Monday may have been the first day of practice, but Tuesday was the first day the Bears really sunk their teeth into a lot of things. Cal eased into things Monday with mostly individual drills. Tuesday, there was much more 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 action, as well as a couple of special teams periods.
–The beginning of practice the past two days has been spent on turnover drills, things like practicing diving on fumbled balls, tip drills, scooping balls up off the turf, etc.
–Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen and Syd’Quan Thompson took turns returning punts. it appears Cal isn’t going to limit Best at all after his hip injury. Cal coach Jeff Tedford said after practice today that it’s full speed ahead with Best, and that the Bears want to utilize his talents as much as possible. Tedford also said when the Bears go in full pads for the first time Friday, Best will not be in a yellow uniform, meaning he is free game to be hit.
–Nate Longshore probably had a little bit better day than Kevin Riley, but Riley was victimized by poor pass protection playing with the second offensive line. Still, Longshore got rid of the ball a couple of times under pressure.
During 11-on-11s near the end of practice, Longshore looked sharp completing two consecutive passes to tight end Cameron Morrah and one down the sideline to Michael Calvin. When the second unit took the field, Riley was just 1-for-4 but was under pressure on all three incompletions.
The Bears then placed the ball at the defense’s 25-yard line and attempted to score. Longshore hit Morrah with a touchdown pass on the first play.
–Morrah had a terrific practice, catching several balls throughout the session. Much has been said about the development of converted defensive end Tad Smith, but Morrah served a reminder Tuesday that he’s still the best pass-catching tight end the team has. He simply needs to improve his physical presence at the line of scrimmage.
–Chet Teofilo played left tackle again for the injured Mike Tepper and Mitchell Schwartz was once again at right tackle. The second offensive line was Sam DeMartinis at left tackle, Mark Boskovich at left guard, Chris Guarnero at center, Justin Cheadle ar right guard and Matt Laird at right tackle.
–There were a couple of notable plays when the third and fourth units were going at it. Freshman defensive end Trevor Guyton got into the backfield to stop running back Covaughn DeBoskie for a loss, and linebacker D.J. Holt and defensive back Chris Little made interceptions on tipped balls late in practice.
–The first team defense remained the same, with Eddie Young once again manning the outside linebacker spot opposite Zack Follett and Mika Kane playing nose guard. The second team defense had Derrick Hill at nose guard with Cameron Jordan and Ernie Owusu on the ends. The linebackers were Devin Bishop, Mike Mohamed, Charles Johnson and Matt Russi. The secondary was Charles Ahmadi and Darian Hagan at corner with Brett Johnson and Gary Doxy at safety.
–Wide receiver Drew Glover made a terrific diving catch of a Longshore pass during one-on-one drills.
–Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said Young and Bishop were the top two players opposite Follett on the outside. He said Mohamed would roam between middle and outside linebacker.
–Tedford said Best would no longer be a gunner on special teams. No surprise there, given the additional responsibility he will have this season. But that actually goes down as a key loss for the Bears. Best was an All-Pac-10 special teams first team player last year as a true freshman.
–Freshman wide receiver Marvin Jones had his second consecutive impressive day of practice, exhibiting terrific hands.