Cal football: QB competition still unsettled

Cal will scrimmage Saturday morning with the hope that its quarterback competition develops a bit more clarity. The Bears have been giving reps to five players in a spring battle to replace NFL-bound Jared Goff, but no one has yet secured the job.

“We’ll know a little bit more after (Saturday),” coach Sonny Dykes said of the 10:30 a.m. practice at Memorial Stadium that is open to the public. “We’ll have a long, extended scrimmage, put those guys in as many game situations as we can, and kind of try to evaluate it from there.”

Redshirt sophomore Chase Forrest, who was Goff’s backup last fall, often operates with the first unit and looks the part of a confident quarterback during drills.

“They’ve all had good moments. Chase to this point has probably been the most consistent,” Dykes said after Friday’s practice.

Earlier, Dykes talked about how Forrest’s demeanor is serving him well.

“He’s an emotionally mature guy,” Dykes said. “That steadiness is really important.”

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Cal football: Prolific JC linebacker to join Bears

Cal has signed Jordan Kunaszyk, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker from American River College, who will join the Bears as a sophomore in the fall.

Kunaszyk led all California JC players with 118 tackles and earned Freshman All-American and Defensive Player of the Year honors for the NorCal division of the California Community College Athletic Association.

“Jordan was as productive as any junior college linebacker in the country last season,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “He’s a good athlete with excellent size and great range. We expect him to compete for a starting spot at linebacker right away, as well as jump into the mix on special teams because of his size, strength and athleticism. Jordan is exactly the type of player we are looking for.”

A native of Roseville, led ARC to a 7-4 record and a bowl bid last season. He has three seasons to play for the Bears.


Cal basketball: Mike Montgomery voted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Cal and Stanford coach Mike Montgomery has been voted into the 11th class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It is a great honor to be recognized for a job well done over a lifetime of work,” Montgomery said. “I am really honored and pleased to be included among such a special group.”

Montgomery, 69, is joined in the 2016 induction class by DePaul’s Mark Aguirre, Kansas State’s Bob Boozer, Illinois State’s Doug Collins, La Salle’s Lionel Simmons, UCLA’s Jamaal Wilkes, Georgia’s Dominique Wilkins, and fellow coaching legend Hugh Durham.

Enshrinement ceremonies will take place on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City.

Montgomery won 677 games as a college coach, directed Stanford to a Final Four appearance in 1998 and led Cal to its first conference title in 50 years in 2010. He recorded 31 winning seasons in 32 years as a coach and ranks third on the Pac-12 career victory list with 282 league victories.

In 2004, he received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Cal football: Ex-Texas A&M O-lineman joins Bears

Offensive lineman Jeremiah Stuckey, a Pacifica native and recent graduate of Texas A&M, has signed a financial aid agreement to play football for Cal next season as a graduate transfer.

Stuckey, a 6-foot-4, 300-pounder, saw action in 14 games over two seasons, starting five times at left guard in 2015. Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he expects Stuckey to be healthy for the start of fall camp.

Stuckey played for the Aggies under offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who now holds that position at Cal.

Previously, he played at City College of San Francisco, helping his team into the California state title game as a freshman in 2012.


Cal football: Quarterback Jared Goff shows he can fire a wet football at pro day

Staff writer Dan Brown covered Cal’s pro day today while I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament. Here’s his report on Jared Goff’s day in front of the NFL scouts:

On an otherwise gray, cool day at Memorial Stadium, it rained specifically for Jared Goff.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton made sure of that by dousing a few footballs with water before handing them to the Cal quarterback.

It was a Pro Day wrinkle designed to see if Goff — and his reportedly small hands — could throw with velocity and accuracy in adverse weather conditions.

Goff launched the wet ones just fine, including a 45-yard deep shot on the final throw of his session Friday in front of NFL draft evaluators.

Asked later about the wet footballs, Goff saw the sunny side.

“Yeah, growing up in California, they probably wanted to see that,” the Novato native and former Marin Catholic High star said. “That makes sense.

“At the same time, I’ve played in cold weather before. I wouldn’t be the first quarterback to go from California to cold weather. I think Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have done pretty well.”

The Browns have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on April 28 and are believed to also be considering North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson, a former Cal offensive coordinator, was on hand Friday for Goff’s workout.

Also in attendance was 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, whose team has the No. 7 overall pick.\

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Cal football: Sonny Dykes `encouraged’ by performance in 80-play scrimmage

Coach Sonny Dykes called it “an encouraging day.”

Cal ran an 80-play scrimmage with officials on Wednesday, and Dykes saw plenty that needs work but also things he liked.

“It was really competitive. I thought the defense looked good at times, particularly early in the scrimmage,” he said. “Then the offense caught kind of a second wind and made some plays. It was good to see.

“We needed to get out and see how our quarterbacks operate. We still have a ways to go there. You expected it to be something a little bit different with those guys and you could tell their heads were spinning a little bit. But they also did some good things as well.”

The Bears are auditioning five new quarterback candidates to replace record-setting Jared Goff, who is off to the NFL.

Defensively, safety-turned-linebacker Derron Brown made the coaching staff take notice.

“Thought he had a great scrimmage,” Dykes said. “Made some plays blitzing. We’ve been trying to find a linebacker who can blitz and create some havoc and it looks like we’ve got a guy, potentially.”

Freshman slot receiver Melquise Stovall continued a strong spring camp.

There were a couple fumbles and a few interceptions, but Dykes called it a good day overall.

“You learn a lot when you put young kids in a practice situation like this where it’s a game look and see how they react,” he said. “We had some young guys that probably were a little nervous. Once they settled in they performed a lot better.”


