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.