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August 13, 2012
Bears hit the field for their second double day
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BERKELEY -- California head coach Jeff Tedford was markedly more pleased with the results of his team's second double day of fall camp than he was after the first.
"It was good, actually. We had two good practices," Tedford said on Monday. "This afternoon, we made a little adjustment because we're pretty banged up, so we had to get a little bit fresh for the scrimmage on Wednesday."
Those banged up included the top two tight ends -- Richard Rodgers and Spencer Hagan -- which allowed Jacob Wark, Harrison Wilfley and Maximo Espitia to take multiple reps with all top three units.
[WATCH: Tight End Positional Video ]
"They're not quite ready yet, but I expect that -- for sure -- Hagan will be back on Wednesday," Tedford said.
Astute readers will recall that in the Bears' spring game, Hagan -- wearing a hard cast -- caught what proved to be the winning touchdown pass on a 40-yard bomb from freshman quarterback Zach Kline on a tight end seam route.
[WATCH: Spring Game Highlights ]
With both Hagan and Rodgers out, though, the two newcomers -- JC transfer Wilfley and true freshman Espitia -- made the most out of the opportunity.
"Those guys are getting a lot of reps, but it's good that they're getting those reps, especially for Maximo," Tedford said. "Him and Harrison, those two guys are getting a lot of reps in there, and it's good learning for them."
Wilfley -- at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds -- is more of a true tight end, while Espitia is more in the mold of Hagan as a versatile H-back at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
"Maximo is really a very good athlete," Tedford said. "He really fits in that position really well. He's very smart. I'm really pleased at the way he has absorbed the offense, so that's been great. Same with Harrison. He's absorbed it really well, mentally. He's a very tough kid. He's taken a lot of reps. He's a guy who's going to be in the rotation this year."
Wilfley has been impressive particularly because he took two years off from organized football to attend to his Mormon mission.
"He's getting better every day," Tedford said. "He had some rust on him a little bit early catching the ball, but he's doing a good job."
Moving outside, with redshirt freshman wide receiver Maurice Harris on the shelf due to a sore knee, the young wide outs have taken center stage, with one duo standing out -- Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.
[WATCH: Wide Receivers Positional Video ]
"I think Harper and Treggs have made an impact," Tedford said. "We're still evaluating the others, but I think those two have a step up. I think it'd be fair to say that they'll probably be in the rotation.
"They're very talented. They run really well, they catch the ball really well. They still have to continue to learn what we're doing and the speed of the game, but I think each day that we practice, they're more and more comfortable with the speed of the game and they're understanding what we're trying to get done."
Four tailbacks - according to observers - saw time with the first team on Monday, including presumptive starting duo Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson, as well as second-year backs Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco.
[FEATURE: Bigelow is Full Speed Ahead ]
"It's still a tossup," Tedford said. "Who knows -- Bigelow could be No. 1 or Lasco could be No. 1 -- it's that close. We've got four tailbacks there that are really top-notch tailbacks."
As for redshirt freshman Darren Ervin, he's a bit further behind.
"We're pretty deep there," Tedford said. "He's getting some reps, and he's doing a good job, but we're pretty deep at tailback, so he's probably fifth right now. He's doing a good job. He's a guy you can depend on."
Odds and Ends
Cal is still tentatively scheduled to practice in Memorial Stadium for the first time on Aug. 16, the day after the team's first scrimmage. The new sound system was being tested out as the Bears finished up practice, with the dulcet tones of the Men's Octet providing a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
"It sounds great," Tedford said. "Actually, I got to peek at the stadium for the first time the other day after practice, and it's awesome. It looks great, so I can't wait to get in there."
The practice on the 16th is slated to be a helmets-only affair, as Cal recovers from the scrimmage. What exactly does Tedford want to see from that scrimmage? In a word: Everything.
"I'm a little bit greedy," Tedford smiled. "I'd like to see great tempo, I'd like to see execution, I'd like to see great tackling, I'd like to see no blown assignments. But, again, it's our first live look at it, as far as game-time situations, so communication is key. We're going to learn a lot from it, I know, and that's what it's about."