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Cal Football

Monday Practice Report: Bears Begin Big Game Week With Lively Practice

November 12, 2018

The Cal players were obviously energized during Monday’s practice as the Bears began getting ready for Saturday’s Big Game against Stanford at Memorial Stadium.

Afterwards head coach Justin Wilcox. defensive lineman Luc Bequette (the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week) and offensive lineman Jake Curhan met with the media.

Some highlights

Justin Wilcox:

  • On how he thought Luc Bequette played after watching the film: “Probably better than I did at the time. He was really, really productive, run and pass, finished on the quarterback a couple of times. Punched the ball out in a critical play in the game. He has been playing real well. Some of the time it doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. He is instrumental.”
  • On if it’s ‘cool’ for someone who doesn’t get a lot of attention to be recognized: “It is. He’s prepared really hard in the offseason, practicing, meetings and all that. He is a really steady guy, really coachable and he’s got some good tools. You put all that together. He’s got more experience. He’s learning how to play the game better and better. I’m really proud of him, and excited for him. Now he’s got to go do it again.”
  • On the defense holding the opposition to fewer than 20 points per game the last four: “We are playing better. It’s not like we installed new defenses, Our guys have executed well, made some plays, executed better. It’s just ultimately a matter of execution. They are playing confident. The more they play and the more they’re in those live situations...In practice you try to simulate that, but there’s nothing like it in a game until they get in those moments. The more you feel the speed of it, the more you know what it’s like to be out on the field, the better you’re going to get. They are playing really confidently and it’s showing up.”
  • On how big the turnover was just before the half last Saturday: “Huge. There were a few plays in there where we didn’t play real well. The first half in general we didn’t play real well in any phase. Started with the opening kickoff, which was uncharacteristic. Same thing on defense. We weren’t making plays the way we usually do. You’ve got to give them (USC) credit. They’ve got some really good players, really talented. For  Luc to chase the ball on the screen and get it out was huge”
  • On how the momentum from the USC win helps coming into Big Game week: “ We know it’s a brand new challenge. Any time you go out and have success, it give you confidence. There is alway a little bounce in their step,. We’ve had some tough stretches this season, some great wins. What’s most important is the preparation the next week. They’ve done a great job. You feel the energy, but there’s been really good energy throughout the season. Sometimes it’s more positive than others. You get a win like that against SC, against a team like that where they don’t lose there very often. I don’t know what the recent history is but they don’t lose there very much. For the guys to fight through some adversity and find a win that was awesome.”
  • On defensive lineman Aaron Maldanado: “He has gotten better and better. Aaron is still growing physically. He’s a young guy. He is one of the most natural pass-rush guys from the interior spots that we have. He has the instincts for pass rush, plays really hard. He will continue to grow in that role and also in our first and second down packages. He is doing a good job and I’m really excited about what’s in store for him.”
  • On how the BIg Game is viewed around the country. Is it viewed as “Big?: “Oh yeah. Across the country. Absolutely. For the institutions and the fans the universities, it’s really a special event. We all appreciate it. The history, that’s what makes college football so great. We approach it differently. We do our thing during the week like we always do. We need to focus on playing well, but have an appreciation for the rivalry, and what it is, the history within it, the players and teams that have been involved in it. That’s what really stands out.”


Luc Bequette:

  • Do players think about streaks against Cal,, such as USC’s, which just ended, and Stanford’s: “Not really. At least throughout the week no one is really stressing it or making a big deal of it. The team of 15 years ago, that’s their team this year and it’s a whole different team. Coach Wilcox did stress don’t focus on it. And that’s a smart thing to do. We just have to focus on us and the task at hand.”
  • On his causing the turnover right before the half: “That’s a big thing the defense always stresses. We’ve got to get turnovers, or takeaways as we call ‘em. Obviously that was a big deal to go in down 14-0 rather than 21-0. That was a big deal. On that play, I was running to the ball and we actually had kind of a miscommunication and I was a little late getting set up. That’s kind of a testament to our defense how we swarm to the ball and try to force the ball out.”
  • On defense holding opponents under 20 points last four games: “I think that’s just things starting to click more. But to be honest I think that’s still too much for us. Especially those 14 points against USC. A miscommunication on one of the plays and a bad series on another. In our minds we should be holding guys to one touchdown or less every game. No matter the opponent, no matter the offense. Even that Wazzu game, even though they have a really good offense, 19 points was way too much for us.”
  • On being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week: “It feels good, but I really did leave a lot of plays on the field. There were some bad plays in there. Still a work in progress and I’ve got to get better.”
  • On who he’s heard from: “Family, friends, teammates. That’s about it.”

Jake Curhan:

  • On was he aware of the Big Game growing up in Marin County: “I was definitely aware of it growing up where I grew up. All my friends’ parents, half of them were Cal alums, half of them were Stanford alums. My parents are from the East Coast. I didn’t really have a team growing up, Stanford or Cal. But then I started getting offers. Here I am and I’m all Cal now. You definitely knew it was going on.”

  • On whether it’s important to end Stanford’s win streak: “The history of the game is awesome, but we’re not focused on -the record of it, so to speak. It’s just another week, playing another team.”
  • On Patrick Laird’s fourth-down run that cinched the game at USC: “That was great, I think they gambled a little bit on defense, betting that we would be running straight up the middle. I guess you’ve got to do something on fourth down. It was a two-back power gap scheme, and I was planning on working a double team with the tight end. The guy we were supposed to double went straight across my face so I just threw him into the pile, the tight end climbed to a linebacker or a safety and Pat just followed him straight up. That was an awesome feeling once I saw him in front of me.”
  • On what he’s seen from quarterback Chase Garbers: “Chase gets better every week. The best thing for becoming a good football player is playing football. Practice is great, but nothing puts you in the same situations like games do. He is learning every week about reads, everyone is learning at mistakes they made and how to get better. I think it shows up for everyone just kind of getting a little bit better. Chase is doing a really good job.”

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