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Cal Football

Cal Football Saturday 8/27 Report

August 27, 2022

In only one week the Bears will finally be starting their season against the UC Davis Aggies, and the team is itching to start playing. Following practice on the mic today, Wilcox said that although the team has a lot to work on they are pumped and excited for what's ahead. 

“We have the utmost respect for [UC Davis], their coaching staff, and their players,” said Wilcox. “We’re focused on just going out and playing our best game. We still need some prep before we're ready, but by the time Saturday gets here our guys will be ready to go. They are chomping at the bit to start playing.”

As much as the team is excited to get out there, they also recognize that Davis is a solid team that will not likely be a pushover.

“They just don't make many mistakes,” Wilcox said. “They’re going to play really hard, they run to the ball on defense to limit the big plays, offensively they can stretch you and create issues with different formations and motions. And then they have good players. We know what kind of players they have.” 

Having worked with Dan Hawkins, the UC Davis Football coach, Wilcox knows a little bit about what the team can expect, and how their offense can potentially challenge the Bears. 

“They are going to be well coached,” Wilcox said. “Offensively, they’re going to give you issues with perimeter and motions and formation. They do a really good job with their offense, and defensively same thing. I mean they know what they're doing and as you could expect from any team coach Hawkins is involved with, they're going to be really good on special teams.”

Disappointingly the Bears will be missing a major piece of their team as they head into this game, and the rest of the season: Brett Johnson.

“Johnson suffered an injury during practice - it’s a lower-body injury and Brett, unfortunately, is going to miss the 2022 campaign,” Wilcox said. “It's unrelated to his previous injury, and just devastating for him. Everyone hurting for him.” 

“I don’t want to speak for [Brett], but as you can imagine like we all would be, he's pretty frustrated and devastated. He puts a lot of time into this. The amount of time and effort and energy he put into his initial rehab was so impressive. He physically and mentally is one of the toughest people, if not the toughest that I’ve ever been around on the football field, so everyone appreciates him and what he's done here, it's just so unfortunate, so were gonna be there to support him in any way possible.”

Since Johnson will not be able to play for the rest of the season, Wilcox said that other players are going to have to step up to try to help fill that void. 

“Ricky Correia, Ethan, Jaedon Roberts - who had a really strong camp, Darius Long, Nate Burrell - who we think has made a jump during camp, Gunner Rask - who’s been with us a long time, and Akili Calhoun. There will be a couple of them. There's not one guy that can just slide into Johnson’s spot - you know. Brett is an accomplished player, he’s a very very good football player. So for our team, certainly that hurts, but these other guys have been working really hard and it will be their time.”

As for the rest of the team, Wilcox is hoping that with all of the work they have been putting in, they will be able to bring it next Saturday. He is also looking forward to seeing what the new offense can do once they are in a real pressure situation. 

“We are very very optimistic about the guys on our offense, there's some fairly inexperienced players. I mean when you look at the statistics there’s not a lot of returning catches,” Wilcox said. “There will be a lot of new faces, but we are very optimistic and excited about the guys that are out there - and they’re gonna have their chance now. There are some guys that have been playing in those positions in previous years who had been there for a few years, and now it’s this next group's turn, and they’ve done a really good job in camp and made some really good plays. Ultimately the first test is on Saturday. Really really looking forward to those guys getting out on the field and getting those opportunities.”

With several new, the offense will likely have a different feel and style to it, especially with the presence of Jack Plummer, who has continued to do a great job stepping into his role on the team. 

“We will always as a program lean on what the players do well, and Jack is a very good passer. We’re excited to utilize his skills just like we are the guys at receiver and running back and tight end and some of the other positions. We really want to try to build the offense around what some of those guys do well. Jack is a very smart guy, he’s serious about football, he’s a talented passer, and I think he’s earned the respect of his teammates rather quickly.”

The Bears will be back in action Monday as they continue to prep for Saturday’s 1:00 kickoff.

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