Busy day today as I visited both Utah and Cal’s practices. The biggest development is that there seems to be a real possibility that cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson won’t play Wednesday. Thompson missed another practice today — the last of the season for the Bears — and afterward defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said “I don’t know” when asked if Thompson will play.
Gregory acknowledged the ankle is still bothering Thompson but also said he’s the kind of player who can play effectively in a game without practice, because of his experience as a four-year starter. It looks as though it will be a game-time decision.
Another notable development, related to Thompson, is that it would be redshirt freshman Marc Anthony that would start for Thompson if he can’t go. Josh Hill is out with a shoulder injury — it also kept him out of the Washington game — and Gregory said Anthony is practicing more consistently than Darian Hagan at this point. It would be the first career start for Anthony. Gregory said Hill likely will have surgery after the season.
Over at San Diego State, Utah held its final practice of the regular season. After their regulars left the field, their scout team players scrimmaged for another 15 minutes or so before the session finally wrapped up.
One advantage the Bears have over the Utes is their practice field at the University of San Diego is natural grass, which is the surface at the site of Wednesday’s game, Qualcomm Stadium. The practice field at San Diego State is the same kind of field turf at Memorial Stadium.
One answer I went looking for from the Utes is how they prepare for an opponent that has been so up and down this season.
“They’ve been up and down all season long, but we fully expect them to come out and play as well as they have all season long,” Utah left tackle Zane Beadles said. “That’s what we are preparing for. That’s really all we can do. We can’t bank on them coming out and having an off day.”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged that Cal’s results have been a bit of a roller coaster, but that doesn’t mean what they have done schematically has been changing.
“They’re very consistent with what they do as far as schematics,” Whittingham said. “The results haven’t been as consistent as I’m sure they would like. But what they’re doing from week to week has been very consistent as far as their schemes.”
Monday marked the last practice of the 2009 season. The Bears will have their usual day-before walkthrough tomorrow, but it was the last time the players will put on their practice gear.
For seniors like fullback Brian Holley, it was his last practice at Cal.
“I really wanted to treat this practice like it was my first — treat my last like my first and my first like my last,” he said. “I came out here and I ran full speed with the same type of passion I had when I first got here.”
Holley said he vividly remembers his first practice at Cal, way back in 2005.
“I remember that I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. “I was tired because I wasn’t in shape yet. I was wide-eyed, but I gave 100 percent effort in everything I did, just like today.”