The first practice in pads always is a significant one during training camp. It gives the coaching staff its first chance to evaluate the players really playing football. During the first four practices, the coaches were able to get a gauge on some things — athleticism, the mental side of the game, etc. But Tuesday marked the first practice where some real evaluation could be had.
The first thing I was on the lookout for Tuesday was how Jahvid Best withstood practice. Since he missed the spring, this was the first time he had really taken some football hits since the Emerald Bowl. Fans can rest easy. Best looked like his normal self. Hits were no problem, and his first two carries during 11-on-11 he looked as explosive as ever, hitting the hole hard and getting out in space, etc.
There were a couple of pretty solid hits. The most memorable came from freshman Alex Logan, who absolutely crushed wide receiver Quinn Tedford. The pass intended for Tedford was tipped pretty high into the air, giving Logan a chance to time the hit. He leveled Tedford as soon as he made the catch, drawing oohs and ahhs from the rest of the defense.
This got me thinking: You gotta have some self-confidence to lay out the coach’s son like that (Maybe Logan didn’t realize who he was. He is a freshman, after all).
–Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion split first team reps. Mansion had a bad stretch in which on one pass, he threw the ball right between the numbers of oncoming linebacker Devin Bishop. It was done from such close range that Bishop didn’t have time to make the interception as the ball deflected backwards. On the following pass, Mansion telegraphed a pass to Marvin Jones and it was intercepted by Syd’Quan Thompson.
Jones and Boateng continue to get the first reps at receiver. The next wave there is some rotation between Jeremy Ross, Alex Lagemann, Michael Calvin and Verran Tucker.
For the second straight day, Justin Cheadle got the first team reps at right guard instead of Chet Teofilo. But coach Jeff Tedford warned that the team is experimenting with different combinations and not to make too much of the alignment.
–Of all the incoming freshman, Isi Sofele is starting to step out a bit. His pure speed makes you want to watch the guy, and he’s been getting some meaningful reps now and then. Tedford said it was possible Sofele could contribute immediately this season, but stressed that it was much too early in camp to make such determinations.
–New defensive back Vachel Samuels got an earful from Tedford and defensive backs coach Al Simmons after Samuels simply gave up on a play during one-on-ones. After the recevier beat him, Samuels simply stopped running. Safe to say, that didn’t go over too well.
–Linebacker Mike Mohamed couldn’t wear his full pads because he missed Monday’s practice due to a study session. Players aren’t allowed to wear full pads until they have completed four practices.
Speaking of linebackers, defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said he’s been impressed with junior college transfer Jarred Price so far. He said Price has outplayed fellow JC transfer Ryan Davis so far on the outside, but also said that Davis has been a bit dinged up. Gregory also has been impressed with Chris Little, one of the stars of the spring scrimmage who evidently is picking up where he left off.