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Post-practice: Monday

Cal held a double-day session Monday, heavy on drillwork with Tuesday’s final scrimmage looming. The Bears practiced in helmets and shoulder pads in the morning and just helmets in the evening.

 

The Bears divide practices into five-minute periods, and they didn’t hold their first 11-on-11 session until period No. 20 during their morning practice.

 

With limited game-like action, there wasn’t much chance to draw any distinction between the quarterbacks. Nate Longshore did make one mistake when he tried to dump a pass off to a running back while being pressured by defensive end Keith Browner, and it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Ernie Owusu.

 

Good news and bad news on the injury front. Nose tackle Derrick Hill (sprained ankle) returned to practice in a limited role, but tight end Cameron Morrah and cornerback Chris Conte now have sprained ankles, although Conte wasn’t in a red jersey.

 

It will be interesting to see just how much can be decided in Tuesday’s scrimmage. The Bears have key injuries at positions where there are battles for playing time. Mika Kane and Hill, the top two candidates for the nose tackle job, probably won’t play. Conte, who is fighting Darian Hagan for a starting job, is now an uncertainty. Mike Tepper’s injury still has the offensive line in a state of flux.

 

Coach Jeff Tedford downplayed the effect the scrimmage will have on the final depth chart, but it sure seems like it’s a big opportunity for those players vying for playing time. The Bears will start game planning for Michigan State on Wednesday, and Tedford said the team needs to have its scout team in order by that time. That means we should know by Wednesday which freshman are going to play this season and which are going to redshirt. It also will be interesting to see who takes first and second team reps, although Tedford has stressed that evaluation at every position is ongoing.

 

“You always like the dress rehearsal to be a scrimmage where we’re flying around, we’re not making mistakes, and we’re closer to where we want to be before we play Michigan State,” Tedford said. “We’re getting close. Tomorrow is one more opportunity for guys to show what they can do. From there, we have to create a depth chart because it’s time to start preparing for Michigan State.”

 

Tuesday’s scrimmage is closed to the media, so I won’t be able to provide many details. But Tedford will address the press afterward, so look for an update later Tuesday night.

 

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.

  • Robert

    J.O., do you have a feel for the confidence the coaches feel for certain units? For example, do you know how they feel about the O-Line as is without Tepper?

  • Maniacal Mustang Man

    JO, thanks for the report.

    Is Longshore trying to set a record for most interceptions returned for a TD? Seems like whether watching a game or reading a practice report, he’s good for one of these.

    What is head scratching is that Tedford, despite all his talk about turnovers, never comments on one of the mostly deadly turnovers in football. The dreaded pick 6. All the wr/rb ball security practice in the world isn’t stopping this.

    Do you have a feel if this is really bothering JT, and this is going to be an important part of the qb evaluation? If Nate wins the job, I guess that’s my answer. :)

    Seriously, it seems that avoiding throwing a TD to the opposition is much more important than one qb having an advantage in “huddle management”. But interested in your take.

    Thanks,

    MMM

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Robert, I think the team still feels pretty confident in the offensive line, even without Tepper. That is one position where they have a good deal of depth, and I know they’ve been happy with Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.