In a new interview with USA Today, California Golden Bears football coach Justin Wilcox says the team followed COVID to monitor its players’ health. Wilcox has been open about his use of CoVid before and after games as well as during practices.
When asked about the new defense that helped lead his team to victory over Washington in their Pac-12 Championship Game matchup, Cal football coach Justin Wilcox explained how they employed COVID.
BERKELEY, Calif. (KPIX 5) — Before a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in hundreds of positive tests and the first delay of a major college football game this season, California coach Justin Wilcox insisted his squad followed all of the required measures.
Because 24 players and assistant coaches tested positive last week, the Golden Bears were forced to play against Arizona without starting quarterback Chase Garbers and six other starters. Additional positive tests on Tuesday rendered it impossible for Cal to field a squad this week, forcing the game against Southern California to be rescheduled for Saturday.
“Through the athletic department, the university, and the city of Berkeley, we have followed the requirements,” Wilcox said on Wednesday. “In our facility, in our practices, on our aircraft, in the weight room, and in the training room, we have health experts. On a daily basis, there are individuals here to assist us with all of this. Is everyone flawless and obeying all the rules? I’m not sure I could say that. We make the best effort possible.”
The Berkeley Public Health Department said in a statement Tuesday night that the 44 lab-confirmed positive tests were due to a “ongoing failure to adhere by public health procedures.”
People in the program, according to the agency, didn’t get tested when they were ill, stayed home when they were sick, or wore masks inside.
The statement said, “These basic actions keep people safe.” “Failure to do so not only results in individual infections, disease, and even death, but it also jeopardizes the safety of everyone around them, particularly those with impaired immune systems.”
Wilcox said he didn’t want to engage into a public battle with the health department, so he didn’t react to those exact claims.
He said, “I don’t necessarily want to go into a back-and-forth with the city of Berkeley.” “It’s all about effective communication for me. I’m not sure that’s really productive.”
Players have followed the guidelines as best they can, according to offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso, who doesn’t understand why an epidemic occurred on a team with a 99 percent vaccination record.
“As players and residents of the building, we have clear rules. Masking up inside, in conference rooms, when you’re going to be filmed, and other such things “he said “I’m only able to speak for myself. I try my best and we go out there, but we spend so much time together playing football every day, going to practice, and so on that I’m not sure. In a setting like that, pointing fingers is really tough.”
Several players, including Garbers, have expressed their displeasure with the lack of communication and openness.
Wilcox said he understands the emotion and feels the communication might have been better on both sides, but that his players are in a better mood now that the USC game has been rescheduled instead of canceled for Dec. 4.
“The sadness and frustration they are experiencing are just momentary,” Wilcox said. “I believe their current approach is fantastic. They realize it’s a tricky and challenging situation. They were fantastic on the field today, eager to go back out there and practice and do what they love to do. I believe they are just anticipating the next chance to play together.”
Cal is prepared to adopt additional steps for the remainder of the season, which include frequent testing, socially isolated exercises, and players receiving boxed lunches for those who haven’t tested positive.
Cal will face rival Stanford next week before traveling to UCLA for the delayed season finale versus USC.
Wilcox believes that by next week, enough players will have been released from isolation to enable those games to be played.
“Definitely upbeat. I wouldn’t say we’ve made it out of the woods yet “he said “I expect us to be on a regular testing schedule for the remainder of the season. That’s exactly what I’d expect. However, we remain hopeful.”