Head coach Jeff Tedford
On the center situation and the Bears' various injuries
“(Brian) Schwenke right now is starting at center. (Chris) Adcock has to snap left-handed because he broke his right hand. I don't know what it is, it's the flavor of the year. I think we've got five broken hands. C.J. Anderson dislocated his thumb, we had to take him to the hospital, he's going to have that operated on Jalen Jefferson broke his hand today, (Spencer) Hagan's got a broken hand, (and) (Tyler) Rigsbee's got a broken hand. (Dominic) Galas is center or guard, he can play center but he may start out at guard depending on how the center keeps going with Schwenke and Adcock.
“He's doing well. We're messing around with his grip, he has half his glove cut off because his hands are slippery. He's picking everything up fine with his blocking and communicating. He's doing fine he just needs to keep working at it... He played guard in high school, but I think he's always snapped for us, all of our linemen snap just in case you need someone to fill in."
On Schwenke's shotgun snaps
“They're not perfect yet, but it's something we can work on.”
On Vince D'Amato
“(He had) great height on the ball. If you can kick it over that net, you're doing something pretty good. He's got great height, it gets up, he's done a nice job. Today at the end of practice, he made all of them I think, so he's doing a good job.”
Comment: The kickers were kicking at the set of goal posts on the west side of the field, which is right up against the road running along side the rim of the stadium. If a kicker clears the net, the ball will likely clear Rim Road and land past the fence marking the Memorial Stadium construction site. D'Amato's kicks were consistently high and deep.
On not working on punting
“No, we do the drills and some guys punt (but) we don't have a real punter here right now. We have a scholarship punter and a couple of walk-on punters coming in the fall."
On Jason Gibson
“When you lose (Mychal) Kendricks and (D.J.) Holt, the two inside guys there are good players...(Of) the young guys that return, Jason Gibson is one of them, Nick Forbes is another, Jalen Jefferson broke his finger so he didn't get a chance, but those guys are talented players, so they're gaining great experience. Gibson made a lot of plays, he can run. He's built himself up, he's looked good.”
On Brendon Bigelow
“I thought he grew up a lot today. These things are going to be great for him, you can just tell he's in a lot of traffic and he's learning to plant, get to the holes and put his pads down and he hasn't had that..He got excited down there, he broke tackles and kept spinning and churning and got up with a lot of enthusiasm so hes competing hard and learning and he's really eager to continue to improve in all of those areas. He carried the ball today and did a nice job.”Comment: One area where Isi Sofele improved a lot last year was learning to spin out of tackles and keep running. It's apparent that Bigelow's spent a good amount of time working on that in recent weeks.
On what might be in store the April 21st open practice
"It's going to be an exciting day. The format is going to depend on our health. We'd like to try to have it as close to a game as we can but it depends. We don't have any fullbacks right now, we've moved some guys around, they've gotten hurt. Today we played without a fullback. Then we've got some tight ends, Hagan went down. So it depends on health two weeks from now. It's going to be a great event, there's going to be a lot of fan interaction. (We're) going to have some of our NFL players back because that night there's a gala that goes on, it should be an exciting day.”
Other notes of interest:
Brazinski's injury means that he likely won't return until late October/early November...C.J. Anderson's thumb injury appears to be more along the base of the thumb which means an operation, but it's too early to say how long he'll be out...Sofele participated early in practice but tweaked a hamstring but was held out, but Tedford was pleased that other backs were able to get
more work...linebacker David Wilkerson did return to practice on Thursday but still experienced soreness and then got sick so he was held out on Saturday
Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast
On the challenges of rebuilding the line after the departure of Ernest Owusu and Trevor Guyton.
“Deandre Coleman got a lot of work last year so we're excited about the progress he's made, Mustafa Jalil played a lot and we're going to move Aaron Tipoti to left end. He's been a starter for us, so we feel like these guys are going to be able to step up.”
On who's shown the most improvement from the end of last season to now.
“Kendrick Payne's playing at a high level. Deandre Coleman's done a nice job and the young guys are kind of coming on but those two for sure.”
Where those two have shown the most improvement.
“They're just more focused on the technique that we're trying to play within the defensive line. This is a system-oriented defense, it's their thrd season in the defense and they're really comfortable with what we're doing. We keep pretty consistent with what we do, we're going to utilize the skill sets of what we do and try to give people problems.”
On the benefits of being able to practice on campus this spring without having to bus to different fields.
“It's been nice, the guys have been real responsive because we're able to have a little extra meeting time, we're not having to travel, and it's been productive so far.”
Quarterback Zach Maynard
On working with Brian Schwenke as center:
"I would say (he's) doing an awesome job. Of the o-lineman he have he's the most athletic and experienced as well...A couple of balls will be off here and there, but he's trying to (get) the ball (to me) without seeing the ball, so we're just picking that up. (We) try to practice before and after practice (and) try to get snaps here and there...I know it's hard for him to play center and get adjusted to oit but he's doing really good.”
On how a year's experience has helped his judgment in terms of knowing when to run
“I'm a lot more comfortable (and) a lot more patient. When I see the lanes develop I can take them when I need to and as far as down and distance, (knowing) when I need to get down and when I need to pick up yards with my feet, but I look to throw first.”