Holley making quite an impact at fullback
One of the position battles Cal coach Jeff Tedford was most interested in seeing during training camp was at fullback. Now, he's enjoying watching the winner of the competition make serious contributions to the Bears' offense.
Senior Brian Holley made an impact for the second straight week Saturday, exhibiting his strength and athleticism during a 21-yard catch to set up Cal's first touchdown during a 59-7 rout of Eastern Washington.
One week after demonstrating he could be a solid short-yardage back for the Bears, Holley exhibited the ability to make plays out of the backfield. After catching a screen pass from quarterback Kevin Riley on Cal's second play from scrimmage, Holley discarded a strong hit by Eagles cornerback Kevin Hatch, using his hand to help him stay on his feet for a long gain.
"I started turning up field and the guy tried to tackle me low," Holley said. "I recognized it and got as low as him and kept my hand down. It's good to be able to contribute to the offense. I've been fortunate enough to be in the position to make a play."
Holley battled Will Kapp and John Tyndall in training camp for the right to replace highly regarded Will Ta'ufo'ou.
"We expected Holley to be very solid at fullback," Tedford said. "He's done a real nice job. He catches the ball well and does a nice job at the point of attack. He has a good feel for the game."
On first down at the Eastern Washington 30 in the third quarter, Riley was under some heavy pressure on a pass play. Just before he was about to get sacked, he attempted to throw the ball away, directing it at Best's feet. Officials ruled it to be a lateral, and Best scooped up the loose ball and gained 15 yards.
"I'm pretty sure it was an incomplete pass," Riley said. "It was going to be a 12-yard loss on a sack. I saw Jahvid standing by himself. Instead of taking a sack, I tried to throw it at his feet. Jahvid was playing smart and just picked up the ball and nobody blew a whistle."
The Bears rushed to the line of scrimmage to run the next play before it was subjected to instant replay.
"I didn't hear a whistle so I picked it up and ran with it," Best said. "We're taught when the ball is on the ground to pick it up. I didn't hear a whistle so I just started running."
— JoNATHAN OKANES