Photo by Bear Insider

Fall Camp Day 6: Team Returns After Day Off

August 8, 2019
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Following a day off on Wednesday, the Bears returned to the practice field Thursday for the sixth workout of fall camp. On Friday they will work in full pads for the first time since the spring. So Thursday the Bears took it relatively easy, with a shorter, lighter session.

“We treated it a little bit like a Monday practice during the season, where it is a practice without shoulder pads where they get full-speed reps but stay on their feet,” offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, the only coach to address the media as a group, said.

“During the course of a season, you have to learn how to practice. The older you get you have to understand how to practice without pads.”

Baldwin said that there were areas where he could see big improvement over the course of the first week -- “night and day” -- and others where there were “ups and downs” One example he gave for improvement was the way the Bears handled their “motion” assignments on offense. “Two days ago it was much different, night and day,” he said,

Baldwin pointed out that practices in full pads serve more purposes than just allowing the players to bang into one another.

“We are just able to do more drills,” he said. “The old inside run drill or whatever you want to call it. We have our own name for it. You are able to just get some red zone,  more short yardage. Most of our third-down stuff has been mostly passing, third and three stuff. But now you get third and two, third and one. And you are able to get some open field tackling drills.”

He said that because tackling quarterbacks will still be a no-no, full pads or not, Friday’s practice will be just more of the same for the QBs. 

“You try and create as much live as you can, but we’re not hitting them,” Baldwin said. “It’s not that much different for them….They just need to keep developing with what we’re doing. Working to command the offense.”

The least experienced group under Baldwin’s command is the tight end contingent. Of the eight tight ends on the roster in 2018, four are gone. But those who are left,  seem to be doing fine.

 “I am excited about them, they are developing like crazy. A lot of those guys weren’t necessarily tight ends. Collin (Moore) wasn’t a tight end, Cassie (McCallen Castles) was a receiver, Gavin (Reinwald) was more of a receiver. They are developing as tight ends. You are still going to have a lot of receiver aspects in what you do, but there is also 0-line stuff in what you do. It’s just fun to see them developing.

“They want it, they all want to be great at that position. You are going to block a lot more than you are going to catch balls….They are embracing that mentality.”

Tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo is also pleased with his group.

“They are working hard, focused,” he said. “We are excited to get into pads and play real football. They are hungry, I would say they are right on track.”

Moore, the converted quarterback, and Castles, a three-star recruit, have been getting the most attention in fall camp. Bear Insider asked about Reinwald and Jake Tonges, the other two tight ends.

“Jake has gotten a lot stronger, he’s got good ball skills and he can run,” Tuiaososopo said. “He had to get his body in shape and in a position where he can do those things and be physical. And Jake has done those things. He’s been, not a surprise, but I am presently very happy with where he is. And he’ll help us.”

Al Sermeno - KLC Fotos
Gavin Reinwald

Tonges said that he is heftier this year, as are all the tight ends, 

“We have all put on some weight as a group, that was the main goal in offseason to get bigger as a group and I think accomplished that,” he said.

A wideout for most of high school career, the 6-5 Tonges knew his college football career path was as a tight end. “I just knew I had the frame for it, and I didn’t think I was quick enough to be a wide receiver,” he said. “So I hit the weight room. Now I love it, you get to do everything, block, catch the ball.”

Reinwald, like Tonges, is in his third year in the program. “His experience is showing,” Tuiasosopo said of Reinwald “He is doing real well. Keeping his head down, showing up in the run game, showing up in the pass game.

“We are working on consistency.”

“It has taken me a while to understand the game, understand defensive concepts,” Reinwald said. “Back in high school you didn’t really think about, so and so is in a 3-4 or a 4-3. 

“But at this level with every defensive scheme, there are so many different scenarios for every single play. I have really picked that up, and I know what the defense is doing now before the play even starts and that has really helped me out.”

He feels his blocking skills have come a long way. “It was tough, because at first I am coming in as a freshman and am a little skinny,” he said, “Number one you have to realize you have to be physical. And then number two is learning how to block.”

Al Sermeno - KLC Photos
Jake Tonges

 

And catching the ball as a tight end is different from a wide out. “A lot of our balls are going to be caught in traffic,” he said, “There’s either a safety hitting you from the back or a linebacker in front of you...It’s just learning to not be afraid,”

 

Some other observations from Thursday.

  • There were fewer full-team drills than the practices to date. Devon Modster again seemed inconsistent, one throw right on the money, one badly off-target. 
  • In the early 7-on-7 drills several receivers made impressive TD catches: Makai Polk, Castles, Moore and Jeremiah Hawkins.
  • Baldwin said that about 85 per cent of the offense has been installed to date. It is a little earlier than normal, but that will allow more time for tinkering.
  • The best pass of the day was probably the flag pattern Robby Rowell threw to Ben Skinner from about the 35-yard line over a defender.
  • Safety Isaiah Humphries, the transfer from Penn State, has been practicing but his eligibility is still questionable. There is some sort of glitch in the transfer and right now the Bears don’t count on having him this season.
  • Inside linebacker Evan Tattersall seemed to be a disruptive presence on the defense.
  • As he usually does, offensive line coach Steve Greatwood shuffled his troops. During one sequence seldom-used, Henry Bazakas was playing right tackle with the No. 1 unit. He seemed to hold his own in the limited contact drill.

 

OC Beau Baldwin:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall Camp Day 6: Team Returns After Day Off

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