For something that was branded as an “Experience,” the pregame scene surrounding the Cal football spring game felt a little lackluster. The band dressed in T-shirts and neglected to march. Two people lounged on Tightwad Hill. The UC Rally Committee was confined to a small, 40-person clump in the student section. And when the team finally ran out onto the field, no cannon announced its entrance. There weren’t even snacks in the press box.
When the action finally started at the Cal Spring Football Experience at Memorial Stadium, the play was as out-of-sync as the pregame ceremonies. The first drive kicked off with a three-and-out after two short gains off of bubble screens and a third-down play that fell just short. The second drive suffered the same fate. Receivers dropped passes, and defenders missed tackles. It was what you’d expect from a 1-11 team’s spring game, essentially.
The offense finally clicked a few drives later at the helm of Austin Hinder. Hinder, the presumptive backup quarterback, displayed a deftness on his feet, scrambling for a couple of first downs when the offense broke down. Some questionable decisions were made — the Cal defense almost picked off two lofted Hinder passes — but for the most part, the senior’s throws were on point.
Eventually, the scrimmage started to switch to situational practice with drives starting at the 20. On the first of these abbreviated drives, Jared Goff linked up with Kenny Lawler in the end zone on a back-shoulder fade, eliciting one of the bigger cheers of the day.
Throughout the “Experience,” the PA announcers played vaguely popular music like Lil Jon’s anthem “Turn Down For What” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem Pt. 2.” It was an informal setting for an informal kickoff to the 2014 Cal football season.