Gregory Believes Cal D Can Be Even Better

Photo: Cornerback Darian Hagan made his first career start for Cal on Saturday; defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said 'he had a solid game' opposite Syd'Quan Thompson.
Nathan Yan/Staff
Cornerback Darian Hagan made his first career start for Cal on Saturday; defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said 'he had a solid game' opposite Syd'Quan Thompson.

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Cal linebacker Zack Follett

Follett offers his mid-week thoughts on the defense.

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➢ Having had the time to review last week's game film, defensive coordinator Bob Gregory delved a bit further into the Bears' showing against Michigan State.

To recap, Cal was tested late in the game with a two-touchdown lead, but held off a scrappy comeback. Still, Gregory implied his unit isn't yet a finished product.

"When we went fast, I think our effort was there on Saturday, no question," he said. "But I don't think we played smart all the time. We gave up a couple touchdowns that I think we shouldn't have given up.

"I think we played hard, and I think we played fast. We can improve, and that's another positive."

Defensive end Tyson Alualu has also been highlighted as a positive from the win over the Spartans. And as if they needed help, Alualu and senior Rulon Davis will welcome sophomore Cameron Jordan back to the rotation.

Jordan, who served a one-game suspension against the Spartans for violating team rules, has been on a tear in practice, as was evident in Wednesday's 1-on-1 drill between the defensive and offensive linemen.

"Yeah, definitely," Gregory said when asked whether he's noticed Jordan's efforts this week. "He's a guy that can rush the passer, and we need that kind of guy to come off the edge."

Although the official depth chart lists Jordan behind sophomore Keith Browner as of Aug. 31, Gregory confirmed that Jordan will be the No. 3 guy behind Alualu and Davis upon his return.

Davis, meanwhile, was his typical merciless self in drills, while defensive tackle Mika Kane appeared to have gained an extra step in recovering from a bum ankle.

➢ Cal ran an 11-on-11 situational in practice last night, setting a fourth-quarter scene that saw the offense trailing 23-21 with 1:30 remaining on the clock.

Quarterback Kevin Riley played with the 1's and went 2-for-4 in leading the offense to a David Seawright field goal. Wideout Nyan Boateng, who hasn't shown a trace of Saturday's off-night thus far in practice, wowed his teammates with a one-handed grab that secured a critical first down.

"He's doing fine," coach Jeff Tedford said of Boateng. "He had a couple tough balls last game, some real low balls, so we worked hard this week on making diving catches ... It's not something you get a chance to do all the time, but he's been practicing really well."

After turning in a fairly innocuous Cal debut during which he wasn't quite 100 percent (toe), receiver Michael Calvin also seems poised to see more action in Pullman, Wash. Calvin took reps with both the first and second teams.

"There's no question (Calvin) was our leading receiver coming into camp, and he had a great camp," Tedford said. "Definitely, it'll be a little boost to have him healthy."

Meanwhile, offensive tackle Mike Tepper remained in a no-contact jersey, though he showed up as a scout team defensive tackle. Tepper has been regularly participating in individual drills with the O-line as well.

➢ As the scout team quarterback, redshirt Beau Sweeney has been giving the Bears defense all sorts of looks. The first-unit defense had simply observed Sweeney's out-of-pocket endeavors during fall camp, but in the past few days, they've been the ones to chase his trail.

"He's definitely a runner," Gregory said. "He's a good athlete."

Despite being rough around the edges, Sweeney seems to be Cal's best option at simulating Cougars quarterback Gary Rogers and their no-huddle offense.

"I think their scheme is really good," Gregory said. "They're hard to defend, they spread the field, they do a lot of different things shift-wise, motion-wise. You have to be on your game."

➢ Punter Bryan Anger's MRI results came back negative, and he will likely make the Cal football team's 64-man travel roster for Saturday's tilt, Tedford said following Wednesday's practice.

Anger has been sporting a protective knee brace on his right (kicking) leg this week, but it appears the redshirt freshman and his golden leg will be available for the roadie.


Contact Andrew Kim at

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