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September 3, 2013

Portland State Game Week: Monday Practice Notebook

Less than a full 48 hours after the tough loss to Northwestern, Coach Sonny Dykes and the team held a very crisp practice under the Memorial Stadium lights. There was no sign of a hangover from Saturday's game; if anything, the intensity -- from both the coaches and the players -- served to completely flush any lingering disappointment.

Indeed, we overheard Sonny during his speech to the team huddle at the end of practice: "Bring the same kind of effort, same kind of intensity in practice every day...!" During his post-practice remarks, Coach Dykes noted that "this was the best football practice we've had since I've been here. ... I was very pleased how [the team] responded."


The big news coming out of practice, however, was of Chris McCain's full reinstatement for the Portland State game. Recall that he was ejected on Saturday after being flagged on a debatable targeting/roughing the passer call.

Per a statement from the Pac-12 office:

"[A]s a result of a failure in the replay process, California defensive lineman Chris McCain is allowed to play during the entirety of this week's game against Portland State. ... [B]ecause of a technical failure and resulting breakdown in communication, the play in question was not actually reviewed after the replay official was made aware that McCain had been ejected for Targeting. ... [T]he Pac-12 Conference has reviewed the play and determined that McCain should have been reinstated into the game. ..."

Read the full statement here.

When asked for comment after practice, Coach offered: "...kudos to [the Pac-12 office] for recognizing there was a mistake, and correcting it. ..."


Injury Update:

- Avery Sebastian observed practice in a boot & crutches. Coach Dykes mentioned that he will have MRI on his ankle Tuesday, to determine the severity of the injury.

- Khairi Fortt and Brendan Bigelow are going through the concussion protocol. Fortt's injury was less serious, and he is expected to return to practice on Tuesday. In contrast, Dykes noted that Bigelow will be "slowly integrated back in through the course of the week."

- Nick Forbes (back) and Brennan Scarlett (hand) continue to be day to day, with no estimate on their return.

- Mustafa Jalil (knee) was dressed and participated in practice, after being sidelined for Saturday's game due to a "flare-up" in his knee.

- Chris Harper was dressed but essentially had the day off to recover, following his 11-catch & 2-touchdown performance on Saturday.

- Trey Cheek spent most of practice doing sprints on the sideline.


Every coach on the staff brought plenty of positive energy and intensity - focusing on their charges on both sides of the ball - throughout Monday's practice. Frequently heard words: "Explode explode! Lets go lets go! Finish finish!"

OC/QB Coach Tony Franklin got pretty animated during an early full team period. Interestingly, he was overheard yelling "bail bail bail please!" - apparently to the CBs, who had been playing mostly press technique during the session.

Similarly, RB Coach Pierre Ingram pulled double duty during an early offensive 11s vs. scouts period: He was seen helping the scout team [true freshman] safeties line up in the right spot for a specific defensive look.


Sonny personally coached certain special teams units, as he has since fall camp. A couple notables: "Attaboy Mike Barton! Good job Mike Barton!" during a coverage drill; and "Run your feet!" to the gunners to remind them to hustle.

ST Coach Mark Tommerdahl brought the same energy to the punt coverage unit, shouting more than once: "Cover cover, lets go!"

Sonny was overheard later, during another 11s vs scouts period: "Finish finish finish!" as he exhorted the offensive line to finish their blocks. At one point, the 1st team OL just dropped to do "up-downs" after a blown pass-pro assignment.

Outside Receivers Coach Rob Likens was just as emphatic and demonstrative: During extended 7-on-7s, he shouted "Come on now, no lazy steps!" at reserve WRs to mind their route-running.


Austin Hinder donned a yellow QB jersey and worked with the regular offense - possibly a sign that he'll get snaps on Saturday. Zach Kline took every 2nd team rep, as expected. Joey Mahalic and Jake Gehringer ran the scout team offense.

Brendan Bigelow, who did not dress for practice, embraced his temporary role as Ingram's "assistant" RB coach. He was seen giving fellow RB Jeffrey Coprich a pointer or two in offensive skeleton drills. Bigelow also took every mental rep (shadowing from the backfield) in the full offense vs scouts periods.


Newly minted Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week Vincenzo D'Amato, along with Cole Leininger, had the day off to preserve their legs. Steffan Mos took all of the punt reps in Leininger's place.

In the initial full team period, Noah Beito was 1-for-2 on field goals. He made a 42-yarder, and was wide left on a 40-yarder. Beito, James Langford and Matt Anderson kicked field goals to close practice.


Jordan Morgan is no longer with the team - he left during camp.

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