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Football: Three priorities for spring ball

Here are three issues the Bears want to address during spring ball:

Embrace the possibilities

After improving from one victory in 2013 to five last fall, the Bears want more in 2015. The process begins this spring.

“I think everybody associated with the program is expecting better things,” Coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’re a program that’s growing up. When that happens, certainly you have higher expectations.”

“We want to win, but we have to get a lot better between now and fall. We know that,” said junior quarterback Jared Goff, who passed for 7,476 yards and 53 touchdowns his first two seasons.

“There were so many opportunities we had to be a bowl team and win seven or eight games last season. That’s the next step.”

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Football: Dykes likes early showing by young QBs

If Luke Rubenzer really does wind up playing defense next fall — or anywhere other than quarterback — the Bears are in the market for a backup to Jared Goff.

Coach Sonny Dykes liked what he saw Monday from redshirt freshman Chase Forrest and incoming mid-year freshman Ross Bowers.

“I was pleasantly surprised with both of them,” he said after the Bears’ opening spring workout. “I thought Chase Forrest kind picked up where he left off from the fall. And I thought Ross showed a lot of composure for the first time out. I thought he was good. I was pleased with Ross, I really was.

“Good things out of both of them. Obviously, a lot of work to do. It’s really early and the first time either of them got extended reps. We’ll see how it plays out. But I thought for Day 1, it was pretty good.”

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Football: Rubenzer gets a look at safety

UPDATED

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.”

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Football: Brennan Scarlett will transfer . . . to Stanford?

I’m in Las Vegas for the WCC and Pac-12 basketball tournaments, but word from Berkeley is that senior defensive end Brennan Scarlett has been granted his release to transfer and likely is headed to Stanford.

Update: After Monday’s practice, coach Sonny Dykes confirmed to reporters that Scarlett has received his released and intends to transfer.

Scarlett,  who will graduate this spring, has one year of eligibility year and is expected to be able to play immediately next fall. He would join his brother, freshman-to-be running back Cameron Scarlett, a four-star recruit from Portland, Oregon.

Staff writer Jimmy Durkin is covering Cal’s first day of spring workouts Monday and he filed this report.

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Basketball: Wallace earns all-Pac-12 honors

Cal junior guard Tyrone Wallace picked up first-team all-Pac-12 honors as voted by the league’s coaches.

Wallace was one of the league’s most productive and versatile players, averaging 17.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the Bears, who open Pac-12 tournament play Wednesday against Washington State.

Oregon senior guard Joseph Young and coach Dana Altman, who guided the Ducks to a surprising tie for second place in the Pac-12, won the league’s top honors.

Young earned Pac-12 Player of the Year after scoring 19.8 points per game for an Oregon team that won 11 of its final 13 regular-season games. He also led the conference in free-throw accuracy and 3-pointers per game.

Altman, whose Ducks were picked to finish eighth in a Pac-12 preseason media poll, was voted the John R. Wooden Coach of the Year. Oregon will be the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, beginning Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Arizona’s Stanley Johnson was named Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league’s coaches, Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson was named Most Improved Player of the Year, and Oregon State’s Gary Payton II was chosen as Defensive Player of the Year.

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Football: Marshawn Lynch re-signs with Seahawks

Former Cal star Marshawn Lynch is not retiring, after all.

Nor will the Oakland native close out his career with the Raiders.

Lynch signed a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks through 2017. He will earn $12 million in 2015 — a raise from the $7 million he was due on his previous contract.

Here’s the story from ESPN. Here’s a report from the Seattle Times, along with a photo slideshow of 25 moments with Lynch in 2014.

 

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Women’s basketball: Gray is Pac-12 Player of Year

Senior forward Reshanda Gray became the second Cal women’s player voted Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Gray joins Devanei Hampton, who won the award in 2007.

Meanwhile, teammate Brittany Boyd earned first-team all-conference honors for the third straight season. Boyd also was named to the all-defensive team.

Gray averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Bears, shooting 57.6 percent from the field. Her 37 points against Sacramento State are the most scored by a Pac-12 player this season.

Cal’s Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green were voted by the league’s coaches to the all-freshman team. Mercedes Jefflo was named honorable mention all-defensive team.

Scott Rueck of regular-season champion Oregon State was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

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Women’s basketball: Boyd is Naismith semifinalist

Cal senior point guard Brittany Boyd has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy National Women’s College Player of the Year honor.

Boyd is the only Pac-12 player and the only player west of Texas to be selected as a semifinalist for the award, given to the top player in the country. The four finalists will be unveiled on Friday, March 20, and the winner will be announced on Monday, April 6.

The Berkeley High grad is averaging 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 3.0 steals. She is the nation’s only player with two triple-doubles, she ranks seventh nationally in assists and is the NCAA active leader with 353 steals. Her 19 rebounds against Sacramento State are the most by a guard from a “power five conference.”

Boyd is the only active NCAA player — and the only player in Pac-12 history — to compile career totals of at least 1,400 points, 700 rebounds, 600 assists and 300 steals.

Boyd also was named to the Wade Trophy (WBCA), Wooden Award (Los Angeles Athletic Club), Nancy Lieberman Award and Dawn Staley Award midseason watch lists.

Other semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy are: Lexie Brown, Maryland; Nina Davis, Baylor; Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut; Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame; Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State; Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut; Breanna Stewart, Connecticut; and Amanda Zahui B., Minnesota.

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Football: Cal gets commitment from 2016 safety

Cal football landed its second significant 2016 recruiting prospect in a week when four-star safety Marquel Dismuke of Compton announced via twitter he has picked the Bears over Michigan and Arizona State, among others.

A senior-to-be at Calabasas High, Dismuke is rated as the No. 11 safety in the country by Scout and No. 12 by Rivals. Both recruiting sites list him as a four-star prospect.

Dismuke, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, is the nation’s No. 190 overall prospect, according to Scout.

He joins dual-threat quarterback Armani Rogers, a three-star prospect from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, in Cal’s 2016 recruiting class. Commitments do not become binding until signing day in February 2016.

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Football/basketball: Cal-related story links

Here are links to several stories we have today that relate to current or former Cal athletes:

– Running back Marshawn Lynch is close to releasing his film, “Family First: The Marshawn Lynch Story.” Click here to see the movie trailer.

– Former Cal placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio signs with the Oakland Raiders.

– Cal and Stanford guards are the headliners among top women’s basketball players in the Bay Area.