Football: Training camp report — Aug. 18

Today was one of the most significant practices so far of training camp. Today was the first “live” practice, meaning it was as close to a scrimmage as Cal gets. The team went through a series of game-like situations, complete with an officiating crew and the coaches on the sidelines with headsets.

Of course, I didn’t get to see most of the practice. The first 20 minutes were the usual drills that go on during a normal practice. By the time the final 10 minutes came around, it was time for the field goal kickers to get in some work in pressure situations.

Unfortunately for the Bears, none of the kickers had much success attempting field goals from different distances. The kickers had a lot at stake — the prospects of running gassers hinged on some made field  goals. Most of them were missed. Then it was double or nothing, and most of them were missed again. The result was an extended time doing gassers at the end of practice, and making the placekickers the least popular guys on the team.

In addition to the injured players, Cal held some of its veterans out of practice to allow younger players to get a look. Players like Mike Mohamed, Mychal Kendricks and Mavin Jones didn’t participate.

For coach Jeff Tedford, the biggest thing for the first live practice is leaving the players on the field by themselves. During most practices, the coaches are on the field helping to direct traffic and go over mistakes. Wednesday was more like a game. When things came up, the players had to deal with them.

Tedford said he was happy with how his players handled  things — especially the younger players. Obviously, guys like Kevin Riley have been through this many times before so there’s no concern how they will handle being out there by themselves. Tedford said the mistakes were minimal among the younger players.

“For the most part, I thought it was pretty clean,” Tedford said. “Not too many penalties, no turnovers — it was good.”

Tedford was especially happy with how his new receivers — Keenan Allen, Kaelin Clay, Coleman Edmond and Tevin Carter — handled things.

“I thought they did a real nice job today,” Tedford said. “The mental mistakes were at a minimum. That’s what you look for right now. We feel pretty good about their ability to make plays. But when you’re that young and you have the whole offense being installed, it can be easy to get confused.”

Other notes from Wednesday:

  • Tedford said Kendricks and Keith Browner have earned the starting jobs at outside linebacker.
  • Tedford said Giorgio Tavecchio is the clear leader to handle kickoffs. Field goal duties are still up in the air.
  • It now appears running back Shane Vereen may not fully return to practice until next week. Tedford said Vereen will do more tomorrow, but also added that he hopes “he’s full go by next Monday so he gets two full weeks of football” before the season-opener.

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.

  • Bears

    As long as Shane is ready to go for Colorado it will be good. Need him at full strength all year. No lingering injuries!
    Anyone who is not healthy should sit. Guys better get themselves healthy.

  • milo

    Seriously why not rest Vereen. The season is long and there’s no use taxing him now.

    Great to hear the scouting on the receivers. That is welcome news.

  • rollonubears

    this policy is like listening to a concert from outside an arena. hope they did well!

  • Bears07

    JO, how do sites like bearterritory and bearinsider get more detailed stats/coverage of the practices (such as “Riley was 12 for 17 for 102 yards”? Not trying to knock your reporting because I love it and read it every day, but just wondering about the difference. Are they spying from tightwad hill? Are they just asking more questions? Guessing??

  • GldnBear71

    I am calling it right now. Vereen has a more serious injury than the one JT is letting onto.

  • rollonubears

    i agree 71. tedfird always downplays the injuries. but whatever, if he’s at least jogging on the sideline, he’ll be back before too long. the pac10 is all that really matters this year, so he can sit for the first couple games if needed. we should be fine.

  • Calduke

    Where is Trajuan Briggs?
    Is he a tailback or a fullback?
    He was suppose to be the hit of the freshman class.

  • Davidson

    I would be shocked if Vereen was seriously injured. Eye witnesses from practice have said that if you saw the speed that Vereen is running on the sideline, you would not worry. This is simply a case of Vereen not needed any extra practice at getting tackled by his own team.

