Practice Report Day 12

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By David Bush, Staff Writer
Posted Aug 12, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017 BearInsider.com


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Cal freshman defensive back Josh Drayden
The Bears went through a scrimmage Saturday simulating game conditions, and coach Justin Wilcox liked what he saw, especially from his defense as the players got after each other.
"I thought it (the physicality) was better. In terms of our fall practices, the best one yet in the physical part of the game" Wilcox said after the session that featured approximately 100 snaps. "The walk-throughs and the meetings, it's all critical knowing what to do and how to do it, and mentally being able to have that resolve. Football is a physical game and we've got to continue to grow in that area, and we've gotten better."

The offense did have some highlights, but was a little too careless with the ball to suit Wilcox as the Bears threw some interceptions, including two by Chase Forrest both to Jaylinn Hawkins. 

"We've got to do a better job protecting the ball, but they (the offense) also did some good things and moved the ball down the field," he said. "They capitalized in the red zone a couple of times. There is a ton to learn from at that (quarterback) position and everywhere else."

On the last play of the day, Josh Drayden, who earlier had picked up a fumble and run it it, returned an interception for a score. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Raymond Davison and bounced off the hands of running back Vic Enwere. 

"I think any time you get your hands on the ball it's a good thing on defense," Wilcox said. "A tipped ball can change the game, and at the end it sure did."

"I realized if I got to the ball anything can happen," said Drayden, the sophomore cornerback. "GA (Gerald Alexander) our defensive coach always talks about energy. Always talks about us, we try to bring energy no matter how flat we are we have to keep going. That last play will give us momentum going into next week and going into the season."

Earlier he had capitalized on an offensive fumble as quarterback Ross Bowers was stripped by linebacker Chinedu Udeogu. "In practice we are scooping the ball, scooping the ball. So when I went to the line of scrimmage I picked it up," he said. "You know me, I want to pick it up. No DB wants to fall on the ball, we always want to pick it up and run."

And run he did. Speedy wide receiver Demetris Robertson was after him and likely would have caught him had not defensive end James Loney knocked the fleet sophomore off stride. 

"I was going to block D-Rob out, but he came faster than I thought," Looney said, noting that he just nudged Roberston enough. "I've got to let Josh score. You want to celebrate with him. Nothing is better than having the D (defense) score a touchdown. We rarely get the chance to score a touchdown on defense. That opportunity you can't let it go."

Looney said the defense in particular likes the way Wilcox is simulating game week conditions in his practices. "Monday through Friday we work hard and it paid off today," he said. "I love that Coach Wilcox has it set up perfectly like we're in season. The guy's a true professional in everything he does. I think it was great for our defense. Our offense struggled a little bit, but defense wins championships, especially in the Pac-12."

And Looney agreed with his coach that this was the best day of practice to date. "I think it was good," he said. "I think it was really good for our defense. It allowed us to tackle. You get to see how guys react. ... You get to play football. It's fun to go out and play touch and all that stuff, but when you get to go out and hit, that's what keeps guys going.  And Coach Wilcox is out here going crazy, too. He might not have showed it too much but he is a defensive minded guy and he loves it when the pads get to clicking.




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