Cal Football

Cal Football Spring Practice 11: Bears Prepare for Big Scrimmage

March 15, 2019
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With Saturday’s annual full-contact spring game looming, the Bears went through a shorter than usual spring drill Friday. Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, while eagerly anticipating Saturday, was pleased with what he saw Friday.

“I liked the guys focus today,” he said, “Sometimes you get that third non-padded, helmet-only practice that’s mandated guys tend to lose focus. I thought our guys were focused today, competing pretty well. Anytime we are in that situation, where we call go-tempo, the offense is supposed to win. And guys sometimes have a hard time with contact, a little too much contact at times. But they navigated it pretty well and no one is getting hurt, that’s good. I like the progress we’ve made.”

DC Tim DeRuyter

And he’s ready for Saturday.

“Tomorrow is going to be a really big day for us,” he said. “A lot of live reps tomorrow, Usually we don’t go with a ton of live. A week ago we went live and some guys got exposed. So we’re going to see how they respond from that.”

He was asked if there was one particular position group he was going to watch.

“I am interested, not necessarily in a position group but just all of our younger guys who have not had a lot of live reps. I know what Evan Weaver is going to do in live action. I know what Jaylinn Hawkins is going to do. But what’s Colt Doughty going to do in live action? What’s Kuony Deng going to do in live action? What’s Daniel Scott going to do in live action? Those guys are going to get opportunities tomorrow. Are they guys we can count on now, or are we going to have to wait a little bit longer?”

Quarterback Chase Garbers, who seems to have taken the lead in the position battle, is ready to go. “I am really looking forward to seeing how we do live,” he said. “Last Saturday we went live for most of the practice period, and I want to see how we respond. Especially how young we are in the skill position rooms. Like how our tight ends take a hit with the ball in their hands.”

Following the spring game, the Bears have three more spring practices next week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After that when the players practice they will be doing it on their own. To help prepare them for the PRPs (Players Run Practices), the coaches on Friday stepped aside (figuratively) and let the players run things for a brief period.

“When we get done next Friday we (the coaches) can’t be on the field with them until next August when we come back to camp,” DeRuyter said. “It’s critical they understand that when they run Player Run Practices there has to be an efficiency...We have to show them what we expect and give certain guys the authority. ‘He’s calling it.’ There is not going to be 11 guys saying, ‘I want to call this.” ‘I want to call this,’

“So it’s kind of getting them organized, and watching them do it. Have them hold the standard. Have them hold younger guys, or older guys, to the standard we want to hold them to.”

LB Evan Weaver:

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Linebacker Weaver, the elder statesman of the defense, said the Bears did fine independent of the coaches, although there was something of a hiccup at the beginning.

“We actually had a few Player Run Practices before spring ball started,” he said. “It was interesting the first few plays (on Friday) we were looking to see who was going to make the play calls. Coach GA (Gerald Alexander) the one that normally calls them. We were looking behind us but he wasn’t doing anything. Then we looked at Coach DeRuyter and Coach (Peter) Sirmon. And then it was like (safety) Daniel Scott was standing on the sideline with the play sheet. It took a little bit got get it going, but when we got it going it started to run pretty smoothly.”

The offense had some nice moments during the low-impact practice. Transfer Devon Modster, threw some nice passes and ran a dandy quarterback draw, scooting through a confused defense.

Running back Alex Netherda looked good catching swing passes out of the backfield.

Quarterback Jack Newman salvaged a nice gain on one particular broken play.

Wide receiver Ben Skinner, a redshirt freshman, nearly came up with a circus catch along the sideline. Then he caught a toss from Garbers simultaneously with a defender. Both held on as they hit the ground. It would have been ruled a completion.

Defensively, freshman defensive end JH Tevis disrupted a promising play by getting a big hand up and batting down a Garbers pass.

Weaver. Incidentally, has been impressed by Garbers this spring.

“Chase has gotten so much better,” Weaver said. “You can really tell he’s put in a lot of work, it shows with the full 7-on-7s and the drills before this. You can tell he’s been with everybody and pushing everybody to get better. He brought up the offense to a whole other level this spring.

“Maybe it’s not so noticeable to you guys (media) but it is to us, especially when they are carving up our defense, and Chase is making appropriate reads and pulls the ball when he needs to, and making throws. He’s been doing a great job all spring.”

Former athletic director Mike Williams, the man who hired Justin Wilcox, was an observer for some of the practice.

The spring game will be shown today at 11 am on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal’s pro day is Thursday. Thirteen players are scheduled to participate, although the number could change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cal Football Spring Practice 11: Bears Prepare for Big Scrimmage

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