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Football: Bears return to practice

By Jeff Faraudo
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 at 9:49 pm in Football, Spring practice.

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.”

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  • Gobears49

    I believe readers of this column are most interested in whatever can be said for the duel to be the #2 QB in the fall, as Maynard seemingly has already won the starting position. What is the status of how Bridgford, Boehm, Kline compare in practice?

  • calgrizzlybear

    its a long time till sept 1st ….

  • SportsBrah

    The thought of another year with Zach Maynard as quarterback just makes me cringe.

  • covinared

    Harris sounds pretty good.

  • Juancho

    I’m on the same page as SportsBrah.

    But even though I’m long-term pessimistic on Maynard, I’m going to fight it, and be short-term optimistic in regards to him. All we can do is hope he is leaps and bounds better this year than last. If he is arguably the same quarterback as last year, we’re going to have a rough season.

    Bridgeford is hands down the number 2. Kline will redshirt. And Kline will be the number 2 next year. At which point the other QBs on the roster will likely look at transferring.

    I was thinking about how my feelings about this team as compared to last season’s currently are. Below you will find my biased thoughts, either +1 for better than last year, or -1 for not as good as last year. Since this is all guessing I’m not going to allow myself the pleasure of saying “about the same” and using a zero.

    Quarterback +1, Maynard has to be better. If nothing else he’s been at Cal another year and has grown. And the coaching staff has seen him in games for a full year. Plus, now that Bridgeford is a Junior, I have little doubt that if Maynard looks shaky in games, he’ll get the hook. And not only because Bridgeford is there, but because Bridgeford now has the shadow of Kline behind him. So Tedford has to figure out as soon as possible if Bridgeford has it to be our QB next year. Or if Kline should start getting those reps now if this will be his team next year.

    Runningback +1, another season of experience for CJ and Isi – plus Brendan Bigelow should be a real asset this year. My prediction is that Bigelow becomes the #2 runningback by mid-year, and CJ becomes the goal-line guy.

    Widereceivers -1, Marvin Jones is gone, and even Tedford and the staff are admitting they’re counting on one or two true freshmen to really step up. Just doesn’t usually happen. In my time following Cal the only true freshman who really have are named Desean Jackson and Keenan Allen. Plus this is Cal, what if with our luck the Keenan Allen injury goes haywire and he never fully recovers? Allen and Harris should be solid as a #1 and #2. It then comes down to Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler, Darius Powe (who I think starts as the #3), etc.

    Tight Ends +1, I just think the guys on the roster are a little better than Anthony Miller.

    Offensive Line +1, I don’t even have to look at the list of players we lost here, because none of them are game changers. What is a game changer, is this is Michalczik with another year under his belt, with some talented young guys. Plus the O-linemen have had a year of blocking for Gumby Maynard and that should help them.

    Defensive Line -1, too many guys lost and a new defensive line coach. I hope I’m wrong because there is a hell of a lot of talent on this roster at this position.

    Linebackers +1, other than Kendricks not one of the upper classmen last year has as much talent as the freshmen and sophomores that were on this team last season. This should be our best group on the team, hands down. Wilkerson, Whiteside, McCain, Scarlett, Forbes, Gibson, Barton, and the list goes on.

    Secondary +1, our starting cornerbacks are back and Stefan McClure, who looked damn good, will be back. Not to mention highly touted Kam Jackson (freshman last year) should play this time around. Factor in the fact that Avery Sebastian (who some think is the hardest hitter on this team per pound) will start at Safety. He was one of the top recruits out of Georgia a couple years back. He should be a stud.

    Special Teams -1, they just seem to get worse every year.

  • eric

    As much as I think Tedford has been a negative on QB development, I think Maynard will shown significant improvement. The real questions with Maynard will be

    (a) will he be permitted to scramble or have called run-pass options.

    (b) will any receivers other than KA develop? We need guys who can run sharp 10-20 yard routes and catch.

