UC Davis has, what coach Ron Gould calls, “a pretty good defense.”
If that’s the case, then next year’s Aggie offense will be very good.
Before almost 600 fans under delightfully cloud-filled skies at Aggie Stadium on Saturday, the UCD football team ended spring workouts with a jaunty scrimmage dominated by to-be senior quarterback London Lacy.
During the two-hour, running-clock exhibition, the former Kingsburg High standout commanded six possessions and put his white-shirted Aggies in the end zone four times. He threw for 280 yards, including touchdown passes to fullback Derek Baljeu and wideout T.J. King.
“He’s come out and demonstrated that he’s been able to move the offense in a positive way,” Gould said of his rarely-used signal-caller. “I’m very, very pleased with his effort, focus, decision-making. I’m pleased with how he’s performed this spring.”
Lacy and ballyhooed City College of San Francisco transfer Turner Baty have had a ding-dong competition in practice this month. Gould has said repeatedly he’s happy with how each quarterback has worked hard, embraced the system and “time will tell who our starters are” — including quarterback.
In three years with the Aggies, Lacy is 16-of-21 passing for 168 yards, no TDs and an interception. On this day, he looked polished and poised.
“Real happy,” Lacy said when asked how felt about his performance. “I’m just out here competing, having fun with these guys … learning a lot. It’s been a great experience.”
Under the watchful eye of assistant coach and former Aggie QB great Kevin Daft, Lacy has emerged as a young man who’s now in it to win it:
“I’ve been here long enough, working really hard … hopefully it will work out for me.”
Baty, meanwhile, had four rotations behind center. He completed 3-of-8 passes for 30 yards. In fairness to the new Aggie, Baty took over possessions just before halves ended and on one short-lived outing, UCD was running the ball.
Baty threw for more than 6,000 yards in two years at CCSF (separated by a redshirt season at Kansas).
Gould said competition for all positions will continue with the dawning of regular-season camp in August.
Saturday saw a handful of normally contributing Aggies watching. Minor injuries kept leading rusher Gabe Manzanares and linebacking standout Steven Pitts out of pads. Rehabilitating UCD mainstays like defensive lineman Earnest Walter and wide receiver Alex Cannon were on hand, but not in the lineup.
Without 2013 leading Aggie tackler safety Charles Boyett in the lineup and Pitts observing on Saturday, UCD was shaky early on defense.
Defensive coordinator Bert Watts wouldn’t comment on this one-scrimmage performance, preferring to praise the strides his unit had made during the previous 15 spring workouts.
He pointed to LB Russell Reeder — who had two tackles and solid pass defense — and down lineman Inoke Raikadroka as emerging Aggies.
Gould and Watts said the injuries opened opportunities for others …
“For the injured veterans, it was good to get some rest,” Watts told The Enterprise. “For the younger guys, it was awesome because they got a ton of reps and this was really good for them. I’m pleased with the improvement we’ve made over the last four weeks and the effort the guys have given.
“It’s not an easy spring for us: the way coach Gould runs things, we’ve really worked the guys hard, but in a great way.”
Former Contra Costa College sledgehammer Travon Brooks, a linebacker, and safety Quinn Harris led the Aggies Blues with six tackles each. Both will be juniors.
Normally a fullback, Dalton Turay was the game’s top rusher at tailback (85 yards) with sophomore Manusamoa Luuga running for 65 early yards. Luuga also scored from 16 yards out.
In addition to Baljeu’s scoring catch, he ran another in from a yard out.
QB Ben Scott, the sophomore by way of Vanden High, was 6-of-8 through the air for 33 yards and ran for a 7-yard touchdown.
After saying he was pleased with the spring progress, Gould cautioned Aggie Nation:
“We’re not where we need to be … but we’re headed in right direction.”
Notes: UCD was 5-7 in 2013 after losing its first four outings. Gould’s second season opens Aug. 30 at Stanford. Football season tickets are available at www.ucdavisaggies.com. … King caught a scrimmage-high five passes for 83 yards and his TD. Corey Galindo and Chris Martin both had three grabs for 59 yards. …UCD quarterbacks were sacked four times (Luke Wood, Marques Barron and Jess Ayala had one each). … Fans participated in between-possession contests with Aggies players. Things like catch-a-punt and kick-a-field-goal promotions were highlighted when 10-year-old Michael Martin (WR Chris’ little brother) scampered around left end 57 yards for a session-ending touchdown. … Sacramento State announced Friday that Marshall Sperbeck has resigned as head football coach after seven years. Hints of an NCAA investigation into excess Hornet recruiting calls and “inappropriate” visits during coaching “dead time” have been suggested as reasons for Sperbeck’s resignation. Meanwhile, new defensive coordinator Jody Sears has been named the interim coach for 2014. Sears went 4-19 in two seasons at Weber State. He was a defensive coach at both Washington State and Eastern Washington before that. Sperbeck’s Hornets were 2-5 against the Aggies with UCD winning a 34-7 blowout last season.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456