18

Football: Still no word on starting QB

Cal completed its preparation for Saturday night’s game at Washington, but coach Sonny Dykes was taking one more day to decide who his starting quarterback will be.

Freshman Jared Goff, the starter for seven games, and redshirt freshman Zach Kline continued to share first-team practice reps Thursday.

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* The latest on Cal’s struggles to reach graduation day

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Afterward, Dykes said he plans to announce a starter on Friday. “I don’t see any reason to wait ’til game time,” he said.

“I think they both practiced well this week,” Dykes said. “I thought particularly Zach has picked it up the latter part of the week.”

Dykes reopened competition at the position this week after the Bears (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12) lost 49-17 to Oregon State, their fifth straight defeat. Kline replaced Goff in the third quarter of that game, throwing two late touchdown passes.

Whoever gets the call to face the Huskies (4-3, 1-3) is likely to go the distance.

“The last thing we want to do is somebody gets into a flow and another quarterback comes in,” Dykes said. “I’ve never found that to be particularly effective.”

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Washington senior quarterback Keith Price, nursing a thumb injury on his throwing hand, is expected to be available for Saturday night, but coach Steve Sarkisian didn’t specify whether Price would start against Cal.

 

 

10

Football: No decision on QB expected until at least Friday; O-line moves likely permanent

Coach Sonny Dykes said after practice Wednesday he probably won’t name a starting quarterback until Friday, and didn’t say whether that information would become public at that point.

Dykes also said the moves made along the offensive line are not short-term fixes but expected to be permanent position changes.

Freshman Jared Goff, the starter for seven games, and redshirt freshman Zach Kline continued to share first-team reps Wednesday in preparation for Saturday night’s game at Washington.

The coach will meet with reporters, as usual, after Thursday’s closed practice, but it didn’t sound like a decision on the starting quarterback would be forthcoming by then.

Dykes said he is not entertaining the notion of playing both Goff and Kline on Saturday.

“It’s not what we want to do,” he said. “Typically, we want to play somebody, let him get a feel for the game, let him go. The last thing we want to do is somebody gets into a flow and another quarterback comes in. I’ve never found that to be particularly effective.”

There is less mystery along the offensive line, where sophomore Jordan Rigsbee has been moved from left guard to center, freshman Chris Borrayo is being pulled out of his redshirt year to play left guard, and tackle Freddie Tagaloa is being shifted from left tackle to right guard.

Dykes also said redshirt freshman guard Matt Cochran, sidelined the past four games because of ankle surgery, could be ready to return by next week’s home game against Arizona.

Asked about the offensive line shuffling, Dykes said, “Just trying to find some things that work. We think it’s a way to get some guys in positions we think they can excel in.

“They’re long-term moves as well. We’re going to develop those guys at those positions — all of them. They’ll stay there for the forseeable future.”

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24

Football: Jordan Rigsbee taking snaps at center, freshman Chris Borrayo coming out of redshirt

There was news out of practice Tuesday, after all.

Sophomore starting left guard Jordan Rigsbee spent the afternoon working as the first-team center.

“We’re looking at it,” Dykes said afterward.

Senior Mark Brazinski has started the past three games at center since Chris Adcock blew out his knee in practice.

He also confirmed that true freshman Chris Borrayo, a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder from from Paramount High in the San Gabriel Valley, will be pulled out of his redshirt year.

Borrayo was working at Rigsbee’s left guard spot on the first unit.

Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Christian Okafor took some reps at No. 1 left tackle, Freddie Tagaloa’s spot. Tagaloa got some time at right guard.

So, for much of pratice Tuesday, the Bears’ starting O-line featured just one player — junior Alejandro Crosthwaite — who played the same position when the team took the field Saturday against Oregon State.

Here’s how it looked: RT Steven Moore (back after battling strep throat last week), RG Crosthwaite, C Rigsbee, LG Borrayo, LT Okafor.

Stay tuned. None of it’s cast in stone and there are a lot of moving parts right now.

9

Football: The Cal QB duel begins anew

UPDATED

Watching from the press box at Memorial Stadium, looks like practice as usual today.

The Bears are back at it for the first time since Saturday’s game against Oregon State, with Jared Goff and Zach Kline competing for the starting quarterback spot. Cal took Monday off to give everyone a chance to exhale.

There’s no timetable on when coach Sonny Dykes will announce which player will start Saturday at Washington. We do know neither will be made available to reports until the decision is made.

The smart money says that won’t be today, and probably not Wednesday, either.

 

6

Football: No QB decision; Rigsbee says O-line needs to shoulder blame for offensive woes

While Cal coach Sonny Dykes confirmed Jared Goff and Zach Kline will duel this week for the starting quarterback job, Jordan Rigsbee says the line takes responsibility for the Bears’ recent offensive slide.

“We feel like for the most part the offense struggling a lot of times is on us,” said Rigsbee, a sophomore starting left guard. “It doesn’t matter how good your (skill) guys are, if you don’t have a good O-line, you can’t play.”

