Friday, March 6, 2015

Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition


A UCD defensive back reaches up to make a play on the ball during Wednesday's scrimmage at Aggie Stadium. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

From page B1 | August 22, 2014 |

Sack leader defensive end Nick King has graduated.

Gone, too, are D-line granite chunks Colin Kelly and Anthony Kaspar.

Safety Aarynn Jones and cornerback Jonathan Perkins have earned their diplomas and moved on.

So why is UC Davis defensive coordinator Bert Watts all smiles these days?

“We have a lot of athletic, young guys to go with our veterans,” says the former Denver Broncos assistant. “Our goal from the beginning has been to get better each day. I think, for the most part, our defense has done that. I am pleased with their progression (as a unit).”

Ask 100 college coaches in America, and 99 will tell you that their defenses are ahead of their offenses in camp. Such appears to be the case in Aggie Nation.

“We still have to do a lot of evaluations,” Watts reported after a brisk Wednesday scrimmage brought the team a step closer to thinking about next week’s season opener at Stanford (Aug. 30). “This (workout) was big for us as far as seeing … how the group as a whole is competing.”

In the past two scrimmages, the Aggies have held themselves to just one touchdown (a 3-yarder by quarterback Ben Scott).

Going into 2014, word around the Big Sky Conference is that UCD has the most depth at linebacker, a position that Watts hopes will be a seek-and-destroy unit that takes pressure off the secondary.

Last season, Aggie corners and safeties made up three of the squad’s top five tacklers. With Perkins and Jones gone, UCD is looking for solid replacements. Summer workouts indicate the Aggies have them.

Introducing freshmen Isiah Olave (Eastlake High of San Ysidro) and Robert Taylor (Deer Valley of Hayward) …

Cornerback Olave had a goal-line interception during Wednesday’s scrimmage. In a game, it would have been a 99-yard touchdown. During the first week of camp, Taylor recorded a couple of picks.

With safety Charles Boyett — UCD’s leading tackler in 2013 — and cornerback Shamawn Wright picking up where they left off in 2013, both Olave and Taylor have added intrigue to the competition for the other two defensive backfield starting positions.

“We’ve been very pleased with their development as true freshmen,” Watts said. “Being able to come out and make plays like they have … it’s been impressive.”

However, Wright, a junior from Antioch, and Napa High’s Boyett have a lot of veteran company, too. Patrick Wells (Taft High of Woodland Hills), Quinn Harris (Moorpark High), L.A.’s Nate Walker (Crespi) and Zach Jones — also of Napa — are players with varsity experience.

Also experienced is sophomore Keleen Culberson, a safety out of Corona’s Santiago High who intercepted a pair of errant passes in an impressive display during the first week of Aggie camp. Competition gets deeper when considering Penn transfer Ade Jackson and De Anza College newcomer Mitch Casas, a pair of DBs with bones earned elsewhere.

Pleasant Grove High freshman Desmond Lewis joins first-year backfield candidates Jordan Robinson (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Sean Johnson (Burbank High) in hoping to break through.

While going 5-7 after losing their first four games in Gould’s rookie campaign, the Aggies picked up the pace by beating five of eight Big Sky foes. However, the locals managed only 14 takeaways in their 12 outings and Watts thinks the defense will improve markedly on that stat.

And there’s no time like the present when UCD calls on No. 11 Stanford a week from Saturday.

“As a staff, we’ve been evaluating (the Cardinal) all season,” Watts explained. “Now our players get to focus on Stanford in practice. Now, we’ve got to get to know them; who they are; what they do.”

Notes: “Charles Boyett is doing an outstanding job. He’s having a great camp,” Gould told The Enterprise. “But I could be here all day talking about the strides a lot of the players are making.” … In addition to defensive first-teamers Boyett and Wright, 2013 starting linebackers Steven Pitts, Ryan Dimino and Jonathan Bias return to the Aggie defense, as does tackle Kyle DeVaughn.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.



Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Life after lawn: Fifty greens for shade

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1

    Bay Area developers join Mace proposal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Trial ordered in Davis child death case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    ‘Topping out': Sign a building beam at the Shrem Museum

    By Jeffrey Day | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Got sun? Indoor herbs can thrive on windowsills

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    How can we know that the products we buy for our homes are safe?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Quick home improvements that raise your resale value

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Spring-clean your kitchen in five easy steps

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    PSAs highlight area nonprofits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Peripheral neuropathy support offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Workshop eyes creating peace through creative play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Museum brick sales to end this month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Cabrillo Club plans membership dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Dryers: Homes’ energy guzzlers just got greener

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    UCD improving farming, food production with fewer pesticides

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    St. John’s shows off cuisine at brunch

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Seniors serious about fitness

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Pig out at Pig Day Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Porkers on display at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    Some convicts don’t deserve parole hearings

    By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

    Here’s how to make college cheaper

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Obama’s world is a dangerous place

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Dirty laundry on the company line

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B9



    Blue Devil volleyballers cruise in home opener

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS girls track and field team reloads for 2015

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women fall at UCR

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggie men clinch Big West crown

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Marsh provides radio images of a ‘magical’ Aggie hoops season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Bella Vista slips past DHS softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12



    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

    Rec Report: Looking ahead to spring break

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Wineaux: A local diamond in the rough, revisited

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9



    Steve Kiser’s work on display at Gallery 1855

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Tables available at Vinyl and Music Fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': Second-rate

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Learn from experts at ‘Art of Painting’ conference

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    Tom Brousseau to visit ‘Live in the Loam’ on KDRT

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ auditions set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela celebrate Mandela’s legacy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    Honey, we shrank the SUV — and Europe loves it

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery





    Comics: Friday, March 6, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B10