As reported by Jim McGill at the BearInsider, Tedford continued to sing Riley's praises at today's press conference.
"I love Kevin," said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. "Kevin has really done a nice job of developing this year as a person, as a player and as a leader. It's awesome. Being the quarterback with the most active touchdowns and wins in the Pac 10 -I think his experience is going to really pay dividends for us."
Tedford continued to provide some pretty interesting comments about what he looks for QB development, as well as the ways in which Riley has progressed in those areas. Specifically, he mentions eye discipline, feet, and his new throwing fundamentals.
"Boy, he's really improved with his feet and his throwing fundamentals," said Tedford. "He keeps light feet all the time. Part of the problem with Kevin before was his sequential movement from feet all the way up. If his feet weren't light enough, his arm could be off. So he shortened his throwing motion and that goes together with his feet being quick. His release is much quicker now and he's got much more zip on the ball. His ball finishes now. He's really done a nice job of working on all those things.
"He won't be perfect. No quarterback is perfect. But he's doing a great job and I have a lot of trust and confidence in him."
You can check out the rest of the article and actually see clips from the press conference itself.
This continues in the streamline of praises Tedford has had for Riley in recently. During last week's March to Victory luncheon Tedford stated that, "Kevin Riley has had a phenomenal camp. I've never seen him play as well as he's been playing consistently all through camp."
Tedford later added that he has as "much confidence in him (Riley) right now as any quarterback I have ever had."
Well gee, how's the fan supposed to take all this? I understand that Tedford is likely building Riley's confidence and reminding him that the starting job is unequivocally his. I'm sure there's also a certain level of marketing at work to build interest for this season, one in which expectations are at an all time low.
I must say I'm sure Tedford is fully aware of the level of praise he's publicly expressed for Riley. At the same time, I actually think Tedford really believes it, which makes it increasingly difficult for me to not drink the koolaid.
At this point, the story has been the same broken record for Kevin Riley. An athletic, competitive QB who has shown flashes of brilliance and has also struggled to complete routine passes in some of Cal's losses over the years. Everything we've read this offseason shows that we should expect Riley to take the next step. Also, it's no secret that senior seasons have been kind to most veteran quarterbacks.
Of course, we won't know anything for certain until some games are actually played, and even, won't know too much until after Cal's s season opener against Arizona. One thing is for certain though, Tedford has us believing that we should be as confident in Riley as we have been in any other QB under Tedford other than Aaron Rodgers. Which is kind of saying a lot, I guess.
And your level of confidence in Tedford will probably determine how much that will really be the case.
[Edit: Be sure to check out a very good read by Fernando Gallo of BearTerritory.net. One of the more extensive looks into Riley that I've come across.]
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
A quick look at how our Bears have been doing in the pros.
Best was his same ole’ self. This time, the Jet was showing Detroit fans a bit more what they might expect out of him for years to come.
Jahvid had just one carry—for 51 yards. He immediately followed it up with a 10 yard catch, in which he juked a defender out of his socks and put former gator Joe Haden to the ground with a massive stiff arm. Check it out here.
Thompson had a nice night for the Broncos. In addition to a pass breakup near the goal line, he also had several nice returns for the Broncos including a nice 63 yarder.
But the exclamation point on his night was picking off a Charlie Batch pass on what an obvious miscommunication with Batch and the receiver. Regardless, it was great to see Squid take it to the house. You can check out the highlight on NFL.com.
Aaron Rodgers has simply been phenomenal in the preseason, which only continues to build the hype that Rodgers might end up as season MVP if he keeps up the pace at which he’s been performing.
Rodgers outshined Peyton Manning last weekend, going 21-29 for 195 yards, for 3 TDs and no interceptions. Oh, and he posted a 124.9 QB rating.
In the 3 performances so far this month, Rodgers has completed 77.3% of his passes for 470 yards, 6 TDs, no interceptions, and a redongculous 138.1 QB rating. That’s absurdly good.
Forsett has had a quiet offseason, doing nothing to win the starting RB position outright, but not doing much else to distance himself from Julius Jones and Leon Washington. Forsett had 6 rushes for 20 yards against the Vikings, which was good enough for the best numbers of any Seahawk tailback.
Morrah had a quiet night of just 5 yards on one catch.
