Fall Camp Notebook: Day 16

Bears Hold Closed Scrimmage

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The Cal football team held its second and final scrimmage of fall camp Tuesday evening, one that was off-limits to the public and media. Coach Jeff Tedford did talk to reporters on the field afterward, though, and a few things could be observed-the team wore its new, name-free uniforms during the scrimmage, there were referees on hand, and nobody made as winning an impression as to be named a starter immediately.

"I felt like the energy was good and the hustle was good," Tedford said. "We weren't as sharp as we need to be offensively We had noise and we had guys flinching, so that was not good, but besides that everything else was fine. Everybody stayed healthy through it and we got some situations done."

Tedford said that the coaches would have meetings Wednesday to begin finalizing the depth chart. Tomorrow's short practice will be a "mock game," according to Tedford, focused on team organization, and preparation for Michigan State will begin the day after.

Both Tedford and defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said that, after two and a half weeks of camp, they have no burning questions about the team, but that they won't know for sure how the Bears will handle real game situations until August 30.

"I think the biggest thing is how are we gonna do when it's the real deal," Gregory said. "There's only so much simulating you can do, because when you put 70, 000 people up there, the anxiety level goes up. That's a whole different thing. So hopefully we'll be able to handle all that well."

Added Tedford: "I think they're ready to play against someone else. They've worked hard. I don't know that they feel there's anything else that they can do right now besides play a game."

- Not much was said about the quarterback competition. Tedford did mention that neither Nate Longshore nor Kevin Riley were picked off during the scrimmage. He also said that he is "getting close" to naming a starter, and that the factors being weighed are Longshore's "experience and knowledge" and Riley's "playmaking and arm strength."

When asked about his timeline for the decision, Tedford smiled and said, "I don't know. I'm not gonna back myself into that corner."

- After the team's first scrimmage, all that Tedford could remember about the play of Bryant Nnabuife was the defensive back's holding penalties. Tuesday, Nnabuife made sure that he created a better memory.

The sophomore junior college transfer intercepted a pass off of Brock Mansion and stripped a fumble during the scrimmage.

"He showed up, he did some things," Gregory said. "He didn't play a lot versus the (first-team offense), so you always have to take that with a grain of salt, but he made plays, which is a good thing."

- Zack Follett, Chris Conte and Derrick Hill all played in the scrimmage after missing multiple days while nursing injuries.

Syd'Quan Thompson sat out as he continues to recover from a sprained shoulder, although Tedford sounded confident saying that Thompson would be ready to go by Michigan State. Cameron Morrah also missed the scrimmage with an ankle injury, but Tedford acknowledged that Morrah has already established himself as the team's starting tight end.

Eddie Young, who practiced Monday morning but had a red jersey on during the evening session, sat out with a groin pull. Michael Calvin remained sidelined with a sprained toe.

- Although Morrah has won the starting position at tight end, the coaches haven't overlooked the performance of freshman Anthony Miller.

Tedford named Miller and linebacker Mychal Kendricks as two freshmen who will see playing time for the Bears in 2008. Gregory had further praise for the 17-year-old Kendricks.

"He's doing a good job, he's making plays," Gregory said. "Even though we've got some good linebackers, because we've made this switch (to the 3-4), we probably don't have as much depth there as we need. He's a good player. He'll have to play for us."

Gregory also said that Kendricks will likely play on all of Cal's special teams.

- A few offensive highlights:

Shane Vereen, who is still not quite at 100 percent after suffering a lower leg bruise in the first week of camp, had a 30-yard touchdown run.

Wideout Sean Young had a touchdown catch in overtime, while Nyan Boateng made a nice leaping grab up the seam.

Kickers Jordan Kay and David Seawright continued what has become one of the tighter position battles of camp, converting on all of their field goal attempts except for a 52-yarder by Seawright that hit off the crossbar. Tedford lauded Seawright as having been "very solid" and improving "since day one in accuracy and leg strength." He also said that it is atypical for the team to travel with two kickers.


Contact Matt Kawahara at [email protected]

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