You got the feeling the players were geared up for Friday’s practice because it was their first in full pads. The Bears did lots of 11-on-11, and pretty much everyone is getting equal reps at this point. Coach Jeff Tedford said full pads is the best way to evaluate his players because it reflects the most realistic situations they will be in.
Here are some observations and thoughts:
–Neither Kyle Reed or Kevin Riley has emerged as the better candidate for the No. 2 quarterback position. Reed throws a good ball but seems to hold on to it too long sometimes. Freshman Brock Mansion will have to wait his turn but looks like he is going to be a star at Cal someday.
–Jahvid Best continues to impress at running back. News out of camp today was that walk-on tailback Bryan Schutte has quit the team, improving the chances of Best playing as a true freshman. Tedford said both Best and fellow freshman Shane Vereen could play this season. Best was a highly recruited prospect, but there was some lingering questions because he came from a smaller school in Salesian. It’s only five days of camp, but he definitely looks like the real deal.
–Starting free safety Thomas DeCoud came down with a twinge in his hamstring. Tedford didn’t know how serious it was after practice.
–During 11-on-11s, running back Justin Forsett took a screen pass from quarterback Nate Lonshore and raced up the field for a long gain before Brandon Hampton ran him down. Hampton is very much a candidate to start at cornerback.
–A USA Today photographer was on hand for a photoshoot with DeSean Jackson. A reporter was in town earlier in the week for a story that is believed to be published next week.
–Quarterbacks had their share of mistakes. Longshore tried to force a pass to Robert Jordan over the middle, and it was easily picked off by Brett Johnson. Reed forced a pass into double-coverage, trying to find tight end Cameron Morrah, and it was almost intercepted by Gary Doxy. And Mansion came close to having a pass picked off by linebacker Anthony Felder.
Cal has its first double-day session of camp on Saturday. The Bears will go in full pads again for the evening session, again on Sunday and Monday, with Monday another double-day.