BERKELEY -- A day removed from the California football team's first scrimmage of the year, head coach Jeff Tedford had his Bears run a helmets-only practice in the early morning at Witter Rugby Field, giving the players a chance to recover a bit from the pounding of a session that included over 100 plays.
"Today was a big mental day," Tedford said. "We got some good work today, because we hit pretty hard yesterday, ran over 100 plays yesterday, so today was a mental day, this morning was. This afternoon, we'll put some pads back on and crank it up again."
Click Here to view this Link.One player who was conspicuously absent, though, was junior transfer running back C.J. AndersonClick Here to view this Link., who had to leave the field due to illness. Anderson was one of the stars of the scrimmage, tallying 101 yards on 10 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown scamper and a one-yard score.
"He did a nice job," Tedford said. "He made a couple really nice runs, kept his balance, had a long touchdown run. He did a nice job. He's getting in shape."
After viewing the whole tape of the scrimmage, Tedford was able to provide some analysis of the practice.
"Some of the young defensive linemen are doing real well," Tedford said. "There's a lot of things that happened good, but the main thing is that some of the young defensive linemen are playing real well."
On the other side of the ball, Cal seems to have the top offensive line unit in place, with Mitchell Schwartz entrenched at left tackle, Matt Summers-Gavin on the right, Brian Schwenke at left guard, Justin Cheadle at right guard and Dominic Galas at center. The next group - including injured junior Tyler Rigsbee -- is still in flux.
"That's still being evaluated," Tedford said. "We need to get Rigsbee back. Tyler Rigsbee, we need to get him back in there and get him playing, because he has the most experience and things, so he needs to get back in the rotation and then, from there, it's figuring who the other guys are."
Rigsbee, Tedford said, at this point, would be the back-up at both tackle spots.
After practice, the top three centers - Galas, Mark Brazinski and Chris Adcock worked closely with Tedford and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik on shotgun snaps, which look to be crucial given the mobility of junior starting quarterback Zach Maynard.
"We were just practicing," Tedford said, flatly. "It wasn't an issue today. We were just getting in extra work."
Tedford also got a good look at freshman running back Brendan Bigelow and sophomore Dasarte Yarnway. In drill work Thursday, Bigelow continued to show increased speed. He looked smooth and effortless in warm-up passing drills and has very sure hands.
"They did OK," Tedford said. "Bigelow is still learning. He's got a lot to learn, but he's looking better, physically. He's getting more comfortable. Dasarte did some good things, but still needs to ... I think he's still a little limited because of his knee, but he did some good things [Wednesday] and some things he can improve with, as well. That's still in the evaluation process on who the third and fourth backs are going to be."
During the scrimmage, freshman wide receiver Maurice Harris -- who has shown some sticky hands throughout camp and may even crack the rotation this year as a big, possession receiver - "tweaked" his knee, and was seen at practice on crutches sporting a knee brace.
"He's fine, he just has a bone bruise," Tedford said. "It's rehab. He's still got an injury, but it's a bone bruise. Nothing surgical or anything like that. It's a bone bruise. It needs to heal."
Harris will likely miss several days of practice.
The scrimmage also gave Tedford the chance to get to see some of the depth at inside linebacker. He said that behind starters Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt, the next two would be Robert Mullins -- who had five tackles on Wednesday -- and Steven Fanua.
Freshman defensive end Todd Barr wore a protective boot and a red jersey on Thursday, after spraining his ankle. Tailback Darren Ervin was also out.
"He's got a pulled muscle in his quad, so we don't know," Tedford said. "We have to wait and see."
Tedford said that in this afternoon's shells session, he wants to see more improvement.
"The same things we always want to see: focus on the details of what we're doing, execution, effort, all the things that you look for in every single practice," Tedford said. "When you put the pads on or you go in shells, you're really looking to get those things done."
-- Sophomore wide receiver Keenan Allen showed quick feet in footwork drills this morning.
-- Freshman wide out Kaelin Clay made progress with his surgically-repaired knee, riding the stationary bike. Tight end Spencer Ladner was also riding a bike, and is close to returning after offseason knee surgery.
-- Starting tight end Anthony Miller and sophomore H-back Spencer Hagan showed off some good hands in early drills.
-- Sophomore quarterback Allan Bridgford had a lot of zip on his passes in the early part of practice.
-- Freshman safety Avery Walls and starting cornerback Steve Williams had some of the best vertical leaps in interception drills.
-- Freshman Brennan Scarlett may wind up as a defensive end, but he was working out with linebackers during early-practice drills.