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Archive for April, 2008

Draft redux

If all the signs didn’t point toward running back Justin Forsett being a mid-round draft pick during this weekend’s NFL draft, it may not have been as surprising that he almost wasn’t picked at all. Forsett doesn’t exactly have the breakaway speed or brute size that makes him highly coveted by NFL scouts.

But what Forsett does have is shiftiness, balance, strength and most important, productivity. It is those traits that made him, by most prognosticators, a solid fifth or sixth round draft pick.

But it took 233 selections for Forsett to finally hear his name called Sunday. With just 20 picks remaining, Forsett was picked up in the seventh round by the Seattle Seahawks, reuniting him with former teammates Brandon Mebane and Nu’u Tafisi.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Forsett said by phone Sunday afternoon. “This is what my life has always been like, like just getting into Cal. This is nothing different.”

Forsett said he actually went to sleep during the draft and was woken by phone calls by teams pursuing him as a free agent once the draft was complete. He said he actually was on the phone with the Buffalo Bills when the Seahawks called to inform him they were taking him.

“I had to hang up and take their phone call,” Forsett said.

Forsett was one of six Cal players taken in this year’s draft, a school record for a seven-round draft. The Bears had six players picked in the 1977 draft, when it consisted of 12 rounds.

Some may have been surprised that tight end Craig Stevens went in the third round to the Tennessee Titans, but after his performance in the combine in February, I had heard he could even slip into the second round. Stevens didn’t put up huge numbers last season, but he has proven he can make plays in the passing game and is well regarded as a blocking tight end. He was the seventh tight end taken in the draft.

Stevens sounded excited that he will be reunited with wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins in Tennessee. Hawkins was picked by the Titans in the fourth round. I think that may have been a bit low. Hawkins may have hurt his cause with a disappointing 40-time at the combine, although he improved on it at Cal’s pro day. But after his fine performance at the Senior Bowl, it seemed as though Hawkins had moved firmly into the second round. I think Hawkins could end up being a very good pro.

Safety Thomas DeCoud went right where he was believed to go, in the third round. He also went to a team that he said was very interested, the Atlanta Falcons. DeCoud actually had held out hope he may sneak into the second round because Atlanta and Miami, the two teams that seemed the most interested, had a combined five second-round selections.

It was a mild surprise that Mike Gibson was taken in the sixth round, by the Eagles. Gibson put himself on the map with an excellent combine, but he seemed to be a fringe draftee. After playing tackle at Cal, he will move to guard or center in the NFL. Gibson said he had no idea the Eagles were interested in taking him.

Gibson will also be reunited with a former teammate, wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Of course, it was a big story Saturday when Jackson slipped into the middle of the second round.  It turns out his dimunitive stature likely was a turn-off to NFL teams, after all.

There should be a few other Cal players who get a look via free agency — wide receiver Robert Jordan, punter Andrew Larsen and possibly guard Brian De La Puente.

Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2008
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The curtain falls

Spring practice for 2008 came to a close this morning under a beating sun as the Bears capped off their workouts with a three-hour session that included two long stints of situational scrimmaging.

After spending most of the spring practicing in the brisk early evening that typically saw media types and friends of the program trying to keep warm in heavy jackets, it was t-shirt and shorts weather Saturday as the Bears wear their full uniforms under a warm sun. As has been the case each Saturday during the spring, the Bears brought in an officiating crew to simulate game conditions and cut it loose with some spirited hitting and practicing.

Both the offense and defense did some good things. In general, the defense had the upper hand as the Bears get more and more comfortable with the 3-4 defense. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory still won’t say definitively that the Bears are switching their base to the 3-4, but he’s done everything but. When asked today if he was ready to acknowledge the 3-4 is now the team’s base, he just smiled and asked reporters “What did you guys see this spring?” But he basically admitted the change when he answered a question about other teams using the 3-4 and said, “I think we’re the only base” in the Pac-10.

Unlike earlier this spring when the coaching staff was unhappy that the defense gave up too many big plays in the situational competition, it was the defense that made more plays Saturday. Defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu, linebacker Zack Follett and safety Gary Doxy had sacks and the Bears registered a handful of other quarterback pressures. Follett and defensive linemen Rulon Davis and Mika Kane also came up with a handful of tackles of running backs behind the line of scrimmage.

