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Football: Major change to practice routine

The obvious news of the day was the setting of the depth chart, which we covered earlier. But there was something else that I found quite significant that may get lost with today’s discussion of the starting lineup.

As I watched the final 10 minutes of practice today, I noticed that no players were wearing scout team jerseys. It was clear the offense and defense was going against UC Davis’ simulated defense and offense because players were checking cards and lining up accordingly. But usually, the scout team each week wears the colors of the upcoming opponent.

There is an explanation. The Bears aren’t going to utilize scout team players as much this season. Instead, coach Jeff Tedford wants to simulate the speed of real games more effectively, so he’s going to have his offense and defense go against the real defense and offense. So the Bears will still be going against the opponent’s schemes, they will just be doing so against presumably better players.

Tedford said the No. 2 defense will serve as the scout team for the No. 1 offense, and the No. 2 offense will do the same for the No. 1 defense. So if the Bears are going up against a good defensive end one week, the offense could see someone like Trevor Guyton on the other side, not a freshman on the scout team. Tedford believes practicing this way will have his players better prepared for games.

In the meantime, younger  players who are redshirting that typically would be on the scout team are instead going to run plays against each other.

Tedford said he is making the change not only to better simulate the speed and tempo of a game, but it’s also another way to put an extra focus on competition at practice.

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.

  • Bears07

    Interesting. Does anyone know if other schools take a similar approach by eliminating a scout team?

  • GldnBear71

    The results during game time will tell the story. You can practise against Gilroy High for all I care.

  • David

    I don’t think I like this too much. It’s good that the 1′s and 2′s will practice against better competition, but on the other hand, the players that would normally be on the scout team (ie redshirt freshmen) will only play others of the same players and may not develop as nicely as the season goes on because of it. It’s a bit of a gamble…

    But I’ll trust Tedford. GO BEARS

  • Eric

    On balance, I like this idea, but I would be curious whether it increases the likelihood of injuries or whether the defense is instructed not to try to destroy the offensive players.

  • mike

    Actually a potentially very good idea. A scout team is made up of either good young players or older players who for whatever reason never cracked the two-deep. So they’re always overmatched. I read from another blog that when the second teams are simulating the opponents against the first teams they won’t be using the opponents exact plays. They’ll instead be running the Cal plays closest to what the opponent likes to play. That way the first team gets a similar look with speed but at the same time not cluttering up the second teams mind with entirely new plays and terminology. While they are doing this the redshirts are practicing the opponents plays that have no analogy in Cal’s playbooks terminology. For instance if we were to play a team that used the triple options. Once the 1 vs 2 session is done the starters play the redshirt scout team to get a look at opponents really unique plays. This idea and Tedfords using of higher level players on special teams are some bold ideas well grounded in logic. Whether it works is TBD but I like that, obviously, Tedford has put a lot of thought into how to improve. Smart coach.

  • Chippy

    Looks like someone figured out why his team loses every big game they’ve ever played in.

  • BlueNGold

    Chippy = morons are coming

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I thought Chippy was the name of the guy who does kick offs for you.

    BTW watch tonight’s Grant-Folsom game an remember the name Vili Moala. He will be the next great USC DLmen. There isn’t enough space on this blog to list all who have played before him.

  • Larry

    Chippy is the guy who informed U$C that they were BUSTED for paying Bush & Co.
    Chippy also took away scholarships, bowl games, titles, and one ill gotten Heisman!

  • Larry

    How much does a player like Vili Moala cost?

  • BlueNGold

    Is Moala a cheater too? Seriously, I watched most of the second half of that game last night and did not see what the big deal was. The guy weighs 340 lbs and moves like it. I did not see him make any meaningful plays and, in fact, the OL of Folsom did a pretty good job of neutralizing him despite his weight advantage. I thought the Grant QB Shine was much more impressive.

    Also noted was the ESPN graphic showing that he is considering several Pac 10 schools including Cal. Also, he is Tongan and grew up playing rugby. No wonder he is so highly rated as a football player.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Let me copy that statement and send it to Moala and let him know it is compliments from a Cal state fan. Cal state fans seldom have sanctified themselves as knowledgable football fans.

    As a loyal Trojan, I will tell him that when on every play he is double and triple teamed creating one on one opportunities for the other DL and plays OL too he has a 5* rating from me.

    He is also the cousin of Christian “Cal did me dirty” Tupou. I can’t wait to see a DL of Tupou, Armstead, Armstead and Moala. Thanks for inching him one step closer to his decision.

  • Larry

    Moron,

    Who do you think you are Lane Kiffin?

  • Larry

    If your Father is a booster like you claim he is, then I dare you to post & send Moala that statement so you can be responsible for U$C losing even more scholarships for tampering.

  • BlueNGold

    Larry-

    moron is a legend in its own mind.