Cal found out Thursday night that it will be playing a seven-game conference-only schedule starting Nov. 6, but now the Golden Bears must figure out how to be ready to play a game by then.
"It's a tight window, no doubt about it," Cal coach Justin Wilcox said Thursday night before later adding, "I wouldn't say we're ready to play today."
So far Cal players have engaged in workouts that involve cohorts of 12 players at a time, with no pads and no contact.
The Bears received clearance from City of Berkeley health officials this week to expand those cohorts to 25 players, and the Bears will begin practice under those guidelines on Friday. Players within those cohorts can now handle and throw a football, although they will not wear pads and there will be no contact.
If things go as planned, that two-week ramp-up period will lead to a regular training camp that will begin on Oct. 9.
**Cal head coach talks about the ramp-up period
"I anticipate the first day of our camp being October 9, but that has not been confirmed yet, but that's what we have been prepped for," Wilcox said. "In the meantime we would be under 12-hour rules [per week] under the current public health guidelines, which is cohorts of 25. Hopefully that grows with our daily testing implemented next week, and then anticipating camp starting October 9, which is a Friday."
Cal athletic diretor Jim Knowlton anticipates that daily COVID-19 testing will begin in the middle of next week. That testing is required for teams to proceed to the next phase of practice.
Beginning training camp on Oct. 9 would give the Bears four weeks of training-camp work before the Nov. 6 opener.
Another critical aspect to this decision is that players who participate in the fall Pac-12 season will not be charged a season of eligibility.
"That's what I've been told," Wilcox said.
In other words a senior who plays for Cal this fall could come back next fall and play another season of football. Or a junior who plays this fall would be a junior again next fall.
Cal has had some players opt out of the fall season for a variety of reasons, and Wilcox said a revised roster of available players will be released in the coming days.
Cornerback Camryn Bynum is the only Cal player who has publicly announced that he will opt out this season, and it is unclear whether he will have the opportunity or desire to opt back in given the new decision to play football this fall.
**Wilcox discusses players who may be opting out of the fall season
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