    (c) will the aerial play-calling be more imaginative or will we see more of the sill deep outs that has defined Tedford-coached QBs since 2007?

  • covinared

    Juancho: Schwartz on the line is a big loss.

  • David

    You sold DJ Holt pretty short there.

    And Kam Jackson did indeed play last year as well.

    And I predict CJ will still hold on to that #2 spot, and Bigelow will be used in a DeAnthony Thomas-type of role.

  • Juancho

    Respectfully disagree with you Covina, as per usual.

    I think Schwartz is a solid guy. Do I think he’s a significant enough loss to mean the O-line will be less good this year – no. If we lost Alex Mack or someone in that class, a la Marvin Philip even, I’d consider the O-line to be less talented this year.

    But I think Schwartz isn’t a game changer.

    David, Kam Jackson did play some last year. Not a lot though. He should be a good one.

    I do not think DJ Holt is a bad player. But I do not feel he has the talent of the young guys on the roster. Not so much that I’m really low on Holt, I’m just really high on the linebacking core.

    You’re probably right on CJ holding onto the #2 role, if he stays in shape.

    Disagree on Bigelow having a De-Anthony Thomas type role. Tedford hasn’t historically done that with runningback / hybrids. But maybe he will this time. Although I’d be surprised since Bigelow doesn’t have Jahvid speed, and he didn’t do that type of a thing with Best.

    Who knows. All in all just excited that football is almost here. Anyone notice that Kline will be wearing Rodgers’ famed # 8 after all ?

  • ConcordBear

    It’s fun to speculate but we won’t know anything until at earliest the spring game. No idea how young guys will show until it’s live.
    Cal needs a lot of young guys to be good and ready to play.
    Worked for Oregon in 2009, a lot of frosh stepped up big and took their program to top of Pac.
    Bears need guys who have not produced at this level to be ready and step up big!

  • Juancho

    Covina, do you ever think like I do that we are blog rivals? Although rivals in a very respectful and sporting matter. It seems like we rarely have the same opinion. Which is kind of fun to be honest.

    Anyone else notice any other clear rivalries?

    SteveNTexas vs. Takeoffthatredshirt seems like another one. I think that’s the guy always giving SteveN guff.

    Eric vs. JanKOski?

    This would be all the more fun if we could get some Bear Talk Blog t-shirts with our usernames on it. Imagine the lively banter pre- or post-game with a few beers ?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    MoreNCsarecoming vs UCB fans who are mostly lack knowledge about football

  • Boaltblue

    MoreNCsareNotComing = USC Wannabe, but not good enough.

  • eric

    Juancho – I don’t think of JanK as a rival (though his postings drip with terrific sarcasm) but someone I tend to agree with on big picture issues. Where we sometimes differ is on offensive play-calling.

    I suppose my “rivals” would be the known Tedford supporters – Covinared, BoaltBlue, Bobby, H8sRed, and perhaps Go8ears (and maybe one or two others I am forgetting). I hate to ever consider any Cal fan a rival, namely because I think the motivations for our opinions are – or should be – the same. We just differ on how to get there. Some in the Tedford camp are better than others when it comes to refraining from ad hominem attacks or making things up, but it would be wonderful if as whole there was more civility. Maybe this year, like a new stadium, things will change.

    As for the Moron, I certainly don’t consider him/her/it a rival to any us. If he/she/it limited the commentary to true football-related issues, which occasionally happens (a la the Blind Squirrel and the acorn, the Moron does every once in a while say something that actually makes football sense), I would respond to points worth responding to. But it the silly blatherings on unrelated matters that undermine the tiny sliver of credibility that sometimes exists.

  • Juancho

    Well put Eric.

    I definitely didn’t mean to imply anything negative by rivals. We all are in this thing together, as we proved the glorious day where we hit 200 or 300 comments on a post vis-a-vis recruiting day.

