“Jahvid will not play,” Coach Jeff Tedford said after Wednesday’s practice.
“Jahvid is doing excellent, but he’s been out a long time and since this game is so early, to get him back in game-ready form I don’t feel like that’s something that we can get done to have him ready to play. He’s doing excellent with his rehab, but this game is so early.”
Best has not played or practiced since sustaining a concussion Nov. 7 versus Oregon State. The severity of the injury forced medical personnel to transport him to Highland General Hospital in Oakland for an overnight stay. He was released from the hospital on Nov. 8.
Despite Best missing the final three regular-season games, he earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors and shared the club’s MVP award. He finished the season with 867 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns (12 rushing, 4 receiving).
In his absence, Shane Vereen has stepped up admirably, especially in gutsy performance against ranked opponents Arizona and Stanford in consecutive weeks. Vereen has averaged 148 yards in his three starts since Best’s injury. Over half of his season production – 88 of 163 carries and 444 of 830 yards – came in those three games.
On Dec. 23, he will oppose a Utah defense that allows 141.3 yards per game, which ranks 57th in the nation. Considering Arizona only allows 111.9 yards per game and Stanford and Washington rank similar with the Utes against the run, at 61st (144.5) and 66th (148.8), respectively, Vereen should be in store for another productive game.
Cal vs. No. 23 Utah, Dec. 23, 5 p.m. PT
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