BERKELEY — Cal wraps up spring practice today with its third and final scrimmage, and although coach Jeff Tedford said there will be no definitive conclusions drawn for the pecking order in the fall, it's still a chance for players at positions that are in play to make one final impression before August.
Tedford has said he will not name a starting quarterback until the fall, and as recently as Thursday maintained that the competition still is even between incumbent Kevin Riley and challengers Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. But today's scrimmage will put an exclamation point on each player's case to be the man behind center and provide the opportunity to enter the summer with some momentum.
"They've all done a nice job of improving every day, and making mistakes and learning," Tedford said.
Riley has taken most of the first-team reps during the spring. Despite being a true freshman, Sweeney has impressed with his comfort level and accuracy and has positioned himself to be a legitimate candidate for the No. 2 job, if nothing else.
Meanwhile, after Mansion struggled for much of the spring, he came on this week with two very good practices.
"He's made a lot of strides," Tedford said after Thursday's practice. "They all have. Brock has done a nice job the past two days. He's been pretty sharp."
Today's scrimmage also will be important for Cal's offensive guards, as Justin Cheadle and Matt
Bishop is penciled in to replace Zack Follett at weak-side outside linebacker, but he could get some competition in the fall when junior college transfer Ryan Davis arrives. Davis is one of the JC linebackers who will try to compete for the spots vacated by Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder.
"It will change some of the dynamic," Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. "It will create a lot more competition. Everybody knows we recruited them, and they'll embrace them and there will be good competition."
Starting cornerback Darian Hagan has practiced only once a week this spring to concentrate on academics, which has given more first-team reps to players such as Chris Conte and Bryant Nnabufie. But that doesn't necessarily mean Hagan's place in the depth chart has taken a hit.
"When Hagan has been out here, he's practiced very well," Gregory said. "I think he'll be fine. The nice thing is we do have a little depth there."
Conte likely will miss the scrimmage because of a concussion. The scrimmage begins at noon and is open to the public. The first 1,200 fans will receive a free hot dog.
— Jonathan Okanes