Cal Plans to Limit Offensive Package to Perfect Basics in Odd Season

Cal offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave

Jake Curtis

You may not see the full NFL offensive package offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave brings to Cal until late in the 2020 season, and possibly not until next season.

Not only do the Bears have a completely new offensive system with three new offensive coaches (Musgrave, offensive line coach Angus McClure and running backs coach Aristotle Thompson), but they have to put it together with a limited spring session, a long layoff and an unusual preseason due to COVID-19. And they must be ready by the time they play their critical Nov. 7 season opener against Washington.

So Musgrave is more intent on having the players fully understand the concepts of the offense than adding all the bells and whistles of his entire package.

Through two preseason practices, Musgrave has not introduced many details of the offense, which will be directed by quarterback Chase Garbers.

"We've really installed just some basic foundations and basic concepts, so it's been pretty bare bones" he said Sunday prior to the third practice. "The guys haven't played football since March. We're not really going to get on the gas pedal until we get back into football mode, football rhythm. We're working back through it in a methodical, deliberate pace. We want these guys to stay healthy and continue to practice throughout the month."

Musgrave expects to accelerate the installation process in the later stages of preseason camp, but that does not leave a lot of time for perfecting each nuance if intricate details are added.

As a result Musgrave is introducing only the basic concepts of the offense to everyone.

"We are going to keep the volume, the number of concepts under control," he said, "so we can get good at a few things, and have enough turns here in October that when we do play in November we know what we're doing. We don't want guys unsure of anything. That's going to require, with a limited amount of time, a limited number of concepts."

Musgrave made it clear that Devon Modster is the No. 2 quarterback, which is an important position considering Garbers was able to start and finish only seven of 13 games last season because of injuries.

Spencer Brasch got one start last year as a true freshman, but Musgrave said Garbers and Modster are getting virtually all the reps in practice, while the other quarterbacks get the "scraps."

Two things people can expect to see in the Musgrave offense is the periodic use of a fullback and a more sophisticated use of the tight end position in the passing game.

"We value tight ends like none other," Musgrave said. "The tight ends can really make us multi-faceted and diverse."

And Mugrave promises to bring back the forogtten fullback position in the I formation. It's one of the reasons the Bears brought in .Drew Schlegel, a grad transfer from Kentucky who played the H-back position with the Wildcats and will play a similar fullback position with the Bears.

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