  • covinared

    Juancho: its not you. I read posts, and if I disagree or have facts to the contrary, I sometimes respond. You just happen to post alot. btw: schwartz was a four year starter, 1st team all pac 10, and should go in the first 4 rounds of the draft. whatever a gamechanger my or may not be, he is a significant loss and deserved mention in any analysis as in depth as yours Eric: I am not a loyal Tedford supporter, but I don’t necessarily agree with many grounds of others’ criticism of him. He is not perfect by any means. I like his basic schemes, but he sometimes makes bad game decisions. I think what separates us from the promised land still is mostly overall talent, not the fact that he does not rely on alot of fancy looking plays.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    I will have a story in Sunday’s papers (and online) on the Bears’ quarterback situation.

  • Steve W

    I don’t need a rival to say that Zach Maynard is a 50-50 quarterback, meaning that he will throw as many interceptions next year as touchdowns. The touchdowns will come against the dregs of the conference (OSU, WSU, Colorado), while the interceptions will come in droves against the quality defenses (USC, Oregon, ???). I am wondering how many interceptions Zach will have in the Coliseum next year and whether he personally keep Cal’s first half scoreless streak alive against SC for four consecutive years. Yeah, I’m high on the state of Cal quarterbacks.

  • covinared

    A valid criticism of Tedford is his inability to put out good QB play. It might be that his offense is too complex. That being said, I believe Maynard showed enough improvement last year in his first year to be optimistic. He can make all the throws, and is a threat to run whether scrambling or by design. His problems seem to be upstairs. If we can mount a good sustained running game, he’ll do just fine.

  • daredevilfan

    Looks like Juancho has us at a net +3. That doesn’t sound bad? Unfortunately QB play is so critical in football that it should be more heavily weighted. Yes, hopefully and probably Maynard will be better. But where will he rank among QBs in the Pac12? Somehow we need to demand more of our team and players and jump back into the top tier of the conference. That is where my concern with Tedford comes in. No fire, no killer instinct. But any step forward is better than a step back.

  • Takeoffthatredshirt

    I’ll give anyone ‘guff’ that calls for the firing of our best head coach since Newell. On a Cal fan board. Over and over and over.

    No one else here (besides the troll) posts as much consistent negative Cal stuff..

    Posting concerns is one thing but talk about beating a dead horse. If you enjoy that, good for you, Juancho.

  • Suttree

    Nice to hear Tedford have so many good things to say about Kline in that video interview. Talked about his presence and control while saying he is further along then any other young QB he has had at this point.

  • Eric

    That would suggest, Takeoff, you’re perfectly comfortable seeing Tedford make $10 mm a year and there is not a better coach in the country. Indeed, there isn’t a dollar figure that would matter, because he is the best head coach since Newell. Since we’re crossing over sports, I’m taking Jack and his rugby run.

  • Boaltblue

    Juancho:

    Regarding your earlier post under a different topic: Here is a friendly tip. You can get very good seats in the Gold Zone for $225 for the entire season. As much as you are interested in Cal Football, it’s a shame not to have your loud voice at all the games live.

    Join me and the 50-60K fans who go to Memorial, rain or shine.

  • Juancho

    I’ll investigate it Boalt.

  • gobears49

    I think it is time for me to produce my long-promised study which shows that Tedford has had more Elite 11 QB’s to work with since he started at Cal than any other school in the country over the same period.

    Here’s the link anyone can use to compile the list, as I’m hoping someone else will take it on before I get to to it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESPN_RISE_Elite_11

    Other than Longshore, before he got hurt, nothing exceptional has developed from our Elite 11 QB’s. Not to say that being an Elite 11 QB means you’re automatically destined to be a great player in college, but if rankings of players mean anything (and I think they do, on an aggregate basis), then the odds are that the more higher ranked players you have the better you are going to do, and the same should be true position by position.