Davis had an especially good day. He tackled running back Tracy Slocum behind the line on two different plays and also forced quarterback Kevin Riley to throw a pass away with pressure. Davis had an excellent spring, once again proving that if he can ever stay healthy, he could be a real force up front.

Backup defensive back Charles Amadi also had a big play when he forced freshman running back Covaughn DeBoskie to fumble right before crossing the goal line. 

While the defense played well, Riley and the receiving corps finished up a good final week of practice that should make them feel good about themselves heading into the summer. Riley and the inexperienced receiving corps was inconsistent for most of the spring but started to click during the final three or four practices. Riley looked much sharper this past week and receivers Michael Calvin and Nyan Boateng became more consistent as well.

Calvin had an especially good week of practice. Saturday, he came up with a big play after catching a pass over the middle and then bouncing off a potential tackle by safety Marcus Ezeff. He also caught a short touchdown pass from Brock Mansion, and would have had another TD catch but the officials blew the whistle to give Follett a sack.

Coach Jeff Tedford agreed that Cal’s receivers came on during the final week of spring practice. “As you install plays all through the spring, there’s a lot on their mind,” he said. “When things started slowing down, they were just able to play. When they can just cut it loose and are sure about what they are doing, they can play unconscious, and that’s the key.”

The offense scored another touchdown when Mansion rolled right and dumped a pass to fullback Peter Geurts, who rumbled into the corner of the end zone.

When asked what he learned most this spring, Tedford said “I learned that I’m really happy with the team chemistry, the way we’re working together, the attitude of the team, the focus, the camaraderie — all very positive.”

Tedford and several players have raved about team chemistry this spring, something the coaching staff has placed an emphasis on since the end of last season. Clearly, chemistry and other intangibles were a problem last year, and Tedford and the staff want to make sure they improve in that area.

The Bears also appear to be improving in on-field leadership, something that was a glaring weakness last season. Davis and Worrell Williams have emerged as leaders this spring, especially Davis. He’s become one of the most recognizable voices on the field during practice and looks like he has the potential to become one of the inspirational leaders of the defense.

“He’s really taking charge and starting to get the guys going,” Gregory said. “He plays with a lot of energy. We talked to all the seniors about (leadership). He’s kind of taken to it.”

Tedford reiterated that Nate Longshore’s absence for most of the spring doesn’t have any effect on the quarterback competition. Tedford said Longshore played well before suffering a pulled pectoral muscle that sidelined him after the first week of practice, and that he was there every day taking mental reps. He said the decision still won’t come until near the end of fall camp.

“Nate was doing a great job the first week,” Tedford said. “He really showed well. Kevin did a nice job through spring. Brock got better as spring went along. We’re going to go through summer and we’re going to go through fall camp, and then see how it shakes down through fall camp.

“We’re in a good position. We have two very good quarterbacks and a young guy who has a lot of ability as well. We feel like we’re in good hands at quarterback.”

Gregory seems very impressed with the leadership skills that Williams exhibited throughout the spring.

“He did a really good job of really communicating on the field, being a vocal leader in terms of x’s and o’s, and getting guys going off the field.”

Converted tight end Tad Smith didn’t practice the last few sessions because of bone bruise in his knee. The coaching staff kind of held its breath with Smith because he has a history of ACL problems, but Tedford said it’s not serious. Smith was a revelation after switching from defensive end and could push Cameron Morrah for the starting job this fall.

Tedford also reiterated that tailback Jahvid Best will be 100 percent at the beginning of fall camp. Best looked sharp all spring during individual drills, displaying the same explosiveness and speed as last season.

Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008
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Friday practice

Fridays have been a light day of practice this spring because the Bears have been practicing in full pads on Saturday morning, and this time was no different. Cal went for about 1 hour, 45 minutes instead of the typical 2½-hour practice, and it included no crossover where the offense goes against the defense 11-on-11. The only thing close was a 6-on-8 drill without linemen, and even that was a lot of running plays and conservative pass plays.

 

With Saturday’s final practice of spring looming, the Bears appear to be getting healthier. Tight end Cameron Morrah apparently had a dramatic turnaround from an ailment because he was back on the field. Coach Jeff Tedford said Morrah suffered an asthma attack on Monday and was very sick. Wide receiver Drew Glover dismissed his yellow jersey, indicating he’s healed from his shoulder injury, and running back Peter Geurts was also back on the field. Defensive end Tyson Alualu, who missed Wednesday’s session because he was sick, also returned.

