The Bears held their second-to-last practice before Saturday’s season opener without starting receiver Chris Harper, who injured his left shoulder at practice the day before.
But coach Sonny Dykes said he expects the sophomore to practice Thursday and be ready to face No. 22 Northwestern. “We expect him to play Saturday,” Dykes said. “He basically sprained his shoulder.”
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Elsewhere on the injury front:
– Defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand) spent his second consecutive day without a red jersey. But Scarlett did very little in practice and still has not been cleared to play. Even so, Dykes said, “We’ll know tomorrow for sure.” Asked if Scarlett might still be able to play Saturday, Dykes said, “Maybe. There’s a chance.” Still, seemingly a long shot.
– Linebacker Nick Forbes (back) still isn’t practicing and won’t play Saturday.
– Strong safety Avery Sebastian, now 16 days removed from his concussion, practiced and should play Saturday. “I would expect him to start and play and be like anybody else,” Dykes said.
Wednesday’s practice was “a little sloppy,” but Dykes didn’t seem concerned or surprised.
“We’ve got some things to get ironed out. That’s typical of the first week,” he said. “The guys have had a good camp. I like the way we’ve practiced. We’ve just got to come out tomorrow and execute and be a little cleaner.”
Freshman quarterback Jared Goff is showing no signs of overt nervousness, according to his coach.
“He seems really relaxed,” Dykes said. “He hasn’t changed. That’s been the great thing about Jared — he’s been the same guy every day. That’s why he’s been so successful.”
Saturday can’t come soon enough for the players.
“We’re tired of hitting each other, anxious to go play and excited about it,” Dykes said. “The thing I want to make sure we do is go out and not try to do too much. Young football teams have a tendency to go out and almost try too hard at times, try to make the super play.
“Our guys just need to go out and play good, solid fundamental football.”
Dykes said the coaching staff expects to rotate plays through at defensive line and somewhat at linebacker. But he said depth issues mean the Bears’ starting defensive backs will play most snaps.