28

Football: Bears scrimmage at halfway point to opener

Click here to watch Cal OC Tony Franklin accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

*****

Two weeks of training camp down and two to go before Cal’s Aug. 30 football opener at Northwestern, and coach Sonny Dykes was in a good mood after Saturday’s closed scrimmage.

“I feel good walking off the field,” he said. “I think we’re at a good spot.”

The Bears ran between 60 and 70 plays in front of referees, and kept mistakes to a minimum, Dykes said.

“I was encouraged by what I saw,” he said. “Just the speed of play – we moved around fast. I thought we tackled well.”

By mid-week, the Bears will begin preparation for Northwestern, which beat them 44-30 in Berkeley last year. “We’ve snuck some Northwestern stuff in without telling our players,” Dykes said.

The players get Sunday off after 15 straight days of training camp, but they can’t help but be excited about what’s around the corner. “We’re trying to beat Northwestern right now,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “We have nothing in our heads besides that.”

*****

Dykes said the cornerback position is beginning to take shape, with sophomore Cameron Walker set one side and JC transfer Darius White expected to begin practicing more this week after jamming his shoulder on the first day of camp.

Redshirt freshman Darius Allensworth had a great week of practice, said Dykes, who called sophomore Cedric Dozier possibly “the most improved player” on the entire roster. “He’s playing with some confidence,” Dykes added.

*****

Dykes all but confirmed that freshman Luke Rubenzer has won the No. 2 quarterback spot. “I would say so. His play has been really consistent,” Dykes said. “He doesn’t get rattled at all. In a 7-on-7 setting he looks OK. Then you get him in a team setting and he gets the team first downs.”

*****

Few newcomers on the roster earned more mention from Dykes the first week of workouts than Arthur Wainwright, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound outside linebacker from Ellenwood, Georgia, by way of College of the Sequoias.

He was fast, aggressive, in the mix.

Then Week 2 arrived, and Wainwright faded a bit.

“It’s a learning curve,” defensive coordinator Art Kaufman said of Wainwright, who didn’t arrive on campus until days before the start of camp because he had JC course work to complete. “We’ve got a lot of our stuff in and it’s probably overload for him.”

“Sometimes I have to sit back and take a deep breath and just settle down,” Wainwright acknowledged.

Wainwright impressed Kaufman on a campus visit to Visalia during the spring by soaring more than 10 feet in the standing broad jump — without warming up and while wearing Vans tennis shoes.

“A guy that can jump is an athlete,” Kaufman said. “He’s got speed and explosiveness. When you turn the film on, you know he’s going hard and he brings some things to the table.”

The coaches are convinced Wainwright will be a factor this season, on special teams and in specific defensive situations.

Wainwright is anxious to accelerate the timetable. “The thing about me is I have a motor,” he said. “Once I get rolling, I’ll catch up. Once I catch up, it’s over.”

*****

Senior defensive end Kyle Kragen, who lost more than 25 pounds over the summer during a bout with mononucleosis, could be redshirted this season, Dykes said.

Jeff Faraudo

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    I’m feeling good about the season. Can’t wait.

  • Rollonubears

    It’s upon us! I like to think the season has started. This week is a bye, giving us two weeks to prep for nw. Go bears!

  • rotfogel

    This teams’ WR depth is really great. I hope the offensive line can hold up better than last season. If so, the combo of Harper, Lawler and Treggs will be really fun to watch. Each one of those guys are going to the NFL just like Richard Rodgers. I’ve read reports that Richard Rodgers is having a great camp with Green Bay.

  • Wehofx

    Speaking of OL,I’m becoming a fan of Yenser -great twitter tl. Like “Fight for California,” it means s### if we don’t win but from camp reports, it feels like “War Pigs” will deliver:

    “@CalCoachYenser: The guys who will be leading from the front this year! #calOL #warpigs #GOBEARS http://t.co/qSOddmPpkZ

    Not worried about O. If the D can just hold up – which is saying sth in this year’s PAC – I think we can make some noise!witter tl. Like “Fight for California,” it means s### if we don’t win but from camp reports, it feels like “War Pigs” will deliver:

    “@CalCoachYenser: The guys who will be leading from the front this year! #calOL #warpigs #GOBEARS http://t.co/qSOddmPpkZ

    Not worried about O. If the D can justhold up – which is saying sth in this year’s PAC – I think we can make some noise!

