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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.