Yesterday was the Cal Football Fan Fest and Coach Justin Wilcox spoke to the media about this little-known subject of the 2017 opening game for the California Golden Bears as they travel to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Bears still have a little of their own work to do, but will be transitioning into game prep, including having some practices early in the day—though Wilcox says the timing shouldn’t be a big deal. Here are some highlights of his mini presser.
When asked if it’s true that there’s some overlap between Cal’s and North Carolina’s systems: “For this year’s team, we don‘t really know. We have last year’s tape to go off of and obviously they’ll be who they are, but they’ll tailor towards their strengths. They do an excellent job offensively and defensively; we have ideas of what they have shown, but again, in the first game, you never know.”
On redshirt-freshman outside linebacker Cameron Goode: “Cameron had a really strong camp. He’s really athletic, a good space tackler, and a good blitzer; we’re really excited with where he’s going. He’s got a lot to learn still, but he’s a talented athlete.”
On his method of generating competition between linebackers in the locker room: “I think any way to make things competitive. All of the guys out here are competitive by nature—it’s why you play the game—whether it’s you vs. the other guy in the room or the opponent or the offense in practice, it’s just another way to compete.”
Comparing inside linebackers Raymond Davison and Devante Downs: “Ray is kind of more of your classic inside linebacker. He runs well; he’s kind of real solid in a lot of areas. Devante is a quick-twitch guy, he’s a good blitzer, he can run vertical down the field in the pass game if you need him to, obviously he has high school background as a running back and you kind of see some of that in the way he move around. They both have really good size; they’re just a little bit different in terms of their style of play... They’ve been very eager to learn (the 3-4 system) and it’s something different for them. I think they kind of see what it allows us to do and how it can make it tough on the offenses at times... They’re both very smart and identify things well pre-snap [and communicating that are] really big parts of our defense.”
On the oft-discussed depth chart: “We’ll release [our depth chart] next week at some point. We’ve had a good amount of practice to work off of in terms of setting that depth chart. There will be some “ors” in there to be honest with you. A lot of guys have really earned their way to get reps—I know the depth chart is a hot topic, but sometimes a guy is a 2 on the depth chart and he ends up playing more plays in a game. You look at Nickel defense for example—if we don’t list the starting nickel, does that mean that guy is not a starter? No, not necessarily. We feel good about where everybody’s at and we have a good idea of where the team is right now, but there will also be guys who continue to get better throughout fall and you need [time to develop the depth chart]—if we were to stop growing right now, then we’d be in trouble, so we’ve got to continue to improve everywhere.
Men’s Water Polo
Alumna Shaney Fink made a terrible life decision and is subsequently the athletic director for a team that wears red; she discussed her career and how hard it was to wear that vile color.