Cal will have most of its starting offensive line back on the field again for Oregon on Saturday, coach Justin Wilcox reported Wednesday night.
The Bears’ two starting offensive tackles, senior Jake Curhan and redshirt sophomore Will Craig, both have been cleared after two weeks in COVID-19 quarantine and will play.
Senior guard Valentino Daltoso, who joined his mates in quarantine, has not yet been given the OK to play when the Bears face the Ducks at Memorial Stadium. “We don’t know yet,” Wilcox said.
Likewise, tight end Collin Moore and outside linebacker Braxten Croteau are cleared while Wilcox said the Bears “anticipate” inside linebacker Evan Tattersall being back.
In this video, Wilcox goes through the checklist of players who will or won't be available to face the Ducks on Saturday:
Running back Christopher Brown Jr., who missed the Oregon State game and played just the second half against Stanford last week because of an injury, sounds ready to go against the Ducks.
“He’s had a good week and looking forward to him competing,” Wilcox said.
Brown has rushed for 1,113 yards in his Cal career and he scored the touchdown with 58 seconds left against Stanford that would have tie the Big Game except the PAT kick was blocked.
Curhan is one of the Bears’ most experienced players, having started 38 consecutive games before sitting out the past two because of the COVID protocols.
Freshman nose guard Stanley McKenzie, who has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury, is a game-time decision, Wilcox said, as is reserve wide receiver Tommy Christakos.
Wilcox said players were cleared by 1 p.m. on Wednesday, allowing all of them to participate in meetings and practice.
“I think even veterans need to practice,” he said. “Even people who have played the game for 20 years still need to practice in order to play. The more reps and experience they have, the quicker they tend to get back into the rhythm, so it was important to have them back at practice today.”
Wilcox agreed there’s an emotional benefit to the team to have their teammates back at practice, but it also impacts things from a practical standpoint.
“Anytime we can have a majority of the team on the field that’s a good thing,” Wilcox said. “We would still love to be able to have the entire team practice together. That’s not in the cards right now but the more the merrier.
“It just helps everyone, not only from the emotional aspect of having all your buddies back. It also matters for reps.”
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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