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Deng and Garbers Talk NIL, 2021 Season at Pac-12 Media Day

July 27, 2021
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LOS ANGELES, CA -QB Chase Garbers and OLB Kuony Deng joined Cal head coach Justin Wilcox at today’s 2021 Pac-12 Football Media day.

While Wilcox fielded questions on the main podium, Garbers and Deng held court in the back of the room on the players podium.

Garbers was asked to reflect on the 2020 season and what impact it could have on 2021.

“It was definitely a learning process,” said Garbers. “We took a lot of what we learned last year and incorporated some things to build off of for this year.

“Obviously, last year was stressful for everybody but what we got out of it was a lot of young guys who hadn’t played college football got a lot of their first reps and are back this year with experience, which helps deepen our depth chart.”

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Cal QB Chase Garbers and head coach Justin Wilcox at Pac-12 Media Day

The Cal offense really didn’t get a chance to get untracked and Garbers didn’t have the optimal time to digest and implement the new offense partially-installed by new OC Bill Musgrave, who arrived at Cal after 20 years at the NFL level.

“I’m very comfortable with Coach Musgrave,” said Garbers. “Just building off last year and having a super-strong spring and going through the whole summer process and building off that, my confidence level within this offense is really strong. We just need to carry that into this season.”

What did he and Musgrave focus on in the offseason?

“Just some little things with quarterback stuff, whether it’s accuracy, footwork, little things like that,” said Garbers. “It was a different system last year, a little different mechanic-wise. We worked on it this spring, pushing that into fall camp this season.”

With a four game season that came with a lot of disruption due to covid protocols, it made things particularly challenging to continue the growth trend the veteran QB was looking to see in 2020.

“Last year was a little unconventional in terms of how you study yourself and your opponent,” noted Garbers. “You had to make it work with whatever you were doing. Coach Wilcox says, ‘Always keep your knees bent,’ so we always have that mindset all last year. Just being able to be back in the facility and back to normal football, is something we really looked forward to last year and we have to take advantage of that.”

“Any opportunity to play was definitely worth it. Obviously, we had some issues. We only played four games and one game with our full roster but it was worth it, just to get some more reps, learn more and get a lot of young guys more experience.”

The Garbers family now has a stronger foothold in the California collegiate landscape with Garbers’ younger brother Ethan making a transfer from Washington to UCLA.

“I don’t see him too much in the offseason,” said Garbers. “I’m always up at Cal. I see him every once in a while in the summer and we work out when we can.

“The rivalry’s a little sweeter with him this year with him at UCLA, another UC school -Cal being number one, obviously.”

Both Garbers and Deng were asked about the impact of NIL on college football and on themselves personally.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the players,” said Garbers. “I think it was a long time coming. It’s going to be interesting to see how year one plays out. I’m fortunate to be able to be able to take part in that. We’ll see how these next three to five years play out in terms of rule and the college landscape.

“There was a lot of buildup, especially at the end of June. As we all saw on July 1st, a lot of players started posting stuff about partnerships and deals and endorsements. It’s been a great opportunity.

“It’s a really cool opportunity but you have to even be more focused on time management -a real life example of budgeting your time with your time commitments. You have to pay taxes and have contract negotiations. So it’s a really good life lesson.”

Deng has also been able to dip his foot into the waters with NIL but is being deliberate with who he chooses to work with.

“I have a couple things,” said Deng. “I’m on Cameo and an initiative in Oakland, helping residents get vaccinated against coronavirus. Just doing things that align with your values and who you are. It’s more of a long game rather than a money grab.

“You use the resources around you. We have the Golden program and the Haas School of Business as resources with people who really know what they’re doing. So we lean on our resources and stay true to who we are.”

“Like Kuony said, just picking the right deals, not just jumping on anything that comes your way,” agreed Garbers. Just finding something that fits your lifestyle and your brand.”

“The university has set up a program to help with NIL. It’s been in effect that last few months. So our school’s done a really great job helping all our student athletes, whether it’s contract negotiations or filming a commercial or things like that.

“At Cal, you have a lot of people who have been there and done that. So a lot of people have a lot of experience in these industries and fields so just reaching out and using those resources that are available. That’s something Cal’s really special and good at, having all these resources available for student athletes.”

Stay tuned for more in-depth interviews with Deng and Garbers with continued coverage of today’s Pac-12 Football Media Day.

More stories:

Wilcox Kicks off 2021 Pac-12 Media Day For Cal

The Five Keys to the 2021 Cal Football Season

 
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