Despite being used primarily as the blocking tight end, Stevens has put up some steady numbers in the passing game the past few weeks, adding 25 yards on 2 catches. Stevens takes over the other TE spot for Alge Crumpler, and will see significantly more playing time this season.
The Hawk had just 1 catch for 6 yards. Hawkins has been fairly quiet in the receiving game in the preseason, but had an ESPN Top 10 play with a classic 22 yard run in which he hurdled a defender. I was a bit saddened that he didn’t whip out “the Hawk” afterwards.
Gonzales, aka the greatest pass catching TE in NFL history had 3 receptions for 30 yards in his game against the Dolphins. Gonzales probably has just one or two seasons left in him, but continues to perform at a high level, and will be safe receiving option for Matt Ryan.
In other NFL personnel news…
...Worrell Williams added two tackles on special teams in his debut with the Broncos, and Andre Carter and Lorenzo Alexander each notched a tackle apiece with the Redskins.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010
As promised, Jeff Tedford and company have released the fall depth chart, or at least the one that will set the stage for personnel for the season opener against UC Davis. Yet, instead of answering a host of questions, some position announcements simply opened up a whole slew of new ones.
Note: There’s been a whole slew of good reporting from Jonathan Okanes at CC Times, as well as the release of the official depth chart which is a bit misleading without the proper information.
Movement Along the Offensive Line
The most surprising announcement today was that Matt Summers-Gavin, upon returning from injury (hopefully early next week) would actually man the right tackle position. If you remember, MSG was projected to start there at the end of camp, but made the move back to left guard in fall camp as a result of Donovan Edward’s emergence as well as the desire to have both MSG and Mitchell Schwartz on the left side of the line.
Now it appears the coaches will have MSG move back to RT due to the depth at the guard position with Brian Schwenke and Dominic Galas battling it out for the starting left guard spot. The “loser” of that battle will push Justin Cheadle for the RG spot. It’s interesting to note that the current depth chart has both Schwenke and Galas as starters at the guard positions.
RS frosh Mark Brazinski will backup Chris Guarnero at center.
The whole situation would leave Donovan Edwards out of the mix, but you can bet he’s going to find plenty of playing time during the season. And as it stands, with MSG’s return for the opener questionable, Edwards is still projected as your starting right tackle.
While the situation may appear confusing, it seems the coaches are really taking an aggressive stances towards getting the best 8 or 9 offensive linemen, and starting the best 5, regardless of position really.
It’s both concerning and exciting to see Schwenke and Galas make a strong push. Some may have taken comfort in the idea of having 4 returning starters at the offensive line, but given the line’s struggles last year, it may be a bit more encouraging to know that one or more of them may ultimately be unseated.
A Few Other Snippets on Offense
FB Eric Stevens has emerged as the starter at fullback. Will Kapp will certainly get playing time, but it may be hard for him to jump back into the starting spot given how Stevens has performed.
I always thought Stevens seemed to be the better fit for the position because of his athleticism and having the more prototypical fullback frame. I had been quietly rooting for Kappy however, for sentimental reasons. Again, how awesome would it have been to have Kapp help lead the Bears to the Rose Bowl for the first time since his dad led them as the Bears QB?
As suspected, Isi Sofele is your number two runningback. Covaughn Deboski-Johnson will is slotted at RB3, while Dasarte Yarnway will be fourth on the depth chart. It’s looking like Trajuan Briggs is headed for a redshirt year as expected.
True freshman Jacob Wark will indeed play. A bit surprising given that he’d be fourth on the depth chart, but I’m sure he could make himself useful in some goal line situations with 3 TE sets, or blow some people up on special teams.
And Ryan Wertenberger is your starting quarterback! Just kidding. Kevin Riley has apparently looked as good as any QB has at a Fall camp under Tedford. Wertenberger is giving Brock Mansion a run for his money for the 3rd QB spot though.
Mansion is the starting holder though. Woot!
Also as suspected, Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen are your starting wide receivers. While Jeremy Ross will be the next up in line, it gets a little bit cloudy after that. Michael Calvin and Colemon Edmond will rotate for that fourth wide receiver spot.
It’s still yet to be determined whether Tevin Carter or Kaelin Clay will redshirt, but they will at least in the meanwhile practice with the team and likely come in as needed during the season.
