Monday, March 09, 2009


Sunday Practice in the Books for Cal Football
Closed Practice on Tuesday
Aug. 17, 2008
- The California football team displayed high energy once again with a spirited single practice on Sunday evening in Memorial Stadium, with continued emphasis on 11-on-11 sessions, goal line situations and other drill specific techniques.
One group that was particularly fired up in Sunday's practice was the defensive line. Led by the vocal leadership of senior Rulon Davis, the d-line swarmed to the ball and the quarterback on several different occasions. Sophomore Cameron Jordan, along with Davis and Tyson Alualu all made disruptive plays in the first 11-on-11 session. Davis also forced Kevin Riley to throw the ball away in another 11-on-11 situation with his outside pressure. One of the new additions to the defensive line is Kevin Bemoll - a converted offensive lineman - who made his first big play of camp when he batted a pass in the air which was promptly intercepted by freshman Mychal Kendricks.
Under the direction of defensive backs coach Al Simmons, the Cal secondary has also been progressing nicely during fall camp. Sophomore Darian Hagan showed quick hands in a few of the drills today, including a pass break up in the end zone in Bears' red zone drill. Hard hitting senior safety Bernard Hicks managed to slap the ball away in mid air on an intended pass for a receiver as well in the 11-on-11s.

The offense remained crisp in its drills as well, as new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti continues to groom the rookies and veterans with understanding and executing the playbook. Both signal callers - Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley - had productive shifts, as Longshore found an out-stretched Will Ta'ufo'ou who shielded the defender to make the diving grab at the goal line in the red zone drill. Riley was efficient as well in the first 11-on-11, connecting on three straight passes, including two in a row to Nyan Boateng.
Towards the end of practice, the Bears worked on - and what has become a team favorite - situational drills near the goal line. Both Longshore and Riley delivered as Longshore found LaReylle Cunningham and Sean Young for touchdowns, while Riley hooked up with Boateng and Anthony Miller for scores.
"It was some good situational competition;" said head coach Jeff Tedford. "They always get jacked up for that. [In the goal-line situations], the quarterbacks threw some nice balls, down there tight, in tight quarters, the last play of the game, they threw some strikes down there to score."
Cal's running back corps of Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen, Covaughn DeBoskie and Langston Jackson, also got a healthy dose of running plays in another 11-on-11 session. Tedford was also asked about Jahvid Best's role this season in the post-practice media session.

Day 4 Notes
March 20, 2009
Chris Nguon

This was the last practice before the team took a week off for Spring Break, so the guys really went after each other and left it on the field.
If there was one theme highlighting Thursday's session, it was the physicality that both sides of the ball showed. In full pads for the first time in Spring Ball (the team was in shells on Tuesday), there were a bevy of drills and 11-on-11's periods that were full-contact.
HIGHLIGHTS from the 11-on-11 3rd down and short period
Brock Mansion under center -- Kevin Lewis tries the right side unsuccessfully for 2-yard loss -- Langston Jackson losses a yard trying to hit the left side -- Lewis with a nifty shake and bake down the right sideline for 12 yards -- Lewis runs up the middle for 1-yard gain

Day 3 Notes
March 18, 2009
Chris NguonBear Senior Writer

The Cal football team was finally able to get some hitting in Tuesday afternoon as the squad put on the pads and went after each other in some "live" action snaps, which included 15-minute simulated scrimmage at the tail end of practice. Here were some of the highlights:
HIGHLIGHTS FROM END OF PRACTICE RED ZONE DRIVES- Beau Sweeney under center-- (from the 25) Kevin Lewis tries over left tackle and is successful for 15 yards-- (from the 13) Running back Langston Jackson up the middle for 2 yards-- (from the 8) Langston Jackson up the middle for 3 yards

Day 2 Notes
Running backs
It was a ho-hum practice for the Cal running backs. It comes to a point where the unit is so good that you just expect them to perform on a high level day in and day out, and that was certainly the case again Sunday evening.
Shane Vereen, the No. 1 ball carrier in the spring, showed that a couple months off to rest nagging injuries can really do some wonders. Vereen showed off incredible quickness and burst through the line of scrimmage.
Covaughn DeBoskie tried his hand running inside the tackles a lot, with both positive and negative reviews. DeBoskie said that's a role he is going to try to take on this season and he will receive plenty of opportunities to work on that skill this spring.
Walk-ons Kevin Lewis and Langston Jackson also received a handful of carries Sunday evening and looked decent running with the ball.

