First week of camp comes to an end
BERKELEY -- As the first week of fall camp winds down, California head football coach Jeff Tedford decided to end Friday's helmets-only practice about 45 minutes early.
"Still a lot of work to do, but I'm happy with the progress that we've made with everyone on the team. Young guys included. We're making a lot of progress," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "Today was a big mental day. Tomorrow we'll have a tough practice and then Sunday we'll be off and Monday we'll get back at it."
After two straight days in pads, the Bears spent Friday in helmets, allowing injured tight end Spencer Ladner to get a little work in as he continues rehab on his knee.
"He's not quite good to go yet," Tedford said. "H's still got a little bit of rehab to do, and we'll break him in slowly, get him going a little bit more."
Practicing in just helmets, and beyond that, cutting practice short, Tedford said, allowed his players' bodies to recover, and was a bit of a reward for a good first week. What specifically did Tedford see in his team that he was happy with this week?
"Just everything. I'm pleased with the team chemistry, I'm pleased with the learning that we have going on, the progress that we have being made," Tedford said. "We're getting better every day, and that's what you need to do through camp."
One of the highlights of the first week has been the performances of the young defenders, particularly the members of the 2011 recruiting class.
Tedford continued to praise linebacker Chris McCain, and, after reviewing video of Thursday's defensive drills, the trio of Viliami Moala, Mustafa Jalil and Puka Lopa, as well as Todd Barr and Brennan Scarlett.
"I saw Moala dominate that drill," Tedford said. "He did a great job in there. As far as just that drill, that's pretty much an offensive drill. There's a lot of room to run in there, but the one group that dominated was Moala, Mustafa and Puka. Those guys did a nice job against some young O-linemen, but you look at those three guys, and they're doing a real nice job. That's a real solid group when you look at Scarlett, Mustafa and Barr and Puka and Vei, those are all real solid players."
Tedford said that the 250-pound Lopa and the 255-pound Barr, though, need to put a little more muscle on in order to be effective defensive ends.
"They're going to need to build up a little bit to be able to hold point in there," Tedford said. "They have to rely on their quickness right now, their technique, but they're still a little bit light.
Tedford also praised junior quarterback Zach Maynard after finishing his first week of fall camp.
"His leadership, his understanding of what's going on, his poise -- he has great poise -- and his athletic ability. He's doing a great job of working that," Tedford said. "He's really doing a nice job of that."
After saying his offense needed to get better after the fifth day of camp, Tedford praised that unit after Day Seven.
"Very happy with where we are right now. We still need to tighten some things up, but very pleased with the amount of offense that we have in, what they've been able to comprehend and execute, taking it from the classroom and putting them on the field," Tedford said. "I'm pleased with where they are, and I still see them getting better every day. Every day the light just keeps going on and they get more efficient with what they're doing and yeah, I'm pleased with that."
Asked specifically what he would like to see his team do next week, Tedford was noncommittal.
"Just continue to do the same thing," he said. "Whatever phase of the game we're doing, there's so many moving parts that there's a lot of improvement everywhere. You just keep improving on that and so they can play fast, they don't have to think, they're just playing fast and know exactly what's happening, then they can execute."
Part of that was giving his team a bit of time to clear their heads on the helmets-only day.
"You have to let their bodies recover, at some point," Tedford said. "This was a mental day today. We went over a lot of situations with every phase of the game and when you need a little break, we don't take a complete break. You just take the physical part and put it into the mental part."
On Sunday, the team will have the day off, but the coaching staff will have a personnel meeting. No final determinations will be made.
"That's just about us," Tedford said. "There's going to be no decisions made. We're still real early, so there's still a lot of decisions that need to be made. It's for us to make sure that we kind of, it's the point where we evaluate where we are now, the guys we think are going to play, are they going to get more reps, so on and so forth. We haven't made those decisions by a long shot yet."
Tailback Isi Sofele participated freely in practice and shows no ill effects of the knots that sidelined him two days ago.
"Good. He's doing good. He's doing just fine," Tedford said. "It's not so much Isi. It's about getting all the other running backs enough turns, and we have to crank that up here next week."
-- Wide receiver Jackson Bouza had surgery to repair a broken finger on Thursday.
-- Aaron Tipoti was still in a red jersey.