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August 20, 2011

Hagan moves up to No. 2 tight end



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MORE FALL CAMP: VIDEO: Thursday Double Day Practice | VIDEO: Saturday Double Day Practice

BERKELEY -- As the California football team begins to wind down fall camp, head coach Jeff Tedford and his staff have begun to make some decisions when it comes to the depth chart.

With junior tight end Spencer Ladner not having fully participated in fall practice because of knee rehab, some of the younger tight ends have begun to emerge in his stead.

After an offseason conversion from 190-pound wide receiver to a 220-pound H-back, sophomore Spencer Hagan has had a stellar camp, catching just about everything that comes his way in drills and game situations. As of now, Tedford said, the Sacramento native has overtaken Ladner on the depth chart and added some solid blocking to his repertoire.

"He's good at blocking," Tedford said. "He's done a good job there."

With Hagan at the No. 2 slot behind starter Anthony Miller, redshirt freshman and two-sport athlete Jacob Wark has emerged right behind Hagan as the No. 3.

"It'd be [Miller], Hagan or Wark in the top three," Tedford said. "[Wark] is really, really good at the line of scrimmage. He's done a great job catching the football. He's done a nice job."

While tight end has been shored up a bit, depth along the offensive line is a bit suspect, particularly with the absence for most of camp by Tyler Rigsbee. Rigsbee's bone bruise in his lower leg has begun to clear up a bit, and Tedford said that he hopes the 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior will be mobile enough to participate in Monday's scrimmage, but he is nevertheless concerned with depth up front.

"A little bit. But, we'll get [Rigsbee] back soon," Tedford said. "He's starting to move around. The good thing about it is that all the other guys have gotten a lot of reps, so that's creating come experience, if we have to dip down if people get hurt. If we have to dip down into the depth, they've had a lot of reps in camp."

Another wounded warrior -- redshirt freshman wide receiver Kaelin Clay -- has been itching to get back in the mix, and was moving around well on the sidelines, catching a few stationary passes and looking longingly at his compatriots working out with wide receiver coach Eric Kiesau. After undergoing meniscus surgery two weeks ago, Tedford is uncertain about exactly how close Clay is to returning, but it may be a ways off, yet.

"Don't know. Don't know," Tedford said. "They said that it was three to four weeks, and I think he's on his second week now, so we'll keep progressing him with running and things like that. He's walking much better. You see him right now, I think he's on the road to recovery."

Once again, the centers practiced shotgun snaps before and after practice. Asked whether the playbook would be geared towards more shotgun formations with the mobility of junior quarterback Zach Maynard, Tedford denied such a move.

"No. We do that all the time," Tedford said. "We did that last year, too. We were under center more than we were in shotgun last year."

Offensive guard Brian Schwenke was held out of practice again on Saturday in order to let his knee tendonitis clear up.

"Just resting him," Tedford said. "He's got tendonitis, and the only way to get that better is a little bit of rest. Nothing serious, but you let it calm down a little bit, and I think he'll be ready to go next week."

With less than two weeks to go until kickoff against Fresno State, the medical staff also chose to rest linebackers David Wilkerson and Mychal Kendricks.

"Wilkerson, those are back spasms and things like that, so it's really just how the muscles finally relax," Tedford said. "It's day-to-day with those types of things."

Saturday was the last two-a-day session of fall camp, and Tedford was satisfied with what he saw from those that did participate.

"We've got a lot of good work. We got a lot of good work in, so it's very productive," Tedford said. "We still have a lot of work to do over the next couple weeks to get ready for the game, so the main thing is that we just focus day by day and not look too far ahead, and just continue to improve in every drill and every play and every practice. That's what the role is."

The Bears will take a day off on Sunday before the final scrimmage, which Tedford said will once again feature the back-ups more than the starters.

"Just normal things, normal things that we have to work on and again, a lot of young guys will play," Tedford said. "We'll try to solidify the depth and now that they've had a lot of the offense and defense in, how do they mentally respond when they're out on the field on their own? When they're not coached every down? That's really what scrimmages are about: to let them get out there and play on their own."

Projected starters will likely see only one or two series on Monday, which will serve mainly to solidify the second- and third-string, including sophomore quarterback Allan Bridgford, who looks to be in the lead to take the No. 2 signal-caller position.

"We'll see. We have another week to go here, a few more days, and then we'll make those decisions when it gets to around Wednesday," Tedford said. "That's when we'll start making that decision."

Sophomore tailback Dasarte Yarnway was held out of practice on Saturday in order to rest his legs, particularly his surgically-repaired wheel, where he experienced a bit of weakness.

"His leg's a little sore," Tedford said. "Mainly it's his hamstring and his calf that are a little sore."



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