Encouraged but hardly satisfied, Cal closed its spring workouts Saturday with an 86-play scrimmage in front of an announced crowd of 2,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Five months after after completing an historically bad 1-11 season, the Bears are focused on their future, including their Aug. 30 season opener at Northwestern.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Goff said the team is ready to make a leap forward. “We’re done with everything that had to do with last year,” he said. “We’re a brand new team now and we’re ready to go.”
Coach Sonny Dykes has called the Bears a work in progress, and he continues to see good and bad.
“I thought we got better,” Dykes said of his team’s work over the past four weeks. “Our guys are still learning what it takes to win at this level. I’m not sure we completely understand that yet.
“I certainly like where we’re headed, but we still have a long way to go.”
The defense had the upper hand early on Saturday, prompting defensive end Brennan Scarlett to pronounce, “We were dominating.” The offense was more effective in the second half, Dykes noted.
Even so, the junior from Texas said no one on the team has any sense of complacency.
“This whole team has definitely made strides to turn this program around,” Lasco said. “We still have a ways to go. I don’t want to say we’re already there because we’re definitely not.”
The Bears came through spring practice without any significant injuries, and they hope center Jordan Rigsbee is OK after apparently spraining his ankle Saturday.
Dykes called the defensive secondary the most improved position group on the team, singling out redshirt freshmen cornerbacks Trey Cheek and Darius Allensworth for their play in the scrimmage.
Competition for placekicker will continue into fall camp.
Sophomore Noah Beito had the upperhand early in spring camp, but redshirt freshman Matt Anderson made all three of his field goal attempts Saturday and senior James Langford made two of three.
“This group’s maturing and getting more confident,” Dykes said. “We’ll find a good kicker out of the bunch.”