Cal running back Jahvid Best has resumed conditioning with Cal's athletic training staff and an announcement about his status for the Poinsettia Bowl could come as early as today. Best missed the Bears' final three games of the regular season after suffering a severe concussion and back injury after taking a hard fall at the end of a touchdown run against Oregon State on Nov. 7. He got a positive diagnosis last week from Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh.
Best, a junior, is considering leaving Cal after the season to enter the NFL Draft. An appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 could serve as one final audition for NFL personnel evaluators. Recent projections have Best going late in the first round of the 2010 draft. Halfway through training camp, it was evident that Brock Mansion's experience made him the only viable candidate to compete with Kevin Riley for the starting quarterback job. But a few weeks into the season, even that experience wasn't good enough to keep him in the No. 2 role. Mansion fell behind Beau Sweeney on the depth chart early in the season and has been the No. 3 quarterback ever since. A former Elite 11 prospect, Mansion said the demotion was a "big shock" at first, but he has remained a team player. "I just wanted to help Beau and Kev with the playbook or give them encouragement," Mansion said. "I just wanted to do whatever I can to help. I didn't want to be a waste of space."
Mansion said he felt like he competed well during training camp and had a good chance to be named the starter. When he didn't, he suffered a little emotional letdown and his performance suffered. "I felt like I had a great fall camp, and I felt like I had a great chance to get the No. 1 job," Mansion said. "After that, it was kind of a letdown. The first week I was fine, but the next two weeks I just completely dropped in my level of performance."
The Bears are using the weekend to let some of their younger players and reserves get most of the reps at practice. Cal will then take two days off and begin game planning for Utah on Wednesday.
"Anytime I can get reps, it's a chance to get better," Mansion said. "I don't think I've been forgotten about. But this is a good chance to remind them, if they had forgotten, that I'm still here. Hopefully, I can work my way back up."