The Bears returned to practice Tuesday after a week off for spring break. The practice was closed, with an interview session afterward.
No pads — they will wear them for workouts Thursday and Saturday.
“We looked fine. Obviously, we’ve got a long way to go,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “They did a nice job in the week off of staying in shape so we didn’t have to start from square one again.”
Tedford said the Bears will begin to install some of their red-zone offense on Thursday. He also anticipates that inside linebacker David Wilkerson of Monte Vista HS in Danville will be back at practice after missing time with a variety of minor injuries.
Elsewhere Tuesday . . .
– Tedford confirmed that senior running back Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson is no longer on the team. DeBoskie-Johnson, who carried the ball just 10 times last season and did not figure into the rotation next fall, wants to spend his senior season somewhere he can get more playing time.
Because he will graduate this spring, DeBoskie-Johnson can transfer and play immediately.
– Starting quarterback Zach Maynard, who had missed a couple recent workouts due to academic obligations, was back at practice and enjoying the chance to throw to his cousin, redshirt freshman wideout Maurice Harris.
With star junior Keenan Allen expected back in the fall after injuring his ankle, Maynard said he’s excited by the prospect of having his half-brother on one side, his cousin on the other.
“Two huge, rangy athletes. We need Maurice to step up and make plays. I’m very excited for that,” Maynard said.
At 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, Harris has the best hands of any receiver on the team, according to Tedford.
“He’s a one-hand catching kind of guy,” Maynard said. “He can make any type of catch, especially those up-top balls, those jump balls. That’s where he separates from guys.”
Tedford said one or more of the freshmen arriving in the summer will figure into the mix at receiver. But he’s encouraged by the potential of Harris.
“His thing right now is just (gaining) experience,” Tedford said. “He’s got a really good body, good frame, good range, catches the ball very, very well. Now it’s just a matter of getting him as many reps as we can.”
– Standouts in practice Tuesday, according to Tedford, included the defensive line, tight end Richard Rodgers, linebacker Jason Gibson and defensive back Avery Sebastian, recovered from a hamstring ailment.
– Tedford said all the quarterbacks threw the ball well, but protection must improve. “There’s a lot of offensive linemen rotating through. Sometimes it wasn’t just physical, but mental mistakes,” he said. “Those are the types of things that are going to happen when you’re playing with new offensive linemen.
“It’s going to take them a little bit longer than the defensive linemen.”