We’ve reached the stretch drive of spring practice. There are only four practices left, and two of them are scrimmages. Don’t expect too much to be decided by the end of spring. Jeff Tedford usually doesn’t make any grand proclamations about position battles or the depth chart at the end of spring, and this year will be no different. He said as much after practice tonight, confirming that his general policy is to keep evaluating well into training camp.
That being said, there are a few positions that are obvious. Mike Mohamed will be a starting inside linebacker. Marvin Jones will be a starting receiver. Anthony Miller will be the starting tight end. Bryan Anger will be the punter.
As usual, I didn’t see most of practice. But the first play I saw when the media was allowed into the stadium was a nice play by quarterback Kevin Riley, who read a heavy blitz quickly and got rid of the ball in time to hit a wide open Miller down the middle of the field. This came during the hurry-up drill the Bears often do near the end of practice. The drive ended with Giorgio Tavecchio missing a 28-yard field goal, something that didn’t please Tedford.
“We missed a field goal from the 10-yard line. That stuck out pretty big,” Tedford said when asked a general question about special teams. “That’s pretty major.”
On the positive side, Tedford once again had the kickers run the drill where they attempt to place a kickoff in a box formed by the players in front of the end zone. Tavecchio nailed all three of his kickoffs right down the middle and squarely inside the box, and all inside the 5-yard line. Vince D’Amato also got all three of his kickoffs in the box, although two of them were close.
“The kickoffs were great,” Tedford said. “They were all down the middle of the field, not shanked, not on the ground.”
Both kickers have performed well in that drill, and Tedford said the next t ime he runs it he might have the entire kickoff team out there with them.
“There’s something about that drill they like,” Tedford said. “That’s worked out well for them.”
Beau Sweeney missed a couple of throws when he ran the hurry-up, but also made a nice pass down the middle to backup tight end Spencer Ladner, who bounced off a big hit by safety C.J. Moncrease to gain a few more yards.
On the injury front, defensive end Trevor Guyton returned to practice after missing time with a shoulder injury. But wide receiver Michael Calvin, who strained a groin during Saturday’s scrimmage, sat out. Same with Jones, who was resting a knee he tweaked earlier in the spring. Offensive linemen Mitchell Schwartz (back) and Chris Guarnero (calf) continued to sit out. Tedford also said defensive end Mike Costanzo, who had an appendectomy last week, will miss the rest of the spring.
With the injuries to Schwartz, Guarnero and center Dominic Galas, the Bears have had to do a lot of shuffling along the offensive line. Donovan Edwards continues to get snaps at center and Matt Summers-Gavin is still playing left tackle instead of guard.
The more the Bears get a look at Summers-Gavin at tackle, the more likely you may see him stay there. Cal needs a new left tackle after the departure of Mike Tepper. Don’t be surprised if Summers-Gavin continues to play tackle in the fall even with a completely healthy group of offensive linemen.
“He’s playing a lot of tackle lately,” Tedford said. “We’ll have to see how it unfolds. He can do both. He doesn’t have the tackle frame, but he is athletic and can move his feet.”