Cal’s Oct. 5 Pac-12 home opener against Washington State has been set for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
The betting line on the Cal at Oregon game on Saturday — Ducks by 36 or 36.5 — isn’t the real news. The spread already is inching higher: Betonline.ag and SportsBetting.ag now have the Ducks as 37-point favorites, and Bovada and Fantasy911.com set the line at 38 points.
Then there’s this: The over/under total for the game, as set by those four sites along with 5Dimes.eu, is now 84 points.
That’s the third-highest in college football since 2000, according to the website OddsShark.com.
Will the Bears and Ducks exceed that total or not? Over or under?
The Bears wrapped up three days of workouts this week with a scrimmage on Thursday, giving them some live action during a bye week.
“We wanted some of our starting defensive players to tackle live. That’s obviously something we’ve got to work on,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “Feel like we need to stay fresh, so that was good. Saw lots of positive things from that.”
In particular, the Bears continued the process of mixing in freshmen. Linebacker Edward Tandy had an interception for a touchdown, and Chad Whitener earned praise from Dykes. Both will play more and more, he said.
“That’s something we’ll continue to do with the young players, now that they know what they’re doing to an extent,” Dykes said.
The team will take Friday and Saturday off, then return to practice Sunday in preparation for its Sept. 28 road game vs. No. 2 Oregon.
Join first-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes as he discusses the season so far, and what to expect from the Golden Bears for the rest of 2013.
Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen reports that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is giving credit to former Cal coach Jeff Tedford for helping to direct ex-Bears player David Wilkerson to Tucson.
“Coach Tedford called me. He’s a good friend of mine,” Rodriguez said. “He said, ‘Hey, a really good linebacker who played for me is maybe interested in transferring to Arizona.’ ”
That was Wilkerson, who left Cal during fall camp after dropping on the depth chart.
A former four-star recruit, whose career at Cal was limited by injury, Wilkerson is paying his own way at Arizona. He becomes eligible next season and is expected to apply for a second season of eligibility because he missed two years due to injury.
“I’m excited about it. I think he’s a good football player,” Rodriguez said.
“He had a little bit of a shoulder injury, so he has a chance to get his shoulder strong, get a year ahead academically and then I think we’ll get a couple of good years out of him.”
Rodriquez said the 6-foot-2, 238-pound native of Danville could end as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker.
Junior linebacker Nick Forbes’ priority is to get healthy and back on the field.
In the meantime, he has earned a pretty nice honor, named to the 22-player 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, co-sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association.
The award pays tribute to the positive impact student-athletes from all level of college football have had on their communities and the lives of others.
“Nick does a tremendous job in the community and is very deserving of this recognition,” Dykes said.
No kidding. Consider:
— Forbes has done volunteer work for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, City of Berkeley, Playworks, Read Across America, SAGE Mentorship Project and Swim with Mike.
— He has been the vice president of the Golden Bear Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (GBAC) since 2011 and has represented Cal at both the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Conference and the NCAA APPLE Conference.
— In addition, Forbes has been a speaker at a local elementary school and to youth football teams speaking on the importance of education, respect, treating others right and staying out of trouble. He even found time to host Cal’s Oski Student Awards show in the spring of 2013 and organized both a fashion show fundraiser and a student-athlete formal earlier this year.
“It’s awesome to be recognized for doing a few unselfish things here and there,” Forbes said.
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.
Not quite a month after undergoing surgery for a broken right foot, Cal senior point guard Justin Cobbs said he is running on a treadmill with no pain and perhaps ahead of schedule in his recovery.
“Everything’s feeling good,” Cobbs said. “Just taking my time.”
Practice begins Sept. 27 and Cobbs wouldn’t speculate on how extensively he will be able to participate at first. But he’s been assured the foot will be stronger than ever after having a screw put in to stabilize the metatarsal bone.
“I feel really good about it. I’m not worried,” he said. “Just stay healthy and stay focused. I should be back 100 percent.”
Cal’s season opens Nov. 8 against Coppin State.
Cal’s emphasis on repairing the academic reputation of its football program became painfully real to Chris McCain one day last spring. That is when he had to phone his parents with some bad news.
“They took me off scholarship,” he told them.
McCain, a junior defensive end from North Carolina, is back on the team. He gained reinstatement by meeting coach Sonny Dykes’ requirement of a B-plus average in summer school. McCain didn’t just meet that goal, he beat it.
“I got an A-minus,” he said.
Dykes was hired in December to resurrect Cal’s football fortunes, which had spiraled the past few years under coach Jeff Tedford. Besides finishing with a 3-9 record on the field last season, Tedford’s program had the league’s worst marks in the classroom.
Click here to read the rest of my story.
Matt Cochran, Cal’s starting right offensive guard, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a high ankle sprain and is expected to be sidelined for at least a month.
“They’re going to fuse the bone back together,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said.
Dykes said Alejandro Crossthwaite and Bill Tyndall will be among those competing for the spot while Cochran, a redshirt freshman, recovers.
“We’re going to have some competition at a bunch of spots on the offensive line,” Dykes said. “They’re all up for grabs,” Dykes said.
That includes left tackle, where sophomore Freddie Tagaloa has started the first three games.
“If you have a guy like Freddie who has tremendous potential, you want him to play to that potential. You don’t want him to be satisfied,” Dykes said. “I think he’s played adequate, not as well as he can play.”
Tyndall and Christian Okafor will be in the mix for for the left tackle spot, Dykes said.
“If we were 3-0 and ranked fifth in the country we’d be challenging guys,” said Dykes, whose club is 1-2 after a 52-34 loss to Ohio State. “I don’t know if we were fourth we would be.”
Dykes also confirmed that defensive end Sione Sina, a junior college transfer, has undergone ACL knee surgery and will redshirt this year. Sina, a junior from College of San Mateo, has not played in a game this season.
Cal is practicing Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday during this bye week, then will return for a Sunday session in preparation for its Sept. 28 game at Oregon.