Football rolls on: Bears cleared for 75-player practices

Sam Albillo/Staff

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Update 10/10/2020: This article has been updated to include an interview with Justin Wilcox.

Cal became the final Pac-12 school to gain clearance from local health authorities for expanded practices, according to a tweet from Jon Wilner and a report from 247Sports.

“Our players are back on campus and preparing for a Friday start to our fall practice as we prepare for our Nov. 7 opener,” said Cal football head coach Justin Wilcox at Pac-12 media day Wednesday.

At that point, however, Cal football had not been cleared to play. While Wilcox had anticipated clearance on either Wednesday or Thursday, it did not come until Thursday evening.

The health clearance from local officials allows Wilcox and the Bears to return to play in cohorts of 75 players, much larger than the previous cohorts of 16-18. The larger groups will give the blue and gold more flexibility, but it will still be a fall camp unlike any other.

“We’re still going to have to adjust going forward; I don’t think this is going to be plug and play,” Wilcox said. “The 75-person (practices), you have to be deliberate with who’s in that group, how do you want to practice, how long is the practice, how many reps per player, how much individual (work), because the lines get shorter.”

Cal will break its practices down into two groups: Wilcox implied that one will consist of those less likely to play, while the other will include those more likely to play. However, the Bears’ coach went on to state that players from both groups will get playing time and will be expected to contribute.

Though the blue and gold enter this season with high expectations, their focus remains on tomorrow and a safe return to practice.

Jasper Kenzo Sundeen covers football and is the deputy special issues editor. Contact him at [email protected].