Prior to yesterday's practice, it had been about 18 months since Brendon Bigelow last suited up to play football. After the first day of practice, Tedford said the star-in-the-making is at 100%. Of course, now that he's healthy, several players want to challenge him to a footrace.
One of the biggest factors in Bigelow's recovery has been the Bears new strength and conditioning guru, Mike Blasquez.
"He's had me do hamstring curls, start and finish, I always have to make sure I have a good lean with it, no false steps," Bigelow said. "I'm just staying positive, making sure I have a clear mind going into it. I find it easy, because I have a brace now and I know that it's stable."
Tedford said that Bigelow could indeed be the fastest player on the team, if he ever lets it all hang out, and likens a race between Bigelow and wide receiver Kaelin Clay to the fabled match-ups between Best and DeSean Jackson. On a side note, Clay was sidelined late in practice with a tweaked knee. Tedford said it wasn't a big concern, and that Clay will get checked out before tomorrow's session.
"I would guess he's the second-fastest guy on the team," Tedford said of Clay. "Now, Bigelow, he may have taken it over for the fastest guy on the team. That would be a good race. That would be like DeSean and Jahvid. That'd be one of those. I think because Bigelow's been injured, we wouldn't know, but when Jahvid came here, that was a big deal: who was fastest, between those two. They ran 100s one day, and lined up next to one another, and they got out and they went. It was really just on the first one that they went out and Jahvid got out early and then went to the side and DeSean went woosh! I don't know if it was a real race, because I think Jahvid was being the young freshman, like, 'I know what should happen.' Those are two of the fastest people I've ever seen on the football field."
Bigelow admits to having that competitive itch to see who indeed is the fastest.
"There's a couple guys who want to race me," he smiled. "I'm going to give them their race in due time. I feel faster [than before the injury]. The rehabbing stuff and just feeling confident in my speed and making sure it feels good, I feel a lot stronger. I feel like I've got an extra gear, just waiting to come out. It's been a while since I put on a helmet and pads, but it's definitely a good feeling. It's been a while: a year and a half."
After the jump everyone and their uncles report every detail from practice and Les Richter earns a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- SFGate looks at the long and extremely successful tenure of Coach Gould. After a few more seasons, he will be the longest-tenured assistant coach in school history.
- Marvin Jones, Justin Cheadle, Bryan Anger, and others were excited to get back to work on Friday evening.
- CalFootballBlog must have donned a ghillie suit, climbed a tree, and watched practice through a pair of binoculars, because they have a comprehensive, unofficial practice report. They confirm that Tiny Moala is an absolute beast (all 358 lbs of him). They also provide some initial depth-chart projections and observations from practice. Also of note: recruits Zach Kline, Bryce Treggs, Byron Marshall, Ishmael Adams, and Dalis Bruce were on hand to watch practice.
- JO reports that TE Jarrett Sparks is academically ineligible and will not play this season. His future with the team is uncertain. In happier news, Tedford singled out DE Brennan Scarlett as a true freshman who is ready to contribute immediately.
- Maynard looked solid in the first day of practice. He gave thanks to the abilities of future-pros Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen and called Tedford "the greatest quarterbacks coach that I've ever met in my life." QBs have officially replaced the red no-contact jerseys with green ones (it's about time!).
- In addition to helping out Bigelow, Blasquez's workout routines have also done wonders for Aaron Tipoti, Kendrick Payne, Geoffrey Gibson, and Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson. Tedford was pleased with the excellent shape his players are in.
- JO recaps the first practice and lists five issues that Bears will have to work out during the next three weeks.
- JO had a live chat with Mychal Kendricks last week. A perusal through the transcript indicates that he's another player with a great head on his shoulders.
- Les Richter, a great among Pappy's Boys, was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.