  • Wehofx

    Wow. Sorry about that. Seems like Disqus hates edit on iPhone.

  • GoBears49

    Cal should think about redshirting Rubenzer, if they can. I have followed him, and touted him, on this blog, for some time. I’ve watched a lot of his tape and am convinced he could be the next coming of Johnny Football because of his elusiveness in the pocket and overall running skill (a great passer, too). It is too bad that he and Goff are only a year apart in eligibility. Unless Goff leaves early, Cal may only get one year out of Rubenzer, if he stays. Cal needs to figure out how to get two years of play out of him. If they don’t that would be a real shame.

  • Juancho

    Its like ive always said. Lets not get too excited about a young qb until we see them play for cal.

  • GoBears49

    Interesting comment from a guy who was totally revved up about Kline, before he even took a snap at Cal, being the starting QB at Cal, pronounced him as some sort of QB God, and was upset (at least at the start of the season) when Kline did not start. So excuse me for pointing this out. Your comment above is clearly not what you’ve always said.

  • Juancho

    GB49. It was a joke.

  • GoBears49

    I’m sure most people didn’t take it that way. Maybe you should put in a smiley face on your jokester comments to help everyone out.

  • covinared

    I thought it was funny. Juancho to his credit was much quicker to fall off the Kline bandwagon than others. btw: I think the staff hopes that Rubenzer can redshirt but we may not have the luxury if Goff goes down early in the year.

  • Eric

    I am excited for the year (though I am so freaing fearful of the injury horde attacking us again). I really think 6-6 is within reason; all depends on getting a hot start out of the gate in Evanston.

  • Wehofx

    GB49, I usu agree w you but, I too, found Juancho’s self depreciating remark pretty funny.

    And, yeah, even though the Benz earned 2 on DC, it seems certain sd hopes to preserve his red shirt.

    To state the obvious, sd knows this is a make or break year. If Goff, goes down, sd has to use the Benz.

  • Chris

    Have expectations ever been lower for a Bears football team in school history than right now for 2014? Cal is the Conference Creamy Cupcake. The team everyone believes it will crush and most do. Cal will be favored in only 1 game and may very well lose that one vs. Sac. St. Will 0-12 get Stormy Dykes canned? I bet it certainly will. Not sure even hapless Oregon St. in the 1980s managed to lose every conference game for 2 straight seasons. Dykes is halfway to that mark.

  • Chris

    LOL!!! 6-6??!! Try 0-12 or 1-11.

  • Eric

    Ok. You say 0-12 or 1-11. You have changed your name, but the commentary is the same. So let’s make a bet. Worse that four wins, I say you are right, Dykes needs to go, and I’ll even volunteer to leave the board. Four wins or better, you admit I am right. Deal?

  • Rollonubears

    there’s been no talk about rubenzer playing at all, unless goff gets hurt. i don’t think he will. i think the plan has been to redshirt all along, barring an emergency.

  • GoBears49

    When you’re the #2 QB, which Rubenzer appears about to be named, you come in when the #1 QB is hurt, tired, or whatever. Otherwise, you’re not really the #2 QB. Players are redshirted all of the time to maximize the amount of time they can play for a team. If Hinder, Boehm (is he still in the QB mix?), the new freshman from Mater Dei, or any other Cal QB are decent enough to do a good job at QB, perhaps they should be named the #2 QB so we get the maximum use out of Rubenzer over his career at Cal.

    This whole situation reminds me a bit of the Bartkowski/Ferragamo years, when both were obviously really good QB’s (both played in the pro’s for several years, particularly Bartkowski (though Ferragamo was the only one of the two that played in a Super Bowl). Even though Ferragamo beat out Bartkowski before Ferragamo transferred to Nebraska, I think the fact that the uncertainties of competing with Bartkowski played a role in his deciding to make the transfer, though I certainly am not sure of that.

    The point is, Goff and Rubenzer appear to be excellent QB’s. To me, Goff is a sure pro and will start in the NFL. It’s too soon to say the same thing for Rubenzer, but he seems to have the potential to do so, as well, despite his lack of height. I think Dykes needs to think long and hard about how to maximize the total playing time both will have at Cal.

    Eventually, I expect that Rubenzer will show so much promise that the point I am making will surface in a much more public way, prompting Jeff to write an article about it, bring up the question of whether Rubenzer should be redshirted as part of an article on another subject, or at least ask Dykes about it and publish his response.

  • GoBears49

    I think Cal will have a losing record, perhaps winning four or five games, but most games we lose will be competitive. We have one of the top QB’s in the league and I think a sure pro in Goff. If Rubenzer gets to play, watch out, as he could be a sensation. The receivers are top notch and deep, we are deeper and more experienced at running back, with some good talent there, and it seems the offensive line will be better. Thus, I think our offense will be MUCH BETTER THAN LAST YEAR. Defense is still a big question mark. I think our depth there is below average, so losing two potential starters at LB has got to hurt us a lot. But if we don’t have too many injuries on defense, like we did last year, I think we will be better there, but I doubt the improvement in our defense will be as much as our offense will improve. We need deeper talent there to be average, though that unit could surprise me.

  • covinared

    the new moron.

  • Pixilicious

    So which games do you think we’ll win? CO & AZ are the weakest on our FBS schedule but they both have much better coaches so the odds are no better than 30% for either. Our secondary is so vulnerable that everyone else should *still* have no trouble shredding it and if we don’t improve our blocking, the run game will be just as terrible as last year. I don’t see any hope that it won’t be so … no defense + no red-zone offense = no wins. Again

  • Pixilicious

    The worst thing about Dykes is that he has proven the moron correct. What PART of 0 – 11 do you NOT understand? You can try to excuse Dykes all you want but that doesn’t make the stink go away OR improve the smell this year.

  • Pixilicious

    Not sure why you’re “volunteering to leave the board” if Dykes continues to disturb but exactly WHERE are those 4 wins coming from? The Air Raid has been and will continue to be a disaster in the PAC, just as it was at Auburn when Franklin got fired after 6 games. The problem with the hurry-up O is that it leaves the D on the field for far too long and our D plus PAC QB’s is a VERY bad combination. Expecting the same result in the PAC as in the WAC is just plain silly since the quality of both D & O is MUCH, MUCH better. We learned that the hard way with Mouse Davis in the ’80′s. At least SOME of us did.

  • Pixilicious

    Ferragamo was AWFUL at Cal.

  • Pixilicious

    I think you mean it was ironical since the post-AR history of Cal QB’s is not exactly a laughing matter

  • Pixilicious

    Until Sonny actually wins an FBS game here, I’m thinking that your optimism is somewhat unfounded. It’s OK to have hope but hoping in the face of a contrary reality is likely to disappoint. NO ONE should be looking forward to this season before its start with anything but sad resignation.

  • GoBears49

    I think Ferragamo had better stats at Cal than Bartkowski had. Let me know if you think Bartkowski was at least a decent QB at Cal and I’ll provide you (and everyone else) with the stats.

  • Eric

    I have already covered where I think up to six wins might come from, and I have already put my stake into the ground that I think we’ll get at least four wins. Do you want to take the same bet?
    You state the obvious point that a hurry-up offense leaves the defense on the field too long…if the offense does not work and goes three and out each time. If does work, it does not matter. See Oregon. See Baylor. See Texas Tech beating us in the 2004 Holiday Bowl, when Tedford thought it would be smart to not run our 2,000 yard runner with an excellent o-line but instead have AR throw to 8th string wide receivers. That was against the originator of what Dykes now runs.
    I say obvious because it is equally true with a balanced or run-oriented team. Tedford was absolutely terrible his last few years because the offense was terrible, and it was definitely not a hurry up but milk every last second and take a few delay of penalties along the way.
    I’ve also covered on January 1 why last year was such a disaster. Go back and read my post.