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NOTEBOOK: Bears Get a Bit of a Scare
BERKELEY -- California football practice ended abruptly on Monday night, as, at 10 p.m. sharp, the lights at Memorial Stadium went dark, leaving the Golden Bears on the field, with 46 seconds left in the final period. After some good-natured hollering and screaming, the Bears retreated to the north tunnel for a few final thoughts from head coach Sonny Dykes.
While Dykes was pleased with the tempo and intensity of Monday's session, there was one dark cloud hanging over most of the proceedings, as on the second play of 11-on-11s, wide receiver Bryce Treggs cut left to the sideline on an out route against Darius Allensworth, and instead of coming up with a Jared Goff pass, he jammed his pinky finger into Allensworth's hip, turning the digit inside out and eliciting a sharp yelp of anger and pain.
"He jammed his finger, but I got a good report, and he'll be fine," Dykes said. "I don't think it's really a big deal. I think he dislocated it, but it's fine. I think they'll put him in a splint and I would expect him to practice tomorrow."
In Treggs' absence, Drake Whitehurst stepped in as the No. 2 X-receiver. Treggs' partner in crime on the outside -- Chris Harper -- was not in pads for Monday's practice, but should be back on Tuesday, Dykes said. The No. 2 Z-receiver -- Kenny Lawler -- was back in practice, catching balls during routes-on-air and in warm-ups, but he did not participate fully in contact periods as he recovers from a head injury.
"I think Lawler will be back," said Dykes. "Harper will be back. [Daniel] Lasco should be back [for Saturday's game]."
In Harper's stead, James Grisom turned in some eye-opening grabs. During seven-on-seven work, Grisom caught a 10-yard quick timing pass from Goff to cross midfield, then shook corner Isaac Lapite for another 20 yards.
Grisom also started 11-on-11 work by taking a tunnel screen for a 60-yard touchdown.
Inside receiver Darius Powe did not practice, due to an ankle injury. Dykes anticipates that he'll be back on Tuesday.
Also dealing with an ankle injury is starting safety Michael Lowe, who was still hobbled and not at 100% on Monday, though he did participate in a limited fashion during special teams.
"I would expect Lowe to be back," Dykes said. "He was hobbled a bit today, but I would expect him to be back."
With safety Damariay Drew out due to a head injury (Dykes expects him back on Tuesday), Alex Logan and Jason Gibson got the bulk of first-team safety snaps.
Given the depth at safety, Dykes said it's not out of the realm of possibility that Gibson – a former defensive end and outside linebacker – could start on Saturday.
"Potentially, based on where we are, health-wise," Dykes said. "We'll see. There's going to be some competition for those spots right now, based on guys being healthy. Damariay was out today, as well, so I would expect him to be back tomorrow in practice and progressing through the week. He just got kind of hit Saturday. They held him out today, and I would expect him to be back, progressing through the week."
The Cal defense did get some welcome additions on Monday, as freshman cornerback Trevellous Cheek was back on the field for contact drills, as was middle linebacker Nick Forbes.
It may be too early, though, to expect either of them to contribute on Saturday.
"He's six weeks behind in practice," Dykes said of Forbes. "He started feeling better, and got some reps, so we'll continue to progress him a little bit more, day by day. We're not just going to throw him into the fire yet. We'll see."
As for Cheek, who's been on the shelf since midway through fall camp, he's even further back.
"We'll see as he progresses back, we'll know where he is, but I would say it probably is [too early for him to contribute] at this point, but we'll see how he responds," Dykes said.
On the sidelines sporting a bulky knee brace was redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Barton, who had seven tackles against Portland State.
"Barton's going to be questionable this week," Dykes said. "We'll see what he can do over the course of the week. He's got a sprained knee. It's nothing major. He doesn't have much swelling, but we'll see how it feels. It happened in the game."
Brennan Scarlett participated in much of practice, with a bit more contact than he's seen previously as he works back from his hand injury.
Scarlett's fellow defensive end -- Chris McCain – did not suit up for practice after missing Saturday's game with a head injury.
"McCain did not practice. We'll see what he does as the week progresses. I would put him in the same classification as probably Barton," Dykes said. "We'll see how it plays out."
Puka Lopa got first-team snaps at defensive end, opposite Dan Camporeale, in Scarlett's stead.
Defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil also did not practice due to persistent knee pain.
"Still not responding well," Dykes said. "We'll kind of see how that plays out with him. His deal is just more pain. It's pain issues more than anything else."
-- Cameron Walker and Dan Fadelli saw time as the second-team safeties, with Joel Willis and Cedric Dozier as the second-team cornerbacks and Lapite as the nickel. In nickel situations, Hardy Nickerson, Jr., and Johnny Ragin III served as the two linebackers.
-- Willis turned in a pick in second-team 11-on-11s, but was burned by Jack Austin on a leaping catch during one-on-one work.
-- Starting safety Logan was burned against the scout team offense on a 30-yard bomb to Ray Hudson, which only fell incomplete because it was just out of Hudson's reach.
-- Wide receiver Stephen Anderson had a big night, hauling in a diving grab in the end zone on a 25-yard pass from Goff in first-team 11-on-11s.
-- The defensive ends worked primarily on covering the pitch man in positional work.
-- The linebackers and defensive line worked primarily on run-fit against the first-team offensive line and running backs, with Khairi Fortt flashing by bottling up Khalfani Muhammad.
-- SAM linebacker Jalen Jefferson spent quite a bit of time in the opposing backfield against the No. 1 offensive line.
-- Cornerback Stefan McClure was victimized during seven-on-seven work on a well-placed touch ball from Zach Kline to Bryce McGovern -- who had several acrobatic catches on the day -- but came back later in defensive skeleton work to turn in a break-up over the middle on a long seam route -- the same route that the Bears were burned on each of the past two weeks.
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