Football: Dykes says MLB Forbes doubtful; Sebastian in pads, Scarlett still on hold

Middle linebacker Nick Forbes, struggling with a back injury for the past two weeks, is not likely to play in the Bears’ opener Saturday against No. 22 Northwestern.

“He feels good some days, doesn’t feel good other days,” coach Sonny Dykes said after Monday night’s practice in which Forbes did not participate. “I would expect him probably not to play, quite frankly.

“We’ll see how it plays out. He’s going to be more than likely doubtful.”

If Forbes cannot go, redshirt freshman Hardy Nickerson Jr. will make his debut.

The news was somewhat better regarding starting strong safety Avery Sebastian, who practiced in pads for the first time since sustaining a concussion during a scrimmage two weeks earlier.

“He was moving fine, told me he felt great, and looking forward to him having a good week of practice,” Dykes said. “We’re going to continue to progress him. He’s full contact right now. I would expect him to play.”

Sebastian confirmed that he felt great, but couldn’t commit that he will be ready to play Saturday.

Talking about the importance of rehabbing the injury thoroughly, Sebastian said, “Missing one game is not really going to mean anything. I have a whole life after football.”

Told that Dykes believes he might play, Sebastian added, “Right now it’s really on me and how I feel throughout this week. That’s why they’re letting me do more and more each day. I’m just going to see how I feel and we’ll go from there.”

As usual, there was no real news on the status of defensive end Brennan Scarlett, who continued to be on the field but wearing a no-contact red jersey. Dykes said Scarlett, who broke his left hand twice last season, still is awaiting clearance from his doctor, whom he will see once more this week.

Dykes characterized Scarlett’s chances of playing as being better than Forbes, but said he won’t even be able to play with his hand heavily wrapped like a club until he gets medical approval.

“It’s the same old deal, we want him to get healthy,” Dykes said. “He could go out there and play with a club and risk injury and be ineffective or we could try to get him healthy.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • rollonubears

    sebastian should not be in pads yet. his quotes tell you everything you need to know. he’s not ready, and our brand new coach is thinking about the game instead of sebastian’s health. i love sebastian. he’s my favorite player, but he should not take the field in the next game, and shouldn’t even be contact practicing yet. he wouldn’t be saying “we’ll see” if he was symptom free. not a chance. this is a total failure of the medical staff, coaching staff, and AD. i’m very disappointed in the bears. i don’t care about beating NW as much as I care about keeping our players healthy.

  • Jan K Oski

    Couldn’t disagree more, Roll. What is the doctor saying? Neither Sebastian nor Dykes nor you hold a professional understanding of the situation. Our “brand new coach” is human, and he isn’t going to say the right thing every time. He also isn’t paranoid, and he tends to be optimistic, when there’s room for it. I think Sebastian’s situation is just that. Sebastian is a competitor, and he might be saying he isn’t sure, but anyone who has seen that kid flying across the field, knows he loves to play. Perhaps, Dykes is also being considerate to Sebastian in encouraging him, not too deflate the dreams of a young man.

    Goff Bears!

  • rollonubears

    i just don’t see it that way. normally, the kid is dying to get back on the field, and the coach should be the one saying “we’ll see.” this is the opposite. i hope i’m wrong, and i hope you’re right, but i was concerned from the onset about how sonny has handled this. i know he will make some mistakes, and he’s human, too. but this kid should not be rushed onto the field. unless his pupils are dilated differently or a scan reveals his brain is bleeding, doctors rely heavily on what the patients tell them in these cases. if he feels any pressure from the coach, that’s a bad thing. if he feels dizzy or has constant headaches, he should feel comfortable saying that he feels that way, even though it means he won’t be able to play. they should encourage that. i get the feeling sonny’s all about getting back on the field and being tough, and shaking it off. that’s how they did it in the old days, and that was wrong. we know now, to take head injuries seriously. there is simply no way a guy should go from being knocked unconscious and spending a night in the hospital, to full contact drills in a week and a half. that’s reckless, and if he ends up suffering some long term injury because he’s being encouraged to get back on the field too early, we’re going to be looking at a lawsuit a lot bigger than JT’s departure salary.

