Wed., Oct. 8, 2014
Cougars finish final practice before Stanford
It's only Wednesday but the Cougars have already finished the week's practices save for tomorrow's walk-through. The short week also means that today was Thursday Night Football for the young players who mostly won't be making the trip to the Bay Area.
Our report on practice is after the jump.
The Cougars took field goal reps early in practice and punter Jordan Dascalo again kicked with the scout unit. It appears that the Cougars will keep Quentin Breshears as the primary field goal kicker, but it makes sense to also take a look at the freshman Dascalo since he's got a big leg and has punted pretty well so far this season.
Dascalo took one kick from about 28 yards out and it was blocked, but still went through the goal posts, somehow.
Breshears made a couple kicks from about 30 yards, then missed to the right from 40 and missed again from around 30.
Each week the offensive lineman who grades out the highest in the previous weekend's game is given the "Bone" award and this week it was left tackle Joe Dahl, who won for the second consecutive week and the third time this season.
"Just, a lot of one-on-one situations and did a really good job," offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. "He kept the pocket really wide, did a nice job and had good run blocking, just did a solid job. The guy never even got a pressure or got close to the quarterback."
After practice running backs coach Jim Mastro said that the team has had a physical week of practice, and has done a good job focusing on Stanford and putting the Cal loss behind them.
"No question, it's come a long way over the last three years," Mastro said. "These kids understand, they've bought into the message around here, kind of what it's about. Play the next play, win one game a week, it sounds cliché but that's what football's all about. You can't worry about winning game four until you've won game one so that's kind of been the focus around here this week is just play the next game."
Dom Williams and Sulaiman Hameed looked ready to go against Stanford, while Rickey Galvin was still limited. Also limited were Isaac Dotson, Chester Su'a, Nick Begg, Mack Hopkins, Nate DeRider, Sherman Hutcherson, Parker Henry and Drew Springfield.
Luke Falk took the first quarterback reps during Thursday Night Football but the day went to Peyton Bender.
Falk completed most of his passes, taking the Cougars down the field with intermediate throws to Gabe Marks, Daniel Lilienthal and a couple others but his drive ended with an interception to freshman cornerback Jeff Farrar.
Bender took over following the interception and completed five of his first six passes, including a touchdown pass to Brett Bartolone of about 40 yards. Bender's initial pass was around 20 yards up the sideline and Bartolone did the rest after the catch, juking the first defender and then running back up the sideline and into the end zone.
Most of the Thursday Night Football players won't travel to Palo Alto with the team. Instead, they'll work out, watch the game and get a head start on the bye week.
"Going to school, going to class, getting their workouts in, just being responsible," Mastro said. "Don't do anything to embarrass your family or the program and they've been great at that. They understand that even though we're not here there's a plan for them. It's very organized and structured and they have to follow the plan, and they've been good at that."
Squally Canada was mostly bottled up on Thursday, although he did break free for one 25-yard touchdown run.
"He's what we thought we was in the recruiting process," Mastro said. "We thought he was going to be a big, physical, fast kid and you can see that's what he is. Something that's overlooked is how smart he is, I mean he picked up the offense fast. If, god forbid we had to play him today he knows the offense well enough to play and for a freshman that's tough to do but he's a tough kid and that's a position that we're pretty fluid at here for awhile."
Mastro added that they're evaluating Keith Harrington at running back. Harrington has played there on scout team to give Canada a break, and has played well enough that the coaches are considering him there going forward.
"He does some good things at running back on the scout team so we might as well see if that's a better position for him," Mastro said. "It's what he played in high school so we're kind of waiting to see, is he better there than he is at receiver? He's good at receiver but if we have a better running back back there than that's fine, let's go out and recruit another receiver.