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Spring Practice Day 10 -- Sirmon Talks Players' Development

March 12, 2021

The Cal football team went through its tenth practice of the spring season Friday, and it was defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon’s turn to take a Zoom call with the media. He was asked about which players were showing the greatest development so far.

“When it goes like this in the spring you see a lot of guys develop,” Sirmon said. “Some guys are asked to play multiple positions as you are developing depth in the roster. Someone like Collin Gamble. He is playing in the secondary, but he is playing inside a little bit, outside a little bit. Today he showed up again, he made a play. 

Miles Williams, in terms of his progress, he is a player who comes with a lot of energy. He is very vocal in the back end. Coach Tre Watson is continuing to coach him up. He is another player who is a younger guy we’ve been pleased with.”

At the start of the spring sessions, much was made of the move of standout inside linebacker Kuony Deng to the outside. So far, so good according to Sirmon.

“We feel really good about that move,” Sirmon said. “He has all the tools to do it. The biggest thing he needs to make progress with is just the mental part of the game. Coach Keith Heyward is doing a great job with him in the meetings. Cam Goode is another resource to bounce some questions off. Kuony has been very involved. As he gets more and more reps he’ll get even better. We have been really pleased with the move so far.”

Sirmon was asked about the difficulty of getting any pass rush from the nose guard position. He explained it in terminology that probably mystified anyone not well-versed in football lingo.

“When we are in nose-guard type situations, people refer to that as you are playing with a ‘zero nose’,” he said. “It’s always a challenge to rush somebody when you don’t give a player leverage to start the snap. Sometimes in those odd spacings, we don’t give them great leverage to rush. So anytime you can get production out of four technique or zeroes, it’s almost like you are playing with house money.

“When you want opportunities to rush the quarterback you put the guys on edges, three techniques, nine techniques, five techniques, A lot easier to rush an edge than it is to rush a whole man, Stanley (McKenzie) has had some good reps Ricky (Correia) has had some good reps. Brett (Johnson) is extremely strong, so if we can push the pocket and get anything out of those guys playing zero nose it will be a bonus,”

I think that translates to it’s easier to rush from the end of a defensive line than the middle.

The Bears will be in full pads on Saturday.  On the final day of spring drills, March 20, they will hold the annual Spring Game, which will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.

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