Part of the reason why Tedford was particularly happy about the day was that junior running back Shane Vereen, who had missed most of camp with a hamstring injury, endured full contact. Vereen had practiced the previous two days running with the team, but Saturday's practice was the first time and instance where Vereen went through live tackling.
"[Vereen] took some reps, and took some hits," Tedford said. Tedford added that because the injury was only a hamstring, he was not concerned about it recurring. Earlier this week, Tedford stated that he was hopeful that Vereen would be back for live contact by Monday. Thus, with Vereen returning to live contact two days early, Tedford has to be satisfied that Vereen will go through an extra two more practices in preparation for Cal's season opener September 4 versus UC Davis.
While Vereen locked up the starting position at running back a long time ago, the competition at fullback is not at all yet determined.
Entering camp, junior Will Kapp had the edge at the position, but a concussion suffered during offseason conditioning drills set him back for the first two weeks. In his place, sophomore Eric Stevens received most of the first team reps, and he has earned the praise of the coaches.
"[Stevens] has done very well," said Tedford. "He has taken most of the reps at fullback when [Will Kapp] was hurt in the beginning. It's great for Eric, because what he needs is some experience. He got that throughout this camp."
Tedford would go on to say that the coaches will use all of camp to determine who will be the starter at fullback come September 4. To be that guy, Stevens clearly stated what he needs to do to earn that spot.
"I just need to stay focused," said Stevens. "I need to make sure I'm assignment perfect, and work on my blocking."
Kapp returned to practice this past week, and has gotten all reps with the second team offense in team periods. However, the coaches are giving him all of camp before making a final decision on the starter.
Speaking of starters, Tedford mentioned several players who have locked down starting jobs, including Vereen, quarterback Kevin Riley, linebacker Mike Mohamed, tackle Mitchell Schwartz, and punter Brian Anger.
Earlier in camp, Tedford had mentioned that junior Marvin Jones and freshman Keenan Allen would start at wide receiver, junior Mychal Kendricks and senior Keith Browner earned starting positions at outside linebacker, and junior Giorgio Tavecchio had the lead for field goal and kickoff duties. At tight end, junior Anthony Miller is a preseason All-Pac-10 candidate, and Tedford expects "great things" from him.
Sunday's practice will essentially be a lead-up to Monday, which will essentially be a practice, which simulates game-like situations with live tackling. With Tuesday being a light day and Wednesday being the start of the implementation of the game plan for UC Davis (as well as a day off for the players), Monday will essentially mark the start of finalizing the two-deep roster.
For certain positions – such as fullback – competition will carry on through the week. But for many of the positions, the coaches are starting to get a good feel on what roles many of the players will have for the 2010 team.
Practice News & Notes
In the final team period, the first team offensive line consisted of junior Mitchell Schwartz at left tackle, sophomore Dominic Galas at left guard, senior Chris Guarnero at center, sophomore Brian Schwenke at right guard, and senior Donovan Edwards at right tackle.
For the first team defense, junior Ernest Owusu, sophomore Kendrick Payne, and senior Cameron Jordan manned the defensive line, Browner, Kendricks, junior D.J. Holt, and sophomore J.P. Hurrell were the linebackers, while senior Darian Hagan, junior D.J. Campbell, sophomore Josh Hill, and sophomore Marc Anthony manned the secondary.
As far as highlights from the team period, Keenan Allen caught a pass and managed to juke the defenders down to the goal line, which lead to sophomore running back Isi Sofele scoring on the next play. Freshman Steven Fanua grabbed an interception off a dropped pass by freshman tight end Jacob Wark.
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