    Right now we have three Elite 11 QB’s on the roster, Bridgford, Hinder, and Kline. I challenge anyone to come up with any other school that matches that total. All of the others we have had have not been very good (with the exception of Longshore, before his injury; Riley was just good, not very good, and Reed and Mansion were busts).

    It is time Cal produced a very good QB from their stock of Elite 11 QB’s, or using Boehm. We are probably going to have to wait still another year for that to occur, as Maynard will probably be our QB next year. As it looks now, only Elite 11 Kline has the potential to develop into a very good QB, and hopefully, a great one.

  • SteveNTEXAS

    Actually Juancho I am not sure about Tedford. He has his pluses and minuses. As for takeoff I posted some of his statements and pretty much showed he lacks integrity.

    There are too many variables for me to judge Tedford. I once thought he was a great recruiter but was corrected by fans who say it was his assistants. He seems to be classy – I like the way he handled the Mack Brown affair and that he didn’t run up the scores on poor opponents. Others criticize him for being too tough on players. Therefore I read more than I comment this year on football- We will see what happens.

    Takeoff was lying about me again when he said I was the most negative poster about Cal Sports. He can’t discern that I am not sanguine about Monty but often post about other sports. We have the best softball team in the country – and we may be dominant this year> I’ve posted that several times -when we swept Stanford at Stanford and last week when we swept #3 Washington.

    As for football its a new season- I’ll observe and see.

  • kasaja

    After USC’s signing of the number one ranked QB in the country, Max Browne, they will have four Elite 11 QB’s on their roster next year. They have four now…Barkley, Scroggins, Wittack and Kessler. So who has done a better job with their QB’s? Cal or SC? I think if everyone is honest they know the answer.

  • gobears49

    Kasaja,

    I’ll take your word for it, but I still need to compute the total number of Elite 11 QB’s, by school, since Tedford came to Cal (or maybe start a year afterward). Anyone other than USC who now has three Elite 11 QB’s on their roster?

  • eric

    @Gobears – did I read it right, that Cal had Elite 11 7 out of 9 years?

    @Kasaja – I wasn’t entirely sure whether you were asking a rhetorical question or seeking responses, but there is no doubt Barkley will have done substantially better than any Cal QB since Aaron Rodgers, and it is not surprising that the guys behind him haven’t gotten a chance yet. And as much as I dislike U$C, Slippery Pete, and Kiffie, Barkley could have left last year, or this year, in the face of the sanctions, but has stuck it out. So on the QB question, it isn’t close.

  • gobears49

    Eric,

    Longshore, Reed, Riley, Mansion, Bridgford, Hinder, Kline (not necessarily in that order). Yes, that adds up to seven.

  • H8sRed

    Kasaja – QB is just one position on the offense. sc has had the luxury of having a much deeper bench on the O-line and receiver. When one goes down to injury, another steps into his place without much of a hiccup. Cal, on the other hand, has had a much more difficult time plugging those holes. Hopefully, Cal’s two 6’8″, 300-lb linemen and speedy receiver recruits this year can help to remedy that problem.

  • eric

    A bunch of the Elite 11 didn’t pan out in college, much less in the pros, but a bunch did. Except for ours (even giving Longshore some credit in 2006).

  • gobears49

    Eric,

    A very accurate assessment, though I think Longshore could have made the pro’s, but not started, had he not hurt his ankle.

  • Daniel

    SteveNTexas,

    Funny, those are the things that make me crazy about Tedford. Name a championship level coach that doesn’t relish putting his foot on an opponents throat and watching them twitch?

    Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Bob Stoops, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll?

    They all love winning, and winning big. Kids like winning big too. Don’t confuse weakness with “class”. Class is going out and shaking your opponents hand without throwing him in the dirt like Harbaugh. That guy lacks class.

    I would have liked for Tedford to fight a little harder in the PR sphere for our first Rose Bowl in half a century, but maybe I’m the only one who cares.