Football: Bears take two days off before resuming

The Bears are off Sunday and Monday after working out again Saturday in Memorial Stadium for a brief time.

The players will lift weights, have meetings and get rest for two days before returning to practice Tuesday. By the middle of next week, the coaching staff will begin to implement its game plan for the Sept. 1 opener vs. Nevada.

Coach Jeff Tedford said the newly installed turf in the stadium remains fast and a bit soft, but provides great footing. He expects the field will become a little harder as it settles over the next days and weeks.

The Bears were still shorthanded on the defensive line Saturday, but Tedford expects everyone back in action by Tuesday.

“We’re getting some good work in small pods because we don’t have a lot of bodies yet,” he said.

Eventually, Tedford believes the Bears will be solid at the three D-line spots. “I feel good about our top seven — we’re two-deep plus one,” he said.

The candiates for those spots include Kendrick Payne, Aaron Tipoti, Viliami Moala, Deandre Coleman, Mustafa Jalil, Todd Barr and Gabe King.

Tight end Richard Rodgers (shoulder) has continued to avoid contact drills, but should be up by Tuesday. Spencer Hagen is practicing with a cast on his hand. In the meantime, freshman Maximo Espitia and JC transfer Harrison Wilfley are getting more reps.

At wideout, Tedford reported good progress from freshman Darius Powe. He has dropped about 10 pounds to 208 and appears to be in the rotation, along with star junior Keenan Allen and fellow freshmen Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.

“He’s a big, physical guy with great hands — a lot like Keenan as far as stature is concerned,” Tedford said. “He has a little wiggle to him, can run routes. Seeing him move better is really beneficial to him.”

Jeff Faraudo