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February 25, 2013

Cal Spring Practice Notebook: Feb. 25th



California kicked off Spring Practice Monday at Memorial Stadium, the first of 15 practices. Monday was also the first of three pad-less workouts (Wednesday, and the Friday before the Spring Game will be the other two), with shoulder pads expected for Friday. Here's a smorgasbord of info and analysis from today's practice...



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Three of Cal's five scholarship quarterbacks got the majority of the reps on Monday: Allen Bridgford, Austin Hinder, and Zach Kline. According to head coach Sonny Dykes, the plan was to rotate those three today, and on Wednesday rotate in some others (likely Jared Goff, Kyle Boehm, and potentially the two walk-ons). "We'll see who has the best days," Dykes told GoldenBearReport.com Monday evening.

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Bridgford struggled with his accuracy for large chunk of the day, including a 7-on-7 series where he threw six straight incompletions that included two passes defended, one drop, and an interception by Avery Sebastian on a ball thrown behind wideout Maurice Harris. The senior quarterback -- who started three games last season and is the only QB with any college game experience -- said learning the offense hasn't been an issue at all, it's just a matter of executing it. "You learn a base 10 things one day, and you know the whole offense the next," he said. "There are just a lot of things you can tag on each play."

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The series directly after that saw two Hinder touchdowns, one on a 60-yard bomb to redshirt junior James Grisom and a 30-yarder to sophomore Bryce Treggs. "The most consistent guy is gonna get it," Hinder said of the starting quarterback gig. "The guy that moves the chains. That's what wins you games. The most important thing is just staying within yourself." Dykes spent large chunks of the practice standing directly behind all seven quarterbacks during a drill where five of them threw balls to five different wide receivers at the same time. "Hinder hit a bunch of deep balls. Bridgford and Kline both looked good at times."

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Kline (who was sporting freshman chin facial hair) was hands down the most accurate of the three quarterbacks Monday, and he did it in a variety of ways, whether it was lofting balls over the secondary or rocketing passes to guys coming across the middle, and threaded more than one needle in 11-on-11s. He hit receivers on the numbers at probably a 90%-plus clip, including a 45-yard bomb to Treggs that drew "oohs" and "ahhs" from the maybe 100-plus fans in attendance. Maybe the only negative? He had the only fumble of the day, the ball popped right out of his hand while he was drifting to the left looking for an open man downfield. Oh, also: Kline predicted a national championship during his post-practice interview.

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Speaking of turnovers, Sebastian had two picks on the day, that first one on the Bridgford ball behind Harris, and a second on an end zone pass (again from Bridgford), where he jumped the route. Kam Jackson spent most of the late afternoon lined up against Treggs and the two really went after it, easily one of the most interesting matchups of the day. The only other interception Monday? Redshirt junior Adrian Lee on a Bridgford throw into triple coverage.

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Freddie Tagaloa is absurdly large, and moved incredibly well for his size on Monday. Senior end Dan Camporeale matched up against him on several of the 11-on-11 drills and looked a lot like a high school freshman going against a 5-star senior. Tagaloa also spent time with the first group of offensive linemen at left tackle, followed by Geoffrey Gibson at left guard, Mark Brazinski at center, Jordan Rigsbee at right guard, and Bill Tyndall at right tackle.

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Defensive end Kyle Kragen has some kind of motor. In the 5-on-5 line drills, he got to the dummy quarterback on at least three second efforts. He just doesn't quit and was clearly getting under the skin of more than one offensive lineman.

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Tailback Daniel Lasco, wideout Chris Harper, wide receiver/tightend Richard Rodgers, and center Chris Adcock all did conditioning work on the sideline Monday, as did linebacker Jason Gibson and defensive lineman Austin Clark (though separate of the other four). "It's hard, I played last year, then now I have to sit and watch," Adcock told GoldenBearReport.com. "I haven't even gotten to work (the cadence) yet, but we're learning the signals. It's a lot of the same, but it's also different. The coaches are trying to make it simpler. I'm feeling great though. We've been doing conditioning the last two weeks, bright and early, and it's the best conditioning I've done, the hardest I've done."

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Injured running back Brendan Bigelow (knee) was on crutches for the entire practice (with a pretty sizeable leg brace), cheering on primary Spring backs Darren Ervin and Jeffrey Coprich. Might've been the loudest guy on the sidelines.

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All of the quarterbacks raved about JuCo transfer Drake Whitehurst, who caught more than one seemingly uncatchable ball, including a circus touchdown catch on a ball 3-4 feet out of bounds. "Whitehurst is awesome," Hinder said. "If you get flushed out, you see him right away. I know I have a lot of room to work with with him."

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The only injury of the day was suffered by Junior practice-squader Chad Smith, who came down on his knee. Dykes called it "nothing significant".

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Dykes on who surprised him in practice 1-of-15: redshirt freshman wide receiver Griffin Piatt ("I thought he was good, I didn't know much about him.", wideout Jackson Bouza ("He did some good things."), and tailback Darren Ervin ("He did some good things at the tailback postition.").



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