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.
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