“I’ve been miserable in my room all week,” Cal’s Camryn Bynum said.
That changes on Friday afternoon as the senior cornerback finally got the OK to rejoin his teammates on the field.
“I’m cleared for practice today,” he said. “I’m excited.”
Bynum, one of the Bears’ top defensive players, opted out back in early September after the Pac-12 Conference postponed the fall football season because of the pandemic. Bynum decided it made more sense to focus on preparation for the NFL combine and draft.
But when the Pac-12 closed a deal with the Quidel Corporation to provide daily, rapid-response COVID-19 testing, Bynum changed his mind and decided to return to Berkeley.
He had been under precautionary quarantine until getting final approval Thursday to join his teammates at practice Friday. The Bears are beginning their second week of camp and have begun practicing in full pads. For now, Bynum won’t be allowed to participate in padded drills.
In the interim Bynum said he’s been going to a local high school field and “mimicking” his own practice.
“Doing running . . . going full speed to condition my hamstrings just so there’s no injuries. Doing a lot of footwork, a lot of DB stuff,” Bynum said. “Just doing as much as I can, doing it exactly at the same time as they practice at school so I can get my body perfectly ready.
“So when I adjust and get back on the field I probably won’t have any steps back. Just been grinding.”
Bynum said the coaches have been busy and trusted him to work on his own.
“They know what type of person I am,” he said. “I’ll stay ready and not going just be at home doing nothing.”
Bynum said he has watched daily practice film and participated in Zoom position meetings. “I’m caught up on everything,” he said. “I have a pretty good handle on the offenses so I’ll go in there and try and pick something off.”
Bynum also confirmed that the coaching staff has talked with him about potentially expanding his role at times.
“I’ll for sure be playing corner — that’ll always be my main thing,” he explained. “Nothing concrete yet, but we’ve talked about playing a little more nickel so I can be in some coverage situations inside and be a little more versatile.
“I’m excited about that, especially being able to play nickel, you’re around the ball a lot more. So if that ends up happening, I’ll be happy. If I’m just at corner, I’m fine with that, too. Wherever I can help the team most.”
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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