By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) And so it begins.
This afternoon, 89 Chicago Bears players will report to training camp in Bourbonnais. In addition, numerous scribes like me will also report, eager to learn the mysterious ways of new head coach Marc Trestman.
As we get started with a new year (my first on the beat full-time after two seasons of part-time coverage) I’d like to introduce a new morning feature on 670TheScore.com that I think you’ll enjoy. I can’t promise it every day, but on most days during the season I will post a more informal morning story like this with various news, notes, opinions and links to other Bears-related pieces on our web site. Hopefully our “Morning Bears Bits” feature becomes a regular morning stop for you as you sip your coffee and get your Bears (and caffeine) fix.
Consider this your first dose:
Tuesday, Bears safety Chris Conte was on the SportsTalk Live panel on CSN that included yours truly. Among the many topics we discussed were the differences between Camp Trestman and Camp Lovie. As you’ve probably heard, Trestman is holding practices in the morning, which is a departure from the afternoon sessions Lovie Smith held in the sweltering Kankakee County heat. Needless to say, players and selfish media members like myself are welcoming this change.
But the Bears are also bracing for a rude awakening Thursday morning after their first night in the dorms at Olivet Nazarene University.
According to Conte, players will have to go through a conditioning test Thursday, which is not something they had to do under Lovie Smith. The test will consist of a 300-yard shuttle that must be run in under 56 seconds. Players will run the shuttle three times, with a two minute break between each one.
“A lot of guys have been kind of sweating the conditioning test,” Conte said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
The safety wasn’t sure what the repercussions would be for players who fail the test, but it’s possible they will be fined. They’ve known that the test is coming and have had time to prepare for it.
Conditioning will be an emphasis for Trestman. A big reason why practices will be held in the morning is because they will be run at a much faster pace than Lovie Smith’s. The players started to get used to the pace during OTAs and mini-camp, but it will be an even bigger adjustment once the pads go on.
Head Coach Switching Sides
The most obvious change with the head coaches is that Trestman will spend most of his time with the offense instead of the defense. Conte said Lovie Smith was the only defensive-minded head coach he ever had, but he’s welcoming the change in philosophy this year.
“It’s a big difference,” he said. “I think it changes the mentality of the team, but I think we needed that on offense. We needed that leadership on offense and I think Trestman is going to bring that to our team and hopefully it will help our team a lot.”
– View the current projected depth chart here. It will be updated throughout camp and the regular season..
– Dan Durkin continued his in-depth look at the Bears’ rookie class by breaking down film on fourth-round pick Khaseem Greene.
– For the second straight season, 670TheScore.com/Bears is going to be your home for all of our great Bears content all season long. I encourage you to bookmark it.
Players report to Olivet Nazarene University. General manager Phil Emery, head coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler are all expected to meet the media starting at 2 p.m.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.