Cal Uses Safe, Unusual Workout Routine to Prepare for . . . What?

Jake Curtis

Uncertainty is the bane of athletes, who are drilled throughout their careers to do certain things at certain times to prepare for competition that begins at a certain date. Cal linebacker Kuony Deng gave us a glimpse of the routine Cal football players are going through during voluntary workouts in this strange time, but he admits that not knowing when or if the season will start is unsettling for players.

Everything revolves around a schedule for elite college athletes, especially football players, but when there is no target date to reach peak condition, it can play on an athlete's mind.

"I have no idea," said Deng this week when asked if he has any idea if and when the football season will begin. "The only thing I can do, and the only thing my teammates can do is we can continue to work and get better. My mindset is, I'm going to be ready either way. And that's really it."

Not knowing the starting date does make it tougher.

"To be honest, man, it does, for sure" he said. "It creeps up in your mind and it's something that you think about. But you can't let it be a deterrent. I just try to set little goals that can keep me focused on that week of training. Little goals just to stay engaged.

"To be honest it is hard. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard."

Deng described the typical day during voluntary workouts, noting that the team is divided into groups of about 12 players each, with two groups at opposite ends of the field at Memorial Stadium.

"We each have our own area of the field, completely distant from each other, wear a mask," Deng said. "The only guys you physically really see are the guys in your little group that are a couple yards away from you."

After completing that workout routine, the players head off to adjacent Maxwell Field, where outdoor weights await the players.

"We each have our own platform, and we work out that way," Deng said. "It's a little tough because if you want to do front squats, you got to clean it up first. That can be a little tough because you got seven sets of front squats, so you got to clean it up each time."

The Pac-12 is expected to announce later this week the schedule for its 10-game conference-only season, which could begin on Sept. 19.

Jon Wilner of the Mercury-News has posted several Twitter messages (which lead to stories) about the upcoming announcement:

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