Running back Shane Vereen is now very close to practicing in full capacity. He wore shells today (helmet and shoulder pads) and took team reps for the second day in a row. Although it wasn’t a full pad practice with no limitations as far as hitting, Vereen still was bounced around a bit by defenders, running through blockers, etc. He displayed the ability to cut, plant, move laterally, burst, etc., without any problems. Never mind the middle screen pass that he dropped near the end of practice, the Bears are just happy to see him almost completely over his tweaked hamstring. Vereen could go without limitation as soon as Saturday, when the Bears will have a double-day practice, including full pads in the evening.
Fullback Will Kapp (concussion) also continues to improve. He took team reps as well today after practicing in limited fashion Thursday. Guard Richard Fisher sat out today after aggravating a recurring hip injury. Brian Schwenke took his reps at left guard.
Speaking of left guard, coach Jeff Tedford said Matt Summers-Gavin (knee bruise) is progressing. He has shed his crutches and is walking around fine.
A couple of topics Tedford touched on today after practice:
- On the camp that quarterback Kevin Riley is having: “Very solid camp — great understanding and command of the offense. He’s throwing the ball very accurately and making great decisions. He’s really done a nice job. It’s really evident that they did a lot of work together through the summer because they’re on the same page.”
- On Riley being more confident and relaxed this camp: “The growth and development of Kevin in all areas — as a player, as a person, maturity level — he’s been through the paces here — the highs, the lows, everything. He understands how to handle not only game situations, he knows how to handle adversity. He’s much more poised, much more confident. He’s doing a great job.”
- On Josh Hill’s move to safety from cornerback: “He has a great understanding of what we are doing. As much as anything, he’s directing traffic back there. He understands what’s going on to get other people in the right positions. There’s a lot of communication that goes on back there. He’s been real solid when it comes to understanding what we’re trying to do.”
One other injury update: Nose tackle Derrick Hill didn’t injure his knee, after all. Hill found out this morning that he’s come down with a case of gout. Hill injured himself last week and felt pain around his knee, which has given him problems through the years at Cal. But he said today the pain wasn’t actually in the knee itself. When his foot swelled up, it was obvious it wasn’t his knee and there was some kind of other problem.
Hill said he is being treated with anti-inflammatories and keeps the leg elevated, and it should be better in a day or two.
Although Kendrick Payne clearly is the leading candidate to start at nose tackle, Tedford said Hill and Aaron Tipoti are still in the mix and the competition continues.