“The Bears are hoping that junior Kevin Riley has fixed his mechanics, improved his accuracy and gotten comfortable with his reads. But Riley, who shared the starting job with Nate Longshore last season, will have to fend off sophomore Brock Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney. If the competition is tight, Tedford might wait until the week before the season opener to name a starter. "We feel like (Riley) has to step up right now, because his experience on game day in our offense puts him a step ahead," Tedford said Monday.
Returning starters: 17 (7 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists).
Expect big things from: Jahvid Best, one of the top tailbacks in the country. . . . Sophomore receivers Marvin Jones and Michael Calvin, who were limited by injuries last year. . . . Ends Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan, who combined for 22 sacks in '08. . . . Playmaking inside linebacker Mike Mohamed. . . . All-conference cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson.
Roster nugget: Tight end Tad Smith, who suffered a broken scapula in spring practice, is healthy.
Positions to watch: Outside linebacker, where returnees Devin Bishop and Eddie Young will try to fend off JC transfers Jarred Price and Jerome Meadows and redshirt freshman Chris Little. . . . Kicker, where a healthy David Seawright will compete with Giorgio Tavecchio. . . . Fullback, where the Bears must replace Will Ta'ufo'ou and find someone to block for Best.
Questions to answer: How will the offense function under new coordinator Andy Ludwig? Have Riley and the receivers improved their timing? How quickly will the rebuilt linebacking unit coalesce?