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Spring Practice Day 2: Offense is Running Smoother

March 6, 2020
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The Cal football team conducted its second day of Spring Practice under cloudy skies at Memorial Stadium Friday morning, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he saw progress.

“A good practice Wednesday there was a lot of energy but it was a little ragged,” Musgrave said. “Today was more smooth . (There were) a lot of things to correct and we did.”

Musgrave said most of the improvement came in the area of simply getting ready to run a play. For example, under previous OC Beau Baldwin, the Bears seldom gathered round for a huddle.

“We are getting lined up in the formations a little better, guys are being in the huddle for the second time..The huddle mechanics,” Musgrave said. “I thought the motions were crisper rather than feeling our way. Rather than just put our toe in the water like we did on Wednesday, we went full in with the can opener or cannonball today.”

But to carry the diving metaphor further, quarterback Chase Garbers said there were elements of a belly-flop in the Bears’ execution.

“I like the offense a lot, I think everyone else on the offensive side of the ball likes the offense, too. It’s fun to run,” Garbers said. “We weren’t quite up to speed today, coming off day one. But it’s the second day running the offense on the field. We will watch film tonight and come out here tomorrow.”

Musgrave said despite moving from the pro ranks back down to college, he intends to operate the same type of offense he did in the NFL.

“it is going to be very similar, the language is going to be the same we used in Oakland, also Denver Minnesota, Atlanta,” he said, retracing his NFL coaching career. “I feel comfortable teaching that and I feel like I convey that so we can play fast when we get on the field. We are going full steam ahead. These guys are sharp and we are not going to have to cut back on any volume.”

There are at least two significant differences from Baldwin’s designs that were visible Friday. One is that Garbers and the other quarterbacks will be directly under center more often.

Garbers has not spent a lot of time there. “No,” he said. “In high school I was all shotgun. We were under center maybe 15 percent of the time under coach Baldwin, primarily run plays or play action. The biggest difference is the five or six-step drop from under center. I haven’t done that since junior high.”

And there is the restoration of the fullback position. 

“We want to be difficult to defend,” Musgrave said. “And at the times when you have a fullback on the field, you can be more difficult to defend than if you have three or four wides. We have that, too we enjoy that. But I think the defense feels the impact of a fullback out there, both formationally and also when you execute the play.”

Zach Angelillo, who came to Cal as an inside linebacker, is a leading candidate for the position.

“He’s an aspiring fullback in training,” Musgrave said. “He’s done good things out there. Kind of a small sample size but it’s positive.”

A redshirt freshman from Fresno. Angelillo saw himself buried on the depth chart at linebacker and saw fullback as a way off the bench. He went to the coaching staff, volunteered to move and found the coaches had been toying with the same idea.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity,” Angelillo said. “Coach Musgrave and Coach AT (Aristotle Thompson) welcomed me with open arms. They are great teachers and it gives me a chance to help the team.”

Musgrave said the position mostly involves grunt work, but there is the opportunity for glory. “He has got to be a blocker, got to do the dirty work. We are looking for a hammerhead in there,” Musgrave said. “We realize you’ve also got to pay his fee sometimes, by handing him a belly or a dive or a trap. Or maybe throwing him the ball out in the flat so he can touch it every once in a while. Pay his fee.”

Some other observations from Day Two

Wide receiver Ricky Walker III showed some real giddyup, getting himself open regularly. One of the offense’s better plays was a pass from Garbers to Walker, who had found an opening between three defenders.

Linebacker Evan Tattersall broke through for what would have been a sack in a full contact situation.. After the play, he did a little shimmy, ala Steph Curry.

Redshirt freshman Craig Woodson, a candidate for safety, intercepted an underthrown Garbers pass.

Spencer Brasch, who followed Garbers and Devon Modster in the quarterback pecking order, threw some nice passes in team drills. However, he also threw high on a pitchout intended for DeCarlos Brooks that the running back couldn’t handle and he defense recovered. The fault seemed to be with Brasch, but Brooks hit the dirt for punitive pushups.

The defense almost exclusively featured five DBs, with only one inside linebacker.

Traveon Clark seems ready for a big year, making several impressive catches including a sideline grab when heavily defended.

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Discussion from...

Spring Practice Day 2: Offense is Running Smoother

3,061 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 26 days ago by calumnus
upsetof86
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Good lord if TC also takes a big step forward along with the other WR who are already solid plus slot Nikko and a frosh/TE play maker, is our OFFENSE about to have a breakout year?? A golden bear can dream. I already bought my 2 sets of season tickets foor my wife and I and planning my road trips. I am all in for 2020.
oskirules
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It's March and good as time as any to pump some sunshine into this thing. Looking forward to see Cal score 40+ a game.
Big C
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Since Musgrave is no dummy, when he announces to the world that the offense is going to be the same as the one he used in his four NFL stops (even the language!), I'm assuming it'll be the opposite. Get ready for the return of either the Wishbone or the Run and Shoot!
KenBurnski
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I'm already an Angelillo fan. Hope to see him trucking defenders this Fall.
NavyBear
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Aristotle Thompson on a former player: ". . . tough as nails, I loved that kid. He gave me his heart and soul every single day. Hopefully I can get these guys to play the same way. . ."

Love it, really like the coaching direction the offense is trending in.
chalcidbear
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I love the idea of having a fullback. IMHO, that makes offenses a bit more difficult to deal with.
brcal69
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chalcidbear said:

I love the idea of having a fullback. IMHO, that makes offenses a bit more difficult to deal with.
That and having the QB under center should have a positive impact on the running game. I hated watching the handoffs out of the shotgun where our RBs had very little momentum and there was little attempt by the QB to deceive.
calumnus
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brcal69 said:

chalcidbear said:

I love the idea of having a fullback. IMHO, that makes offenses a bit more difficult to deal with.
That and having the QB under center should have a positive impact on the running game. I hated watching the handoffs out of the shotgun where our RBs had very little momentum and there was little attempt by the QB to deceive.


Agreed, it was hard to watch. Looking forward to this Fall.
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