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Cal Football

Fall Camp Day 19

August 23, 2019

The Bears had a long, tough practice session Friday after a day off on Wednesday and a relatively short day Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said the workout was the equivalent of a “Tuesday” practice during the regular season. And Saturday, the final day of fall camp, will be the same as a normal Wednesday  During the in-season practice week, Tuesday and Wednesday are the most intense days. The Bears have Sunday off then starting getting ready for UC Davis in earnest,

“Eight days out. Guys are really getting excited,” DeRuyter said. “Had a good focus in practice today on Davis. It’s nice for the opener that you get a little extra work.”

DeRuyter went into some detail on the Aggies.

“We are playing an excellent team in Davis,” he said, “This team is very well-coached. They’ve got good athletes, They’ve to a returning quarterback (Jake Maier) who’s dynamite.. Really good skill, really good offensive line and their offensive coordinator does a good job of mixing things up, getting a defense thinking it’s communicating before the ball’s snapped. They wore a lot of people out last year and we know it’s going to be a real challenge for us.”

DeRuyter said that outside linebacker Cam Goode, who missed virtually all of last year with an injury, is ready to go.

“He is a guy who has been running this package for a third fall,” DeRuyter said. “Very smart football player. He’s up to 234 or so pounds (from 225). He is much more physical at setting an edge. He’s much more physical in space. He’s probably a better pass rusher than he’s ever been because he is putting all his tools together with his hands and doing a really nice job mixing up speed to power.”

DeRuyter said the Bears are being careful with him, given his history of injury. “He kind of eased his way into this camp,” DeRuyter said. “He was 100 percent set to go in the spring, got a lot of good reps there. He had a bit of hamstring issue early in the spring. That might have been good for us because we had to get other guys ready and give them reps.   He has been going full since he came back.”

The ongoing camp question has been the situation at nose guard, where the Bears are down a couple of big bodies and apparently will be for the foreseeable future. DeRuyter said the Bears schemes would not change even with “smaller” players in the middle of the defensive line.

“We are going to be in our base package a lot,” he said, “We feel good about Luc (Bequette) being our nose guard. We feel Brett Johnson is making some good strides. And Erick Nisch has done some good work for a young guy. We’re still going to run our stuff. A lot of the teams we play use a lot of three wides, so we are going to mix up our base and our nickel against those type of teams.”

With Bequette evidently slated to play more at nose guard than at defensive end, the Bears will need a major contribution from Zeandae Johnson. 

“He’s been really steady,” DeRuyter said of the redshirt senior. “A year ago he was coming off that injury and probably wasn’t as comfortable or as confident in that leg as he is now. He is playing like a veteran should. He has been very steady, very physical, He still needs to work on his pass rush. His conversion from run to pass isn’t where it needs to be right now. But Coach (Andrew) Browning is doing a great job of getting him to play great technique, physical football,”

More practice notes:

The official depth chart will be released Saturday and there are some positions where the listings will be interesting.  Most are foregone conclusions, Chase Garbers at quarterback, Jake Curhan at left tackle, Evan Weaver at inside linebacker, Ashtyn Davis at safety, etc. Others still have some intrigue. Just who will be the starting tight end? Jordan Duncan, Nikko Remigio and Jeremiah Hawkins are likely to be on the front line of wide receivers, but how will the others shake out? Who’s the backup quarterback? Assuming Bequette is the starting nose guard, what is the order of the reserves and who takes over at defensive end. Did Greg Thomas hold off the challenge of Gabe Siemieniec at placekicker? There are always some surprises.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle last year Garbers, being just one of two quarterbacks taking snaps by the end of the year, had arm and shoulder problems caused by overwork. “He would see play calls asking for 40-yard passes, and he knew he couldn’t get the ball there,” the Chronicle reported. With four other QBs available to take snaps, that shouldn’t be an issue in 2019.

The offense wore white jerseys during practice and the defense blue during the spring and fall camp until this week. Now the defense is wearing white and offense blue. One likely reason is that in the opening game Cal will be the home team and wear blue. The staff might want the quarterbacks to get used to looking for receivers in blue. Look for them to switch back in two weeks as the Bears prepare to go on the road at Washington where they will wear white. 

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Fall Camp Day 19

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