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Football: Training camp report — Aug. 7

By Jonathan Okanes
Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 10:59 pm in off-season stuff.

The Bears opened training camp tonight on a beautiful evening at Memorial Stadium. One thing that struck me after watching the first practice of the season is just how experienced this team is this season.

It was a pretty efficient practice for the first one, and much of that can be attributed to the fact that Cal has 17 returning starters from last season. Sure, there are plenty of new faces, but the Bears can afford to have the newcomers progress at a deliberate rate.

 

Of course, all conversations about training camp likely will begin and end with the quarterback situation. As expected, Kevin Riley took the first snaps Friday, Brock Mansion was with the second team and Beau Sweeney with the third unit. The Bears had some 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 sessions. The highlight of Riley’s first practice of the season came when he lofted a perfectly thrown bomb down the middle of the field that dropped squarely into the hands of wide receiver Marvin Jones for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Riley also made a nice throw on a similar play, but Jeremy Ross couldn’t handle the pass.

Riley also threw two interceptions. The first came when Darian Hagan out-jumped Jones down the left sideline. The second came when his intended receiver didn’t run the route he was expecting and it sailed right into the waiting hands of Chris Conte.

The defense picked up a third interception when linebacker Robert Mullins picked off a pass by Sweeney during 7-on-7s.

 

Taking a look at some of the position battles that will take place during camp, Brian Holley took the first reps at fullback, Matt Summers-Gavin was the first team left guard, Tad Smith was the starting tight end while Jones and Nyan Boateng took the No. 1 reps at wide receiver.

Everything else went according to plan: Mike Tepper at left tackle, Chris Guarnero at center, Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle and Jahvid Best at tailback.

On defense, Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu were the first team ends with Derrick Hill in the middle. Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendrics were the inside linebackers with Eddie Young and Devin Bishop on the outside. Syd’Quan Thompson and Hagan were at the corners with Marcus Ezeff and Brett Johnson at safety.

There were no special teams sessions Friday.

On offense, Alex Lagemann and Jeremy Ross were the second team wide receivers.

 

Many times on the first day of camp a story will develop because somebody doesn’t report for various reasons. That didn’t happen Friday as everyone expected to be present was accounted for.

The newcomers didn’t get too many looks Friday, so it’s hard to get a good impression, especially after just one practice. One player who did stick out was Isi Sofele, who demonstrated explosive speed on one-on-ones. Sofele is practicing with the wide receivers but Jeff Tedford said he will also see time at tailback and on special teams.

 

The Bears practiced in helmets only and will do so again Saturday. They will add shoulder pads for Sunday and Monday’s practices and then hold their first full-pad session on Tuesday.

 

One other note: Got word late tonight that Best has been named to the watch list for the Walter Camp Award, given annually to the best player in the nation.

 

 

 

 

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  • Ricky

    Don’t like to hear about the interceptions but overall sounds like a good practice

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    For those who couldn’t attend the practice hear is what was overheard.

    “Kevin make sure you are holding the ball up by your ear…no not that way…about 1 1/4 inches lower and don’t let your elbow fall.”

    “Kevin remember you can’t throw over to that half of the field. We are simplifying the offense for you and so one half of the field is what you should work on. Afterall, Kyle, Mr Jesus in Cleats, did it this way.”

    “Kevin now when we play Maryland let’s not hang Jahvid out there again. You might want to throw that ball away next time.”

  • milo

    Great report JO. Got a good picture of practice. It sounds like Riley got a bit of his touch back and there’s a guy that can catch (Jones). Looking forward to the progress reports. Go Bears…

  • TrumanHugh

    The plus-side of the interceptions, Ricky, is that our defense is getting some practice at making them!

    (I’ve been a Bear fan for over 38 years, and I’m still able to see the glass as half full. That’s a true fan!)

    Go Bears!

  • milo

    Cal’s defensive might be the best in the Pac-10. The backfield might be one of the best in the country (3rd last year in the nation in INTs) and everyone is returning. INTs are going to happen.

  • Dave

    Looking good JO. It sounds like we have a lot of receivers that are capable. You didn’t even mention Mike Calvin or Verran Tucker, two very good options. Looks like we are a solid 6 deep at receiver this year if lagemann has emerged.

  • Bears

    Awesome report JO. Thank you. Look forward to all your posts but in my opinion this was TOP quality stuff. Best beat report I’ve seen on Cal football in a long long time, anywhere.

    This Golden Bear team is dangerous.

    Should be a great ride.

    Go Bears!

  • Larry

    I think the thing that speaks the loudest with what J.O. said was that EVERYBODY showed up on time. That signals that the players are all committed and excited to go. From the Heisman candidate to the walk on- scout team- reserve.

    GO BEARS!

  • 66Bear

    I don’t know why TrumanHugh is bragging about being a Bear fan for only 38 years, considering that I have him beat by a decade. That said, I am more hopeful about the Bears’ prospects this year than any year in the past 48, except perhaps 2004 or 2007 (at the start of both of which they were legitimate contenders for the national championship). I would like to also thank JO for keeping us so well informed. There should be a lot of joy for us watching the Bears compete this season (although I confess experiencing considerable anguish each gameday until the outcome is assured). Go Bears! Beat the Terps!

  • Goldiebear

    I would love to see the expression on Joe Kapp’s face if the Bears went to the Rose Bowl this year with his son playing on the team.

  • abe

    Nice report. nice to hear the passing offense making some plays. I guess the only other think that i would love JO to provide us with is stats. like how many attempts/completions by Riley ans stuff. that would be great to know besides the highlights. but again nice report and thanks JO.

  • Gregg

    Any takes on our new WR recruits?

  • milo

    To all you bragging Bear fans, did you see the best Bear fan video contest that show at Memorial last year? You know where the 94 y.o. guy talks about going for like 70 years AND how during the big Oakland Hills fire he was in the stands?

    At the game his buddy says, “Hey isn’t that near your house?” He said, “Looks like it”, and he went back to watching the game. It turns out his house was burned to the ground but his rationale was there wasn’t anything rushing back up there could do. Now that’s a Bear fan gentlemen.

  • Jabes

    Well, truth be told his house burned the next day, but he didn’t know that at game time!

  • wehofx

    JO, great job as usual. Thanks. Syd and his boys in the Secondary will make a huge impact on the development of the WR’s through summer camp.

    Great story about the Old Blue.

    GO BEARS!

  • Pug

    The good news for Jahvid Best is that Cal is going to have road graders up front this year. Even better news would be for the passing game to develop into a deadly option for the Bears.