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Friday Practice Report: Bears Start Zeroing in on Illinois

December 20, 2019

After a break for final exams, the Bears were back on the practice field Friday preparing for their Dec. 30 date with Illinois in the Redbox Bowl. This was the first postseason practice where much bulk of the work was spent on game preparation, rather than giving less experienced players “developmental” reps.

“Today was part game-plan, part developmental,” head coach Justin Wilcox said after the session. “At the end of practice, we are always going to get our developmental reps in for the guys who haven’t had quite as many reps during the season.”

The final period ended with some excitement. “At the end, the developmental offense had a walk-off touchdown, Robbie Rowell to Evan King,” Wilcox said. “It goes back and forth. It’s fun, there was some really good energy out there. It was really competitive. Some DBs are taking some developmental reps at different positions.”

Much of that is giving some cornerbacks work at safety to make up for the absence of Ashtyn Davis, who will miss the bowl game after having had a surgical procedure.

Jaylinn Hawkins, who mans the other safety spot, also praised the work of redshirt sophomore Daniel Scott, who figures to see a lot of action replacing Davis.

“Daniel is good. Daniel is a baller,” Hawkins said. “Great player, smart, fun to play with, plays with a lot of energy.”

Two players who signed with Cal this week and will graduate high school mid-year were participants in the Friday practice: quarterback Jaden Casey and offensive lineman Everett Johnson. 

“There are some logistics involved with that,” Wilcox said. “The high school has to be involved. The admissions office. Neither of them have a number but each of them got jerseys and helmets.

“Everything is brand new. Just getting through warmups is something new for them. Really just getting their feet wet, just introducing them to the team. We won’t put a whole lot on them but it is great for them to be here and see how practice is run.”

The two will practice Saturday, Sunday and Monday, then not take the field with the Bears until spring practice.

Offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, who last week accepted the head coaching job at Cal Poly, was back at practice on Friday.

“It was definitely a little bit weird,” wide receiver Nikko Remigio said of Baldwin’s absence. “Not hearing his voice out there, calling plays. Great to have him back. We really don’t look at him any differently. We’ve still got one more game to win.”

Wilcox offered no new information on the search for Baldwin’s successor. Nor was he willing to discuss his injured players. We will have a roster update before we get out of here (next week) and we’ll address it then,” he said.

The Bears altered Saturday’s practice schedule, moving it from morning to the afternoon so Bears who are graduating could participate in the commencement exercises 

Hawkins is one of those. 

“I’ve got to walk in the morning at nine o’clock,” he said. “Practice was originally at 11, now it’s at 1:30. So I can walk, graduate and come back and get in there with the team.”


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Friday Practice Report: Bears Start Zeroing in on Illinois

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