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Five Early Standouts from Fall Camp

August 12, 2021
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Put this one under the heading of way too early. Without a full "live" practice and only two days in full pads, it's important not to pour cement around early impressions.  That said, there are some folks who have consistently popped over the first week. 

In every camp we’ve observed, the defense starts out ahead.  Offensive players, especially the OL need time to get synched, adjust to full speed contact drills, etc.  That’s why our list below contains three defensive players and two from the offense.  Check-in next week after the team has gone through two full live hitting scrimmage-like practices to get a more balanced perspective.  

Without further ado, here are the folks who have stood out thus far:

calbears.com
Crawford training at Memorial

Kekoa Crawford - WR:   Kekoa (right) is playing with an exuberance and energy that we haven’t seen before during his time in Berkeley.  Completely healthy for the first time and feeling both stronger and faster than he ever has, he’s taken his game up several notches based on early camp performances.  His ability to beat press coverage and his improved footwork getting in and out of cuts have resulted in lots of separation whether in 1v1’s, 7’s, or full 11’s.  Other than one auspicious drop when he got wide open deep, his hands have been reliable as well. Look for the Super Senior to be a big-play threat in 2021.

Al Sermeno
The Bear’s Super Senior OLB has been dominant early on in Fall Camp

Cameron Goode - OLB:  Whether it’s in 1v1’s, 11’s, or pass-rushing drills, Goode has consistently been the best player on the field. He’s had a couple of practices where he was unblockable getting to the Quarterback. His quickness, power, and long arms have been joined with an improved ability to dip and get low making him a nightmare for Cal’s tackles and RBs to stop. Cam is poised for a huge season with the potential for a myriad of conference and national post-season accolades.  

Bear Insider
Ben Coleman

Ben Coleman - OL:  While much of the news preceding camp and early on has been troubling for the OL (Michael Saffel’s retirement, Matthew Cindric and Will Craig being banged up, Brandon Mello in the transfer portal), the OL has actually looked very solid relative to early camp performances in recent history.  One surprise standout is sophomore Coleman. He stands out in part because he’s huge at 6’4 and 320 and more so because of how well he moves and his obvious power. Coach Wilcox chimed in:  “Ben's come a long long way, from spring football to now, He’s made a huge jump. He's a talented guy with the right mentality to play that position. He's got the size and athleticism to do it.”  He’s played RT and both guard spots and has shined at both.  Given that Cindric and Craig are expected back soon, Coleman will be fighting for a starting spot and regardless will play a material role in the upcoming season. 

Stanley McKenzie - NG:  This spot could easily have gone to fellow nose tackle Ricky Correia, however, Correia’s been a bit more limited as he recovers from a wrist/thumb issue. Both players have looked exceptionally good and will be counted on to be stalwarts in the middle of the Bears' defense. McKenzie’s been in the offensive backfield quite a bit early on, he gets very low and uses good quickness and strong hands to disrupt plays. His extra weight (added almost 20lbs from last Fall) has allowed him to hold the point even against double teams.  Big Stan carries himself and practices like a veteran despite this being only his second year in Berkeley.

calbears.com
Stanley McKenzie (58) and Orin Patu (48)

Orin Patu - OLB:   The RS Sophomore is bulked up and looking to get on the field more.  Other than the aforementioned Cam Goode, he’s been the most dynamic pass-rushing force on the field.  Very slippery and laterally quick, Patu’s got very long arms and a knack for finding the QB.  His additional weight and strength have helped him improve his ability to hold the corner and play the run and that aspect of his game will likely determine how much time he sees in the upcoming season.  

More Stories:

Fall Camp Day 5: Light Work Before Full Pads

Sheahan and Longhetto On the Mic

 

Discussion from...

Five Early Standouts from Fall Camp

2,961 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by calumnus
ARbear
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That's not Stanley in that picture lol
heartofthebear
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Thanks for the update. I believe it was Drayden who mentioned Crawford in a recent video interview. So, I am inclined to believe it from 2 sources.

We knew about Goode but glad to hear he is finding ways to continually improve.

And I'm looking forward to seeing what these next gen. guys can do. I think there are a few more folks like Coleman who are young and unproven but ready to break out this season.

I am anxious to get a report on the RBs, who I think will be a key to the season. I think we have reasonably good depth there.
oskidunker
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Beat the slot machines.
GivemTheAxe
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heartofthebear said:

Thanks for the update. I believe it was Drayden who mentioned Crawford in a recent video interview. So, I am inclined to believe it from 2 sources.

We knew about Goode but glad to hear he is finding ways to continually improve.

And I'm looking forward to seeing what these next gen. guys can do. I think there are a few more folks like Coleman who are young and unproven but ready to break out this season.

I am anxious to get a report on the RBs, who I think will be a key to the season. I think we have reasonably good depth there.


What about Deng? I am expecting great things from him.
calumnus
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I thought Crawford has been our best WR by a long shot since he arrived on campus. Great to hear he has stepped it up to an even higher level as a super senior.

With a bigger OL and bigger tight ends hopefully our running game is more productive than it has been in recent years.

The biggest question for me is going to be Musgrave's play calling and use of Garbers and Garbers adaptation to Musgrave's offense. One of Garber's strengths has always been his running ability so the transition to him standing in the pocket in a vanilla offense last year was painful. I get that we don't want to risk injury but he has put on some bulk and can get Injured taking a sack as easily (or more) than he can as a runner.

I'd like to see our basic offense be a mix of running and passing off play action, with Garbers having the green light to run if no one is open or if he sees daylight. Even include some designed QB draws and keepers using fake end arounds and misdirection. I think Milner fits with that offense as well, so just let Chase play full out. It sounds like this is more or less what Musgrave wants to do so hopefully we see a break out year for our offense.
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