The Bears were practicing Sunday for the second of three days in a row before cutting the players loose for a pre-holiday break. The team will reconvene in San Diego on Dec. 23 to begin final preparations for the Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl against Texas.
Coach Jeff Tedford was pleased Saturday with his team following a week of final exams that limited time on the field.
“Got a lot of good work done. A lot of Texas work,” he said after practice.
Even during the slow time, when practices were limited in number for a couple weeks, Tedford said players continued to lift and run and strength coach Mike Blasquez provided regular updates on their status.
“The message that’s coming back from him is their legs are back, they’re fresh, they’re explosive,” he said.
“Again, (you have) to manage that and make sure you keep it that way while getting enough work in, being physical, and doing the things you need to do to be prepared.”
Tedford said all three practices through Monday would be hard, physical workouts in full pads. There will be another couple of those early in San Diego before they back off a bit.
– Finals are over and Tedford said he is confident his players got through OK.
“We work really hard with that in making sure they’re prepared and doing the things they need to do,” he said. “But yeah, you’re always concerned to make sure people are finishing strong.
“Especially now with the new NCAA rule, you have to pass nine units in the fall and in the spring. It used to be just a combination that got you to 18. It’s always a real anxious time.”
– After watching videotape on the Longhorns, Tedford confirmed that they are pretty much what he anticipated.
“Nothing surprising,” he said. “It’s what you expect to see from a Texas team. Very talented, physical, lot of great athletes running around the field, a lot of team speed.”
A lot of that talent is on defense, where the Longhorns have seven players who earned first- or second-team all-Big 12 honors.
– Texas coach Mack Brown has said he expects to use both sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash at quarterback against the Bears. Tedford said preparation is unaffected by that.
“They both can do the same thing,” he said. “You have to get ready for the offense, not so much a person.”
McCoy, younger brother of ex-Longhorns star Colt McCoy, has passed for 1,034 yards, completing 61 percent of his attempts. He has seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
Ash has thrown for 934 yards, completing 56 percent with three touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’s considered the much better runner.
McCoy took most of the snaps in the past two games, although he had mixed results in the 48-24 loss to Baylor, throwing for 356 yards and three touchdowns, but threw four picks after going all season without one.