Fall Camp Notebook: Day Eight

Defense Shows Improvement While the Backfield Remains Hit by the Injury Bug

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Fall Camp Notebook: Day Eight - Jeff Tedford

Bears coach Jeff Tedford touches upon various topics following Monday's practice.

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Fall Camp Notebook: Day Eight - Eddie Young

Linebacker Eddie Young discusses fall camp so far.

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The Cal defense, which has been exclusively running the 3-4, showed up for a big day during a shortened practice in shells.

Quarterback play was shaky for the evening as a whole, as the defensive backs proceeded to have one of their best days of practice. Cornerbacks Darian Hagan and Chris Conte both saw action opposite Syd'Quan Thompson with the first unit, though Hagan received slightly more reps with the 1's.

Hagan, a redshirt sophomore, made a couple spectacular plays that highlighted the night. During 7-on-7 action, Hagan recovered to bat down a deep toss intended for wideout Sean Young after the senior had beaten him by a step. During an 11-on-11 drill in the end zone, the defensive back displayed impressive recovery speed once again, catching up to Nyan Boateng who had created some daylight on a drag route.

"Corners made a couple plays today," coach Jeff Tedford said. "Syd, of course, you know he's pretty solid all the time. I thought the quarterbacks left the ball in the air a little too long today, and the corners did a nice job of going and getting it. We had some guys open, and we just weren't real sharp in the passing game."

The secondary displayed some tidy coverage particularly during 7-on-7s, often forcing the quarterbacks to look underneath.

With Zack Follett just starting to return from a bad groin and Anthony Felder out indefinitely with a swollen knee, others members of the linebacking crew were able to receive further attention in drills.

During the first 11-on-11s that Follett sat out, junior Eddie Young and redshirt sophomore Charles Johnson bookended the outside slots for the first-team defense. Johnson also saw action with the second unit opposite Kevin Riley, while Young continued to see first-team reps during drills in which Follett participated.

Thus far in fall camp, Young has been making a hard push for the fourth linebacker spot alongside Follett, Felder and Worrell Williams.

"Oh, it's easy man," Young said of his transition to the 3-4. "I did it in high school. I played a bit more stand-up defensive end, which is kind of the same thing as what I'm doing now."

With minor injuries piling up in the backfield, tailback Jahvid Best remained in the spotlight with the 1's, while fullback Peter Geurts and tailback Langston Jackson split carries as part of the second and third units.

Jackson made a few short but strong runs throughout the day, but his most impressive scamper ended in a fumble after a solid dozen yards. Geurts often complemented Best with the first-unit offense.

"Peter Geurts has just been a warrior," Tedford said. "I mean, the guy is all beat up, and he just continues to play and is very solid. Now Tracy (Slocum)'s hurt, Covaughn (DeBoskie)'s hurt, so our depth right there isn't very good right now."

According to Tedford, Shane Vereen could be back possibly by Wednesday, if not later this week. Slocum is out with a stinger, DeBoskie with a concussion.

Tight end Cameron Morrah notched a few highlights of his own, trucking safety Bernard Hicks following a short gain on a play-action pass though he couldn't continue his run. During 7-on-7 drills, he managed a couple nice hook-ups with both Riley and Nate Longshore, who also found the 6-foot-4 junior in the end zone in the his final 11-on-11 set.

Defensive tackle Mika Kane, who aggravated his ankle walking down the bleachers before practice last week, remains in a boot.


Contact Andrew Kim at [email protected]

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