Football: Rubenzer gets a look at safety


Cal backup quarterback Luke Rubenzer spent the first day of spring practice at safety.

Honest. I’m in Las Vegas covering basketball, so this was news to me, too.

Rubenzer said the coaching staff approached him a few weeks ago about possibly redshirting next season, likely because they didn’t want to use another year of his eligibility with Jared Goff as the clear starter.

Redshirting did not appeal to Rubenzer, who got a fair amount of game action as a true freshman last fall, giving the Bears a backup quarterback with running ability.

“I think it would be really hard to do that as much as I did last year. I think it would be really hard to sit out a year,” he told reporters after practice. “I just said I wanted to play.”

At that point, he explained, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin told him defensive coordinator Art Kaufman was interested in getting a look at him on defense. Rubenzer, who played safety in high school at Scottsdale, Arizona, isn’t sure his quarterback days may not be over.

“I just felt like I could help on that side of the ball a little more this year than I can on offense,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a 100-percent permanent thing. But I’ll give it a shot. Just try to find a way onto the field and find ways to win.”

Rubenzer expects to play only defense during these first two weeks of spring workouts. The team then breaks for a week-and-a-half, during which the coaches will evaluate everyone’s performance, including Rubenzer at safety.

“We’ll see how it goes from there,” he said.

Coach Sonny Dykes said Rubenzer might help the Bears address their needs at safety.

“We tried it today. He’s been doing it for about three weeks. It’s nothing that’s set in stone,” Dykes said.

“We’ll see how he likes it and how he progresses, and if he can help our football team win then we’re going to play him in a position where he can help us win. I thought he did good things today.”

Dykes believes Rubenzer has the makeup to possibly make the switch.

“He’s athletic, he’s tough, he’s smart. He’s kind of what you want back there, so we’ll see how it plays out.”

Rubenzer said time spent in the film room watching coverages as a quarterback can be applied to defense. It’s just a matter of flipping the equation.

“People say the safety is the quarterback of the defense,” Rubenzer said. “Obviously, we watch film from a quarterback’s standpoint. You kind of take mental notes on where the defense is going to line up.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I’m all for this cuz you never know. Rubenzer is a baller and he didn’t come to Cal to watch the games. Some kids have a nose for the ball and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rubenzer is one of them. And having been a QB, he may anticipate things back there in a different way than your life-long DB, we’ll see!

    Go Bears!

  • Wehofx

    Kudos to the Benz!

    Sorry for the furd analogy but pretty sure J Lynch was recruited as qb.

    Re: B Scar (and Avery S) wish them only the best. Great they got their sheepskins in 4. But. Not that big a loss. Scar wasn’t never an impact player when healthy and he was – sadly – seldom healthy.

    Per twitter: Devante Wilson and J Looney are both looking very good at DE. Not to mention Kearney.

  • eastcoastbear

    ?? Kid came to Cal to play QB and was much touted as a dual threat that Dykes is looking for. And we know he looked good running the ball last year, needs more work on the passing game as do most true freshman. I think most programs might have red shirted him last year given you had Goff as the clear starter, which would have been a much easier discussion than have him sit out his sophomore year.

  • covinared

    I think this may be best in the long run for the team and Luke. Based on his passing last year, perhaps the coaches don’t see him necessarily beating out the new guys coming in down the road.

  • sunshipballoons

    They clearly felt they needed him last year, and they might not have beaten Northwestern without him, so it’s hard to criticize that decision. Still, the present reality is (1) that Cal has two QBs behind him who are better fits long term for Franklin’s offense, and (2) that Rubenzer has zero chance of playing QB at the next level. A move to defense might be best for everyone.

  • eastcoastbear

    I remember this blog when we signed him out of HS as to what a great fit he would be for Dykes as he likes dual threat qbs….now we have untested freshmen who are better? Hope he works out as a DB as we certainly need the help. More transfers we do not need.