The Cal football starters got a pleasant breather today. Just past fall camp’s halfway mark, most veterans sat out to give coaches a look at younger players in full-contact scrimmages — and followed that with a team field trip to a water park.
Although it’s still early in the evaluation process — and coach Jeff Tedford refrained from extended analysis before going over tape — things are starting to shake out. JUCO transfers C.J. Anderson and Mike Manuel, two of Cal’s five new tailbacks, made early impressions on Tedford. Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson — the presumptive No. 2 — sat out with starter Isi Sofele, giving the other backs plenty of chances to separate themselves for the third-string spot.
“We really needed to see those other guys,” Tedford said. “That was the emphasis … We’ll watch the tape and see how they did in pass protection.”
Senior wide receiver Coleman Edmond, who put on a noticeable amount of muscle over the offseason, should be in line to take kickoffs along with backup reps in the offense. Starting wideouts Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones are the current punt returners.
Outside linebacker might be one of Cal’s deepest positions, with new players like Chris McCain, Cecil Whiteside and Ryan Davis — a senior who has four career tackles — all vying for time.
—Freshman cornerback Stefan McClure is out for a couple of days after tearing ligaments in his right thumb. McClure, who had been taking first- and second-string reps through fall camp, spent Wednesday’s practice in a red jersey and a soft cast over his hand.
—Fullback Will Kapp returned to practice in full after spraining his ankle, and had one 60-yard reception today. The boot he wore Tuesday at AT&T Park was precautionary.
—Nose tackle Aaron Tipoti is still sidelined after suffering a concussion last week. He had returned to practice earlier, but symptoms flashed back. Junior Kendrick Payne and freshman Viliami Moala are taking the bulk of the reps in his absence.
—Freshman wideout Maurice Harris tweaked his knee during practice. His status is unclear.