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Cal Football

Bears Back on Field Friday, Noa Still on the Shelf

December 14, 2018

After taking four days off, the Bears were back on the practice field Friday for their second set of sessions leading up to the Cheez-It Bowl Dec. 26 against TCU.

Wide receiver Kanawai Noa, who missed the last three games of the regular season with an injury is still working with the trainers and has not been cleared to resume full activity. “He’s not not practicing yet but we’re hopeful,” head coach Justin Wilcox said.

Running back Marcel Dancy, who has also missed some playing time, is healthy again.

“He had a couple of good runs today,” Wilcox said, then added Dancy might still be held out of the bowl game. He has played in four games this year, and if he does not play in a fifth could count this as a redshirt year. That would give him two more full seasons of eligibility. No decision has been made.

Unlike the first three sessions last weekend, the first and second units took the bulk of the reps during the roughly 90-minute practice.

“This weekend is good-on-good, and we are bringing our starter guys the ones and the twos. They practiced a bunch today,” Wilcox said. “We’ll do that through the weekend and introduce a little bit of TCU. Then next week is heavy TCU just like a game week.”

Although the regulars were on the field, it was not full contact. Still it was some heavy work.”It’s not time off. But they’re just focusing on getting their bodies back,” WIlcox said. “You  aren’t doing team, to huddle where there’s a lot of collision. They’re still working. Coach (Torre) Becton had them doing a lot of different things, the weight room, stretching, and they had a spin class going.

“ You could see it today. How they’re bouncing around. They’re playing quick. You can see they feel a lot better. It’s just kind of that time, when  you’ve had 800 to 1,000 reps, a good eight to ten days of just working on your body is beneficial.”

You could sense that the players, much as they appreciated the down time, were happy to be playing football again, even on a limited basis.

“Today we got to be out there for a little bit and get some live reps,” said defensive lineman Luc Bequette. “It felt great, the body felt great. Kind of a little rusty on technique but that will come back pretty quick.”

Offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso felt much the same way.

“I think guys are ready to get back into the swing of things,” he said. “It’s a little bit different going from playing every single week. Today was really good to get back into things.”

Not that the younger players, who did virtually all the work on the field in the first three bowl practices last weekend, were ignored.

“They got the last two team periods,” Wilcox said. “The ones and twos got the first ones. We’ll do that no matter what.Even through the weekend when the ones and twos will get even more team reps. We will keep the devo guys out (on the field). It will make for a longer practice but we want to make sure we take advantage of the practice time we have with them.”

From now on through the bowl game the focus will be on football. Final exams have concluded.

“A little bit of that weight lifted off their backs,” Wilcox said. “Now we can hone in on football and the bowl game. And enjoy the time we have out here together.”

Speaking of finals and academics, at the end of the post-practice huddle a big cheer went up when it was announced that nose guard Hunter Abel had achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester.

The Bears will practice Saturday and Sunday. After a day off on Monday, they work again Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is another off day, Friday and Saturday they practice before leaving for Phoenix on Sunday.


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Bears Back on Field Friday, Noa Still on the Shelf

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