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Spring Practice Report #7: Bears Back in Pads

April 16, 2022

MEMORIAL STADIUM -Rain turned to shine today as the clouds parted a half hour into session seven, providing ideal conditions for todays full contact practice, complete with referees.

Gametime situations were simulated through much of the practice. Starting QB competitors Jack Plummer and Kai Millner took the majority of the snaps, in that order. Both did nice things throughout the session though more defensive pressure with the defense in full pads and scrimmage mode gave them less time to operate.

For the day, Plummer went 9-15 for 115 yards and a TD -a sweet corner fade that soph receiver Jeremiah Hunter went high over corner Isaiah Young to haul in for the score. Millner went 12-19 for 87 yards and his first interception of the spring. The ball was a tightly-contested one where receiver JMichael Sturdivant nearly made a great play but backup corner Evan McLurkin was able to wrestle it away from him for the INT.

QB Zach Johnson came on to wrap things up, going 3-5 for 25 yards.

One culprit responsible for less passing time was defensive end Ethan Saunders, who more and more looks to be a potential terror off the edge for the Bears this season. The redshirt soph had two sacks on the day and played the run well.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox was asked what stood out to him in today’s full-contact session.

“The competitiveness, to start with,” said Wilcox. “That was noticeable all week. I mean every position group, we’re seeing that in practice day to day when it’s a more scrimmage-type atmosphere with officials. Guys are out competing really hard,

“When we started the scrimmage, there were some really big plays by the offense. Jeremiah (Hunter) had a big what. Thought the o-line, especially that first drive looked really good (Jack) Plummer had some really nice throws in there. Mavin (Anderson) had a big play with the reverse on the first play of the second drive. Took it to the house. That was an explosive play. And then defensively, the interior d-linemen showed up and made some good plays. And then there were some contested balls down the field with both the receivers and DBs making good plays.

“There will be so much to take in from the video. It will be exciting, so we’ll start to pour thruogh that in about 10 mnutes.”

On the DL, Wilcox noted that portal transfer DE Xavier Carlton continues to grasp the system better and better and has been impressing on the field, including in coverage when he drops back to OLB.

When asked about DE Brett Johnson’s progress through spring ball, Wilcox noted: "We've been trying to keep him on a pitch count so to speak to limit his reps and he looks at us like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m good.'

“That dude's a brute. I mean, he’s a brute of a guy and for him to come back like he has speaks not only to his physical capabilities but his mentality. Not many people would be able to do that, so really encouraging.”

The most electric play of the day happened in just the second series, as speedy slot receiver Mavin Anderson took the end around 65 yards for a touchdown, instinctively weaving his way through the defense for a tantalizing preview of the Cal offense's big play capabilities this season.

Junior WR Aidan Lee had a good day, starting of with a 15 yard slant where he bulled his way through several tackles. He also had a 25 yard crossing pattern recepton, also from Plummer, though he missed a perfectly-placed Plummer pass later that should’ve gone for a TD.

Plummer also had a 15-yard completion to TE Jermaine Terry up the seam, a 20 yard completion to Hunter and a 15 yard completion to Anderson, who had a nice run after the catch.

Milner's highlights included a well-timed 15 yard completion to WR Tommy Christakos, a jump ball completion to Sturdivant and a 12 yard completion to RB Chris Street. RB DeCarlos Brooks had the best run of the day with a 20 yards scamper up the middle. Frosh RB Jaydn Ott had several carries and appeared to average somewhere in the 4 ypc range for the day.

The Bears will be back in action Monday morning at 9:45 for practice seven. Stay tuned on more features from today’s interviewees.

More stories:

Bear Insider Ultimate Insider Podcast E26: Cal Asst AD Andrew McGraw

Cal Football Spring Practice Report Day 6

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Spring Practice Report #7: Bears Back in Pads

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