The cornerback battle appears to be over—for now. Sophomore Marc Anthony will man one side of the field, with senior Darian Hagan holding down the other. RS frosh Steve Williams and senior Bryant Nnabuife will back them up.
I know many were excited about the idea of Steve Williams jumping into the fold as starter after many had extolled his praises, including Tedford himself. My only guess is that he was simply beaten out in camp by the veterans. He still lacks experience behind Hagan and Anthony, and may be even more of a testament to how well Anthony and Hagan have been playing.
The nickelback position will be filled by either Nnabuife or Josh Hill.
Speaking of Josh Hill, the sophomore who made the switch to safety at the beginning of camp, has played well enough to catch up to starters Chris Conte and Sean Cattouse, along with DJ Campbell in terms of playing time. The four are all considered “starters” with Conte and Hill manning the strong safety positions, and Cattouse and Campbell at the free safety spot.
If you’ll remember, the designations of strong and free safety is a bit different from how Bob Gregory assigned his safeties. There were simply two roaming safeties, one to cover one side of the field.
It will be interesting to see how the quartet rotate throughout the season, and who might ultimately emerge as consistently starting in the defensive backfield.
Your starting linebackers are set with DJ Holt and the Prophet manning the inside, with Keith Browner at the weakside OLB spot, and Mychal Kendricks at the strong side. There has been a bit of confusion, at least in my mind, as to who would be the rush backer. Looks it’s set with Browner in that role. It makes sense given his size, being able to function as that hybrid DE/OLB position.
Kendricks may also possess better speed to work in coverage more often, but then again, that’s just my guess.
Cameron “Gumby” Jordan is naturally your defensive end, with Kendrick Payne manning the middle in the NT role. Expect Derrick Hill to play plenty as soon as his toe heals up.
It looks like either Ernest Owusu and Deandre Coleman have overtaken Trevor Guyton for the other starting DE spot. Owusu has shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to consistently put it together. Guyton is the most experienced, but Coleman may have the most upside with his gigantic frame. I might argue that the depth at DL is the strongest on the defensive side of the ball.
Finally, Giorgio Tavecchio (Forza Italia!) will handle field goal duties, and will kick off as well. Walk punter Jed Barnett has also been doing a nice job, so may get a few shots.
David Seawright has apparently been sharp in practice, but in my limited research, haven’t heard too much about Vincent (now Vincenzo) D’Amato. Forza Italia!
Jeremy Ross is your punt return man, and Isi Sofele will line up for kickoff returns alongside possibly Chris Conte, Keenan Allen, and Coleman Edmond.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010
CSN's annual preview for the Cal Football team began airing on Friday night, and you can catch some of the replays at various times.
Fortunately, PRD74 continues to do a great job of throwing many videos up, and you can catch them online at your own leisure.
Part 2 and Part 3 can be seen here, or are embedded after the jump.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Again, continuing to gather thoughts and observations from various Fall Camp reports, this time on defense.
The pressure is on Cameron Jordan to emerge as the D-line’s leader with Tyson Alualu off to play in the NFL. And while Jordan is still as personable as ever off the field, he’s bringing more maturity and intensity to the practice field. The goal will be for the D-line to get Jordan in some one on one situations so that Jordan can wreak havoc in the backfield.
This will largely depend on who emerges at the NT spot. RS Senior Derrick Hill has plenty of starting experience, but also has a history of knee issues, and has already missed a practice to rest his knee. Injuries aside, sophomore Kendrick Payne has reportedly been a freak in practice, and don’t be surprised to see him emerge as the starter during the season, if not by the opener. Either way, both will play plenty.
At the other DE spot, Trevor Guyton is likely to start, but there is plenty of depth with Deandre Coleman beginning to learn how to properly leverage his giant 6’6, 305 pound frame.
Aaron Tipoti and Ernest Owusu should also see playing time.
It’s a bit early to say whether touted frosh Gabe King will redshirt, but given that he’s coming off an injury that sidelined him during his senior season and the depth in front of him, I’d guess a redshirt is likely coming.
We all know Mike Mohammed will the be the stalwart of the linebacking corps and will contend for All-American honors after leading the conference in tackles last year. The rest of the spots are a bit hazier.
