BOURBONNAIS – At 9:52 a.m. Friday, the Bears broke a huddle and began team drills, 11-on-11s, what the fans want to see, and a giant roar came from the crowd. It signified the start of training camp and a 2014 season with high expectations for coach Marc Trestman’s team.
“It’s always great to have the crowd. Obviously they’re excited. You can feel their energy certainly from the start,” Trestman said after practice at Olivet Nazarene University. “I think it’s great for our team to have our fans around us. It makes for a more fun and entertaining way to get our work done.”
A few changes in the Bears’ practice philosophy visible in minicamp carried over to Bourbonnais. Trestman has multiple team drills going on at once in order to increase reps for players, mainly those reserves fighting for roster spots.
Fans also were treated to some music during individual drills, songs such as “Thunderstruck” and “Living on a Prayer.”
“I’ve talked a lot about this with guys around the league. I just wanted to bring something to practice – just a little more energy to practice,” Trestman said. “Talking to the players about it, that we would do some work in individual when we can coach them close up and still get our job done and still get our job done, but have a little fun as well with just getting them going. And it translates to games because there’s music before games.”
Early glimpse at ‘D’: Like minicamp, the Bears’ first-team defense featured Brock Vereen and Ryan Mundy at safety and a defensive line of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff. Lance Briggs and Jon Bostic were the nickel linebackers, while Shea McClellin and D.J. Williams joined Briggs in the base. McClellin did get work with the first-team nickel group as well.
The other corner standout: The day belonged to rookie Kyle Fuller, who had two picks, but Sherrick McManis had a strong performance as well, picking off a pass on a ball dropped by Josh Morgan and stripping Marquess Wilson. McManis did get into a brief shoving match with Eric Weems.
Throw and catch: Taking a look at the wide receiver battle, Josh Bellamy had two drops, Morgan had one, and Terrence Toliver made a nice catch on an impressive rollout throw from Jimmy Clausen. The best play of practice came on a long pass down the sideline from Clausen to Chris Williams. Nothing has changed with Alshon Jeffery and his strong hands. He made a great grab on the sideline, high-pointing a ball with Isaiah Frey in coverage.
Quick hits: Eben Britton filled in for Kyle Long (viral infection) at right guard. … In his first practice, safety Adrian Wilson mainly took reps with the third team and a few with the second team as he gets acclimated to the Bears’ scheme. … Defensive linemen Willie Young, Trevor Scott, Houston and Ratliff showed good burst off the snap to get penetration and disrupt the offense. … Matthew Mulligan got a few reps with the first team as a second tight end. … The Bears have another practice without pads Saturday morning before putting them on and starting to hit Sunday.