Football: Will Chris Harper be drafted?

The safe answer: Probably not.

The former Cal wideout is tough to find on most NFL mock drafts, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play on Sundays, coach Sonny Dykes said.

“You never know about the draft and how it’s going to go down,” Dykes said Thursday before the draft’s first round. “The good thing for Chris is there’s only one team that’s got to like him. And there’s a lot to like. He’s a good football player.”

Rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL draft will go today, with rounds 4 through 7 set for Saturday.

Dykes admitted he was surprised when Harper opted to enter the draft after his junior season. He said Harper told him in December he planned to return to school for the 2014 season.

Although he’s far from a sure thing, Harper is Cal’s best hope to keep a 28-year streak going.

Cal has had at least one player taken in the NFL draft every year since 1986, when no Bears were chosen among 333 players taken in what was then a 12-round draft.


Football: The Luke Rubenzer Plan

Luke Rubenzer remains a safety. Until and unless he returns to quarterback.

Coach Sonny Dykes said Rubenzer performed well enough as a safety during spring workouts that he will remain on defense and focus on improving his skills at the position in the months leading to training camp in August.

“It’s definitely something we’ll continue. We’re going to give him the summer to keep improving and get comfortable,” Dykes said. “I think he did a really remarkable job at that position because he had a limited amount of time to prepare for it.

“As hard as Luke works and as competitive as he is, he’ll be doing things every single day (during the summer) to improve things. So he’ll make a jump from April to August just with what he does on his own.”

The Bears moved Rubenzer to safety from quarterback — where he was Jared Goff’s backup last fall as a true freshman — because they were short-handed in the secondary during spring ball. But with more than a half-dozen safety candidates expected back from injury or arriving on campus for the first time in the fall, competition is sure to heat up.

The coaching staff will give Rubenzer two weeks to work at safety once camp begins, which also will give others the chance to show what they can do.

“If he’s not going to play at safety,” Dykes said, “we’ll move him back to quarterback immediately.”

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Football: Injured Bears on the mend, Dykes says

In his post-spring media sessions with reporters Thursday, coach Sonny Dykes said he’s encouraged by the progress of players who missed workouts while rehabbing after injuries or surgery.

“I think everybody’s where you want them to be,” he said.

Dykes said safeties Stefan McClure (quad) and Griffin Piatt (knee) and tackle Steven Moore (shoulder) are probably ahead of schedule and linebacker Nate Broussard (knee) and safety Quentin Tartabull (knee) are on schedule.

“I feel pretty good about the rehab these guys have gone through and where we they are. Obviously, those are some pretty significant pieces to this puzzle,” Dykes said. “You can have a pretty good taste in your mouth leaving spring with what we had. But throw those guys in the mix and all of a sudden you feel a lot better about everything.”

Dykes stopped short of saying all of them would be ready to begin practice on Aug. 10 when camp opens.

“It’s hard to say to what extent (they will be ready),” he said. “I think most of those guys will be part of the team when fall camp starts.”


Football: Dykes says Goff is an `elite’ quarterback

Coach Sonny Dykes said quarterback Jared Goff made a huge leap during recently completely spring workouts.

“I thought he was a completely different player. To me, the biggest jump I’ve seen from Jared was this spring,” Dykes said. “He ended the fall as a really good quarterback. He finished spring practice as an elite-level quarterback.”

Dykes talked about the areas of improvement Goff needed to address, including hitting open deep receivers, improving the timing of his deliveries, getting rid of the ball to relieve pressure on the offensive line, moving and throwing on the run, and understanding that decisions he makes early in a game may differ from those he makes in the fourth quarter.

“He went out with a clear purpose and addressed those issues and I think he’s at a really good place right now,” Dykes said. “He’s got a chance to be one of the best quarterbacks in a league full of good quarterbacks. If he’s one of the best in this league, he’ll be one of the best in the country.”

Dykes added, “Jared’s got a really high ceiling. He has a chance to be a really good football player. I feel like he was way ahead of where he was a year ago.”

Another area where the junior-to-be continues to progress is leadership, Dykes said. A starter since his true freshman season in 2013, Goff has allowed the leadership component to develop organically.

“The good thing about Jared is he hasn’t tried to force that. It’s happened naturally,” Dykes said. “He’s certainly revered by his teammates. They like him, they respect him. They respect him because he’s a good player. They respect him because he’s a good person. They respect him because he does things the right way off the field.

“He’s the kind of guy you want to build your football program around. And he has become really comfortable as a leader. He has those leadership qualities in him and they’re starting to come out now.”


Rugby: Bears face familiar foe in national title game

Cal’s rugby team hopes its rematch with BYU on Saturday in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championships is not a re-run.

When the Bears (17-1) face the Cougars (13-0) at 2 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium outside Salt Lake City it will be the ninth time in 10 seasons the two have clashed in the national title game.

Cal has won five of the previous eight, but BYU prevailed in the past two, including a 43-33 victory in 2014. Overall, the Bears maintain a 10-3 series edge against BYU, but coach Jack Clark knows that won’t mean anything Saturday.

“They’re the defending national champions and they’re undefeated. Say no more,” Clark said. “As daunting a task as it is, we love playing BYU. They bring out the best in us, I assume because anything other than our best would result in a hiding.”

Cal has won its past 11 matches this season, including a 52-15 win over Navy in a national semifinal at Berkeley. BYU toppled Central Washington 35-8 in its semifinal.


