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Cal Football

Monday Practice Report: Bears Have a Bye but not a Breather

October 7, 2019
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The Bears have a bye this week (one of two on the schedule) and head coach Justin Wilcox said after Monday’s practice that the Bears will use the down time to allow some injured players to get well and to work on developing some of the younger players.

“Everybody has a plan,” the coach said. “Some of  the guys need to get their bodies back healthy so we’re having them do certain exercises and things that are strength and conditioning. And then we have a group of guys that are working on development.  It depends on where you’re at as a player and it will be really valuable for us as long as we have the right mindset.”

He said the sessions will tend to be shorter than normal. “There aren’t as many guys that are going to practice through the entirety of practice,” he said. “It will be shorter, the same amount of reps per person, it just will turn out to be a shorter practice.

“For example, high-rep guys aren’t going to take as many practice reps this week, we are going to focus on other things with them.”

He stressed that the lack of a game shouldn’t mean a lack of work. “These are valuable weeks, as long as you are diligent and stay on path,” he said. “You don’t take the mindset where everybody takes a break. That’s not it. There is an element of kind of refreshing mentally, but we’ve got to stay the course and keep working on the skills and development of certain people and for us as a program and not let this week go to waste.:

The offensive line was hit by two more injuries in the loss to Oregon Saturday, center Michael Saffell and tackle/guard Valtentio Daltoso. Wilcox said he was “hopeful” they would be back for the Oct. 19 game against Oregon State.”Again it is going to be how they respond to the injuries and the training staff,” he said. ”

He added that running back Marcel Dancy, tight end Gavin Reinwald and wide receiver Kekoa Crawford, all of whom were out of the Oregon game,  are expected back for the game against the Beavers. “Dancy was there (in Eugene) in an emergency type role,” WIlcox said. 

The OSU game kicks off at 11:30 a.m. Wilcox, whose team had an 11 am Central Time kickoff at Ole Miss doesn’t believe the early start will be a problem

“If we have an 11:30 game, we may adjust our Friday practice a little bit,” he said, “After Friday practice we’ll get on the bus, go to the hotel, eat dinner, have a meeting, wakeup, have a walkthrough, come over here and play.”

And he brushed aside the thought that the Saturday morning wakeup call might be a little too early for some. “Most of them are up early during the week anyway,” he said. “If you have an 11:30 game you are looking at a 7:30 pregame meal so you’re not up that early.”

Wilcox said that he felt that quarterback Devon Modster did OK in his first start with the Bears against Oregon on Saturday. “He played better than the week before,” he said. “Took a step there for sure. His demeanor was good and calm. There is going to be some plays in there that he would love to have back moving forward....I still think he is going to get a lot better.”

Wide receiver Trevon Clark agreed. “I think Modster has been great for stepping up,”
Clark said. “That was a big challenge, at Oregon, first start, crazy environment. I felt he did what he should do. I know he feels like he could have done more. I think the adjustment (to a new QB) wasn’t that dramatic.”

On defense, Kuony Deng was the Bears leading tackler with 12. That is a role usually filled by his fellow insider linebacker Evan Weaver, whom the Ducks tried to avoid.

“It was my opportunity to try and steal a few (tackles) from him, like he does,” Deng said with a smile. “They call it the Weaver Tax. He’ll steal a couple of tackles from everybody every game. So I could get back a little bit.”

Related: 

What we learned about Cal in the tight loss at Autzen.

 
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