By Jonathan Okanes
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 9:48 pm in off-season stuff.
Considering the Bears have their first scrimmage coming up on Saturday, they did a surprising amount of 11-on-11 live drills today at Memorial Stadium.
In another full pads practice, Cal had a lively session, going live for a few sessions then adding some situational work at the end where the offense tried to score against a dwindling clock and quarterbacks were forced to spike the ball to stop the clock.
This was the first practice this spring where quarterback Brock Mansion got some first team reps. But truth be told, there really wasn’t s true first team Thursday. The Bears did more rotating than they have all spring, mixing and matching players on different units, especially on offense. The “first team” reps Mansion took actually was a mixture of first and second team reps, and the same went for Kevin Riley.
Both quarterbacks did OK, with good moments and bad moments. During one drill, Riley made a nice pass over the middle to connect with tight end (who was subsequently the subject of a crushing tackle) but then was intercepted by D.J. Holt on the next play.
After practice, coach Jeff Tedford was asked what he’ll be most interested in watching during Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Fullback, tight end, the so-called backups along both lines, and some of the linebacker players that had limited roles last year but now are more every-down type guys.”
Tedford has repeatedly said that fullback is the most competitive position on the team. Brian Holley has emerged as the first team guy the past couple practices, but Tedford said “the guy that has really stood out is Will Kapp.” He went on to add that Holley has done a very nice job and John Tyndall “has done some nice things.”
A couple of injury updates: Linebacker Charles Johnson is out for the rest of spring practice with a shoulder injury. Defensive end Keith Browner has a neck problem but Tedford didn’t give a timeline on his return.
Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio had yet another good day of practice, which is amazing considering the circumstance. Tavecchio spent most of spring break back in Milan, Italy to visit family. He said he just flew in last night and had some serious jetlag. That didn’t stop him from consistently booming field goals from long range.
On a final note, some of you have been following ESPN.com’s Ted Miller’s countdown of the Pac-10′s top 30 players. Today, Miller ranked Cal cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson as the conference’s eighth-best player. Something tells me there’s a certain Cal running back that will be near the top of this list.