By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 11:15 pm in Training camp.
The Bears held the first of two training camp scrimmages tonight, in front of what will be the last gathering of invited guests for a practice at Cal. Jeff Tedford confirmed after the scrimmage that starting tomorrow, media will only be allowed to view the first 20 minutes and final 10 minutes of practice. He also said he will be limiting the family and friends of the program that have typically watched practice in the past.
To paraphrase, Tedford feels there is just too much information being made available for public consumption. Of course, the proliferation of the Internet has changed the way teams are covered. Blogs and fansites have provided an avenue to provide exhaustive recaps and summaries of practice without concern for space limitations.
This new policy will of course have a dramatic effect on how the media covers the team. Yes, we will be able to get a taste of practice, but I will no longer will be able to provide as many highlights and insights from practice. It will take some getting used to at first, but I still hope to provide as much thorough coverage as possible.
That being said, let’s move on to tonight. A couple of key points about the scrimmage. No. 1, several veterans didn’t play simply because the coaching staff didn’t feel like they needed to see them. They were more interested in seeing some of the younger players. Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson, linebackers Eddie Young and Mike Mohamed, defensive end Tyson Alualu all sat out, and running back Shane Vereen just got a few reps (as expected, Jahvid Best didn’t practice as he continues to nurse a sore toe).
One piece of bad news for the Bears: wide receiver Michael Calvin had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery Monday to clean up his surgically repaired right knee. Calvin tore his ACL in October and there was some fluid and swelling in the knee. Tedford said Calvin will be out for a couple of weeks.
It’s been one thing or another for Calvin, who was expected to do big things at Cal but has yet to get untracked. A sprained toe limited him for the first four games of his redshirt freshman season last year, and then he suffered the knee injury.
Other injury news: Center Chris Guarnero had surgery this morning to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. He suffered the injury a couple of days ago, and Tedford expects him back in a couple of days.
Also, tight end Tad Smith injured his knee during the scrimmage, but Tedford didn’t know the severity immediately afterward.
On the good side for the Bears, Tedford said safety Marcus Ezeff (sprained ankle) could have played Tuesday but was held out for precautionary reasons.
On the field, quarterbacks Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion took equally shared first and second team reps. It was the first set of first team reps Mansion has received in a while, which isn’t surprising since it was a scrimmage. Mansion was hot early, leading the second team on a 70-yard touchdown drive, completing six straight passes at one point, including a 13-yard scoring pass to Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson. Mansion added a 19-yard TD pass to fullback Will Kapp moments later.
The next time Riley took the field, running with the first team, he connected with tight end Jarrett Sparks for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Riley was 11-for-21 for 145 yards and two touchdowns while Mansion was 14-22 for 131 yards and three scores. Neither quarterback threw an interception. Beau Sweeney took only third team reps, as he has done all of camp. Sweeney has yet to take a first or second team snap this fall. It’s pretty clear the quarterback competition is between the top two guys.
During kickoff drills, Giorgio Tavecchio kicked it to the 10 and the 12, David Seawright got it to the 10 and Vince D’Amato kicked it to the 6. Kick coverage was pretty solid on all four kicks, as no return went for more than a short gain. Tavecchio also had a 30-yard field goal.
Defensively, linebacker Charles Johnson had a sack and a pass break-up. Others who stood out were linebacker Mychal Kendricks and safety Jesse Brooks.
There’s more to go over from tonight, and I’ll get to that tomorrow. It won’t come until after practice, as the Bears go in the morning on Wednesday.