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Justin Wilcox discusses returning Cal players, expects more transfers this summer
In his National Signing Day press conference, the California Golden Bears head coach talked about potential difference makers returning after a long absence.
We talked about Justin Wilcox’s answers to incoming signees and coaches. Today we go into his answers on other topics crucial to the near-term future of Cal football.
Video below, with answers mostly transcribed underneath.
On spring practice injuries:
I guess the guys that would be out for spring: [Akili] Calhoun, [Collin] Gamble, [Darius] Long, Brett [Johnson], Mason Mangum, Tyson McWilliams, Jaedon Roberts, Mason Starling -- those guys will be out. Back for spring we think in some capacity would be Lu-[Magia Hearns], Kaleb Higgins, TJ Session, Bastian Swinney, which Bastian's a guy hasn't played very much -- he's been dinged up since, he's been here. Be really important for him to get a solid spring ball. Derek Wilkins, who we lost last spring. [Matthew Cindric] will be back in spring. And then a number of other guys that were dinged up last year, but as many guys as we can possibly get in spring ball the better.
On BRETT JOHNSON giving it another go after two straight season-ending injuries:
“Things don't phase Brett, and I know he has been through a lot last couple years too, season ending injuries. And for some folks that might be something that would be tough to overcome or maybe seem insurmountable, but he is just kind of a unique character that way. I, I think after the injury he had last fall, so he was going to miss his second year in a row, which is rough. And I think for about a day he was in the tank. And then after that, I mean he's just like a machine man. He comes in, he works out, he does his rehab and he's got a really impressive mindset. And so I'm not worried about him mentally or emotionally. Physically. He looks really good and he's just it's been a couple years, but I think he's going to come back and play really good football."
He'll do some things I think in the spring, but we'll hold him out of essentially everything that would be contact.”
On the return of Stanley McKenzie:
“Stanley was home in the fall. Stanley has been through a lot in his time here. We love Stan and he's back. He looks great. He's doing really well and he's a nose guard, interior lineman for us. He's a super, super guy and we love his family and we just we're glad he is here … looking forward to supporting him and watching him grow into the player that he can become."
On more newcomers arriving at Cal by this fall, particularly at offensive line and quarterback:
“I'd probably put it around five to seven. That's my best guess as of today. But again, these things are so dynamic, but that's what I would anticipate that.
Offensive line certainly fits into that category where we could add a player or two in the late spring, early summer.
It wouldn't be surprising to see another scholarship player added [at quarterback] this summer. Again, just depends on how everything goes and that the quarterback position in general is always going to be one where there's going to be a lot of movement. That's how it is in college football.”
On what the future holds for grayshirt Nick Morrow
“[Nick] was a defensive end tight end from Flagstaff and he was tall, 6’7”, probably maybe 230, 240. And we put him through a bunch of drills and he ran pretty dang good and caught the ball pretty impressively for a guy that size who was I think 17 at the time. So we signed him or ended up gray shirting him where he sat out last fall and he just showed up here midyear. He came to some games and things like that last year and now he is, oh, he might be 280, 285. He is a big, big kid and really long arms and tall and we're going to play him at offensive line.”