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Training camp report — Aug. 24

Lost in the shuffle of the quarterback news yesterday was the fact that training camp came unofficially to a close following a helmet-only walkthrough-type practice. Officially, camp ends Saturday with a morning practice followed by Fan Appreciation Day, but when the Bears return to practice after a day off today, it will mark the beginning of game week preparation for Maryland.

 Coach Jeff Tedford once again reiterated how pleased he is with how his team performed during camp.

“I’m very happy with the way it went,” he said. “I thought that every day we came out on to the field, the guys had really good energy, worked really hard and they were physical. It was very productive. We played well and the leadership was really good, and that afforded us to be able to have the work ethic that we had, because they all know what to expect out here.”

–After practice, Jahvid Best said he hopes to return to practicing in full capacity on Wednesday.

“I plan on practicing in full capacity,” he said. “I’m progressing right now. By the time we get into regular season practices, I should be practicing every day.”

Best said his sore toe “is not perfect, but it’s as good as it’s going to get right now.” He said he felt some soreness after taking his first hits in practice in some time on Sunday, but no different than the normal soreness a player feels. He said he feels no limitations in terms of his speed or ability to cut.

–Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said defensive end Cameron Jordan “responded very well” to his temporary demotion from the first team and “deserves to be back” with the starters. Gregory was unhappy with how Jordan performed in last Tuesday’s scrimmage. The next day, he replaced Jordan with Trevor Guyton on the first unit.

Apparently, Jordan got the message.

“Cameron’s last few days have been really good,” Gregory said. “He deserves right now to be back there. But Trevor is also playing well, which is good because that gives us even more depth.”

It also looks as though the Bears are going to stick with Mike Mohamed at weakside outside linebacker, although Gregory said Mohamed will play some inside as well. Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt are the inside backers with Eddie Young on the other side. Devin Bishop should still play a lot both inside and outside.

Gregory said he still needs to sort out the depth chart at linebacker. Second-stringers will see consistent reps during games as well.

“We want to make sure if guys go down, we have guys who can play different positions,” Gregory said.

Robert Mullins, who had been taking consistent second team reps at inside linebacker, suffered a knee injury and Gregory was unsure how severe it is. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI.

–Gregory was also happy with camp, and said having one year playing the 3-4 under their belts made a big difference this year.

“We knew exactly what we wanted,” Gregory said. “Early on in camp (last year), we were still kind of feeling our way about what we wanted. There’s not necessarily more calls, but we feel good about the package and what we want.”

–Now that the Bears’ quarterback situation is clear, it still remains to be seen how much improvement we will see in the passing game. Cal has two new offensive guards (Matt Summers-Gavin and Justin Cheadle) and a corps of receivers that didn’t distinguish themselves last year.

“The passing game was not all on Kevin last year,” Tedford said. “We had five guys on scholarship on the offensive line lost to season-ending injuries. We had brand new receivers. It’s not just Kevin that was the problem, and it’s not just Kevin that is the solution. It’s a team effort on the offensive side of the ball.”

Many observers feel the play of the wide receivers could be the difference between Cal being good and great this season. Wide receiver Marvin Jones, who has emerged as the Bears’ top pass-catcher, is confident in his group.

“We have the potential to be a great offense and a great passing team,” he said. “We just want to keep progressing as practices go on and the season goes on. I’ll tell you right now that we are 100 percent better in the passing game than we were last year.”

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.

  • Tony

    JO,

    A lot of the sound bites coming out of camp this year remind me of the 2007 season (5-0 start before the swan dive), but this time around, it seems much more team-oriented and more of a quiet confidence rather than cockiness. Would you say that’s a fair assessment?

    Thanks for the report…great work as always!

  • Bears

    This team has prepared like champions up to this point. Now they need to play like it. It’s that simple. Need to physically beat up the other team and blow them out as many games as possible. A few games will be close no matter how good they are, in those they need to clutch up and win.

    JO, please let us know Mullins status when the results come in. Hoping for the good news for him.

    Go Bears

  • Tyler M.

    JO -

    I saw a video of the team photo shoot and the players’ names were on the back of their jerseys. Have you heard whether the names will be back come gametime this year?

  • GoldenBear 77

    I heard early in camp that they were returning the names to the jerseys.

  • Davidson

    Names are on jerseys. 100% confirmed.

  • Robert

    JO, what is your best guess on the second string linebackers? Also, who starts in the safety positions and who backs up? Thanks for the fantastic coverage!!!

  • 66Bear

    Ten more days and then Maryland. Bring on the Twerps! This is very way cool, J.O., and thanks for keeping Bear fans everywhere informed on the team’s progress. Go Bears!

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Tony, there definitely is a different feel than 2007, starting with the head coach. You can tell he is sincerely pleased with team chemistry and the collective attitude from the players. You have to think many of the players who were around two years ago know that it’s foolish to get too overconfident. I’d say your assesment is right on.
    Tyler, haven’t inquired about that but I will try to confirm it.
    Robert, right now I’d say Devin Bishop, J.P. Hurrell, Chris Little and Jarred Price. But I’d put Mullins in there if he didn’t have a knee injury. Starting safeties are Marcus Ezeff and Brett Johnson with Sean Cattouse and Chris Conte backing up.

  • Pete Carroll

    JO – when will you see things my way and predict that Cal will win the PAC 10 – after the Maryland game, after the Oregon game or after the USC game?

    This is the year. PC says it, it must be true.

    PC

  • Tyler M.

    JO -

    Ryan Davis isn’t in your 1st or 2nd string. Is he with the 3rd team?

  • Jan K Oski

    Tyler, when you start having kids (more than a token one), you’ll understand why JO gets his names mixed up.

    Great report, JO!

    Go BEARS!

  • iamalcindor

    Even if BURQAlee had 20 more days of camp, the bitter days at Sourberry canyon will continue. Riley can’t win games, he chokes in OOC games. Watch for Minnesota or Maryland to humiliate the pretenders once again in 2009

  • Tyler M.

    Jan K – I have two kids.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Tyler, yes.

  • CalAlum97

    Actually there is a Ryan Davis on the roster, from Cerritos College. I think he was asking a legitmate question.

  • CalAlum97

    JO, what is your take on the new LBs this season? Are they as athletic as last years group and are they picking up the system pretty well?

    Thanks and great reporting.