Bruce Adams, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Quarterback Joseph Ayoob and wide receiver Noah Smith saved the best for last, playing key roles in the offensive explosion that marked Cal's annual spring game.
Ayoob was 7-for-9 for 192 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown pass to Smith.
Smith scored two touchdowns and blocked a punt on special teams.
Coach Jeff Tedford has been patiently waiting on both players.
Ayoob, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, has been sharing time with redshirt freshman Nathan Longshore -- with Tedford saying all spring that the competition to replace Aaron Rodgers wouldn't begin until fall camp.
Tedford has repeatedly praised Ayoob's potential, even as he sometimes struggled during the past four weeks of spring practice.
"He took a step forward today, no question about it," Tedford said.
"Hopefully, I showed coaches I can lead this team," Ayoob said.
Smith, a sophomore, had two catches for 16 yards last season, and has been valued for his potential and his speed (he was a standout sprinter in high school).
"He's been working very hard, but just hasn't made that many plays," Tedford said, noting he was "very, very pleased" with Smith's breakout performance Saturday. "It shows it's possible."
Smith will be one of the key returnees on a unit that will grow this fall with the addition of City College transfer Lavelle Hawkins and blue-chip high school recruit DeSean Jackson.
"It's going to be a very competitive fall camp," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to it."
The offense ruled in the controlled scrimmage Saturday because the starters on offense often lined up against reserves on defense.
"It's for the fans," Tedford said.
Those some 3,000 fans got plenty to whet their appetites for next season.
Tailback Marshawn Lynch carried seven times for 101 yards, including a 46- yard touchdown run, and Marcus O'Keith had six carries for 39 yards, including three touchdowns on short scampers.
Longshore was 5-for-6, throwing for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
On defense, end Phillip Mbakogu had two sacks and cornerback Harrison Smith had one interception, along with a blocked punt.
Cornerback Daymeion Hughes returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
Position changes: The Bears made two major position changes in spring camp.
Steve Levy, who came to Cal as a quarterback but was moved to fullback last year, is back at quarterback. He will play behind Longshore and Ayoob.
Brandon Hampton was moved from tailback to defensive back.
Injury report: Christopher Janeway, the team's projected long-snapper, left Saturday's scrimmage with a knee injury. Tedford said the extent of the injury wasn't immediately known, although he said it "may need some repair."
More of Marshawn: Lynch, still a freshman academically, said two things have changed for him at Cal.
For starters, he says he's doing much better in school than he thought he would, earning a B average in the fall semester. "I like school a lot," he said.
He's also getting bigger. He played at 205 pounds last season, but currently weighs 215 and wants to add even more bulk.
"It wouldn't be a bad idea to be 220 by fall," he said.