BERKELEY -- As the California football team moves closer to its second straight home game, the Bears defense seems to be getting a bit healthier, with linebackers Mychal Kendricks, Chris McCain and David Wilkerson moving out of the red jerseys and into the yellow on Wednesday.
One notable difference of late has been the lack of a cumbersome knee brace on true freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow, who has looked increasingly unfettered and smooth in individual work.
"Yeah, doesn't look like he's got it on today. I don't know if it's off and on, but I think he's pretty much past it now," head coach Jeff Tedford said of Bigelow, who has slowly been weaned off the brace. "He always looked pretty comfortable, but without it, I've seen him a couple days without it, and I don't look every day to see if he's got it on, but he's pretty fluid."
Though inside linebacker Nick Forbes has been practicing lately, Tedford said that he will redshirt this year after missing the entire first half with an injury.
Forbes has been working with the scout team since returning, helping to give junior quarterback Zach Maynard a good look at what he'll be facing on Saturday, as he tries to bounce back from a four-turnover game against USC.
"We forgot about it as soon as the game was over. We've been doing a great job this week, as far as practice. The defense is doing a great job giving us looks," Maynard said. "The scout guys have been making some great plays, and it's been good on both sides of the ball."
Maynard threw a season-high three picks against the Trojans, and has been working on fixing his mechanics.
"I've just got to be more prepared for the types of coverages they're going to be giving us during the game, and not making bad decisions, forcing things and just taking what they give to me," Maynard said. "I have to try not to over-stride as much. It throws the angle off, and throwing is all about the angles -- the right amount of touch, how hard you throw the ball, where your feet are at -- my biggest problem is trying to set my feet. If I can set my feet, most of my passes would be more accurate."
Maynard's favorite target of course, has been his little brother Keenan Allen, who leads the nation with 138.0 yards per game and is second in the country with 828 total receiving yards.
"It's great. It's great for him, a great job by him," Maynard said. "He does a great job in getting open and having yards after the catch, really. But, we'd rather win ballgames than have guys with a million yards on the team. He's doing a great job in practice, and we're going to be ready for Utah."
Defensive back Marc Anthony was still in red, but didn't have the sling that he's been in since the loss to Oregon. Defensive back C.J. Moncrease wore a soft cast on his hand as he recovers from thumb surgery, and was in yellow while practicing with the team in full pads.
Tight end Jacob Wark is back among the living after sitting out earlier in the week, and performed well in one-on-one drills.
Other stand-outs in the first 20 minutes of practice open to the media were tailback Mike Manuel and receiver Jackson Bouza. Both made nifty catches and showed good hands.
Tailback C.J. Anderson -- despite his cardinal-colored socks - looked to be moving a lot quicker than he has recently, and was very light on his feet during agility drills.
True freshman safety Avery Sebastian was also a stand-out in defensive back positional drills.