Cal Football Spring Ball: Scrimmage, Day 7
Zach Johnson shined, Chase Garbers struggled, and Tre Watson got his close-up.
In the biggest jump in spring ball, the California Golden Bears put on pads Saturday for the first time.
OLB Orin Patu and QB Zach Johnson shined throughout the day and would’ve won “MVPs” if that award existed for this practice. Patu, who’s in line to play second-string this year, had two sacks and two tackles for loss.
Patu is sure that he’s improved since the fall but doesn’t feel the urge to act like a superstar after one good performance. “It’s the hard work that me and my teammates have been putting in since last season and over the offseason. The coaches know what they’re doing.”
Johnson, meanwhile, emerged over the first six practices as a player to watch in the backup QB competition and cemented that gossip with a stellar performance: five TDs, 14-16, and 151 yards.
His idol, QB Chase Garbers, struggled on Saturday. Garbers went 7-17 for 35 yards. Garbers doesn’t feel any worry that one poor practice will lead to any depth chart shifting from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. “You aren’t always going to be perfect, but you sure strive to be.”
The best highlight-reel play, however, didn’t involve any of the aforementioned players. Instead, CB Chigozie Anusiem snatched, with one hand, a Garbers throw in the endzone. With the departure of CB Camryn Bynum, Anusiem will start this fall.
The photos posted on Cal Football’s Instagram also show OLB Patrick Hisatake working against OL Brandon Mello, DE JH Tevis and OLB Cam Goode approaching Garbers, and WR Jeremiah Hunter celebrating a touchdown with WRs Monroe Young and Justin Baker.
Hunter received a 45-yard rope from Johnson for a touchdown, the Bears’ longest of the day.
Cal Recruiting’s recap video of the scrimmage offers some more information. At 15 seconds, CB Collin Gamble practices punt returns. At 34 seconds, RB Chris Street takes a handoff from Garbers and squeezes through the offensive line. At 45 seconds, TE Jake Tonges makes a one-handed grab against S Daniel Scott. At 49 seconds, Baker hauls in a fantastic touchdown from QB Robby Rowell against CB Kaleb Higgins.
Meanwhile, the Bears continue to utilize practice time to iron out issues in the Musgrave offense. Garbers, continuing his previous refrain on Musgrave’s offense this spring, said that “it’ll build onto what we did last year” and that opposing defenses in the fall will find some surprises coming their way.
Finally, new DBs coach Tre Watson introduced himself to the Cal media. Watson, who came to Berkeley from Marcus Arroyo’s UNLV staff, feels confident that the Bears made the right choice in hiring him. “I was blessed to show why I was the best candidate for right now.” Although he only has one season as an assistant coach under his belt, his time at UNLV taught him more than he’d ever learned before. “The biggest thing for me learning was managing the personalities in the room.”
When Watson talks to his recruits, he makes sure to let them know that, because of his collegiate football background, “I’m here to create the best environment for the young man to succeed off and on the field.”
Overall, Watson appreciates the challenges he’ll face in Berkeley. “Cal is a prestigious place to be and you know all of the people that would love this opportunity.”