By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 1:43 pm in Training camp.
In today’s paper, we looked at Cal’s biggest uncertainty — the wide receivers. I truly believe this is the biggest question surrounding the team. Yes, we don’t know who the starting quarterback is, but at least we’ve seen both guys on the field. The wide receivers don’t have any experience, and quite frankly, aside from Michael Calvin, we just don’t know how good they will be.
In his blog today, ESPN.com’s Ted Miller ranks the Pac-10 coaches. He picks Cal’s Jeff Tedford at No. 4.
A few follow-up items from last night’s practice:
–Both Tedford and defensive coordinator Bob Gregory cautioned about drawing any grand conclusions after just two days of practice, especially because the team was only in helmets. The Bears will start wearing shells — helmet and shoulder pads — tonight. The first day in full pads is Friday.
“It’s a little hard without pads,” Gregory said. “You’re looking for a lot of technical stuff. But it’s a different deal when you get the gear on.”
–Freshman wide receiver Marvin Jones has stood out during the first two days of practice. Jones is considered the headliner of the Bears’ elite incoming wide receiver class and is a strong candidate to contribute as a true freshman.
“So far, so good,” Tedford said when asked about Jones’ progress. “I think he’s show that he has the ability to make plays. He has very good hands, he can run and has good body control. Now we have to check on the learning curve because he has to keep up.
“He just has to make sure he works hard every day. It’s going to be a little different when he gets the pads on. He has to be physical, he has to block. He has to keep up with the learning curve and all that. But he has shown signs that he’s a special player.”
–Gregory said defensive linemen Derrick Hill and Kendrick Payne “are kind of showing up a bit these past two days.” Not surprisng about Hill, who came on at the end of last season and could be the starting nose guard this year. Payne, a freshman, seems to be benefitting from the fact that he graduated high school early in time to go through spring practice with the Bears.
–It was mildly surprising that Gregory said it’s between Eddie Young and Devin Bishop for the outside linebacker spot opposite Zack Follett. Mike Mohamed appeared to be the favorite for that position at the end of last season. But Gregory said the team needs somewhat of a wildcard linebacker to play both inside and outside.
“He’s kind of our swing guy,” Gregory said. “He’s going to play inside as well as outside. We have to have somebody who can do that. That’s not always an easy task. He’s a good football player. He’s smart. He’ll be able to do that.”