Football: Wednesday night update

You can almost count tonight as the unofficial beginning of the season. It was the first regular season practice of the season, as the Bears broke into scout teams and began installing the game plan for Maryland.

The coaching staff met Tuesday to get on the same page on the depth chart. There are some issues still unresolved, but here is a recap of lineup information provided by Tedford after practice:

–No surprise here, but Matt Summers-Gavin is the left guard and Justin Cheadle is the right guard. Mark Boskovich will back up Summers-Gavin while Chet Teofilo will be Cheadle’s backup. Teofilo will also back up at tackle while Tedford said Donovan Edwards can back up at any position along the line (Tedford said Edwards has been taking some reps at center, which is something that has happened since the new media policies were implemented because I never saw it).

–Tedford wouldn’t commit to a starting fullback. He said Brian Holley likely will start the opener, but he said playing time could vary from week to week depending on the opponent and the game plan.

–Tedford said he has yet to name a kicker. He wants to evaluate all three kickers for a couple more days before making a decision. “We have to put them in more situations,” Tedford said. “I don’t know that we’ve put them in enough situations.”

–When asked for the top two or three receivers, Tedford listed every receiver who has been in the mix all camp (except for Michael Calvin, who is injured). But the first two receivers he mentioned were Verran Tucker and Marvin Jones, and those were the two receivers I saw taking first team reps during the opening 20 minutes of practice we are allowed to watch.

–Tedford said wide receiver Isi Sofele is the only freshman who will definitely not redshirt. He said the only other freshman who might play this season is offensive lineman Brian Schwenke, who he said is about as far along as any true freshman offensive lineman he’s had. Don’t expect Schwenke to play unless the O-line is hit hard by injuries like last year.

–Jahvid Best’s status as kick returner is uncertain. Tedford is still leaning toward Best being the No. 1 kick returner, but he’s unsure about the first game because of the amount of practice time Best has missed. If it’s not Best, it will be Jeremy Ross.

–Shane Vereen will back up Syd’Quan Thompson as punt returner.


Tedford continues to issue superlatives about how his team has looked so far. “Usually after a day off, they come back a little rusty,” he said. “This is probably the best practice we’ve ever had after a day off.”

–Linebacker Eddie Young (concussion) and safety Marcus Ezeff (ankle) sat out another day of practice but Tedford said he expects both back in the next couple of days.


Jahvid Best said he isn’t 100 percent, but pretty close. He said he probably hasn’t taken enough hits yet in camp.

“That’s the one thing I don’t think I’ve done yet,” Best said. “If my first big hit is against Maryland, I’ll get used to it.”

Of course, Best knows something about taking a big hit against Maryland. The crushing blow he absorbed by defensive back Kevin Barnes last season caused Best to throw up on the field, and it became a big hit on youtube.

“I know what that feels like,” he said.

Even though he played as a true freshman, it was limited. So he says last year to some extent felt like his freshman year.

“My sophomore year actually felt like my freshman year in some cases,” he said. “But now I definitely feel like now that i have a full year under my belt, I feel more confident.”

Wednesday was the first day of school for the players. Best said one of the classes he had today is Intergrative Biology…whatever that means.

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.

  • Davidson

    Marv Jones and Tucker! What a combo!!

  • abe

    absolutely not surprised that Tucker is at the top. as i commented on a previous post Tucker was by far the best receiver active last year, despite the numbers in terms of his route running and sure hands (visualize the catch at the u$c game) and overall playmaking ability. i almost laughed when i read that he was practicing with the 3rd stringers at the beginning of fall camp but i had no doubt that he would quickly ascend to the 1st team and it looks like he has.

  • Jan K Oski

    Tucker found a quick way to escape from Tedford’s doghouse. Davidson is right, what a combo!

    Integrative Biology is combining the knowledge acquired from different disciplines to further our understanding of biological systems. http://ib.berkeley.edu/ I guarantee it is a challenging course, even if Best is taking it as an elective. Of course, I’m a biologist, so what do I know?