Football notebook: Dykes `disappointed’ by Ingram

Coach Sonny Dykes said Thursday he was “disappointed and surprised” when he learned that former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Pierre Ingram was arrested for solicitation on April 16, adding that the Bears had no choice but to fire him.

The search for Ingram’s replacement is going well, according to Dykes, who is impressed by the quality of those who have expressed interest.

“It kind of speaks to how people view the program, that from a national standpoint we’re an upcoming program,” Dykes said.

Ingram, 30, was arrested as part of a police sting operation and was fired by Cal last Friday.

“Obviously, it’s not anything you ever want to hear. I was disappointed and surprised,” he said. “I think everybody was surprised that knew Pierre, but we had to move on.”

Cal’s 2016 recruits were contacted immediately after the news of Ingram’s arrest, Dykes said. “We got out in front of it,” he said. “We didn’t get anything back but good support.”

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Basketball: Tyrone Wallace named Bears’ MVP

Junior guard Tyrone Wallace took home the Nibs Price Most Valuable Player honors at Cal’s awards dinner Monday night at the University Club on camps.

The all-Pac-12 point guard also won the Jason Kidd assist award, the Darrall Imhoff rebounding award and the Play Hard award.

Wallace finished the season as the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the top five in points (4th, 17.1 ppg.), rebounds (5th, 7.1) and assists (5th, 4.0). Having opted against entering the NBA draft, he will return as the league’s active scoring leader and assist leader in 2015-16 with 1,196 career points and 313 career assists through his first three seasons. He also will enter his senior season fourth among active players in the Pac-12 in career rebounds with 526.

Senior forward David Kravish was honored with the team’s Best Defensive Player Award. The four-year starter and two-year captain completed his career as Cal’s all-time blocks leader with 226 in his career.

Kravish played in a school-record 135 games with 125 starts and ranks third in school history with 917 career rebounds with 917. He is the only player in school history with, 1,000 career points, 800 career rebounds and 200 career blocks.

Freshman Nick Hamilton was awarded the Pete Newell Coaches’ Award while junior Stephen Domingo and freshman Cole Welle were each honored with the Strength & Conditioning Award, presented by by Strength & Conditioning Coach Nicodemus Christopher.


Rowing: No. 1 Bears beat No. 2 Huskies in varsity eight

Top-ranked Cal beat previously undefeated No. 2 Washington in the men’s varsity eight, snapping the Huskies’ eight-year winning streak and taking back the Schoch Cup at Seattle in a matchup of two rowing powerhouse programs.

The Bears split their four races with the Huskies overall, with the Bears also winning the freshman eight race.

“We know whenever we race against a great program like Washington it is going to really hard, and we had a great row today and came out with the victory,” Cal coach Mike Teti said on winning the varsity eight. “We faced a really good crew and whenever you get out of here with a win on their home course, you feel really fortunate.”

Meanwhile, the second-ranked Cal women beat No. 5 Washington in the varsity eight race for the 11th time in 12 years.

“The varsity eight has performed very well all year and it was another great performance for them,” Cal women’s coach Al Acosta said.



Football: Cal fires assistant coach Pierre Ingram

The exit was quick and entirely predictable for disgraced Cal assistant coach Pierre Ingram.

Cal athletics announced Friday that it has fired Ingram, who was arrested April 16 on charges of solicitation.

Ingram, 30, was placed on administrative leave earlier this week. Now the athletic department has cuts ties with him entirely.

Cal’s statement reads: “As you are aware, Assistant Football Coach Ingram was placed on paid administrative leave following his recent arrest for solicitation. We are not renewing his contract and he will no longer represent or act on behalf of this University in any capacity.”

The athletic department’s move was inevitable and necessary. Ingram’s alleged actions — he still has yet to face a trial — make it impossible for Cal to move forward with him representing them on the field or as a recruiter.

Ingram was Cal’s recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He spent the past two seasons as running backs coach, and worked three years under head coach Sonny Dykes when both were at Louisiana Tech.

Ingram, who is married with two small children, earned a base salary and talent fee of $180,000 per year.

He was arrested as part of a prostitution sting operation and faces misdemeanor charges of solicitation.


Basketball: Why hasn’t Davon Dillard signed?

Three-star small forward Davon Dillard was the first player to commit to Cal’s recruiting Class of 2015. He was on board with the Bears a full month before five-star power forward Ivan Rabb made his announcement.

But on April 15, when Rabb and shooting guard Tyson Jolly made things official by signing their letters of intent, there was no news on Dillard.

Dillard’s coach at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y., was vague about reasons that have delayed the 6-foot-5 wing from signing with Cal, but said he remains confident Dillard will play for the Bears next season.

Asked whether Dillard or the school is being scrutinized by the NCAA Clearinghouse, coach Ron Stelzer said, “I’m aware of it. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say much. We’re in the process of dealing with the situation right now . . . it’s being worked out.”

Stelzer, who also serves as pastor at Our Savior, was not more specific about the reasons for the delay, and said he does not know the timetable for its resolution.

Because Dillard is unsigned, Cal coach Cuonzo Martin is not permitted to talk about him. Likewise, the NCAA does not discuss matters involving player eligibility.

A native of Gary, Indiana, Dillard played only his senior season at Our Savior.

“He’s a good student, a good person,” Stelzer said. “There’s no reason that I can see that he shouldn’t be cleared.”

Stelzer described Dillard as “a good all-around player.” He said his strengths include perimeter shooting and his ability to take the ball “hard” to the basket. “Defensively, I would say he’s at least adequate,” Stelzer said. “He’s not amazing, but he can keep growing there.”