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Football: Wednesday night update

The biggest news to come out of Wednesday’s practice is the status of starting left guard Matt Summers-Gavin, who has come down with the case of the flu and didn’t participate in any team activities. The team is hopeful Summers-Gavin will get better in time for Saturday’s game. But the team also is taking every precaution in light of Swine Flu concerns.

Coach Jeff Tedford said the team implemented some preventitive measures at the beginning of the season to guard against the Swine Flu. After reading about some other programs that were hit by the Swine Flu, Tedford had littered Memorial Stadium with hand sanitizers and also had every player get a flu shot.

“You go anywhere in this place, there is a hand sanitizer — every computer, every meeting room,” Tedford said. “They walk in the dining hall, they have somebody standing there making sure everyone on the team washes their hands. Weight room, there’s someone at the door with a hand sanitizer. That’s something we did because some of the stories that were coming out of some of the other teams. We wanted to be really proactive in making sure that we did all that we can to prevent it.”

“We have the cleanest hands in America,” Tedford added.

If Summers-Gavin is unable to go Saturday at Oregon, Mark Boskovich will take his place. Boskovich started the final 10 games of last season at left guard after a season-ending injury to Chris Guarnero.

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Meanwhile, Jahvid Best hasn’t done much at practice the past two days. Best said his surgically repaired foot has felt sore this week, but it won’t affect his status for the game. He also said he plans on practicing Thursday.

“Everything is fine,” Best said. “I’m just a little sore. We’re just trying to manage it.”

Best had 26 carries against Minnesota on Saturday after only carrying the ball 10 and 17 times in the first two games, respectively.

“I’m comfortable with whatever. They need 30, 40 (carries), I’ll take them. I think the only time I need to come out is just when i’m tired. Shane (Vereen) is right there waiting. But as far as the workload, I’m ready for anything.”

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Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson also sat out practice Wednesday with tightness in his back, and backup nose tackle Kendrick Payne was sidelined with a sore foot. Tedford said both will play Saturday.

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.

  • Calbear91

    As for Best, I’ve had a concern the past few games that he has been injured and they are covering for him. Ever since he was wincing in the Maryland game, it has been suspicious. Did anyone else notice in the Minnesota game that he would not jump up to chest bounce Shane, as he usually does? JO telling of his foot sure fits what I am seeing. He also seems a step slower than full speed for him.

    I sure hope my fears are wrong, but I fear he is at about 80% and that is why his cuts aren’t as sharp. His long runs have been pretty straight ahead runs.

    Oh, please, may I be wrong and may he run like crazy all over the Ducks. I’ll be there with my son in the sea of green.

  • House

    Cal I think your freaking out a bit much. Jahvid had just ran 35 plus yards on the way to that score while making cuts and then jumping into the endzone, that much activity even for a speedster like Best is gonna leave anyone far too winded to jump and chest bump someone.

    As for his long runs so far, it’s no secret the cutbacks he has are leathal, and people are keying to that, that’s why you are seeing more 10 to 15 yard burst this year.

    Best is fine, they are being cautious because of how valuble he is.

  • Jan K Oski

    +1 House. 91, you need to review the highlights to see that Best is making his typical incredible cuts in all games…

    Oh yeah, don’t forget to vote for him, Bear Fans!

    http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/theheismanvote/2009/?dcp=omd.40449773.&dcc=0.217388057&dcn=1

    Go BEARS!

  • milo

    If Best was injured there’s no way he could have “superman-ed” his first TD. He got serious air there. He was just way too fast and smooth to be injured.

  • rollonubears

    psyhological factor works both ways, i suppose. if he’s hiding an injury, it might help us execute on offense a little better than if they know he’s hurt and decide to beef up the pass d. on the flip side, if he’s really not injured, pretending he is gives us an advantage, too. either way, we’re going about this the right way by being vague, or something like that. and shane vareen. man, he’s just as incredible. we just need to avoid the big play, and watch out for trickeration. and kick the dam ball past the freaking 20 yard line. imagine how awesome we’d be with one freaking guy who can kick. anybody else on that soccer team with a big foot? go bears!

