Discover more from Write For California
Justin Wilcox features: The Athletic profiles the Cal head coach, who knows he must improve
A host of stories surrounding the leader of California Golden Bears football, both positive and negative.
A host of Justin Wilcox profiles have dropped in anticipation of a pivotal season for the Bears and for Wilcox’s tenure at Cal. After three straight (two straight non-COVID) losing seasons with the Bears, a turnaround for the Cal head coach really is needed to convince a lot of fans that this is the guy.
The Athletic dropped a great profile about Cal football ($), about whether the program could ever return to the heights they experienced with Jeff Tedford, and if Justin Wilcox is the person who can steward that resurgence.
Wilcox freely admits that what he has done in his first six seasons on the job hasn’t been good enough.
“There needs to be expectations, and those expectations are to win,” Wilcox said. “It should be that way. As much as you can feel that potentially from people outside the building, fans or media, I totally understand it. If that is ever greater than the own expectations you have for yourself, you should probably leave and just do something else.”
Wilcox had a free interview with Athlon Sports where he went into detail about how the transfer portal has completely changed the game, as the Bears have turned over their roster significantly.
"It's absolute meritocracy...We want to raise the floor on the talent of the program. Our job is to bring in as many talented players who are going to fit in here at Cal on and off the field and let those guys compete. In previous years before the transfer portal had really taken hold, you could kind of forecast not only your own team but other teams to see what was coming down the pipe so to speak for the next couple years, you don't do that anymore. There's going to be guys that come in and there's guys that leave your program and that's part of and ultimately we want to be net positive and we certainly were this offseason."
Wilcox also shouted out the efforts of Cal’s NIL in the chat with Athlon.
"We know it's extremely competitive in terms of what the dollar amounts that are being raised throughout the country but we are very fortunate to have great support for that."
Wilcox was interviewed by Cal Rivals ($), and talked about what new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital brings to the table with regards to his offensive game.
"He's been fantastic. He's a really good guy. Just philosophically, the way he sees the game, he's just got a really good knowledge base, he communicates it well and the players, I think, it's different for them and they're learning a lot, and he's a guy that teaches it well and is real approachable. The interaction he has with the players is really, really good, and the coaching staff as well -- he's just been a real pleasure to have here.
"He's a real sharp guy, sees the game really well, has a philosophy on offensive football and also has enough flexibility, whether it's different styles of quarterbacks -- he's been really successful [with] quarterbacks but they're not all the same. Some of the guys are kind of RPO runners, some of the guys are sitting in there and throwing it -- the Will Grier's and the Davis Webb's -- so he's had these different types of guys and he's built offenses around that position really well. Fortunate to have him."
In the second part of the interview ($), Wilcox discussed spring standouts.
“If you went through the position groups ... yeah, there were guys that played well that we expected to play well in spring, and then there were some guys that we felt like really kind of took a leap. If you look on defense, I would say Myles Jernigan at outside linebacker was a guy that was noticeable. The defensive backfield, the guys that stood out -- Craig Woodson and Nohl Williams, I thought had really strong spring balls.
"Offensively, the tight end group was new for the most part and all those guys did something to show they're going to help us in the fall. I thought Monroe Young at receiver had a really good spring. It's pretty cool that a sixth-year senior is one of the most improved guys on the team because a lot of times that big jump happens in their first or second year, but man, I thought Monroe had a heck of a spring, which was really satisfying to watch a guy whose put in so much time make that big of an improvement."
All of these interviews are worth checking out (thousands of words on Cal football! Thousands!) if you don’t mind spending a few dollars!