  • 1brsfan

    Roll- you might be reading too much into it. It sounds to me like doctors cleared him and he’s in pads now which is why Dykes sounds optimistic. However it sounds like Sebastian has been told that it’s up to him to determine if he feels well enough to play. Sebastian confirmed to Dykes that he felt great so unless he has a setback I could see why Dykes feels that he will be ready to play in 5 days.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I don’t see Sonny as a “good ol’ boy” at all – the kind of guy who tells his players to play through pain, injury etc. I think his handling of Forbes indicates that he cares about their long-term health.

    I also firmly believe that Sonny has the longview on this upcoming season. He knows that this is a team that will get better as the season goes on. And I think that if Avery, Forbes and Scarlett are all at 100% by the 4th or 5th game, the defense could be really monstrous by the 2nd half of the season, just when the offense really starts rolling too!

    I can accept losing to nw and osu if that trio above is out, as long as we are competitive and move the ball on offense.

    But once all 3 of those guys return to health I think the Bears will be a defensive force like we’ve been used to seeing.

    Us fans have to be patient though, it could be ugly early and a 1-3 start is a very real possibility. But, the future is very bright for the Golden Bears, and that bright future could start soon, but we need a healthy defense (understatement) and that might not happen right away.

    Can’t wait for Saturday! Go Bears!

  • CalBearister

    @Rollon – the only one being irresponsible here is you. Facts: (1) You are not the team doctor; (2) you are not Sebastian’s doctor; (3) you’re probably not a doctor period; and (4) you have no first-hand knowledge of the situation. So what gives you the right to question Coach Dykes’ integrity or interest in the well-being of his players? Without a shred of evidence mind you. So long as the doctors clear him to play, and he wants to play, all you’re doing is smearing the name and reputation of someone I’d wager you’ve never even met face to face.

    So spare everyone your baseless moral indignance and let actual professionals do the job they’re hired to do without libeling them on an internet blog.

  • rollonubears

    geewhiz calb, you accuse me of libel (for posting an opinion) and back up your argument against assumptive posts with an assumption laundry list of your own? this is a place where we’re supposed to be able to share our opinion (and apparently our email addresses) with each other. please don’t get so defensive. i’m excited about the season, and worried about the health of my favorite player (the one who i argued should have been starting way before he ever got a shot). i recall getting shot down at the time then, being told that those decisions should be left to the professionals and if sebastian wasn’t starting it was for good reason.

    after you spend a good deal of time on this earth, you get fairly adept at reading between the lines when people talk. when something doesn’t seem right, in my experience, it usually isn’t. like i said before, i hope i’m wrong. you can totally disagree with me. i expect most fans to disagree with me in this case. that’s fine. but you can be nice.

  • Eric

    I am a big Dykes fan and happily defend him and will defend him even if we get off a poor start.

    When it comes to concussions, I am not a doctor or in any way qualified to know when a player is ready to come back. That being said, my son switched from DB/kick returner to QB because his high school coach asked him to do so (our offense was terrible) and on 4 days’ notice without any real practice he played against our arch-rival. He ran the first play 80 yards for a TD. The next series he completed two straight passes after scrambling around. The other team figured out it would be good to hit him hard and often. By the fourth quarter, he had already come out of the game twice but then they put him back in. He took a vicious (but legal) hit and suffered a concussion. He was out of school (not just football, but school) for two months. It took so long because the brain needs time to rest (and that is what multiple doctors told us). He is fine now, and happily runs track (which is why I know so much about Khalfani) but he is never playing tackle football again (not on my watch, and I am still trying to live with letting this happen).

    My point – concussions are really, really serious. And the symptoms do not necessarily manifest themselves immediately. There is zero reason to take any chances. If there is even a hint of doubt with Sebastian, have him sit out the first game. I don’t care if the guy replacing him gets torched every time.

  • CalBearister

    I was reacting to the following quotes:

    “and our brand new coach is thinking about the game instead of sebastian’s health.”

    “this is a total failure of the medical staff, coaching staff, and AD.”

    “and if he ends up suffering some long term injury because he’s being encouraged to get back on the field too early, we’re going to be looking at a lawsuit a lot bigger than JT’s departure salary.”

    Yet I see no evidence that “he’s being encouraged to get back on the field too early.” So the question of “if he ends up suffering some long term injury” as a result of the false premise is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

    In terms of “be nice,” I’d suggest you look in the mirror on that one. Accusing Coach Dykes of putting the health of his player at risk to win a football game – which is what you did – is not “nice” either.

