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Football: Bears respond with what Dykes calls `probably the best practice we’ve had’

By Jeff Faraudo
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 at 10:20 pm in Football, Training camp.

A day after the Bears watched teammate Avery Sebastian taken away in an ambulance after being injured in a scrimmage, they delivered what coach Sonny Dykes called “probably the best practice we’ve had this year, maybe since I’ve been here.”

Dykes said he and his staff were concerned about how the players might respond following Monday’s difficult circumstances.

 ”They were ready. They answered the call today in a big way,” he said. “Very, very productive practice. I was really pleased with the way we came out and worked today.”

Dykes was pleased despite the fact he had a number of players absent from practice in order to attend to academics as the end of the summer session approaches.

“The way they’ve practiced so far, it’s OK. They’ve come out and worked hard,” he said. “Obviously, academics is going to be critical for us. We’re going to let them go when they have to take care of something.”

Asked if any players are on the fence academically and could be at risk, Dykes said, “I don’t think so, no. A couple guys if they had a disastrous summer school might be in question, possibly Moose (Mustafa Jalil), possibly Chris McCain.

“But they’re both doing fine in their classes and anticipate them being with us.”

*****

– Dykes said the quarterback race between Zach Kline and Jared Goff remains close enough that he doesn’t anticipate naming a starter before the end of the week.

Goff got most of the reps Tuesday with the first team, but Dykes said that will be reversed on Wednesday.

Still, he said both were very good Tuesday. “I thought this was the sharpest they’ve been,” Dykes said. “You would expect that because they’ve gotten more reps.”

Both quarterbacks are making quicker reads now, but staying out of third-and-long situations remains an issue for the entire offense.

*****

– Without safety Avery Sebastian for at least the time being, redshirt freshman Damariay Drew got more time with the first team. He made the best of it, Dykes said.

“Thought he had a good day. He showed up a lot more,” Dykes said. “Demariay is one of those guys who just gets better and better the more reps he gets. This is his opportunity to make a name for himself.”

*****

– The Bears also welcomed back to practice safety Alex Logan, who has been sidelined with a foot injury. “Obviously, he’s chomping at the bit to practice. We’ve really progressed him slowly,” Dykes said. “It was good to get him back out there. Saw him moving around — he looked pretty comfortable.”

*****

– Also back in action was middle linebacker Nick Forbes, who has done very little the past week because of tightness in his back.

*****

– Sidelined was linebacker Khairi Fortt (bruised knee). Still on the shelf are receiver Maurice Harris (hand) and defensive back Trey Cheek (hamstring).

*****

– Earning praise from Dykes were a pair of redshirt freshmen running backs who are fighting for a spot in the mix — Jonah Hodges and Jeffrey Coprich. “Jonah’s one of those guys everytime you call his number he seems to make plays for you.

“Coprich has kind of been the same way,” Dykes said. “Both of those guys are quick, they’re elusive. Both are improving as receivers coming out of the backfield.”

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  • Juancho

    Anyone else feel lke jeffs new twitter handle should be @jeffTHECATfaraudo ?

  • ScottyBear

    Goff must be pretty special, not just another Elite 11 who comes to Cal and falls into the mix. To be in the running to start as a true freshman in a brand new high-octane offense is quite impressive. I have seen Kline play for several years at San Ramon and he has that swagger and talent that jumps at at you. Not having seen Goff play it’s hard to imagine him being as good, but he certainly must be. Anyone here see Goff play in high school? Thoughts?

  • ConcordBear

    I have seen Goff play one game in person.
    He impressed me with his pocket presence, confidence and overall skill. But, biggest two things that stood out to me about him were really good feet and instincts.
    He must be improving and getting stronger because it’s not easy to be in the running to Start as a true frosh. He must be really good.
    Kline has huge potential. Really like him too.
    I love that we have two really promising young QB’s battling for snaps!

  • http://aol PeteBear

    saw Goff play MCAL for 2 years. Pretty consistent with what you see now. Seems more improved in the run area. Needed to improve on pocket evasion and that seems to be coming. Was way too lean in HS; seems to have added 15 lbs to get to 195 now. If his frame is ready now for the beating he is the safe choice; seems strange to say, but I just don’t have a fix on Kline and his willingness to look off the narrow window/high yield opportunity. With a lighter pre-conf schedule you could take that risk, but that is not the schedule we have. If Goff remains consistent and growing I open with him; if NW and OSU blow us out early plenty of time to test whether Kline can deliver on the high yield/high risk potential when we are trying to play catch-up ball. Dikes said last saturday that once he picks the QB he goes with that guy on 75+% of practice reps. I can understand that, kind-of, but don’t think that is smart this year. He needs to develop (and keep happy) both young players. Go 60/40 on reps and give each sustained playing time in the first 3 games. If the offense is as potentially potent as he said yesterday, there will be big plays from both and the crowd will be happy. Dikes trying to focus on hitting the bulls-eye with both NW and OSU is “admirable” but not realistic. If Dikes essentially “sits” the second guy because he is trying to pull off upsets that is kind of like Kline trying to hits a window that is too small and closing. He needs to assess both players in action. If Dikes wants to establish a TEAM and build enthusiasm in the fan base he should play both, evaluate them based on that and hope that the scoreboard will produce many, many points, whether we win or lose. That’s my $1.25.

  • Juancho

    Folks if Goff is named the starter, Kline will announce his transfer.

    Whereas if Kline is named the starter, Goff does not announce his transfer.

    From an investment standpoint, there is only one decision here that maximizes our position.

  • http://aol PeteBear

    Juancho–That is the same logic that Tedford fell prey to–keeping Manyard as QB because he was afraid that Allen would leave if he didn’t. If Kline leaves because he is beat out by the better QB based on the body of work before Dikes, then so be it. You don’t sit the better QB because you are afraid that the lesser one will leave. In any event, he still has Hinder and will have Rubenzer coming next year. I’m tired of applying an approach that maximizes theoretical long term return by sacrificing today.

    But you miss my point. Don’t make the decision today based on practices. Play them both in NW, PS and OSU. Then decide. What do you give the odds that we will beat NW and OSU, from an investment standpoint?

  • 66Bear

    It still astonishes me the fresh air that is running though this blog and the Cal football program under Coach Dykes. This is going to be a great year for Cal football, regardless of the won-and-loss record at the end of the season. (If only I knew what Sandy Barbour did with Andy Smith’s cremains.) Go Bears! Beat Northwestern! :-)

  • Bear Raid Fan

    We need to just trust Dykes & Franklin & whomever they choose to start. After the disaster that Tedford became I just want to see a productive QB! Cal’s QB play has been an embarrassment since Longshore’s ’06 season!! Some fans want Kline because he was a big-time recruit coming out of SRV. His arm brings back memories of a #8 who left Cal in ’04. Have you guys seen Goff’s stats & highlights of his jr & sr years at MC? Dilfer dubbed him a “rockstar” after the ’12 E11. I have a feeling that both will get a shot during the season especially if the starter struggles.

  • BlueNGold

    I trust Coach Dykes’ judgment until I have been given good reason not to. I trust that he will select the QB that gives the team the best chance to win and be successful, regardless of what effect it might have on players who did not make the cut. And, what would it say about Kline if he did transfer? He would still have an opportunity to play and compete if he stays after being passed over for first team. If he did decide to leave it would certainly affect how people perceive him as a team player and Cal Bear.

  • BlueNGold

    In other news, Coach Dykes was interviewed yesterday by Tom Tolbert on his afternoon show on KNBR. You can access the interview on Tolbert’s page on the KNBR web site.