Cal football fall practice no. 3: Defense throwing new looks in 2021?

Still in the feel-out period.

The California Golden Bears returned to fall practice on Sunday (Check out Cal football practice notes from Friday and Saturday Cal fall camp notes).

Write For California wasn’t on the scene today—we’ll be back in the stadium later this week—so here are the press quotes summarized:

Defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon

On inside linebacker Evan Tattersall: “It’s about developing consistency. He’s got really good tools. He’s got to strain within difficult situations, continue with the concentration necessary….and like everyone else on defense improve his finishes. He plays the mike linebacker.”

On linebacker Kuony Deng and his position switch to the outside: “He has a good understanding of what’s happening to him adjacent at the will linebacker position. It’s just a matter of getting him at the line of scrimmage more…setting some of the edges more and some of the different techniques we play at the defensive end position…[as well as] dusting off some of the pass rush stuff he’s done in his past, but we haven’t asked him to do a lot of the last two years.”

On having Luc Bequette back: “Luc is a really productive player for us. He’s been great in the locker room throughout the entire time he’s been here. It’s a big boost to have him back and he’s looking really good.”

On Luc’s availability for the season: “Coach [Wilcox] and him are likely having those discussions right now. But he’s out there practicing with us.

On Stanley McKenzie: “Coach [Andrew Browning] is doing a good job identifying the guys he’s recruiting. McKenzie is very strong at the point of attack, and he’s continued to play physical. We’re excited about the future with him.“

On Jaedon Roberts: “Jaedon can play inside the A- or the B-gaps. So we’ll just continue to move him around and develop him. Coach Browning has a good development plan for him.”

On the nose guard position: “We want a guy who can anchor the interior run part of the game for us and push the pocket in pass. It’s a position that is not flashy. It’s blue collar, it’s grimy and dirty, they really need to embrace the repetitive banging of that position from centers and guards. We need someone who can hold the A-gaps and that center-guard spacing from moving on the defensive line.”

On Orin Patu: “Orin’s doing really well off the edge. He’s a natural pass rusher, he’s been that way since we signed him from Rainier Beach. His body has changed tremendously. Coach Heyward has been really good for him.”

On Coach Keith Heyward: “He’s taken the defense down to the roots and built it from the foundation.”

On the base defense: “The beauty of it is I can make any defense we want to be the base defense. We have extensive defenses in both of our spacings. We’ll allow what’s best for us based on the opponent to decide what the best defense is for us each week.”

On defensive spacing: “The boundary is going to have limited space. The last three of four years, 84% of the snaps have been within a yard of the hash [marking the sides of the end zone]. Not a lot of middle of the field in college football…A lot of the guys who can play in the boundary can play the field. The Mike linebacker tends to have bigger space. The Will linebacker has more limited space like the Rush. We don’t personnel it too much. The Will and the Mike tend to have similar traits.”

Defensive tackle/nose guard Stanley McKenzie

On it being his birthday: “If I were home, I’d probably eat barbecue. Char siu chicken. Some shortribs, steak, sausage, a lot of rice. Some poke. Probably have my sister bake a cake. I have a pretty big family, so all in one meal.”

On playing next to Luc Bequette: “He has a lot of experience under his belt. It’s good to pick things from his brain, his knowledge. It helps to ask him ‘what should I expect’, ‘what to do with this block’, etc. He’s the grandpa of the group but he’s still a fun guy, hella funny.”

On his ideal weight: “Probably 330 [pounds]. I’m at 340. But after today’s practice I’m probably 335, 336.”

On what he’s improved: “More specifically, block recognition. I’ve also improved on recognizing the formations, the backset and how limited offenses are to their plays and such.”

On being a nose guard: “Everything starts with him. If he doesn’t hold the point on the run game, it messes everyone else’s assignments. He’s got to hold two guys, sometimes three guys to free his linebackers up to make the play.”

On the responsibility of being the nose: “I get excited if it takes, two three guys to block me. If I see my linebackers make a play, I’m just as hyped as them.”

Linebacker Evan Tattersall

On gaining consistency: “First, being here for my fourth fall camp, that’s one. Learning from guys like [Evan] Weaver and JK [Jordan Kunaszyk], Kuony [Deng] who did it really well. I’ve gotten a lot of reps. I’m not where I want to be in terms of my play, I have to work through some things this fall camp.”

On early practices: “Nobody feels like an All-American on Day 3. Last time we played football was end of March. First day of pads you’ve gotta feel it out. It happens every camp. Once you get in a rhtyhm, you feel more confident. Next few times we put on pads, it’ll be more habitual.”

On Sirmon and scheme changes: “Well since I’ve been here it’s been relatively the same. Coach Sirmon mentioned we’re adding new stuff to not stay the same. Even though we’ve had success, it’s good that we switch it up a little bit. In terms of personnel, alignments, defenses in general.”

“There will be some carryover from the past four years, but at the same time there will be new packages with new faces. We’ll do a lot more defenses with different alignments that have never been seen from us before. A lot of it taken from a lot of the NFL stuff.”

On Blake Antzoulatos: “Blake’s awesome. He plays a little bit like Weaver. He’s pretty aggressive, he’s physical, he’s fast. He’s learning the defense well now that it’s his time to shine. He’s taken that spot well and still getting comfortable playing football.”