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November 28, 2011
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BERKELEY -- Freshman wide receiver Kaelin Clay will not be returning to the California football team. After having a superb spring camp and a good start to fall camp, the redshirt freshman has not been with the team since before the season-opener against Fresno State.
"Kaelin Clay is not in our program," head coach Jeff Tedford said, definitively, on Monday. "He is gone from our program, and he is taking classes somewhere to help his academic situation."
As for those who are still with the team, fullback Will Kapp and defensive back Michael Coley will not be available for the bowl game.
"No, that's going to be a while," Tedford said of the injury to his senior fullback. "He had his ankle operated on, so same with him and Michael Coley. Same thing, those guys are finished for the season."
The Bears will take the majority of this week off, before resuming practice on Friday in anticipation of an as-yet-unnamed bowl berth, which will be announced on Dec. 4. The possible match-up that is perhaps the most poignant is a Holiday Bowl clash with Mack Brown and Texas, which went to the 2005 Rose Bowl in place of the 10-1 Bears.
Tedford, though, wasn't willing to speculate on any destination.
"We really don't know right now, and we're making contingency plans for different bowls, just looking at some practice schedules and so on and so forth," Tedford said. "It's great to be back in the bowl scene and be back in one of the bowls that our conference is affiliated with, and I know our players are excited and I'm really proud of the way the team has finished the year, winning three of their last four, the one coming at Stanford against Stanford by three points. I think whichever bowl game we play in, we're going to be excited to be there, and look forward to the opportunity."
Just before the call, the Pac-12 Conference announced that the Cardinal quarterback -- Andrew Luck -- was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year, while naming senior Cal inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Kendricks' partner on the inside -- D.J. Holt -- was named an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.
"I think the most important thing is that D.J. Holt was in there from the first snap to the last snap, because I think Mychal would tell you that D.J., as far as his partner inside, really helps him with communication, and they play very well together and feed off of one another," Tedford said. "The young guys outside, I mean, it's important to have good play by the inside guys, but I think more importantly than the outside guys, was having D.J. Holt next to him all year long."
The Bears will use this week and the bowl prep to get healthy and heal some nagging wounds, but one injury in particular sticks out. During the season-finale win over Arizona State, true freshman defensive back Stefan McClure went down with a knee injury late in the second quarter while helping to stop Jamal Miles on a 27-yard kickoff return.
"I think Stefan McClure, we're going to get an MRI on tomorrow," Tedford said. "Coming out of that game, he was really the only significant injury that we had. Most of the other things were just the normal things that we have in a game. For him, he has a knee injury and we're going to have the MRI tomorrow and then see how that would progress from there."
Outside linebackers Chris McCain (concussion) and David Wilkerson, Tedford said, are anticipated to return for the bowl game. Wilkerson practiced last week in a limited capacity, but McCain has yet to put on the pads since a nasty hit against Washington State.
"Yeah, I would anticipate that they would be back, ready to go," Tedford said.