The Bears (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12), who visit Washington on Saturday night, have slumped sufficiently that Dykes pulled freshman Goff in favor of redshirt freshman Kline in the third quarter of the 49-17 loss to Oregon State.

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25

Football: Bears gain sense of hope, unity from improved attitude during loss at UCLA

It didn’t produce a victory, but Cal’s players and coaches saw a change in the team’s attitude and resolve midway through the UCLA game they hope will spark a change in fortune the rest of the season.

“We came together in the middle of the game and definitely felt the unity,” freshman quarterback Jared Goff said. “I think the confidence level was a little shaken early in the year, but it’s back to where we want it to be.”

Cal lost 37-10 at UCLA, dropping to 1-5 on the season, 0-3 in the Pac-12. But after after falling behind 17-0, the Bears fought back to within 17-10 before the unbeaten Bruins gradually pulled away.

“There was definitely a different mentality on the sideline. He’s definitely right,” said slot receiver Richard Rodgers, echoing Goff’s remarks. “Toward the middle of the game we came together and started clicking a little bit.

“We haven’t seen that. Sometimes guys get their heads down. But UCLA was different. We came together and were really battling and fighting to stay in the game.”

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11

Football: Daniel Lasco out for Oregon St.

Coach Sonny Dykes told reporters after practice Monday night that running back Daniel Lasco will sit out Saturday’s game against Oregon State.

With Brendan Bigelow having been moved to slot receiver, will redshirt freshman Jeffrey Coprich be elevated to second team behind starter Khalfani Muhammad?

Meanwhile, LB Jalen Jefferson and CB Joel Willis, who both sat out last Saturday’s game at UCLA, are off the injury list, suggesting both should be ready for Oregon State.

Here’s more from Dykes:

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8

Football: McClure out for season after surgery; Jefferson, Willis to miss UCLA game

Sophomore cornerback Stefan McClure, who underwent surgery on his right knee Wednesday, will miss the remainder of the season, coach Sonny Dykes said.

“I hate it for him, personally. I know he’s been through a lot to get back and he worked incredibly hard,” Dykes said after practice Thursday. “It’s disappointing. He’s a great kid and he’ll work through it. We hope to get him back for the second half of spring football.”

Dykes said McClure, who was injured last Saturday against Washington State, did not sustain any ligament damage.

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4

Football: Tagaloa braces for Anthony Barr’s speed

Cal left tackle Freddie Tagaloa had several of the Bears’ running backs come at him as pass rushers in practice this week to simulate the speed he will encounter Saturday night against UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

That’s appropriate because Barr is so fast that he actually has played running back for the Bruins, starting seven games as a sophomore in 2011.

“I’m very confident,” Tagaloa said, “but I’ve got to respect his speed.”

Tagaloa, a 6-foot-8, 330-pound sophomore from Richmond, might not have a greater challenge all season than Barr.

“This is a game you get up for,” he said.

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14

Football: No surprise — it’s Goff

There was no surprise Thursday evening when coach Sonny Dykes announced that freshman Jared Goff will continue to be the Bears’ starting quarterback.

Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline shared reps all week after the Bears’ 55-16 loss at Oregon in a rainstorm, but Goff gets the call for the Washington State game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

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Ex-Cal coach Jeff Tedford says no thanks to USC consultant offer

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“He practiced well. Had a good body of work thus far, other than the beginning of the Oregon game. We felt he deserved it,” Dykes said. “Both practiced really well this week and I think we could have been comfortable with either one of them.”

Dykes has indicated at times all week he expected Goff to be the choice.

“I just wanted to see how he responded. I anticipated him responding the way he has, but you never know with an 18-year-old kid and how he’s going to handle when things don’t go his way,” Dykes said. “We’ve had some struggles, but for the most part he’d played pretty well.”

Dykes said there is a “possibility” both could see action Saturday, but could not lay out a scenario that would necessarily lead to that. “It’s always a feel thing.”

Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said Goff’s performance the first three games earned him the chance to start again, even after he was yanked from the game late in the first quarter at Oregon, with Cal trailing 27-0. Goff had two of the four fumbles the Bears lost on their first four possessions of the game, and Franklin shouldered some of the blame for that.

Calling it the “worst weather I’ve ever been in in my life,” Franklin said, “As a 56-year-old coach who’s been doing this forever, I didn’t prepare well enough. That’s really bad coaching on my part, to not be prepared for that and not have a solution.”

Junior running back Brendan Bigelow, who had knee surgery last spring, had his best week of practice, Dykes said.

“It’s all confidence with him. Every week he feels better,” said Dykes, adding that it would be up to Bigelow whether he wears a knee brace Saturday.

Franklin, who played running back in college, said, “You always hope that they go out and immediately it comes back. I know this for me, I played running back and when I was overcoming injuries, especially surgery, I was bad and it took me a long time to get this (mental) part right.”

Dykes, who took no questions on injuries Thursday, said freshman Jeffrey Coprich will be the No. 3 running back. That suggests that freshman Khalfani Muhammad, who suffered a head injury at Oregon, likely won’t play.