Football: At 1-2, Bears encourage competition

The bye week in Cal’s football schedule has brought competition, not vacation.

Coach Sonny Dykes has opened up position battles this week as the Bears (1-2) begin preparation for their Sept. 28 Pac-12 opener at No. 2 Oregon.

That includes offensive line, where starting left tackle Freddie Tagaloa has a fight on his hands.

“If we were 3-0 and ranked fifth in the country, we’d be challenging our guys,” Dykes said. “If you have a guy like Freddie, who has got tremendous potential, you want him to play to that potential. You don’t want him to be satisfied.

“I think he’s played adequate, not as well as he can play.”

Christian Okafor and Bill Tyndall are among those getting a chance at the spot, while Tyndall and Alejandro Crosthwaite are in the mix at right guard, where starter Matt Cochran will be sidelined for at least a month after ankle surgery scheduled for Thursday.


Few positions are secure on defense, where the Bears rank 116th nationally, allowing 42 points per game. Dykes said he expects several true freshmen who have played sparingly so far to get increased opportunity.

Cornerback Cameron Williams is “basically competing for a job right now,” Dykes said, after seeing extensive action against Ohio State.

Linebackers Edward Tandy and Chad Whitener will be in the mix, along with Johnny Ragin III, who played in the first two games but was sick last weekend.

“Those guys are learning and hungry and working hard,” Dykes said. “They’re doing what we’re asking them to do and they’re improving rapidly. I think you’ll see a lot of those guys emerge.”


Dykes said the Bears’ win-loss record must be judged against the schedule they’ve played, which includes Top-25 opponents Northwestern and Ohio State.

“There’s a lot of people in the country that haven’t played anybody, that may be 3-0 right now. They think they’re pretty good and they’re really not,” Dykes said.

“We know where we are and where we have to improve. I’ll take the schedule we’ve played against anybody in the country. And for a young football team we’ve done some good things.”


Freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who has thrown 168 passes through three games — most by anyone in FBS —  had a light practice Tuesday, just to rest his arm a bit. No issues there, just common sense.

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Jeff Faraudo

  • ThisisCal

    Would be great if we could get some comments from Andy Buh. I know we have depth/injury/experience issues, but what is he doing from a coaching standpoint to improve our D?

  • Raf

    We need competition for our D-coordinator position. Is Buh fired yet?

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Let’s can the firing talk for a bit Raf, we’ve got serious injury and depth issues that have not a thing to do with coaching.

    Former walkon Lapite is about to give up his nickelback position to a guy who has never played defense before, Willis. That is the state of the defense at the moment. Another guy who I thought would have made a difference that we haven’t even mentioned is out as well, Broussard. Along with Sebastian, Scarlett, Forbes, Jalil, all upperclassmen.

    So, yes the defense has been ugly. But look at the personnel out there, they are young and green. We must be the youngest defense in the country. I expected osu to put up 40+, and I expect oregon to put up 50+, you’d be insane not too with the state of the defense.

    I hope for the best this year but realistically this is a rebuilding year, especially on defense, but on offense as well. How many new starters are there? MANY.

    For a team that doesn’t have a lot of depth to begin with, injuries to key contributors on defense are really gonna sting, as we are seeing. Regardless, I am hoping for growth and toughness and a no-quit attitude out of the defense and I think we are at least seeing the some of that.

    If we can get healthy by mid-season, there is still a chance that the defense can be decent. If that happens and offense comes into its own, we could be very excited about the team later in the season. So, personally, I am choosing to be patient. I had to be patient and wait 4 years for JT to get fired. I am not gonna start calling for a brand new DC to get fired after 3 games, 2 vs top 20 teams.

    Go Bears!

  • wehofx

    RE: firing buh after 3 games.

    1) sign of panic to players

    2) if SD did something crazy like that, no promising up and coming DC would ever consider taking a job where previous DC got fired after 3 games esp w injuries and youth on this D.

  • BlueNGold

    If people think that firing Buh is the answer to the problems on D, they are smoking some primo stuff.

  • SteveNTexas

    Playing and competing with ourselves can be fun and exciting, but its anti social and unless we make an impression playing with others, we will never get noticed or asked to go bowling.

  • Talk of bowling = smoking primo stuff