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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 RUN GAME OVER THE YEARS

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