    Briggs is the hit of the freshman class. Just like Sofele and Yarnway (pre-injury) were the hits of the last freshman class. Briggs will not play this year, there is simply too much depth to waste one year of his eligibility.

  • Grrrrrah

    A Cal message board is NEVER complete until we get the requisite “Player X is more injured than Tedford is letting on” post.

    Honestly! I am a third-generation Bear, so I get the skepticism and sarcasm, but come on. True, Tedford tends to downplay injuries, but only when that aren’t serious. A minor sprain, a pulled muscle, a bruise, etc., are all problems that can sideline a player for a week or so, but Tedford always tells us that the player is coming back tomorrow. Obviously, it will be longer than that, but Tedford tries to put a more positive spin on it.

    However, with more serious injuries, Tedford demeanor and explanations tend to be more dire, more true to the actual prognosis.

    Enough people have seen Vereen running and participating in his limited capacity and none of them have indicated a more serious, secret injury.

    If Vereen were truly more incapacitated, it would have slipped out by now.

    Let’s just relax and let Shane take whatever time he needs to get ready for the long season ahead. We’ve still got two weeks before our exhibition game, so let’s just take a deep breath and get through these agonizingly-long last two weeks of the preseason.

    17 days!! Go Bears!

  • Bears07

    Agree with Grrrrrah. Last year, everyone was assuming Best’s injury was “more serious than Tedford lets on” but come gameday he was as healthy and fast as ever. He was actually healthier all of 2009 (up until the season ending injury we all wish never happened) than he was in 2008. So let’s trust in Tedford and in Vereen’s experience.

    (as for the agonizing wait, agonizing barely begins to describe it…) GO BEARS

  • rollonubears

    best was not himself for most of the season last year. when he finally got healthy, he launched himself in the air and sat out the rest of the season. and tedford hid his nagging knee injury all along. what team were you guys watching? same with longshore’s shoulder. this is a trend. i don’t want guys out there if their injuries are going to hurt the team. a hurt vereen is not going to help things when we’ve got 4 more backs who could do just fine. i just want tedford to tell it like it is, and if he’s finally doing that, bravo.

  • Bears07

    I was watching the Jahvid Best that had 5 touchdowns in the 3rd game of the season. The decrease in YPC might have something to do with defenses strategizing around him, a weaker O-line and a non-threatening passing game.

    In any case, I think we can all agree we want what’s best for the team.

  • milo

    Common sense and conventional wisdom says rest your RB…and doubly so if he’s recovering from a minor injury. If Vereen is going to have more games like he did against Stanfurd, he’ll need plenty of rest.

    As for if JTed is covering up an injury, I doubt it and besides it’s way too early to be drinking the conspiracy theory kool-aid.

  • thisiscal

    I am worried about our kickers. If they can’t make field goals in practice, how will they make them during games? With the inexperience on offense, it is inevitable that some games will come down to field goals. I’m concerned.

  • CruzinBears


    did u mean longshore’s ankle injury??? i don’t ever remember a shoulder problem with nate… though the ankle thing bugged me, i have a feeling it was nate saying he is ok, more than tedford downplaying the injury

  • calboy3

    shane is fine. his hammy flared up along with 7 other guys from the team and he is just resting and doing what he can. he’s been running on a treadmill and doing a lot of work on the bike the past week. he will be good to go.
    and even if he does get hurt, isi has been flying out there and looking good every day.

  • n8Bear

    yeah, these reports suck.

  • Mr. B

    While I’m also a N8 Bear, I’m not so extreme as to say these reports suck. But I do think they should be taken with a grain of salt…as Bears07 pointed out other websites have more detailed content on what transpired at practice.

    For example, it would appear that all our FG kickers completely suck, based on the 3d paragraph JO wrote above.

    Yet at least one other source says that Tavecchio hit from 25 and 34, then missed from 50 before the “kick-for-gassers” session.

    Not like this kind of minutiae matters that much, but what is the deal with other writers/sites having better access?