Cal football spring practice update: The Bears are bigger and taller
Some updates from the last week.
Cal held its first spring scrimmage this past Saturday. The executive summary:
Jack Plummer and Kai Millner received the bulk of the reps. Plummer went 9-15 for 105 yards and a touchdown, while Millner threw 12-19 for 87 yards and an interception. Zach Johnson also got in a few reps, throwing 3-5 for 29 yards.
The new edition of the Cal wide receiving corps seems to be finding its footing more firmly. J.Michael Sturdivant, Aidan Lee and Tommy Christakos each had three catches for 30+ yards. Mavin Anderson piled up a 65 yard run.
The Cal run game wasn’t quite as proficient. Anderson’s run was over two-thirds the ground production for the Bears, making up 65 of the 91 yards.
Cal’s defense also turned on the havoc, logging three sacks from Derek Wilkins, Myles Jernigan and Ethan Saunders. Ricky Correia, Braxten Croteau, Jaedon Roberts and Myles Wililams also combined for two more. Raymond Woodie III led the team in tackles with six.
Dario Longhetto looks locked in as the starting kicker, nailing his 40-yard-or-so kicks in the field goal session of practice.
Some additional press conference notes through the week:
Justin Wilcox has mentioned in his post-practice press conferences that shoring up the offensive line is a priority, particularly with starting guard Brian Driscoll out this spring. The medical retirement of Will Craig leaves the Bears fairly thin, so getting impact players who can suit up will be critical for Angus McClure. Wilcox seemed to indicate that the portal is the likeliest place to find additional talent post-spring.
Wilcox did have a telling remark: “The interior D-Line, the receiving group, those guys have [physicality] - our team is bigger and taller.”
Indeed, all of Cal’s main wideout contributors in spring—Christakos, Hunter, Sturdivant, Lee, Mason Starling—all are 6’1 and taller, average height around 6’2. Similar measurables exist all over the defensive line, particularly on the interior, with Correia the biggest dude out there at 6-4, 335 pounds. The Bears are definitely looking to get more physical in the trenches and they clearly have the size on them to back it up.
Wilcox highlighted multiple players who have shown improvement at the midway point of camp:
Offensive lineman Bastian Swinney has made some advances with the depth issues. Ben Coleman continues to be highlighted as a standout.
Defensive end Ethan Saunders appears to be in strong contention to contend for a starting spot. His long arms and twitch have caught Wilcox’s eye.
Correia seems to be the prohibitive favorite to be the starting nose.
Utah transfer Xavier Carlton and Akili Calhoun are showing out on the edge.
With Daniel Scott locked into one safety spot, Wilcox highlighted Raymond Woodie III and Myles Williams as making noise in camp for that second spot.
A lot of cornerbacks are unavailable, allowing Dejuan Butler and Fatu Iosefa to get some reps at nickel.
With Keleki Latu injured, Jermaine Terry has stepped up into TE #1.
Hunter, Anderson, Sturdivant, Christakos all received props from the wideout position.
Some video highlights provided by Cal Athletics this past week:
Projected #1 wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter goes high on the fade route.