Cal Football: Coronavirus Pandemic Isn't Taking Down Christopher Brown Jr.

Photo by Neville E. Guard, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

Christopher Brown Jr. is attacking the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic with the same approach he uses as a running back for the Cal football team.

Armed with preparation and confidence, it’s full speed ahead for the junior from Oceanside.

“Life’s going to keep on going. You can’t stop because we have a little block in the road,” Brown says. “Life’s going to keep on moving. We’ve just got to keep on moving, too.”

That’s not to suggest that Brown is taking the coronavirus lightly. He explains in the video above the process of being cautious and staying clean is now virtually second nature.

He and teammates are reminding one another to be smart about this.

“Being cautious and mindful who you’re around. Just keeping your distance,” he says. “That’s the most important thing we can really do right now, being mindful of our situations. Basically the conversations are just looking out for one another, making sure we’re all staying smart.”

Asked about his comfort level with wearing a protective face covering, Brown responds without a hint of the political aspect that has become such a big part of the mask discussion.

“I’m comfortable with it,” he says. “That’s the life we have to live by to protect ourselves.”

This was a big week for Brown, named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which will be given to the nation’s top running back. Off camera, Brown acknowledged he doesn’t know anything about Walker, and that’s totally understandable. He played at SMU and was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1948 — 72 years ago.

Brown is among 76 running backs on the watch list, 10 of them from the Pac-12. His 914 rushing yards last season are second-most by any returning back in the conference.

He is appreciative of being included in that group.

“It was the first time I was up for something like that so it’s truly a blessing,” Brown says. “But in the back of my head I know that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. It is pretty cool.”

The work that needs to be done has begun with the voluntary on-campus workouts Brown is embracing. They include running and weight lifting in an entirely new setting,

“The weight room’s outside,” he explains, alluding to the fact that Cal’s primary football weight room at Memorial Stadium remains closed and off-limits. “It’s cool because you get the same work in. . . . I’m really excited that we’re back to our hard-working ways.”

The routine includes carefully wiping down all equipment each time he uses it. But Brown is not consumed by the specter of the pandemic.

“I’m not really nervous because once you do the right things to protect yourself and stay clean, it kind of comes naturally now, what you’re supposed to do,” he says.

The Pac-12 Conference already has scrubbed all non-conference games from the football schedule, but Brown remains confident there will be a season.

“I’m a natural-born dude who just loves football, so I’m ready to go whenever,” he says.

Before the games are played, teams must figure out a way to safely practice.

Asked if knows what fall training camp might look like, Brown offers a big smile.

“No, not at all. I don’t really know anything,” he says, “but I’m sure we’ll have some people from above figuring everything out.”

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

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