Senior DJ Holt will likely continue starting at the ILB spot alongside Mohammed, although RS frosh Steven Fanua has been playing really well. It’s also been said that Nick Forbes will likely see some playing time as a true frosh.
I would venture a guess on junior Mychal Kendricks and senior Keith Browner manning the OLB spots, but honestly, it’s really fluid enough that it’s hard to say at this point. Jarred Price will likely be brought in on third down situations, with Ryan Davis and Jerome Meadows as candidates to see some time.
Also, Monte Vista grad Dave Wilkerson has received a bit of praise in practice for his physicality and aggressiveness. He’s been sidelined with a hand injury as of late, but if he can continue his level of play after returning, don’t be surprise to see him get a bit of time at the OLB spot.
While junior Sean Cattouse and senior Chris Conte are likely to be your starters at safety, juniors Chris Moncrease and DJ Campbell along with RS frosh Alex Logan will provide depth at the position.
The cornerback battles are a bit more interesting, with the most exciting news being the emergence of RS frosh Steve Williams. The highly regarded DB recruit from Texas has been lauded by the coaching staff and fellow teammates, and has done nothing to stop him from getting first team looks at one cornerback spot. Williams is a bit wiry, but is athletic and might be one of the fastest CBs we’ve had at Cal.
The battle for the other DB spot will come down to seniors Darian Hagan and Bryant Nnabuife. Josh Hill and Marc Anthony are also competing, but it’s looking more and
More like Hagan and Nnabuife will battle to see who starts in their final seasons. Both have shown flashes of potential, with Hagan being even more of an enigma given the discrepancy between his fantastic sophomore season and his disappointing junior one.
Not much has been reported about special teams other than David Seawright knocking a couple of kickoffs for touchbacks and walkon punter/kicker Jed Barnett looking good on some punts.
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The following aren’t firsthand observations, but rather, are simply a collection of thoughts from media practice reports, with my own guesses for good measure.
For the first time in a while, quarterback competition isn’t really in issue. In fact, it’s not so much a question of whether RS senior Kevin Riley will start, rather it’s a matter of how improved Riley will be in fifth and final year at Cal. So far, we’ve been hearing nothing but good things, with reports that Riley has worked harder than he has in any off season, and is subsequently in better shape both mentally and physically than in previous years. He also appears to have the full support of his teammates, and head coach, with the latter being particularly important to his focus and attitude approaching this season.
RS Sophomore Beau Sweeney still seams to have a grasp on the backup QB spot, playing well enough to continually take most second string reps, but nothing extraordinary enough to get Riley shaking in his boots.
RS Junior Brock Mansion has been off and on in practice, with reports of inaccuracy still being an issue for the Texas native who still hopes of competing for the backup role.
RS Freshman Allan Bridgford is throwing again, a good sign following his offseason shoulder injury which sidelined him for his redshirt year. While he’s unlikely to challenge for the backup role, it’s good to see him beginning to regain strength and confidence in camp.
Finally, while true freshman Austin Hinder is likely headed for a redshirt year with the number of QBs in front of him, reports have been positive about his accuracy and throws on the run. It’s that athleticism that shows he can be a real star in the league if he can refine his throwing motion and add some weight to his 6’5 frame with a redshirt year.
Expected starter Will Kapp hasn’t participated in Fall Camp yet due to effects from a concussion suffered during offseason workouts, but is expected to join camp any day now. It will be interesting to see the competition for the starting spot shake out given how well sophomore FB Eric Stevens has reportedly been in camp. Walk-on Nick Dumont and John Tyndall have also received kudos. My guess is that if Kapp can get well soon, he has a good shot of emerging as the opening day starter.
In a slightly worrisome, but in no way alarming matter, expected starter Shane Vereen has yet to take a snap in camp as he continues to nurse a sore hamstring. He has been conditioning during practices and should be returning to practice by Thursday.
It’s not as if the team needs to find out what Vereen is capable of. In fact, I doubt Vereen would get that many significant reps in scrimmage situations to reduce wear and tear on his body before the season even begins. Instead, it would be nice to ensure that Vereen is in complete football shape and has shaken any rust before the season gets underway.
