Football: Bears determined to develop running game

Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin will know things have changed this season when the Golden Bears face third-and-three and he feels comfortable calling a running play.

That didn’t often happen a year ago.

“No, I was afraid to call ‘em,” Franklin said. “We couldn’t block well enough to do that so I had no confidence.”

No one understands that harsh reality better than Cal’s running backs, who have conducted a training camp campaign to make Franklin a believer. “The most important thing,” junior Daniel Lasco said, “is to get the offensive coordinator to trust us at the running back position.”

Actually, the effort to improve has been widespread: The offensive line got stronger, the stable of backs grew deeper and more versatile, and the commitment to create balance in the offense became urgent.

“It makes us capable of winning,” Franklin said.

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Cal’s per-game average of 122.2 rushing yards last season was the program’s lowest since 2002. Here are the Bears’ per-game, per-attempt and rushing touchdown totals for each season since then:

2013: 122.2 rushing yards per game, 3.5 yards per attempt,  10 rushing touchdowns.
2012: 183.0 ypg, 4.9 ypa, 18 TDs.
2011: 154.8 ypg, 4.2, ypa, 25 TDs.
2010: 158.8 ypg, 4.4 ypa, 19 TDs.
2009: 169.5 ypg, 4.7 ypa, 27 TDs.
2008: 186.2 ypg, 5.6 ypa, 22 TDs.
2007: 165.7 ypg, 4.9 ypa, 23 TDs.
2006: 162.4 ypg, 4.9 ypa, 21 TDs.
2005: 235.2 ypg, 5.8 ypa, 27 TDs.
2004: 256.8 ypg, 6.1 ypa, 30 TDs.
2003: 168.3 ypg, 4.3 ypa, 28 TDs.





Jeff Faraudo

  • Eric

    Khalfani should be the lead RB.

  • covinared

    I don’t he nor Lasco stand out above the other. Lasco has power, Khalfani is quicker around the end. Lasco still has not proven he’s not a fumbler.

  • Eric

    Putting aside my obvious bias, Khalfani last year led the team in rushing even though he was third string when the season started and had far fewer carries. Towards the end of the season, when Bigelow was finally out of the picture and Lasco had fumble-itis, Khalfani made some nice gains – see his runs at Colorado and against UW. But importantly, he is a excellent receiver out of the backfield (think Shane Vereen with the Patriots) which is huge in this offense.
    I’m not saying he should get 30 carries a game, but he should be the clear lead at the start of the season.

  • rotfogel

    I hope the Bears are going after Joe Mixon. He should be transferring and it would behoove the coaching staff to poach a good kid to come back home.