 

Tedford said he was looking forward to Saturday’s practice, which will once again be a situational scrimmage in full pads with an officiating crew. When asked what he will be looking for, Tedford simply said he wants to see a lot of spirit and enthusiasm from his team. It’s just one more practice, but Tedford said it will provide one last chance for players in competitive situations to perform.

 

There’s not too much more to report today because of the limited nature of practice, but there should be some good stuff coming out of Saturday’s finale. You can look for a story in Sunday’s paper about it, as well as more information here.

 

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
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Wednesday practice

Cal’s offense had one of its better practices of the spring, as quarterback Kevin Riley had one his best sessions in a while, as did the Bears’ receivers.

Riley looked more confident during the two-minute drill near the beginning of practice, dealing with the defense’s pass rush to complete short passes to Nyan Boateng and Tad Smith and a screen to Tracy Slocum. During one-on-one drills, Riley also made a nice pass deep down the field to Boateng, but it was broken up on a nice defensive play by defensive back Jesse Brooks, who had a pretty good day of practice. During the same drill, Riley also connected with receiver Michael Calvin on a deep ball down the sideline, a pass in which Calvin made a nice catch while being pretty well-defended.

During crossover near the end of practice, Riley threw about a 65-yard touchdown pass to Calvin, on a play where cornerback Chris Conte stopped running and Calvin was wide open down the field.

Calvin also had a terrific catch on a long pass from Brock Mansion, with Brooks draped all over him. Calvin had another touchdown catch when he took a pass from Mansion on a crossing pattern and turned up the sideline all the way to the end zone. Defensive back Marcus Ezeff tried to run him down but couldn’t catch up.

Receiver LaReylle Cunningham, who has been limited in the spring as he’s recovering from a knee injury, had one of his better days of practice. He performed well in drills and made a nice catch in traffic during crossover on a pass from Mansion.

Wide receiver Drew Glover made a nice catch during the two-minute drill on a pass from Mansion, going over the middle and taking a big hit but still holding on.

The offensive line looked very good during a crossover drill without receivers or defensive backs. The drill includes the line, tight ends and running backs, and virtually every play is a run. The line consistently opened up big holes for Cal tailbacks, and Shane Vereen looked explosive during the drill. Vereen looks pretty healed up from the hamstring that has hampered him throughout a lot of camp. He’s hitting the hole hard and exploding down the field.

Linebacker Zack Follett was a force during the two-minute drill near the end of practice, forcing Riley to scramble on three consecutive plays. Follett gave right tackle Chet Teofilo all he could handle during the drill.

The flu bug that is running through the team caught up to defensive end Tyson Alualu, who missed practice. Tight end Cameron Morrah is still out, and coach Jeff Tedford said he believes Morrah has pneumonia. “He’s as sick as I’ve ever seen anybody,” Tedford said. Defensive back Gary Doxy also has missed the past couple practices with the flu.

Tedford also said defensive back Sean Cattouse will sit out the rest of the spring to concentrate on academics, but he fully expects Cattouse to be back for the fall.

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
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Monday practice

The Bears began the final week of the spring with a pretty lively practice at a frigid Memorial Stadium on Monday night. As has been the case for most of the spring, the defense has outplayed the offense.

As the Bears do often at practice, they practice the two-minute drill near the beginning. The first two plays were a floated incomplete screen pass by Kevin Riley that could have gotten a tailback killed, followed by a drop by wide receiver Michael Calvin. After a solid gain on a screen to Tracy Slocum, Tyson Alualu knocked down a Riley pass. Riley then completed short passes to Calvin and Nyan Boateng.

Backup quarterback Brock Mansion struggled in the two-minute, making a bad throw that was almost picked off by Darian Hagan, overthrowing a screen pass to Shane Vereen and then overthrowing tight end Skylar Curran.

All that being said, the Bears generally practiced hard. They showed great enthusiasm and work ethic during individual drills. Defensive end Rulon Davis continues to impress with his high motor — he abused left tackle Mike Tepper during a one-on-one exercise.

The offense made a comeback later in practice during a drill in which it goes against the defense’s front seven. The offensive line dominated the drill, opening up gaping holes for running backs to run through.

Speaking of the offensive line, redshirt sophomore Richard Fisher has opened some eyes this spring. He’s spent the past several practices taking most of the first team reps at left guard, taking snaps away from Mark Boskovich. Fisher, a walk-on, is one of several young promising offensive linemen for the Bears. So far, he’s emerged from that group as the one who has progressed the most.