Cal football: Sonny Dykes’ new contract includes $25K bonus for winning the Big Game

Cal football coach Sonny Dykes’ new contract calls for him to earn $2.65 million in 2016, with raises each year through 2019.

Details of the deal, released Wednesday by the university, also include a $25,000 bonus for beating Stanford, which Dykes has yet to achieve in three seasons. Cal has lost the Big Game the past six seasons.

Dykes received the extension after guiding the Bears to an 8-5 record, including a victory in the Armed Forces Bowl a bowl last season, then considering options elsewhere. He interviewed at Missouri and was mentioned in connection with a couple other jobs.

Dykes will receive an annual base salary of $350,000 plus a talent fee, which covers personal appearances and media commitments and is not paid by taxpayer money.

Including the talent fee, his total salary will be $2.725 million in 2017, $2.8 million in 2018 and $2.87 million in 2019. He also will collect a one-time $250,000 signing bonus.

He would earn bonuses of $50,000 each for winning either Pac-12 or national coach of the year honors. A Rose Bowl appearance would be worth $75,000 and a spot in the four-team College Football Championship would net him a $100,000 payout.

Dykes’ contract also includes bonuses for the Bears’ academic performance, including a maximum of $60,000 if the team achieves at least a 3.0 grade-point average, up to $100,000 for an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 1,000 or more, and as much as $40,000 for a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent or more.

Dykes has a three-year record of 14-23 at Cal.

New offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has signed a two-year contract with an annual base salary of $225,000 and talent fees that boost his total compensation to $385,000 in 2016 and $500,000 in 2017.

Tony Franklin, who served three seasons as Cal’s offensive coordinator before departing for East Tennessee State, was paid $507,000 last season.


Cal basketball: Jason Kidd is lone Bears player voted to Pac-12 All-Century Team

Jason Kidd was the lone Cal player to find a spot on the 20-man Pac-12 All-Century Team, released Tuesday by the conference.

Kidd, the 1994 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American that season, landed a spot on a star-studded roster that featured 10 UCLA players.

Other finalists from Cal were guard Kevin Johnson, forwards Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Lamond Murray and centers Darrall Imhoff and Bob McKeen.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, known as Lew Alcindor during his UCLA playing days, was chosen the Player of the Century and John Wooden was Coach of the Century.

Three former Cal coaches were finalists for the award: Pete Newell, Mike Montgomery and Nibs Price.

Here’s the full 20-man team:

GUARDS: Gary Payton, Oregon State; Gail Goodrich, UCLA; Jason Kidd, Cal; Walt Hazzard, UCLA; Harold Miner, USC; Ron Lee, Oregon; Paul Westphal, USC; Damon Stoudamire, Arizona.

FORWARDS: Sean Elliott, Arizona; Marques Johnson, UCLA; Sidney Wicks, UCLA; Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA; Reggie Miller, UCLA; Hank Luisetti, Stanford; Don MacLean, UCLA; Ed O’Bannon, UCLA.

CENTERS: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA; Bill Walton, UCLA; Mel Counts, Oregon State; Bob Houbregs, Washington.




Cal football notebook: Coach Sonny Dykes pleased with Day 1 of spring practice

Cal coach Sonny Dykes sounded happy to be back on the practice field with his team on Monday.

“I was really pleased with our effort and focus. I thought it was a really good first day,” he said after the Bears opened spring ball at Memorial Stadium. “We were a little sharper than I thought we would be for the first time out.

“I told the players afterward if we can build on that we’ll have a hell of a football team.”

Here are other some highlights from Dykes’ post-practice interview:

On how the five quarterbacks competing for Jared Goff’s spot fared on Day 1:

“It was fine. Ups and downs as you’d expect. Thought they all did some good things and probably all made some mistakes as well. I thought it was a good starting point. Obviously we’ve got to get better.”

On freshman wideout Marquise Stovall’s first practice:

“I thought he looked good. Kind of what we expected. He’s a dynamic guy, can run. To me, he had a lot better understanding of how to run routes and create space than I thought he would at this point, for the first time out. I thought he caught the ball well. I think he’s going to be a good football player.”

On the rest of the Bears’ young receivers:

“I thought (Jordan Veasy) looked good. I was really pleased with all the young guys. I thought Jordan Duncan made some plays – he was a little bit further along than I thought he would be running routes.

“Grayson Bankhead did some good things. It was good to see Carlos Strickland out there – he’s much improved. Brandon Singleton looked really sharp. Pat Worstell made a bunch of plays, as well. I thought we caught the ball well – didn’t have a lot of drops.”

On a goal he’d like to see accomplished by the end of spring ball:

“A big this for us it to establish depth across our team. That’s been an issue for us at times. I think this year’s team is deeper. We’ve got good talent – we’ve got bigger guys, faster guys. We’ve got some guys who can run around. It’s just a matter of getting them ready to play.”


Cal football: Quarterback Zach Kline happy to be home

I’m in Las Vegas for conference basketball tournaments, so colleague Elliott Almond covered Monday’s first Cal football spring practice. Here is his report:

Quarterback Zach Kline just wanted to play one more year for Cal’s football team.

It’s not about starting or starring for the Golden Bears.

“I just want to be the best teammate and best friend to these guys,” he said Monday after the first day of spring practice.

Wearing his trademark U.S. flag bandanna that offered little protection against an early-evening rain, Kline felt like a freshman again when stepping into Memorial Stadium for first time as a player since transferring two years ago.

Kline, a former four-star recruit from Danville’s San Ramon Valley High, left Berkeley after one season as Jared Goff’s backup. He spent a year at Butte College before transferring to Indiana State last year.

Kline had only 13 passes as a backup for the Sycamores and then returned to Cal to complete his degree in English.

“All that hard work, why not finish it?” Kline said of his studies.

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