However, in one of the more interesting camp battles, we are still in the early process of seeing who will emerge as the number two back behind Vereen. True Sophomore Isi Sofele seems to slowly taking a hold of the spot, although we aren’t anywhere close to seeing it set in stone. The 5’8 tailback has put on some extra weight of muscle in the offseason and received a significant number of reps in spring ball. I’ve been saying for a while that Sofele is looking more and more the part of a back who is capable of getting 15 carries a game if called upon. The biggest issue will be his ability to pick up the blitz in pass protection which is admittedly his weakest aspect of the game yet. Still, it’s amazing to see his progress given that Sofele was much regarded as a change of pace scat back upon entering into Cal.
Fans are also excited about RS Freshman Dasarte Yarnway’s bid for playing time, as the 6 foot, 223 bruiser has the ability to be the physical presence in the running game that has been missing at Cal since Marshawn Lynch’s days with the Bears. Look for Yarnway to come in during short yard or goal line situations. If Yarnway can continue refine his game by lowering his pad level and learning the offense, he very well could sneak into the number two spot.
RS Soph Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson has been out for a number of practices with a concussion, and will have to battle a bit for the number two spot in the rotation. Debo was the number two back last season after Jahvid Best went down, but lost valuable practice reps to Sofele and Yarnway. I actually liked what I saw from Debo last year, as he showed good athleticism and burst when running the ball in a reserve role. We’ll see if he can do enough consistently to outshine Sofele for the number two spot.
Finally, I would bet on true frosh Trajaun Briggs redshirting, but he also brings an incredible physical presence to the running game at 5’11, 215 pounds. It may not be this year, but this guy is going to be a stud for the Bears.
The biggest story in the wide receiver side of Fall Camp has regarded the class of incoming freshman. We all knew highly regarded Keenan Allen was going to play right away, and he’s been as good as advertised, showing nice hands and athleticism.
The question marks though, were with the other WR recruits who had varying levels of acclaim and recruiting pedigree heading into Cal. All of them have looked very good in camp apparently, and it’s looking like four of them might play as true freshman this year. Tevin Carter and Colemon Edmond both bring an exciting combination of size and speed, each being at least 6’1 and both track stars in their own right.
The most pleasant surprise has been the emergence of Kaelin Clay however, the Long Beach Poly grad who has really impressed with his shiftiness and speed on the practice field. I was actually most impressed with his game tape of all the WR recruits (aside from Allen’s), but thought he would need an extra year to add some size to his 5’9 frame. Apparently his playmaking ability might be a bit too much to resist though.
Terrance Montgomery has received as much press as his peers, and I’ve read reports that he’s a bit stockier than some had imagined he would be. Not to say that he might not turn to be a good one for the Bears, but he doesn’t appear to be as sure of a bet to play as a true frosh.
Junior Anthony Miller continues to catch everything thrown his way, and sophomore Spencer Ladner has impressed quite a bit in camp, despite being held out of weekend practices with an injury.
In a more interesting note, Tedford has stated that true frosh Jacob Wark is likely to play as a true frosh this year, which only speaks to his ability given the depth at the position with both Savili and Sparks available as backups.
I was slightly constipated for a few days while waiting on the severity of Matt Summer-Gavins’ knee injury incurred on the second day of practice. I was “relieved” upon finding out that it was merely a bruise, and that he’d return in about three weeks. His expected return date is likely to be the first practice week of the season which puts his availability for the season opener at UC Davis in question. It makes sense to me though to let him fully recover, and get him ready to play against Colorado the following week. Unlike spring camp though, it’s looking like MSG will stay at left guard alongside Mitchell Schwartz who makes the shift over from right to the left tackle.
If MSG is unable to go, sophomore Brian Schwenke is likely to take first team reps at left guard, and may ultimately battle Justin Cheadle for the RG spot. Dominic Galas is also in the mix for either the guard or center spot, where he is said to be battling incumbent starter Chris Guarnero.
Finally, the all-purpose o-lineman Donovan Edwards is likely to start at right tackle. Edwards has played nearly every position on the o-line in practice, even taking reps at tackle in spring ball. Edwards is said to have matured physically a bit since his sophomore year season in which he started at RT. I thought he really developed a bit towards the end of the 08 season, showing some nice athleticism in blocking downfield for Best. It will be exciting to see what he can do back at RT this year.
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