During crossover near the end of practice, Calvin made a terrific catch tiptoeing down the sideline. Tight end Tad Smith then made an incredible grab in traffic, falling down as he was well-defended by Charles Amadi and Brett Johnson and somehow hanging on as he hit the turf.

Fellow tight end Cameron Morrah missed practice. Coach Jeff Tedford said he had an asthma attack earlier in the day. There also is a flu bug going through the team that led to a handful of other players missing time.

Tedford said wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who suffered a sprained ankle on Saturday, will miss the rest of the spring.

Jesse Brooks got some rare reps with the first team at free safety. Bernard Hicks played rover with the starters while Marcus Ezeff backed him up. As I’ve said all spring, the lineups should be taken with a grain of salt, especially on the defensive side where coordinator Bob Gregory has been liberal experimenting with different combinations, especially in the secondary.

When asked what he was looking for during the last week of practice, Tedford said he wanted to see his team “cut it loose” on Wednesday and Saturday. Should make for a couple of interesting practices.

Posted on Monday, April 21st, 2008
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Friday practice

First of all, thanks to all for all of your well-wishes. Now, back to business:

The Bears went a little shorter than usual Friday because they have a morning practice on Saturday. Most of their practice focused on fundamentals and going through plays, with only a brief session of 11-on-11 near the end of the session.

Some formerly injured players – linebackers Zack Follett and Michael Mohamed and running back Shane Vereen were back practicing almost in full form. But Cal also has lost wide receiver Jeremy Ross for a while with a sprained ankle suffered during last Saturday’s spring scrimmage. Fellow wide receiver Drew Glover, who missed a handful of practices after starting the spring off strongly, is back practicing in yellow.

Spring practice hasn’t provided Cal coach Jeff Tedford with many answers with regard to the wide receivers. Some of that is because of the injuries, while much of that is also inexperience. Michael Calvin and Nyan Boateng, arguably the Bears’ most talented receivers, haven’t really stood out. But each is still getting his feet wet learning the system. Calvin was on the scout team last year so he’s essentially just getting started getting comfortable with the Bears’ playbook. Tedford lauded the progress of Ross on Friday before suffering his injury.

It’s becoming more and more evident that Cal seems set on switching its base defense to a 3-4 system. The company line continues to be that the Bears always have had some 3-4 in their package, but they have used it exclusively in the spring. And after asking defensive coordinator Bob Gregory about it Friday, he didn’t exactly go out of his way to deny it. Gregory basically smiled and pointed out that it’s all they’ve practiced this spring. You make your own interpretation.

The Bears have done a lot of tinkering with different combinations this spring, but one thing that has remained pretty constant is the No. 1 defensive line of Rulon Davis and Tyson Alualu on the outside with Mika Kane in the middle. By the fall, you can expect Davis to start at one end with Alualu and Cameron Jordan vying for time on the other side. Also, while Kane is the starting nose tackle right now, Derrick Hill is the future in the middle. He started the spring running with the second team after coming off knee surgery and has remained there.

While Mohamed is back from a hamstring injury, he didn’t participate with the first team during 11-on-11s. So Eddie Young joined Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder on that unit. Syd’Quan Thompson and Chris Conte were the first team corners, Marcus Ezeff was the rover and Gary Doxy was at free safety. Bernard Hicks ran with the second team and snuffed out a middle screen play with a big hit.

Speaking of Follett, the man with the ever-changing hair, has added a new wrinkle to his fashion statements atop his head — he shaved it all off. Follett was approaching the mountain man look with long hair and a growing beard. He assured me this wouldn’t be the look he goes with during next season. 

Richard Fisher continues to get the first team reps at left guard. Mark Boskovich started the spring there but it appears for now that Fisher has passed him up. The rest of the No. 1 offensive line continues to feature Mike Tepper at left tackle, Alex Mack at center, Noris Malele at right guard and Chet Teofilo at right tackle.

Tight end Tad Smith dropped a couple of passes Friday, something I can’t remember him doing so far this spring.

Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2008
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Short hiatus

Hi, everyone. Just wanted to check in and let everyone know that the blog is taking a few days off while I welcome a new addition to my family. I should be back by the end of the week and will report off Friday’s practice.

