The Bears held their first double-day practice today — their first scheduled one Saturday ended up only being one session. They went in shells in the morning and full pads in the afternoon. Coaches and players are only available after the morning session for double-days, so nothing to report on after the afternoon session.
Following the morning session, coach Jeff Tedford declined to get too specific about the personnel meeting the coaching staff held on Sunday. He said the coaches discussed which true freshman have a chance to play right away, but didn’t want to name specific players.
He said for the afternoon session, the coaches would start narrowing the reps at certain positions to start focusing in on the depth chart. Arguably the most compelling position is running back, although Tedford reitereated that Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson continues to perform well and is in position to grab the No. 2 slot behind starter Isi Sofele.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that heralded freshman Brendan Bigelow likely isn’t in the mix to play this season. He once again didn’t get many reps this morning, and with only about a week left until the depth chart should be set and the team starts game planning for Fresno State, he seems to have a lot of ground to make up.
When asked if Bigelow was still in the mix for playing time, Tedford said: “He’s still learning. You can’t ever count him out. But there are a lot of backs and he’s still learning. He’s still getting comfortable with his legs. We’ll see how it goes. There is still a long time until we start game planning. Every day we’ll see how they are doing, see who deserves more reps.”
It’s clear that Bigelow isn’t coming along fast enough to make an impact. Bigelow says he feels healthy, but the coaching staff his being extremely cautious with him. Bigelow hasn’t played since the end of the 2009 season in high school because of multiple knee injuries.
During an interview after practice Monday morning, Bigelow appeared nothing like the energetic, smiling, positive guy we saw after the first day of camp. He seemed to be beaten down a bit by the rigors of his first training camp, and possibly by the increasing reality that he will redshirt and miss his second season in a row.
“I’m adjusting OK,” Bigelow said. “It’s taking a long time, but I’m adjusting. I’m going to continue to work hard. I’m not going to give up.”
Look for more on Bigelow in a story for Tuesday’s paper.
In other news Monday:
- Cal switched up its schedule a bit and practiced at Evans Diamond Monday evening. The Bears first practice at Evans was supposed to be Wednesday, but now they will be back at Witter Field for their first scrimmage of the fall.
- Tedford said he feels comfortable with his quarterback depth behind starter Zach Maynard. He said Allan Bridgford is “having a great camp” and Brock Mansion “has been solid.” …”I think the two behind Zach are really good,” he said. “Brock was No. 3 so he wasn’t really getting many reps last year, and then all of the sudden he was the starter. Allan is doing a great job. Brock’s experience from last year is really carrying over, so he’s doing a good job. I feel good that we have three quality players that can go in and play.”
- Tedford said the coaching staff discussed flip-flopping Mitchell Schwartz and Matt Summers-Gavin on the offensive line but decided to keep Schwartz on the left and Summers-Gavin on the right. Maynard is left-handed and conventional wisdom says you want your best tackle protecting his blind side, in this case the right tackle. But Tedford said “A lot of times the guy that’s in your face is more disruptive than the guy behind you because you don’t see the guy behind you… as long as we’re not whiffing on the back side. If you got a guy coming in your face, that’s going to affect your throw more. And the best defensive ends are usually on that side. But we have a lot of confidence in Matt, too. We have two good tackles. It’s not that big of a deal.”
- On the camp that Matt Summers-Gavin is having, after somewhat of a lost season in 2010, Tedford said: “He’s done real well. Coach Michalczik (Jim Michalczik, offensive line coach) has made a big difference there. Coach Michalczik’s communication and teaching and things like that have really helped the offensive line.”
- Tedford said linebacker Nick Forbes still isn’t practicing in full capacity after offseason ankle surgery, but has been able to do drillwork and some 7-on-7s. Forbes is scheduled to see a doctor Wednesday, when he might be cleared to practice without limitation.