The Bears wrapped up another week of practice Thursday. As they head to Eugene, they know they’ll once again be without a few of their key players.
Coach Jeff Tedford said Thursday that linebacker Zack Follett and fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou both are definitely out for Saturday’s game at Oregon. Follett still is recovering from the neck stinger he incurred two weeks ago against Louisiana Tech, and although the symptoms are gone, he wants to make sure the neck is strong enough so he doesn’t suffer another injury that could be more serious. Follett had said after Wednesday’s practice that he was really fighting the temptation to get in pads and practice, but he was just in a t-shirt and shorts again Thursday.
Tedford said Ta’ufo’ou probably would be back for the next game against Oregon State on Oct. 13. The Bears have a bye next week, so that will give both Ta’ufo’ou and Follett some added recovery time. Both should play against the Beavers.
As stated earlier, defensive end Rulon Davis and kicker Tom Schneider also are out. To reiterate, defensive tackle Matt Malele will return from his foot injury that kept him out of last week’s game against Arizona. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said Malele probably wouldn’t start but he’ll definitely play, although he wasn’t sure what how much workload he could withstand.
Gregory also said that redshirt freshman Mike Mohamed will start in place of Follett. Senior Justin Moye started last week for Follett, but has been nursing some nagging injuries this week in practice. Plus, Mohamed possesses the kind of speed that the Bears will need to try to contain Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon and the spread offense.
For the second time this season, Tedford closed practice to the media, something he usually doesn’t do. He also closed the Thursday practice before the Tennessee game. It demonstrates the magnitude of Saturday’s game.