  • Robert

    He ran HARD against Minny in addition to his breakout runs. Look at the film: he carried tacklers and went an extra few yards while he was wrapped up. If that’s hurt, then football is really in trouble when he gets 100%!

  • Calbear91

    OK, OK, I’m reassured. I have tape of all the games and do study them pretty closely, but you’re all right, I’m being a bit paranoid. I’m so convinced that Best is the difference maker for our season that I am quite watchful.

    Glad to hear Cal is taking the flu seriously, not because I fear its virulence, but because missing certain players in certain games can mean the difference between Roses and Nuts.

    Can’t wait to be looking back on the next three Saturday’s saying Go Bears!

  • TrumanHugh

    Syd-Quan’s back is sore from all those instantaneous fair catch signals he’s been throwing. It’s almost as if there is a spring that pops into action the second the punter’s foot hits the ball.

    {“KICK!” then: “POP” goes the spring and up comes Syd Quan’s fair catch signal!)

    I realize I’m not out there reading the oncoming defense, but it sure seems like Syd’s been awfully hesitiant to run the ball out this whole season.

    Anyone else notice this, too?

    *IF* we lose a game this season, it will be because of a Special Teams error. Hopefully, with Tedford switching out the kicker, we’ll get in together in time for conference play.

    And bravo to Tedford for recognizing the need to make the switch early on…and then making it! He’s loyal to his players, which is nice, but as we all remember in 2007, it has often been at the expense of the team as a whole.

    Go Bears!!

  • covinared

    TH: I think syd’s fair catches are part of a plan to minimize turnover risk.

  • Rollonubears

    Yes! I totally agree. The only balls syd has are the ones he fair catches. In his defense though, we don’t do a great job blocking. Knock on wood… At least he doesn’t fumble. But it would be nice to see him sack up and try to run.

  • eephus

    I’ve certainly noticed all of Syd’s fair catches. I’m just hoping Tedford insisted on them based on the lesser opponents…thinking that turnovers were the only way they’d get beat. They’ll need him for UO and U$C, though.

  • BearItAll

    Regarding Syd’s fair catching, if you’ve noticed, we haven’t been getting great PR blocking for Syd to have a clear lane to return the ball. Now of course this is a little frustrating to watch as a fan, but I’d rather have him secure the ball then get plowed by an unseen opponent and potentially lose the ball (or worse get injured).

    Special teams in general (aside from punting) needs a swift kick in the rear before Cal can legitimately start thinking about running the table this year… If not the lack of punt/kick coverage (on both sides) will cost Cal at least one game (maybe more).

    Sad but true…

    Regardless we look very good going into UO and hopefully we can pull out a big win!!!

    Go Bears!!!!

  • Jan K Oski

    On this topic on BearInsider’s forum, a member claimed that the punts have been short. I’m not so certain of this, and I’ve seen on a few occasions where Syd had 10 yards of open field in front of him with the opposing gunners as the only threat…

  • BluenGold

    The issue of Syd’s frequent fair catches has been a topic of discussion here on other threads as well. Hopefully JO will have some insight on it during his live chat this afternoon.

  • covinared

    I agree w/Jan K. Oski. There have been occasions when he had plenty of room to run, but didn’t. When I was at Vanderbilt one year, one guy was assigned to catch punts all year and he returned one, but he was slow with good hands. I am convinced Ssyd is doing this on coaches orders.

  • noduck

    hey cal- good job with the flu precautions, but remember seasonal flu vaccine only protects against seasonal flu. get h1n1 when that comes out too.

  • Pasadena Dave

    I think the thing with Squid’s fair catches is that Tedford, along with most coaches, value ball security before a return – the ability to catch the ball. I recall Tedford mentioning this in maybe 2006 when people were wondering why Tim Mixon was returning punts, not DeSean. I could be wrong, but I do recall Tedford mentioning the priority in a punt returner.

  • Rollonubears

    If syd’s hands are that great then why isn’t he a receiver?

  • BluenGold

    We asked JO about the Syd fair catch issue during today’s live chat. He(JO) does not think it is due to any coaching decisions, but rather Syd’s own calls. He sees no reason why the coaches would want to take Syd’s punt return abilities out of the game. JO did agree that there were some punts during the Minn. game that Syd might have run back but chose not to.