Click here to view staff photographer Ross Cameron’s slideshow from Monday’s scrimmage.
Cal’s first football scrimmage of fall camp was just about what first-year coach Sonny Dykes expected — a mix of encouraging moments and predictable mistakes.
“That’s kind of what this team is right now, seven practices in,” Dykes said Monday evening. “We’re kind of an explosive team offensively that executes decently from time to time but is a little bit mistake-prone. That’s why you have a scrimmage.”
The Bears squared off in full pads for the first time for about one hour before safety Avery Sebastian was injured in a collision and taken to Highland Hospital.
Prior to that, Dykes saw enough to feel encouraged.
“Overall, I’m pretty pleased,” he said. “I think we have an opportunity to be an explosive football team.”
It didn’t start well. The defense had 12 players on the field for the first play and running back Brendan Bigelow fumbled a pitch. “It was kind of Keystone Kops the first play,” Dykes said.
Quarterbacks Zach Kline and Jared Goff, announced the day before as the two finalists for the starting job, shared most of the snaps. Kline, who directed two scoring drives, was 7 for 12 for 69 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pasas to 6-foot-6 defensive end Chris McCain, who lined up as a receiver.
Goff was 10 for 15 for 118 yards, including a 59-yard TD pass to freshman running back Khalfani Muhammad. Third-string quarterback Austin Hinder was 4 for 6 for 64 yards and scored on a 5-yard keeper.
“It was a good experience for those guys,” said Dykes, unwilling to suggest that either quarterback gained the upperhand. “I thought guys made good throws at time. Obviously, our game management has got to improve.”
Sophomore running back Daniel Lasco scored the only other TD of the scrimmage on an 80-yard run. Bigelow, coming off knee surgery in the spring, rushed five times for 31 yards.
Dykes was pleased with linebackers Jalen Jefferson and Hardy Nickerson.
The Bears held a half-dozen potential starters out of the scrimmage, including offensive tackle Freddie Tagaloa, defensive end Brennan Scarlett, linebacker Nick Forbes and cornerback Stefan McClure, all to rest past ailments.
Receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper missed the scrimmage to attend a study session for a test.
The Bears have scheduled a second scrimmage for Saturday at 4 p.m. Cal opens its season Aug. 31 at home against Northwestern.
Dykes said there is much work to do. “As we all know, we have miles and miles to go,” he said. “It’s a good thing we didn’t play today.”
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