Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Aggie coaches nearer starting lineups for Stanford opener

0821UCD football1W

UCD running back Colton Silveria carries the ball during a Wednesday scrimmage at Aggie Stadium. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page B1 | August 21, 2014 |

Tick, tick, tick, tick …

With Wednesday’s final scrimmage behind them, UC Davis football coaches have some heavy decision-making to do in the next couple of days.

Few Aggie starters had been etched in cement after 2 1/2 weeks of camp. Now is the time to begin finalizing who will be the first string in 2014.

While UCD head coach Ron Gould says he’s pleased with his team’s summer progress, it might be that two linchpin positions won’t be decided until just before next week’s Stanford game (Aug. 30).

That’s right, next week’s Stanford game …

At quarterback, there remains a ding-dong battle among senior London Lacy, junior college transfer Turner Baty and sophomore Ben Scott.

During Saturday’s and Wednesday’s scrimmages, only Scott, a former Vanden High Viking, scored an Aggie offensive touchdown.

Lacy and Baty (CC of San Francisco) are throwing well and have an experience edge over Scott, but now even Inderkum High product C.J. Spencer might have thrown his helmet into the ring — showing talent belying his freshman status.

So when will the coronation of four-year starter Randy Wright’s heir take place?

It will be a game-time decision before the Stanford game — or so Gould told The Enterprise on Wednesday morning.

“It’s still a three (player) competition, although C.J. has made some strides,” reported Gould of his QB search. “We’ll talk about it again (Wednesday afternoon). We want to see who the guy is that’s making great decisions, taking control of the offense. (The coaches) will talk through it.

“I’m getting a pretty good feel. I spend a lot of time just listening to how the quarterback (commands) the huddle. Looking at the big picture, so far it’s been pretty close.”

And he plans make a concrete choice.

“During the year, we want one guy to be the starter and it’s starting to shake out that way,” Gould told assembled media after Wednesday’s spirited two-hour workout at Aggie Stadium.

Football coaches from the SEC to the Sisters of the Poor leagues play it close to the vest when talking about position competition and relative team health. Gould is no exception, and held the company line when talking about banged-up running backs Gabe Manzanares (foot) and Manusamoa Luuga (wrist).

“He’s getting ready,” Gould said of Manzanares, his 1,285-yard rusher last season. “We’re being a little cautious but he’ll be fine.”

Regarding Luuga and the bright orange cast he’s wearing: “The cast is precautionary. He’ll be all right, ready to practice. We’ll let him get a feel for the cast and go from there.”

Manzanares hasn’t seen contact action this summer and missed Wednesday’s workout. Luuga ran through this week’s drills.

Meanwhile, 2012’s leading rusher Colton Silveria and redshirt freshman Justin Williams (El Camino High of Oceanside) have been getting a lion’s share of the reps in practice.

So far, so good …

“Williams has shown a lot of promise,” said offensive coordinator/QB coach Kevin Daft. “He’s a tough runner. Very physical. He’s been able to benefit from all these reps.”

And then there’s Silveria, who led the Aggies with 590 ground yards two seasons ago. Gould and Daft report a new-found quickness from the senior out of Redding.

“(Colton) has a lot of games under his belt … a lot of experience,” Daft continued. “He brings that veteran feel to the game, so he’s doing really well. I definitely like those guys. They balance each other really well.”

Daft says the Aggies have a “good stable of running backs” and he adds that he feels comfortable regardless of who’s running the ball: “Rarely do you play just one tailback anyway.”

And then there’s the Dalton Turay Factor.

So solid last year was Turay, a fullback, that Manzanares once credited his success to running behind the now-senior from Pleasanton.

“Dalton’s always been a guy we’ve counted on,” Daft explained. “He does a lot of different things and has been a very valuable player.”

Notes: On Thursday, the Aggies work out in a closed evening session. However, Saturday’s practice will present mock-game situations and is open to the public (start time is 10:15 a.m. for the two-hour drill). … Former Aggie head coaches Jim Sochor and Bob Biggs and ex-UCD assistant and one-time Davis High top dog Steve Smyte attended Wednesday’s scrimmage. … ROOT Sports will televise back-to-back Aggie games when UCD visits Portland State (Oct. 4) and when Montana State comes to Davis (Oct. 11).

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-320-4456.

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