Cal Football: Bears Have Their Most Physical Practice of the Year Tuesday

Jake Curtis

Cal responded to the disppointing, lopsided loss to UCLA with what quarterback Chase Garbers called the Bears' most physical practice of the year on Tuesday.

"It was a very physical practice," Garbers said Tuesday night in the video above. "You could definitely hear the pads popping from outside the stadium.

"Tuesday is more of our physical pactices, but it definitely was a lot more physical than usual, and definitely a lot more physical than we have seen probably since last fall camp."

So why was Tuesday's practice the most physical since the 2019 preseason camp? A couple things. One, the health restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 prevented hand-to-hand contact in the preseason and in conditioning workouts, Two, the absence of all of the Bears' defensive linemen the past two weeks due to virus contact tracing prevented the Cal offensive line from blocking against a would-be opposing line and completely eliminated running plays from the practice plan.

"Having the defenive line back for the first time in about 14 days was awesome," Garbers said.

Of course, the frustration resulting from the Bears' poor showing in the 34-10 loss to UCLA probably had something to do with the physical nature of the practice.

"It was a good legitimate practice, that's for sure, first legitimate one we've had in a number of weeks," Cal offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Wednesday regarding Tuesday's workout. "The D-line was back and we got some good work in."

**Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave talks about Tuesday's practice:

Whether the addition of the defensive line to practice and the physical workout make any difference will be determined on Saturday when Cal plays Oregon State (0-2) in Corvallis, Oregon, for 12:30 p.m. game.

"We're looking to make a big jump, big leap from Week 1 to Week 2," Musgrave said. "That goes for any season, especially this season where we're a new group on offense and we finally got on the field, which was great."

But one good practice with a full complement of defensive linemen is not enough.

"It's a physical game, it's 11-on-11, and it's best to train that way, in preparation for something you're going to do on game day," Musgrave said.  "So it was a good practice, and we're looking to have another one. You need to stack a number of good practices in line this week, so we can have a chance to get that result that we want on game day."

Obviously a lot of work needs to be done on the offensive side.  The hiring of Musgrave and his NFL-style offense brought a lot of hope that the Golden Bears' offense would show more variety and more production than it had the past two seasons, when Cal finished last in the Pac-12 in scoring both seasons.

However, Cal's offense did not show much in its 2020 opener, collecting just 178 yards of offense and just 10 points. And three of those points came after a blocked punt gave Cal the ball at the UCLA 17-yard line.

After one game, the Bears rank last in the conference in points per game and yards per game. In fact, the second-lowest-ranked Pac-12 team in total offense, Oregon State, is averaging 351.5 yards, virtually twice as many yards per game as Cal.

Cal is operating in a normal practice situation this week, so you would think the Bears will show noticeable improvement on offense against an Oregon State team that has yielded an average of 32.5 points and 432 yards over its first two games.

"Obviously we have a game under our belt," Garbers said. "I think we'll be better because, especially up front, our offensive line hasn't touched anybody in 14 days   Having the defensive line back for the first time in about 14 days, with the D-line being out, so going against UCLA was their first time going against a live defensive front in about two weeks, so having the D-line back will definitely help our guys up front.

"We can have full-preparation practices leading up. These past two weeks haven't been real practices."

**Chase Garbers talks about the UCLA game and Tuesday's practice:

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