Posted on Monday, April 14th, 2008
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Friday practice

The Bears held a shorter-than-usual practice Friday in preparation for Saturday’s psuedo-scrimmage. Cal’s practices are broken up into 5-minute periods and typically go somewhere between 20-25 periods. Friday’s practice was 18 periods and was mostly a fundamental-oriented practice with limited work with 11-on-11s.

Coach Jeff Tedford said Saturday’s practice won’t be a true scrimmage but will feature “scrimmage-like situations.” Officials will be used. As most of you know, the practice is the only one open to the public this spring. It starts at noon.

Saturday’s practice will afford Kevin Riley the opportunity to work with the first team offense with Nate Longshore injured. Tedford reitereated what Longshore said Wednesday — that Longshore is probably out for the rest of the spring. But Tedford also said that Longshore’s inability to compete the rest of the spring will not affect the open battle for the starting quarterback spot.

“Like I said all along, the competition isn’t going to be on or lost in the spring,” Tedford said. “It’s going to be all a matter of going through fall camp to see where we are.”

That being said, Riley still has a chance to make an impression this spring, in a good or bad way. He hasn’t been particularly sharp so far, and was disappointed with how he practiced Friday.

“Right now I’m not too happy because things didn’t go too well offensively today,” Riley said after practice. “We had a lot of misreads with receivers and miscommunications.”

Riley didn’t make too much of his chance to play with the first team, although he did say that he gets better protection with the No. 1 offensive line.

I asked Riley to give himself a progress report so far this spring.

“I think I’ve been doing all right,” Riley said. “I’ve been making the right reads every time. I just have to minimize my mistakes.”

Riley admitted he’s missed some receivers with bad passes this spring and is hoping to execute more cleanly during the scrimmage.

Tedford said he’s particularly interested in seeing how some of the inexperienced players perform Saturday.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of learning that goes on,” he said. “But that’s what the spring is for, to get some young guys in some game situations.”

On the injury front, linebacker Zack Follett was back at practice, wearing a yellow jersey. Follett missed the first two practices this week with a concussion suffered last Saturday. Follett said he will play in the scrimmage but was told he will get limited reps.

Wide receiver Drew Glover, who had been opening some eyes with his play this spring, has missed the last couple of practices after suffering a separated shoulder while diving for a pass. Tedford said there is a chance Glover could play Saturday. “He was doing a great job,” Tedford said. “He was really showing that he’s going to be a contributor for us.”

With Friday’s practice confined to mostly drillwork, one player who stood out was punter Bryan Anger, who the Bears expect big things from this season. During one special teams portion of practice he boomed a punt that went close to 80 yards

On offense, Richard Fisher has been running with the first team the past couple of practices at left guard instead of Mark Boskovich. Friday, Mitchell Schwartz played right tackle in place of Chet Teofilo.

Defensive rotations have been harder to draw definitive conclusions from because defensive coordinator Bob Gregory is trying different combinations almost every day. But the starting defensive line has consistently been Mika Kane at nose tackle with Tyson Alualu and Rulon Davis on the ends. Davis had an excused absence Friday so Cameron Jordan ran with the first team.

Friday’s practice was well-attended by several of the players’ families who are in town for the scrimmage. They came on the right night, as the weather was spectacular at Memorial Stadium. For those planning on going Saturday, weather.com tells us that it should be 73 degrees and sunny at the onset of the scrimmage.

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008
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Wednesday practice

Quarterback Nate Longshore said today that his pulled right pectoral muscle might keep him out of the rest of spring practice. He said “if all goes well,” he might return in two weeks, which would give him a few practices before the spring session is over.

“I want to get reps, obviously,” Longshore said. “But there’s a lot of time between now and the season. If something is going to happen, I’d rather it happen now.”

Longshore said he started feeling the injury last Wednesday but it didn’t get bad until Friday. He said he wanted to participate in the first full-pads workout of the spring on Saturday because the offense struggled on Friday.

“I wanted to come back and make a statement on Saturday,” Longshore said. “We just didn’t do well as an offense on Friday. I had to come back.”

Longshore said the area is swollen and discolored, and he can barely lift his arm.

“It just kept getting worse and worse,” he said. “When it started changing colors, I figured I should probably give it a rest.”

Longshore’s injury means the quarterback battle is probably put on hold until the fall, although it gives Kevin Riley an opportunity to make an impact getting first team reps. Riley has taken first team reps in two practices now but really hasn’t separated himself. He did make one nice pass under pressure Wednesday, floating a pass to the corner of the end zone which was hauled in by tight end Cameron Morrah.