March 9, 2009
Spring Ball Preview: The RBs

Chris NguonBear Senior Writer

Since the day head coach Jeff Tedford took over the Cal football program back in 2002, the one position that no one has had to worry about centers directly on the running backs. This upcoming season is certainly no different.
The Bears will return the Pac-10's leading rusher as well as arguably the most skilled backup in the conference. But, what about this spring? Jahvid Best will sit out as he recovers from off-season surgery and his running mate Shane Vereen has already established himself as a quality 'back. That leaves three other ball-carriers to jockey for position, which includes the talented Covaughn DeBoskie.

Best backfield in the Pac-10?
Best backfield in the entire country?
The Cal offense has had a wealth of playmakers in the backfield to work with over the years, but this season's edition might take the cake as the single most talented crew of ball-carriers Tedford and running backs coach Ron Gould has had at their disposal.

DeBoskie will receive plenty of carries to show what he can do
National pundits are already hyping the explosive Best as a Heisman candidate – which is the first time anyone on the Left Coast not in a USC jersey has earned that pre-season hype in years – and Vereen is definitely no slouch himself.
Plus, add in the bigger and almost just as fast DeBoskie, as well as two underrated but solid walk-ons in Langston Jackson and Kevin Lewis, and Cal fans can understand why folks around the program are so excited about the athletes Kevin Riley (or one of the other three QBs) will be handing the ball off to this upcoming season.

Yes, the hype is high on this crew. But, the production has proved worthy of these lofty compliments and expectations, all of which start March 14 when Spring Ball kicks off.
"The coaches told us that Jahvid is not going to be practicing this spring so it's time for the young guys to step it up," said the redshirt freshman DeBoskie. "We have a new addition with Kevin and now it's time for Langston, Lewis and myself to show what we've got."
Although competition breeds success, the young DeBoskie is very honest when looking at the pecking order of the upcoming season. The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Best has clearly distinguished himself as the No. 1 guy while the 5-foot-10, 192-pound Vereen has a leg up to be second in line.
"Shane already established himself so he's good to go," DeBoskie said. "As for the rest of us we have to prove more to Coach Gould. His expectations are high. We have to meet those."

A big boost that all the Cal 'backs will receive this season is the return of veteran tackle Mike Tepper, who was granted a sixth season by the NCAA after sitting out last year with a myriad of injuries. Tepper's return – combined with what the Bears already have coming back to play on the offensive line – means fans are in line for yet another high yardage, high production season from the Cal running backs.
"Our offensive line is going to be the best part of our offense," DeBoskie said. "That's our bread and butter right there when it comes down to scoring touchdowns this season. I'm glad we have an experienced line. We were actually really young last year because Alex Mack and Noris Malele were the only seniors. This year … man, we are going to be really good."
"As far as our running backs this year, we are just out here trying to contribute," he added. "No one feels like they are higher than anyone else. We all care about each other. We love each other as one unit. It's a rotation thing."
"We're happy that we are considered one of the best units around but we're not worried about it," DeBoskie concluded. "We want to win the Pac-10 championship. That's what we want to do."
Langston Jackson
Simi Valley (Calif.) High 6-1 205 pounds
The Southern California native was a late walk-on add to last year's roster and the first thing we noticed about Jackson's game was his size and penchant to run roughshod inside the tackles. Jackson worked hard during the summer workouts last year and made the most of his limited carries during Fall Camp, bullying over defenders with reckless abandon and showing decent speed and quickness as well. If fact, some of the biggest "oohs" and "ahhs" from camp last year were thanks to Jackson's running. Although he's still very green, Jackson could become that short-yardage ball-carrier near the goal line this season if he proves he can hit a hole quick enough.