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Tuesday Report: Saunders Is Out of the Season

December 1, 2020

Cal football head coach Justin Wilcox shed not much light on the Bears’ injury situation during his Tuesday Zoom session with the Bay Area media.

He did say he was “hoping” to get most of his wounded back for Saturday’s game against Oregon.

In one bit of downer news, he said that defensive lineman Ethan Saunders, who was not available for the Big Game last week, is out for the rest of the season. 

“Everybody else we’ll know from day to day,” Wilcox said. “They are day to day for different reasons and we are looking forward to getting them back as soon as possible.”

One who has been ailing but is improving is inside linebacker Evan Tattersall. “He has been working through some injury things and we will see where he is this week,” Wilcox said. “He was at practice yesterday and able to do a little more. I think Mo (Meulu Iosefa) earned some reps with his play in practice and on special teams and in the games and we will continue to work with him as well.”

The three starting offensive linemen, who were abruptly sidelined two weeks ago, could return this week. “We hope they are cleared by this weekend,” WIlcox said. “We’ll see. I’m not in charge of that. We are looking forward to getting everybody back, whether it’s contact tracing or injuries. There is nothing new to report yet.”

The young group of Brandon Mello, Brayden Rohme and Matthew Cindric s forced to fill in for Jake Curhan, Will Craig and Valentino Daltoso for the second week in a row.

“I think they are continuing to improve across the board. Tha’s how it should go,” Wilcox said. “The more you play, the more reps and experience you get, the better you are going to be. I think they’ve shown that. We are going to continue to push them, to work with those guys. I thought they played better than the week before. I expect them to continue to do that as long as they keep working in practice and competing with the same energy in the game.

“I think as a whole the O-line really cut down on the mental errors. There were just a couple of mental errors throughout the game. And now it is just a matter of cleaning up technique and continue to work at their craft. I think their competitiveness and how hard they're playing gives them a great chance.”

Quarterback Chase Garbers was sacked four times, but Wilcox said the young linemen weren’t entirely to blame.

“I think there were some moments when we protected well and some where we didn’t,” he said. “We got sacked a few times, it wasn’t always on the offensive line, There was another missed protection by a guy who is not an offensive lineman, There was another chance for us to pick one up. So it was a combination of things. Obviously, we want to get rid of the sacks which put us in a difficult down and distance.”

In his interview session, Garbers sang the praises of his young protectors. “The young O-linemen who had to step in unnanouned a couple of weeks ago, I think they’ve done a great job, having very minimal experience coming into college football and doing what you’d expect out of them, performing at a high level,” Garbers said. “I am really impressed with that group.”

Running back Christopher Brown, who was such an important part of the Bears’ last drive against Stanford, could be even more involved Saturday.

“We are hoping for that, but again that is based on discussions of his health between him and the trainers,” Wilcox said. “hey will let us know what’s appropriate. We are hopeful he will get going so he’s able to play more. Again there is no update on that, Things are probably trending in the right direction but it’s day-to-day.”

Garbers likes what he has seen of the junior running back this week, “Chris has had a great couple days of practice so far, looking real healthy. To have him back on the field is awesome because (reception garbled) have a big 6-3 back out there. He popped one of those guys with a stiff-arm. It’s fun to have him back out there.”




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Tuesday Report: Saunders Is Out of the Season

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