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Cal Football Notebook: Tackle Will Craig Back at Practice and Should Start Opener vs. Nevada

Bill Musgrave says QB Chase Garbers is `wowing' the coaching staff in practice.

Offensive tackle Will Craig, who missed much of Cal’s early training camp with an undisclosed injury, resumed practicing this week and should be ready to start the Bears’ opener against Nevada on Sept. 4.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave confirmed Craig’s updated status during a media session with reporters on Wednesday.

“Yep, he is . . . glad to have him back,” said Musgrave, noting that Craig had returned to practice with the team the past two or three days.

Asked how Craig is progressing, Musgrave said, “Great. You feel his impact when he’s out there. So very positive.”

Projected as the Bears’ starting left tackle, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound redshirt junior from Granite Bay should be good to go against Nevada, Musgrave said.

In the video above, Craig talks about how excited he is to be back after missing about two weeks with a lower-body injury. He also talks about last season when he had to miss two games while quarantining to meet COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.

Craig has played 13 games for the Bears during his career, three as a starter. He started the opener vs. UCLA last year before missing the next two games as Cal’s offensive line was largely held out due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols. He then played in the season finale, a 21-17 win over Oregon.

GARBERS WOWS COACHING STAFF: Musgrave said senior Chase Garbers, the Bears’ third-year starting quarterback, is having “an outstanding” camp.

“Yesterday he made some more strides . . . made some plays both in the pocket and out of the pocket. Decision-making, accuracy, timing and anticipation,” Musgrave said.

“He’s had an outstanding camp. He’s wowing us as a coaching staff each and every day.”

NOTHING SETTLED AT NO. 2 QB: With 10 days to go before the opener, Musgrave said the backup quarterback job still isn’t resolved. “Not quite yet,” he said.

Grad transfer Ryan Glover, who was cleared to practice late last week, is dueling redshirt sophomore Zach Johnson and incoming freshman Kai Miller for the assignment.

“I think we’ll have a clearer picture of it next week,” Musgrave said.

Glover, who has previously played at Penn and Western Carolina, practice just twice before the Bears’ final open scrimmage last Saturday.

“It’s crash-course time for Ryan Glover,” Musgrave said. “Trying to get him up to speed as quickly as we can and see where he is when we get to next week.

“He may make a mistake, like all of us. But he’s not a mistake-repeater. He applies those lessons as he goes forward.”

MOVING ON WITHOUT WOODSON: With redshirt sophomore safety Craig Woodson shelved by a season-ending lower-body injury, the Bears are looking for someone to step into his backup role.

Elijah Hicks, Daniel Scott and Florida State transfer Raymond Woodie III have been the Bears’ top players at those two positions, and defensive coordinator said sophomore Miles Williams is working hard to generate playing time.

“Miles Williams is a young player that we’re really high on,” he said. “He’s done a nice job. He plays with a lot of energy. He’s got nice range. He has the opportunity of kind of overlapping with some range on the deep part of the field.”

Addressing the loss of Woodson, a native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Sirmon said, “That’s an unfortunate situation for him and the team. We wish him nothing but the best as he gets back to full health.”

Other young safeties getting some notice from the coaching staff include freshman Hunter Barth and sophomore Dejuan Butler.

“We’ll see what the rotation is,” Sirmon said, “and how we utilize everybody and what their roles are on special teams and how that we ask them to play on defense.”

EXPECTING MORE FROM MO: Sophomore inside linebacker Mo Iosefa returned to practice last week after missing time, and Sirmon is excited to have him back.

“He’s shown some real glimpses, some real flashes in the limited roles he participated in last year,” Sirmon said. “He has a big upside for us, so (we’re) just trying to get him back in the groove of football. I expect him to be a big part of the defense.”

Iosefa played a big role in Cal’s upset of Oregon last season, collecting five tackles and making a key fumble recovery in the final minute to help secure the 21-17 win. He is projected as a starter this season.

Cover photo of Cal offensive tackle Will Craig when he wore jersey No. 75 courtesy of Cal Athletics

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo