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Football: Muhammad elevated to 1st team

Freshman Khalfani Muhammad, who missed the Washington State game with a concussion, not only has been cleared to play Saturday at UCLA . . . he’s been promoted.

Muhammad was listed with the first offense on the Bears’ latest depth chart and got first-team reps during practice Tuesday. Brendan Bigelow, who has lost four fumbles this season, is listed as the third-team running back.

“It feels good to really come out here for the first time in a week and get a spot. That just means a lot,” said Muhammad, who expects to share ball-carrying dutues. “We’ve got phenomenal athletes and to be among them is pretty great.”

Muhammad said he was diagnosed a week earlier with a concussion. All is better now.

“I’m feeling great, feeling healthy, feeling 100,” he said. “Just got to go out there and compete.”

Muhammad was injured midway through the first quarter of the Bears’ 55-16 loss at Oregon on Sept. 28 after a collision with Boseko Lokombo, a 6-foor-3, 229-pound senior linebacker.

 ”I knocked myself out, it looked like,” said Muhammad, who is 5-8, 175. “I ran into the dude.”

Asked if he’s ever been advised to avoid running into a bigger player, the former two-time California high school state spring champ said, ”I don’t pay attention to that. This is football. You’re going to get hit regardless, whatever size you are. You’ve just got to go out there and play.”

Muhammad has rushed for 99 yards in four games and six receptions for 117 yards. His per-carry rushing average of 4.5 yards is best among Cal’s backs. He also is averaging 23.2 yards on kickoff returns, and will continue to handle that duty.

Jeff Faraudo

  • covinared

    Not suprised. I was always pulling for Lasco, and felt Bigelow was overrated, but from what I’ve seen so far, the small shifty backs are the best option right now. Coprich also fits that bill. The line can’t open up anything, and the little guys are harder to see.

  • joshiemac

    I like to see the willingness to shake things up. Lasco has looked really slow and tentative, and it just isn’t working out for Bigelow this year.

  • 707 Bear

    This team needs a prophet and his name is Muhammad.

    (too politically incorrect?)

    For what it’s worth, one of my all-time favorite Bears is Mike Mohamed.

    Go Bears

  • Raf

    Shows what we all know. Everyone wanted Tedford’s head for not playing Bigelow more. Looks like he got lucky on a couple runs, no Jahvid Best.

  • 707 Bear

    Raf: You’re a bit tough on Bigelow.

    2012 stats:

    44 rushes…431 yards…9.8 average
    7 catches…92 yards…13.1 average

    His knee and confidence seem to be the problem.

    Hopefully both will improve this year and next.

  • Woj

    Sounds like a chair was moved from the back to the front row on the deck of the Titanic. File this into the category of Who Cares.

  • Juancho

    Realistically, how do we know coaching isn’t the problem? Bigelow’s numbers were way better last year. And it’s not like Lasco is doing great. They’re both fumbling the ball.

    So why aren’t Ingram and Yenser getting more heat. If Khalfanni struggles now as the starter just like the other two it’s a coaching problem.

    Have to give Dykes credit. He has guts. He went all in by picking all of his own guys, basically the entire La Tech staff. Instead of bringing in other offensive guys from other good programs.

    So far it’s not paying off. So far we look poorly prepared compared to the competition.

  • Steve W

    Dykes is clearly sending a message with this move: if you choke in a critical sit situation, you get moved to the back of the line. There is nothing the young true freshman has done this season that deserves this kind of promotion. I sensed at the beginning of the season that the running game would define Cal’s season. What is happening to Cal this season is a microcosm of what happened to Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense at WSU last year. You can’t run the ball, and you ain’t winning in this conference. Period.

  • nor-cal scott

    707Bear- the problem with you posting Big’s 2012 stats is that 140 of those yards came on his two (and only?) big runs of the season vs Ohio State. Take those two out and he’s at 290 on 42 carries. Still a nice average per carry, but I came to the sad realization Saturday that Big’s is just not a premiere RB.

    Juancho- I’ll disagree with you on the coaches point. It’s not that we’re unprepared, it’s that the offense has started slow, had turnovers, and some unlucky breaks. Now, the defense I’ll say it’s all injuries. But the switch from 3-4 to 4-3 with our current personnel is not ideal.

    You have to respect Dykes thinking that if my current staff at LaTech could turn around this program why can’t we do it at Cal? Obviously no Cal fan was jumping up & down with the Buh hire, but it’s far too early to give up on him.

  • 707 Bear

    Nor Cal:

    I think the knee and confidence are the problems.

    The eyeball test from last year to this is not good.

    As with the entire Cal team, I’m just looking for improvement.

  • Woj

    You guys all post like Cal is relevant. Like Cal actually wins more college football games than they lose. Improvement? How about a single win over an FBS team. Any FBS team.
    Cal is long on excuses and that starts with their own coaches who are chock full of excuses of why the team is lousy.

  • covinared

    Woj: apparently Cal is relevant enough to be your obsession.

  • boo2k9

    anybody that knows football at any level knows ur 1st Year coaching is a throw away Year because u didnt recruit any players so Sonny is taking notes for next Year and he better be