BERKELEY-Walking off the Nevada field on Friday night, senior Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed looked positively homicidal. Dressed in charcoal Cal sweats, the only thing darker was his countenance, fuming in frustration. He had to watch as his defense was picked apart by the Wolf Pack.
"It was tough," Mohamed said on Monday. "Especially, being a senior, you want to get every game that you can, and having to sit out, knowing that I couldn't do anything about it, it was tough. Emotions were running. But, you know, I just had to be there and support my team the best that I could, try and do a little coaching, and, unfortunately, it didn't work out.
Mohamed was largely held out of practice all last week, but only found out on Thursday that he wouldn't be cleared to play due to a sprained big toe. Mohamed knew that, in the grand scheme of his senior season, it was the right decision. That doesn't mean he had to be alright with it.
"Basically, what they said, is that I could have played, but I would have risked making it worse and I would have been out even longer," Mohamed said. "Basically, they said that if I sit out this game, I should be good to go for the rest of the season. It was a medical call. If it was up to me, pain is something I can deal with. But, it's up to the doctors."
Now, if that game had been the Big Game, or a bowl game, that would have been a different story.
"Oh yeah, definitely," Mohamed smiled. "But, it was more of a big-picture thing. We have a lot of games to go, so they thought the best thing would be to not play."
After a week of rest-including Friday night-the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder will find out tomorrow if he'll be cleared to go on Saturday in the conference opener against Arizona.
"I'm going to go see a doctor tomorrow and basically see if I get cleared or not," Mohamed said. "Most likely, I won't practice tomorrow. I'll do all the walkthrough stuff, but they just want me to be careful with it until I get the go-ahead from the doc, and then if I get the go-ahead, I'll practice on Wednesday."
The senior backer, while sidelined physically on Friday, was in every play mentally, gleaning what he could from the read-option offense of Nevada to prepare for elements of that which appear in the Wildcats scheme.
"Yeah, a little bit, they do some similar stuff," Mohamed said. "All the way around, it was a good look to get ready."
For today, Mohamed was able to don his blue practice jersey and helmet and get back to practice-albeit a light, brief one, late Monday morning.
"We just did some walkthrough, did some plays that we're going to do, a little preview of what we're going to do against Arizona, just to get guys thinking about it," Mohamed said. "As bad as last week was, we do get a fresh start. The Rose Bowl is still within reach, and it's basically a clean slate, and now we're just focused on the Pac-10."