By Jonathan Okanes
Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 10:29 pm in off-season stuff.
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.