Aug. 22, 1997
Willis Returns to Football Practice at Full Strength
TURLOCK -- One day after going through two long sessions that included a one-hour scrimmage, the Cal football team practiced in shorts Thursday morning. In the afternoon, the Bears came back in 93-degree heat to go a full 2 1/2 hours in pads.
"We wanted to give the team a little bit of a breather in the morning to get their legs back," said head coach Tom Holmoe. "We needed to come back hard this afternoon. They responded with a great practice."
In the afternoon sun, Cal did 7-on-7 drills followed by a long 11-on-11 session, making it one of the most physical practices of the camp.
The Bears received some good news on the day with several injured players returning to action. Tailback Brandon Willis, who suffered a stinger two days ago, was back a full strength Thursday afternoon. The secondary added three more players to its ranks with the return of cornerback Harold Pearson (ankle) and safeties David Burnside (ankle) and Marquis Smith (hamstring).
In addition, the prognosis on defensive tackle Brandon Whiting's knee remains positive. Whiting bruised the knee in Wednesday's scrimmage, but there was limited swelling overnight. The Cal medical staff believes he'll be back on the field next week.
Friday will be the last day of two-a-days in Turlock. The Bears finish with a scrimmage Saturday at 9 a.m. and return to Berkeley later that day. The first practice on campus will be Tuesday afternoon.