    “(Fullback) playing time is week to week depending upon the opponent and game plan”??? Tedford can be so vague, but if they’re winning, I ain’t complaining.

    Good report and great article, JO!

  • Davidson

    Let’s all take a second to remind ourselves of Tucker’s eye popping 2008 season. Note that he didn’t even get to play until the Maryland game.


  • Bears

    What is Mike Calvin’s status?
    Anyone other than Tad Smith and Yarnway out for the year?
    Any news on the Mullins injury?
    Any chance Calvin makes it back for Maryland?

  • Steve

    Integrated Biology is a fancy name for standard biology (studying plants, animals, cells, etc.) but with paleontology, evolutionary biology, physiology, genetics, etc. added in.

  • ConcordTom


    Can you please expand a bit of Isi Sofele a bit more. I thought he might be a scat back or kickoff returner, but here you have listed him as wide receiver and stated that Ross backs up Best on kickoff returns (if Best handles them at all). Meanwhile, competition at receiver is deep and my understanding is that Isi is small, slight, and darting quick while the game has moved more toward larger receiver targets that can ward off defenders with their size. Can we truly expect to see Isi at wide out? If Tedford says Isi will definitely not redshirt, then he already knows where/situations he plans to use him. Do you?


  • Jan K Oski

    Tom, do you remember Vince Strang? Isi is a faster, quicker version of him, yet Strang had no problem producing at this level. Also, Isi offers a different dimension with his quickness than the other bigger WR just like Best offered something different with respect to Forsett. The Daily Cal reported today that Isi will be used as a gunner at times as well as a couple of offensive positions. So, it would be wise to keep one eye on #20 at all times. If you need more info, please consider WR James Rodgers and his previous exploits against our Bears and other teams. Florida’s Percy Harvin is another good example of how Isi could be used. Isi won’t see a ton of playing time, but he will be another playmaker for the year. Never can have enough of those for a PAC-10 championship and more.

    Go BEARS!

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Bears, Calvin still isn’t practicing. I would think it would be next week at the earliest. Smith and Yarnway are the only players out for the season, although still waiting to get an update on Robert Mullins. He has a knee injury so you kind of hold your breath with those.
    Concord, Sofele is definitely playing wide receiver. He hasn’t taken a single rep at running back. He’s not going to return kicks at this point because they have some accomplished, talented guys ahead of him already doing that. And while the Bears may have a lot of receivers, we still don’t know how good they are going to be. Sofele’s speed and his acumen for picking up the offense has made him a legitimate player there.

  • Michael

    We may get a fly sweep out of Isi. And we will probably get a ton of fakes from him. He has the feel of a kid that a D is going to HAVE to account for. I can already see fake fly right, Best on a bubble sweep to the left. 1 on 1 with the SS, in space. I like our chances. Especially with Nyan pancake-ing the corner.

    FYI I majored in IB. It is Cal’s version of Macro-biology. But to be honest, like physics, there is probably Bio for bio majors and Bio for non majors. I can guarantee that it is a legit class.

  • CalAlum97

    Oo-wee, that was a nice video thanks Davidson. I remember Tucker being the most consistent receiver last season, but for some reason I forgot about his athleticism and ability for YAC. I’m definitely on board and looking forward to seeing him do some big things for Cal this season!

  • CalAlum97

    IB is still challenging, despite what the MCB majors might say. Good for Best.

  • Jethro

    I would try Sofele at kick-off returns ahead of Ross. If best can’t handle it, we need someone with breakaway moves.

  • ConcordTom

    Thanks, all, for getting me straight on Sofele.
    He’s definitely fast and shifty, as witnessed by youtube highlights. He looked bigger in those clips than his listed dimensions of 5’7″, 160.
    One thing seems for sure if Sofele is moving to receiver: Tedford has fallen in love with game breaking quickness!
    And why not?!!
    Rather than fly patterns, I see Sofele being used in lots of short drop into space gadget plays. He’ll be tough to tackle in the open field – he turns his legs over so quickly, it appears he can juke folks and quickly accelerate up field!
    Will be fun to watch him develop over all 4 yrs.