BERKELEY-The Cal football team conducted a scrimmage Wednesday morning, which may have been a major turning point in camp. While the practices up until today were geared towards finding out who will compete for playing time, it appears that head coach Jeff Tedford has already got his mind set on several positions midway through camp.
Tedford confirmed after scrimmage that the quarterback depth chart would go Kevin Riley, Beau Sweeney and then Brock Mansion, which has pretty much been the case all of camp. He also confirmed that Mychal Kendricks and Keith Browner were basically locks to start at outside linebacker.
All aspects of the offense were clicking Wednesday. Tailbacks Isi Sofele (12 carries, 28 yards, 2 TD), Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson (9 carries, 41 yards, TD) and Dasarte Yarnway (10 carries, 38 yards, 3 TD) all looked impressive, with Yarnway also hauling in a two yard touchdown grab.
Riley went 12-for-17 for 102 yards, highlighted by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ross. Sweeney added another touchdown and the rest of the quarterbacks all completed at least half their passes in limited play.
Tedford expressed that he was particularly happy with the play of his receivers.
"I am very encouraged by the young guys," Tedford said. "It would be nice to get Michael Calvin back in the swing, he was looking real good, but again he's got a pulled muscle. But Marv is solid, Jeremy Ross has had a really strong camp. Keenan Allen, Coleman Edmond did a real nice job today. Tevin Carter caught a nice ball. Kaelin Clay can do something."
And something is exactly what Clay did, gaining 48 yards on his only rush attempt. Clay wasn't the only freshman to impress Wednesday. Tedford specifically mentioned that young players stepping up in scrimmage. Several veterans didn't play Wednesday, including receiver Marvin Jones, defensive lineman Cameron Jordan and linebackers Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks.
"It gives us a chance to evaluate the other guys," noted Tedford. "I thought they did a real nice job today because they're younger and the mental mistakes were at a minimum. That's what you look for right now, we're they lined up, do they know their assignments and things like that. We feel pretty good about our ability to make plays, but when you're that young and you have the whole offense that's been installed it can be easy to be confused over things.
"It was a lot of learning, first time they have been out on the field alone; things like that. For the most part I thought it was pretty clean, not to many penalties or turnovers, so that's good."
Placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio hit two of three field goals (25- and 34-yarders), missing an attempt for 50 yards out. Tedford also had good things to say about Tavecchio's kickoff performance.
"He's been much better," Tedford said. "He's placed it where he wants to place it, he's hit it deep, so that's much improved. Giorgio was the best on kickoffs."
The kickers would end up missing five kicks in a row at the end of practice and were consequently penalized with conditioning.
Tedford noted that fullback Will Kapp and tailback Shane Vereen were both close to returning. Vereen's likely backup Isi Sofele said after practice Wednesday that he expects Shane to be fully back on Friday, but Tedford wasn't quite as optimistic.
"Shane will do more tomorrow. I'm not sure he will be in team situations but he will do individual tomorrow," Tedford said. " I would say it would be great to have a full go by next Monday, so he gets two full weeks of Football. All this time he's been running, for about the last three days. He's been conditioning everyday."
Fans shouldn't be to worried about Vereen's absence so close to the season opener. Tedford confirmed that they are just trying to make sure he doesn't participate fully in practice until they are certain he is 100-percent. Once Shane returns, he won't be taken lightly on the field.
"He will get hit. If he practices next week, which I expect him to, we'll do some things that are live next week, so he will be involved in that," Tedford said. "We've been trying to do a lot of things, we've been taking the ball to the ground, trying to simulate things; things that typically if you're not practicing you don't get used to. We've been working with that so he doesn't get rusty."
The Bears continue fall camp with a double day Thursday.