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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.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Mustang man

    Thanks for the update. Can you comment on the young olinemen from the 07 class: schwartz, cheadle, demartinis, msg, and huber? I’m hoping that by midseason they jump teofilo and the left guard.

  • Jan K. Oski

    Wow! Thanks for the update, JO!

    I have to ponder what caused Hicks to play with the 2nd team. I suppose it was a simple matter of testing different combos, but Doxy only had 2 tackles in 7 games on special teams to Hicks 22 in 13 last year. Is Coach Simmons already making an impact on personnel and their play? Gotta ponder that!

    Thanks again for the insight, JO!

  • 716BeastMode

    Any news on DJ Holt? How is he progressing? What about Devin Bishop? From their clippings, I was looking forward to seeing those guys in the LB rotation this year.

    Also, any update on Darian Hagan and his chances at winning the starting CB job opposite Squid?

  • Big D

    J.O.
    How do you see the TEs in order from starter on down?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Must reading. This is what greatness is all about. This should bring tears to your eyes.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-streeter20apr20,1,913239.column?track=rss

    Best regards

    MoreNCsarecoming

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    This is what makes for a great program and develops the kind of loyalty our fans feel toward our program. Forget all of our All Americans, National Championships, Pro players, Heisman Tropyhy winners and Pac 10 championships. All of that means nothing compared to what this article is saying.

    It would do all of you well to read this.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-streeter20apr20,1,913239.column?track=rss

  • CALiforniALUM

    JO,

    Pretty good reporting for not having any sleep. 8>)

    Thanks!

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Mustang, I’d say Cheadle, Schwartz and Summers-Gavin have made the most impact this spring. Cheadle and Schwartz ran with the second team on Monday.
    Jan, you’re reading way too much into it. It was simply a case of Gregory testing different combos.
    Beast, Holt has missed time with a concussion but I know the coaches were happy with how he was playing before that. Bishop has been getting backup reps but probably is behind several linebackers because of the team’s depth there. Hagan is still a backup and I get the feeling that Chris Conte is strengthening his position as a starter.
    Big D, I’d say as of now Cameron Morrah is still the starter, but Tad Smith certainly is making a run at him. Those are the top two with Skylar Curran next.