p class="TEXT_w_Indent"> A lot of other players wrapped up summer block finals the past few days.
"I think that's a relief for all of us, because most of the guys who were taking finals were missing one of the two practices during two a days, or meetings the other days, so it has been hard for them to manage," Mendenhall said.
Linebacker Manoa Pikula won't participate due to NCAA acclimization rules. Pikula joined camp on Wednesday after finally working out his academic issues.
"Haven't seen enough in just the two practices to know [if Pikula can hit the ground running]," Mendenhall said. "I think we are at practice 15 or something, so he is just starting. A lot of good players at inside 'backer, so he has his work cut out for him."
Even with the injury to Nick Kurtz and the first-game suspension of Devon Blackmon, Mendenhall said he likes the depth at the receiver position. Heck, he likes the depth almost everywhere.
"The good part for our team right now after practice 15, almost the end of the second week of camp, is that offensive line, we are still three deep. At defensive line, we are still three-deep. At receiver, we are still three-deep. At inside linebacker, we are still three-deep, and so all that is doing is facilitating, man, guys trying hard every day in competition. So I really like that."
It will be interesting tonight to see who gets the most reps with the ones in the defensive backfield. That's probably the area where assignments are the most unsettled.
"We have a lot of depth, and there are different combinations that we could be playing. And possibly even a position change or two, to get the best four on the field. So there is quite a bit that will have to be determined tomorrow. I would like to go longer, if possible, but not hedge that too much against injury possibilities. Most of what I am trying to sort out is competition, and some of the position battles," Mendenhall said.