Cal Football Notebook #5: Scrimmage Number 2 (4/23/22)
It does take two to tango, so how did the Bears dance on Saturday Morning?
This is my first time covering a spring practice seriously so please bear with me! I’ll try to hold the same standard as Rob does with his pieces along with some twists of my own. As such this post will be available to everyone since its not the usual stuff. Enjoy!
#29 Aidan Lee (on the field but with crutches)
#51 Blake Antzoulatos
#28 Kaleb Higgins
#40 Keleki Latu
#8 Jackson Sirmon
#21 Collin Gamble
#60 Brian Driscoll
#76 Bastian Swinney
Obviously some of these guys have been out for a while and will be out for a while, but this is a comprehensive list of the injuries as we are less than a week until the Spring Game Showcase on April 30th (12PM Pac 12 Network).
The schedule for practice this past Saturday comprised of individual workouts, 7 on 7, and the eventual 11 on 11 main event scrimmage. There were certainly some plays that were made but also some overpowering plays that left a whole side of the ball to be questioned. But that’s neither here nor there as everyone is improving this Spring. Lets get into the meat and potatoes of everything that happened on Saturday.
Starting with 7 on 7, Jack Plummer got the nod in running with the 1’s during the 7 on 7 period. He was able to help confirm the trust of the coaches with a dime over the top to Monroe Young by catching the cheating Tyson McWilliams offguard. The throw was pure, the timing was pure, catching it in stride was all pure and frankly made me want to see more.
Other than that, 7 on 7 was fairly standard with the defense taking over both the Plummer and Kai Millner rotations. This would be a theme throughout the day especially as the Bears approached and got through the 11 on 11 scrimmage period.
11 on 11 Scrimmage
Now for the main course of the evening. Here are the starters I saw for the scrimmage.
Offense: Plummer, J.Terry, M.Young, B.Rohme, J.R. Baker, D.Moore, B.Coleman, E.Johnson, M.Cindric, E.Aguilar, and T.Christakos
*obviously I would expect people like Jeremiah Hunter and J.Michael Sturdivant to be at or near the starting lineup so I feel like this was more of Wilcox and Co. trying out different packages against a stifling defense to see what sticks. I can’t blame them, that’s what spring is for.
Defense: D.Scott, B.Croteau, R.Correia, E.Saunders, X.Carlton, T.Paster, L.M. Hearns, D.Butler, N.Rutchena, T.McWilliams, MI.Williams
Lets just say that the defense was the star of the show…again. Several blitzes to start, a lot of confusion along the offensive line, and both quarterbacks that saw meaningful snaps were running around a lot. Xavier Carlton and Braxten Croteau were in the backfield early, each picking up a sack in what made me wonder if this defense can somehow be better than the 2018 defense. That defense was built back to front where as this one is built front to back, kind of like the 49ers so this will make for an interesting dynamic. Plummer did show me a bit of mobility that impressed me in extending plays, so that’s something to note.
After the defense’s early domination, the Plummer driven offense put a drive together thanks to Damien Moore, who shook Lu Magia Hearns and Daniel Scott in the open field for a 20 yard run and had an 8 yard receiving score on the short side to get the offense on the board. However, Plummer did whiff badly in the redzone on a pass to a wideopen Justin Richard Baker, who made a fair attempt at trying to slow down for it but the ball was way too far behind him when there was room to spare and lead him in for the score.
As the two’s rotated in, it is pertinent to note that the running backs were also starting to sub-rotate. DeCarlos Brooks got the nod initially, and had some good runs up the middle and off right end but it was freshman Jaydn Ott who stole the show. In my preview of Ott, I said he had to get better as a receiver if he wanted snaps. Well he certainly seems to be doing so as Kai Millner threw a 34 yard dot on a go route for Ott for the 2nd consecutive score for the offense. One other DeCarlos Brooks rushing touchdown later, and that was really it from the offense. Aside from possessions 3,4, and 6, it seemed to be more of the same. The defense was simply everywhere. Ethan Saunders is a machine, Ricky Correia can plug the middle so well, and Lu Magia Hearns is on an island of his own, having 3 PBU’s across all sessions of the day (even though Calbears.com has 2 PBU’s listed I saw 3 with my own eyes).
Stars and Stats of the Day
O Stars: Damien Moore, DeCarlos Brooks, Jaydn Ott, and Everett Johnson were the people I were most impressed with throughout the day on offense. The running game when the offense was producing had several holes open up, most notably off the LG and C combo, where Everett Johnson was. All three running backs were good with their vision and cutbacks lanes which let all four of these guys be the stars of the day.
On defense, you could realistically pick anyone on defense as the stars of the day. For me Ethan Saunders, Nate Rutchena, and Lu Magia Hearns were the stars of the day as they just continuously made things happen. From Saunders wreaking havoc along the line to Rutchena plugging the gaps to Hearns having his own island, the defense looks to be really good at every level.
Plummer: 8/16, 66yds, 1 TD
Millner: 5/9, 52yds, 1 TD
D.Brooks: 4 rush, 29 yds, 1 TD
Ott: 1 Rec, 34yds, 1 TD
Myles Williams: 1 Sack
Dario Longhetto: 3/3 kicks, 50,34, and 53 yards
Plummer seems to have the slight edge in terms of being the starting QB, but as with everything you have to keep an eye on it every day. This is still spring after all, so with the week left and fall camp to come, the quarterback battle is shaping up to be a good one. As a reminder the Spring Game will be at 12pm on Saturday, April 30th on the Pac 12 Network. Go Bears!