wednesday, my wife needed my support and help with stuff around the house and the 3 boys last night.) Also, I’ll be going to the open practice on Saturday and will do a podcast on the way home from that as well (although it probably won’t get posted until at least Sunday night if not Monday).

So look for those postings in the coming days.

Until then here are some notes I took:

  • The number of injuries piling up is troublesome. Longshore wasn’t dressed. Both Vareen and Best were redshirted. Follett wasn’t even there. And those are just the high profile ones. Luckily it’s just Spring Practice, but if the injury front doesn’t improve in the fall, it could make for a long season.
  • WR Boateng is looking to play a big role in the fall. He’s fast and big, two awesome qualities for a WR. A lot of throws in the scrimaging went his way as the #3 reciever.
  • Both the players and the coaches on the defensive side practiced with a lot of enthusiasm.
  • The receivers were dropping a lot of balls although both Ta’ufo’ou and Jeremy Ross (WR) made impressive one-handed grabs
  • Mark Boskovich (Sophmore Left-Guard) was hitting really hard during individual drills. The kind of hard that makes your head snap up from writing notes to see who just got creamed. If he hits like that on run plays during the season, expect to see a lot of runs behind the left guard next season.
  • Slocum looked REALLY fast. Like almost Best fast. He had great acceleration and was pretty darned nimble.
  • For all the talk of 3-4, I saw a lot of 4-3… or at least I think I did. There was a lot of linebackers cheating up in a number of plays and the practice jerseys are harder to pick out the numbers to determine who’s a lineman and who’s a linebacker.
  • The defense was the better of the performing units between the two.
  • Worrell Williams had two “free” interceptions that he dropped. He was kicking himself particularly after the 2nd one.
  • Brian Anger has a BOOMing leg. He’ll likely be a great replacement for Larson and may also have kickoff duties again.

That’s it for now.