Best, Riley Miss First Day of Spring Practice

The California Golden Bears began spring football practice without two of their most talked about players returning from last year's 9-4 squad.

Junior tail back Jahvid Best, a Heisman Trophy candidate for this upcoming season, continued to nurse his recently operated on elbow and foot by doing some light pedaling on the stationary bike. Best will likely be out for all of spring practice so that he will be fully rehabilitated for fall camp. In addition, junior quarterback Kevin Riley was nowhere to be found either on the field or on the sideline. Coach Jeff Tedford said Riley's absence was because of his involvement in his brothers wedding this weekend.

With Best sidelined, red-shirt sophomore Shane Vereen showed off his speed and proved himself worthy of taking increased reps during practice.

"I'm just going to take every rep one at a time," Vereen said. "I can't worry about what happened ten plays before. I need to think about the upcoming play and put all of my focus and energy toward that."

Vereen, who gained 712 yards on 142 carries with four scores last season, looks as fit as or fitter than he did at the end of last year. When asked about his new training regiment, Vereen replied, "I just need to go back and do what I have always been doing, which is working hard. I really have to step it up a level and increase the intensity of my workouts in the weight room."

Like Vereen, back up quarterbacks Brock Mansion, Beau Sweeney, and Ryan Wertenberger were each able to take significant reps due to the absence of Riley. Of the three, red-shirt sophomore Brock Mansion, attempting only six passes last season, looked like he was the most confident and accurate quarterback on the practice field.

"Brock has as much potential as the effort he is willing to put in," Vereen said. "He is a prototype at the quarterback position. He is strong and fast and has the ability to be extremely effective in this league," Vereen said.

Another area of concern for the Bears this off-season is at the linebacker position. After the departure of seniors Zach Follett, Worrell Williams, and Anthony Felder, Michael Mohamed, Eddie Young, and Devin Bishop look to be the front-runners fighting for the position. Sophomore stud D.J. Holt looks to be on the outside looking in to begin spring practice, but with his 250-pound build, he should make some noise by the fall.

Practice Notes

  • According to Coach Tedford, the first practice was extremely upbeat and encouraging.
  • Seniors Syd'Quan Thompson, Cameron Jordan, and Eddie Young were the most vocal of the squad.
  • The aggressiveness and pressure put on by the revamped linebacker core was consistent throughout practice.
  • The returning defensive backs look solid and a year more experienced.
  • Charles Johnson didn't attend practice because of family issue.
  • Chet Teofilo attempted to push himself during a workout today, but had to sit with some minor, nagging injuries.

    ©Copyright 2009, and All rights reserved.

  • Top Stories