Longshore’s absence also means Brock Mansion is getting a lot more reps as the second team quarterback. Frankly, it’s been a couple of rough practices for Mansion, who’s missed a lot of receivers with errant passes.

Other updates on the injury front:

–Linebacker Mike Mohamed pulled a hamstring Monday. Coach Jeff Tedford wasn’t sure how long he would be out. Mohamed has been playing with the first team as part of the 3-4 defense the Bears have been trying out.

–Running back Shane Vereen missed another practice with a hamstring injury, but Tedford said he’s 80-85 percent healthy and should be back soon.

–Linebacker Zack Follett is still out with a concussion. Fellow linebacker D.J. Holt also has a concussion, but Tedford said he could be back by the weekend.

Other notes from Wednesday:

–Converted defensive lineman Tad Smith continues to be a revelation at tight end. He made a couple more nice catches Wednesday and looks like he’s going to go into the fall really pushing for playing time. “I really believe he’s going to be a strong contributor this season,” Tedford said.

–Fullback Peter Geurts has made an impression taking reps at tailback. With the injuries to Vereen and Jahvid Best and James Montgomery’s transfer, the Bears are short at tailback so they are using Guerts to fill in. Tedford said Guerts has been doing so even while battling two hip pointers. “He’s a very tough kid,” Tedford said. “I’m thankful he’s here now. He may be a tailback now.”

–Cal receivers had several passes go off their hands, especially during red zone work. Linebacker Worrell Williams couldn’t come up with two chances for interceptions, prompting push-ups from the defense, as is the ritual when they don’t capitalize on a potential pick.

–Defensive end Cameron Jordan delievered a big hit on running back Tracy Slocum for a loss. On the last play of practice, linebacker Shea McIntyre stopped Geurts short of the goal line, prompting a big celebration from the defense.

Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
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Monday practice

There were several players wearing red jerseys today, meaning no contact and very limited practice. The most notable was quarterback Nate Longshore, who suffered a pulled pectoral muscle on Wednesday, according to coach Jeff Tedford. Tedford said the area is black and blue is swollen and wasn’t sure when Longshore would practice again. He said Longshore was moving his arm pretty well, but there was no reason to take any chances. Tedford also praised Longshore’s toughness for going through two practices with the injury, including Saturday’s practice when he played well in the first day in pads.

Other notables who essentially sat out practice were linebackers Zack Follett and D.J. Holt, running back Shane Vereen and guard Noris Malele. Tedford said Follett and Holt each suffered concussions during Saturday’s practice.  I didn’t get the reason for Vereen and Malele’s absence. Malele wasn’t suited up at all but seemed to be OK stretching on the sidelines.

Freshman running back Covaughn DeBoskie returned to practice after missing a couple of days with a bladder infection.

Longshore’s absence meant Kevin Riley got to take first team reps. He threw a couple of nice passes during 7-on-7s but also was intercepted by Syd’Quan Thompson during 11-on-11s during a poorly overthrown ball.

Speaking of first team reps, Kevin Bemoll, who is trying to make an impression this spring after being suspended last season, took Malele’s place at right guard. Also, Richard Fisher took first team reps for Mark Boskovich at left guard. As I’ve said before, no grand conclusions should be drawn from changes on units as the coaches are doing a lot of experimenting and rotating during the spring, especially on defense. But Fisher is one of several good young offensive lineman that surely will be evaluated closely this spring and fall as the team tries to establish its pecking order after the loss of two starters.

The Bears ran a new tackling drill that tested defensive players ability in the open field. There were four stations, and in one station defensive linemen practiced running from the line of scrimmage to the sideline to try to track down a receiver who received a quick out. Needless to say, the advantage mostly went to the receivers, although Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan came up with a couple impressive stops.

Defensive lineman Scott Smith had a couple of good moments during practice, especially near the end during crossover when he delivered a bit hit on DeBoskie behind the line of scrimmage.

Quarterback Brock Mansion, getting second team reps, had a rough day, missing several receivers with errant throws. Receiver Drew Glover almost had the highlight of the day, laying out with a sprawling dive to catch one pass, but he couldn’t hold on to it as he slammed to the turf.

One note from the athletic department: Parking will be free everywhere on campus Saturday for Cal Day, when the Bears’ practice will be open to the public. Practice begins at noon.

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2008
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