Fall Camp Notebook: Day Six

Hit by Concussion Bug, Bears Entertain Situational Drills While Slocum Enjoys Increased Reps

Photo: Tailback Tracy Slocum engages in running drills.
Chris Chung/Photo
Tailback Tracy Slocum engages in running drills.

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The Cal football team's first two-a-day saw some good live action during the evening practice, as all three units went endzone-to-endzone.

As tailbacks Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen sat out the live 11-on-11 drill as well as the rest of practice, Tracy Slocum heard his name called in three of the first four plays out of the three-yard line. He gained a handful of yards in a couple runs before springing a 20-yarder that showcased the gritty style of which he's been advertised.

"We've got three backs down right now, but I've just gotta concentrate and pick up the slack," Slocum said. "I was just thinking about keeping my feet moving and just trying to be tough and try to impress these coaches out here 'cause I've got a lot to prove."

Coach Jeff Tedford said after practice that Slocum "did a nice job."

Quarterback Nate Longshore looked sharp running the first unit and displayed good movement in and around the pocket. After riding his tailback out of the endzone, Longshore perfectly executed a play-action fake, rolling out to his right before hitting tight end Cameron Morrah underneath for a dozen yards.

The first unit's turn ended, however, when cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson picked off Longshore on a seemingly broken screen play, taking it the opposite way for six.

"It wasn't really a miscommunication, but Syd, you know, Syd knows when somebody's gonna do something," freshman Marvin Jones said. "He already knows when somebody's gonna break. He's the best at breaking to the ball, so I guess when he saw me kind of sink and go, he was already on it."

Darian Hagan played opposite Thompson throughout the sequence, logging first-team action during what's been a heated battle for the second corner slot.

During his subsequent live turn with the 2's, quarterback Kevin Riley moved slowly but surely down the field, relying on tailback Peter Geurts whenever he needed a few certain yards. The offense's second unit committed a few fumbles, but recovered both and managed to prolong the drive until Jones took a screen pass from about the 25-yard line and darted to the end zone.

All three quarterbacks, Longshore, Riley and Brock Mansion, performed nicely in their third set of 11-on-11 reps. Longshore went 4-for-4, including a touchdown floater to Morrah, who ran past both linebacker Worrell Williams and safety Marcus Ezeff for the grab. Riley also converted 4-of-4, with two passes apiece to LaReylle Cunningham and Eddie Young.

Tedford had the team run a situational drill at the end of practice, with Cal trailing Michigan State 20-12 and two minutes remaining in the fourth. Longshore was picked by Ezeff on the first play in an attempt to hit wideout Michael Calvin on a slant, while Riley later hit Young for a deep touchdown. Riley, however, couldn't convert the two-pointer as both wideouts were tightly covered.

"We're gonna just always have situations," Tedford said. "Teach everybody about game situations, to be heads up, not just practice mindlessly that they understand the situation, they understand the clock, they understand the field area, you know, those types of things.

"The perfect example is Kevin today, on the two-point play to tie the game, throws the play out of the end zone for the last play of the game. You can't do that. You've got to put it in play somewhere, a tipped ball, I don't care if it's intercepted. It's your last chance, you know, so those types of things gain experience."

During Mansion's turn, there was a bit of friendly controversy surrounding the final play. The redshirt freshman hooked up with Jones dashing toward the corner of the end zone, but one of the coaches ruled him out-of-bounds.

Defensive tackle Michael Costanzo, defensive backs Charles Amadi and Jesse Brooks and tailback Covaughn DeBoskie all sat out practice with concussions.

Defensive tackle Mika Kane, who sprained his ankle walking down the stadium stairs this morning, sported a boot.

Linebacker Zach Follett has a bad groin, but Tedford says it's not serious. Tedford also anticipates that Vereen will be back in the next couple days, if not Sunday then on Monday.

Best, however, was resting and fully healthy in sitting out practice.

"We'll probably do that a couple days with Jahvid," Tedford said. "He's so powerful and so quick and puts so much stress on himself. He runs the distance every play We're going to try to keep him fresh."


Contact Andrew Kim at [email protected]

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