  • rollonubears

    i will try to be nicer cal b. i’m pumped for this game, and excited to see how our offense looks. i’m not sure if they’re practicing under the lights every night, or just last night, but i think it would be a good idea to get REALLY used to playing under the lights, so it’s second nature come saturday. we always play well in home night games. i’m kind of surprised it hasn’t sold out, but i guess with the uncertainty and it being a holiday weekend, that’s the case. not a lot of NW alumni in the bay area either. anyhow, it’s going to be amazing, and it sure is hard to get any work done this week, thinking about it.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    In a sane world, AS would redshirt this season – he went to the hospital in an ambulance with a serious head injury! But, we’re talking college football here and sanity has next to nothing to do with it.

    OTOH, I know Avery thinks he can play on Sundays. He surely wants to play on Sundays. And unfortunately, sitting out games ain’t gonna get him there… $$ motivates and in football, unlike almost all other sports, there is a serious risk/reward dynamic constantly at play. You basically are guaranteed to have brain trauma if u play long enough. It is the dark, but well accepted, part of the game.

    I, personally, have no idea what is best for Avery. If success at football is his main focus, then he knows the risks of pursuing that path to glory. The Junior Seau tragedy was well documented…

    But, I hope (as I assume ALL Bears fans do) that AS feels great all week and kicks some tail on Saturday.

    Go Bears!

  • Raf

    peace, love, and butterflies.

  • Early off SD referenced that they were following the concussion protocol with AS. Is this a std doc or does each team create it’s own? Anybody seen one and can comment on expected timelines based on the facts as reported (e.g. loss of consciousness, etc)?

    I agree with BSB (#5). Let’s temper our expectations. The season realistically starts after UO. I’m open to being surprised before that, but I’m pretty clear-eyed on the probabilities.

  • rotfogel

    The probabilities are good for Cal. If you think about it, the defense really should be at least decent. We hadn’t seen it under Tedford for the past two seasons, perhaps the players did lose their focus and were just lackluster. The talent is there.

    Offensively will be very very interesting. I remember watching Bears games the last two years and being UBER frustrated with the pace of the offense. I was the biggest advocate for Jeff Tedford but after a while I was very upset watching game after game the team hurry to the line, look confused, have a bad snap or watch Maynard throw a limp wristed (like Lamar in Revenge of the Nerds) a weak toss that most of the time was easily defended. I was at spring ball and I was very encouraged 1) by the pace 2) by the arm strength of both Kline and Goff.

    I may be a bit of a homer, but I cannot imagine a scenario in which Northwestern wins this game.

  • covinared

    I don’t like having forbes out, and a redshirt freshman in his place. he was the best all around linebacker last year. looks like we’ll need to score alot to stay in the game.

  • Eric

    @Rot – I only wish we still won a few games like Lamar won the javelin.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Eric, hilarious RotNs reference.

  • kotempman

    I think these kids are fired up and our defense has a chip on there shoulder and want to prove everyone wrong. Sonny and Co. has brought a total new atmosphere to this team of which I have not seen in the Tedford era. So what if a few don’t play on defense: these coaches have instilled in them that this is a opportunity for someone else to step up. That is what champions do!!! Mark this down…Sonny is doing his poker face, and is playing it close to the vest. They know the talent that has been laying here dormant. Northwestern is not going to know what hit them and our kids are HUNGRY ( wouldn’t you be too after last year) and they have completely bought into this coaching. Sonny is telling them there is NO rebuilding years, it’s now and they believe it! Hold on to your Bear hats my friends we are in for a wild ride starting this Saturday!!!! I can’t wait!!!!! Go BEARS!!!!

  • AustinBear

    I’d just like to see a more effective offense with a good QB – the last few years have been tough.

  • al

    Sonny D has yet to give us a reason to doubt or question him. There’s A LOT of heat in football over concussions & you can be damn sure no Cal player will take the field if there’s a hint of complications post concussion! Everyone take a deep breath, relax & concentrate on trying to find a bag that’ll be acceptable at the enterance gates of Memorial Stadium.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Kotemp, you got me fired up with the Hunter Pencian post. Go Bears!

  • Kotempman

    BlakeStreetBear, I’m glad your fired up because this coaching staff is making it simple and fast and I really believe that recruiting will take off also when the kids see this team and how exciting they are to watch, starting with Mixon!!!!