Saturday Practice Report and Scrimmage Notes

Last Wednesday the players had the day off for the most part. Last Thursday was the first scrimmage of camp, while Friday was a limited 90-minute workout. But on Saturday, the players went back to two-a-days including a morning session in full-pads…

The Saturday morning session was another intense full-pad practice. The evening session was in half-pads.

The morning session focused on 11-on-11 action and goal line situations. The receivers are trying to find their niche. Michael Calvin and Nyan Boateng are very impressive athletes but consistency has been their holdup. It is tough to argue against the play of true frosh Marvin Jones. The youngster continues to make plays, including a beautiful touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone on Saturday morning from Nate Longshore.

The goal line drill featuring receives and defensive backs might be a sign of things to come. Obviously, Bear receivers are going to have a height advantage over opposing defensive backs in most cases. Jones, Calvin, and Boateng showed numerous times Saturday morning, athleticism has the advantage over experience in certain situations. However, the receivers' blocking skills have to improve. Their ability to block could be the difference between Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen gaining 30 yards compared to just 10 yards on a play.

The running backs were probably the best-looking unit Saturday morning. It was the first time since before Thursday's scrimmage that Best was in full-pads working out. He did not disappoint. Vereen and Slocum each rushed for over 65 yards Thursday night with Best watching from the sidelines. Best had a few highlights including the largest gain on the day. He is capable of making a play on his own, but a more important attribute is his patience. He displayed it on his long run, patiently following his lead block to the hole. Once he saw daylight, he was gone down the sideline.

The power back in this year's offense has to compliment Best and Vereen's speed and versatility. Slocum had an impressive scrimmage, but on Saturday, true frosh Covaughn DeBoskie showed he is ready to for action this season. At 5-foot-11 and 205 lbs, DeBoskie is the biggest back on the roster. He is a relentless runner consistently fighting off the first tacklers looking for more yards. He also has good hands out of the backfield. He took a pass crossing over the middle of the defense for a nice gain. However, he scored his touchdowns in goal line drills. In short yardage situations and near the goal line is where he is at his best.

The quarterback battle continues to rage on. No one separated himself Thursday night, and both had decent outings on Saturday. Tuesday's scrimmage will be the biggest factor in this ongoing saga of fall camp.

Defensively, Anthony Felder continued to shine in 11-on-11 action. He has gotten bigger and stronger from a year ago, and often looks like he is on a mission when he is on the field. Fellow linebackers, Zach Follett and Worrell Williams get more headlines, but Felder has held his own in practice. He moved inside in the 3-4. He brings so much size and speed to the inside backer spot. He consistently was able to pressure the quarterbacks on Saturday.

Also showing some acute rushing skills was true frosh DT Trevor Guyton. He did not get to the quarterbacks, who are off limits, but he was able to penetrate the offensive line on more than one occasion. His tackle for loss on DeBoskie got an enthusiastic response from his teammates. As a whole, the defensive line had an impressive day.

"Tyson Alualu is a guy who is solid every single day," said head coach Jeff Tedford about the play of his defensive line. "Cameron Jordan has shown flashes. Both those guys are doing a good job. Rulon Davis has also been showing flashes. Some of the younger guys, Aaron Tipoti, Trevor Guyton and Kendrick Payne are all true freshmen that have done a real nice job and may end of contributing this year."

Not to be outdone was the secondary. Darian Hagan is arguably having the best camp among the defensive backs. He can be the playmaker this season the defense needs opposite Syd'Quan Thompson, who coincidently did not practice. Hagen jumped a route for a nice play on the receiver to come away with the pick on Saturday. Bernard Hicks and Marcus Ezeff make up a solid and experienced safety duo. Hicks in particular is a smart playmaker. He made plays on Saturday with his head instead of his skills. In goal line drills, he was nearly impossible to fool with play action or quarterback boots.

Special teams were main focus of the evening session mixed in with some 11-on-11 drills.

Scrimmage News & Notes

The upcoming scrimmage this Tuesday will be closed to the public and media as well. With that in mind here are a few more notes from Thursday's scrimmage:

  • Riley had the highest rating among the quarterbacks during Thursday's scrimmage. He finished 10 of 17 for 70 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 140.50.
  • Mansion would have had a higher rating if Jones had caught Mansion's 46 yard bomb in stride and raced into the end zone. As it was, Mansion finished 5 of 9 for 96 yards with no touchdowns and one interception for a rating of 122.93.
  • Longshore's numbers were a paltry 8 of 17 for 78 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a rating of 93.25. In his defense, quite a few balls were dropped and he did play against the first defense exclusively.
  • Vereen rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries including the game-high 21 yard run.
  • Slocum had an impressive 65 yards on 10 carries with no touchdowns as well.
  • DeBoskie was stuffed for no gain on most of carries but did manage the only rushing touchdown of the scrimmage. He finished with 10 yards on five carries.
  • S Sean Cattouse made a three great tackles including a big hit on the opening kickoff drill to start the action Thursday night.
  • David Seawright handled most of the kickoff duties and was an impressive 6 fo 6 on FGs.
  • Vereen had the longest kick return on the night. He was on his way down the sideline until K Jordan Kay's touchdown saving tackle near midfield.
  • Charles Amadi secured the first inception for defense against Mansion. He had a chance to score a touchdown but the play was whistled dead soon after the pick.
  • Chris Conte had the only other interception on the night off Longshore.
  • True frosh CB Josh Hill dropped a sure interception when the ball hit him directly in the hands.
  • There were no fumbles in the scrimmage save a bad center-quarterback exchange near the goal line, which was recovered by the offense.
  • Marcus Ezeff laid a great hit on Jeremy Ross in the flats.
  • Conte read a run to the outside and tackled Vereen for a 4-yard loss in the backfield.
  • Frosh LB Robert Mullins had the biggest hit on the night outside DeBoskie's illegal hit on Vereen on the punt return.

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