Cal has pushed back the beginning of spring football practice in an attempt to get as many healthy players on the field as possible.

Coach Jeff Tedford announced Friday that spring practice will commence on March 31 and last until April 26. The original plan had spring sessions beginning Monday and ending April 19.

"Coach Tedford thought it would be beneficial for the team to delay the start of spring practice," Cal spokesman John Sudsbury said. "It will give some players some time to recover from injuries so they can participate fully in spring ball."

The original practice plan had the Bears practicing just three times before March 31 anyway. They were going to practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week before taking 10 days off for spring break. Practice would have resumed on March 31.

The delay will allow players such as running back James Montgomery, defensive tackle Derrick Hill and wide receiver LaReylle Cunningham a better chance to get back to full strength for spring practice. Each player is recovering from minor knee surgery.

Tedford had expected Montgomery to be fully healed after spring break, meaning now he shouldn't be limited at all when practices begin. Earlier this week, Tedford said Hill would be limited during the spring and Cunningham may not participate at all.

The postponement also pushes back the beginning of the much-anticipated competition at quarterback between Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley.


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Longshore is a two-year returning starter but was inconsistent last season, while Riley replaced Longshore in the Armed Forces Bowl and led the Bears to a comeback victory. Tedford has said the position is up for grabs.

Contact Jonathan Okanes at jokanes@bayareanewsgroup.com.