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Football: Dykes sees success model in A’s

As he aspires to build his football program, coach Sonny Dykes doesn’t need to look far to find a model for success.

“There’s a lot of different ways to win in football and sports in general,” he said Tuesday during a media briefing, three days after the close of spring workouts.

“The Yankees have won by having the biggest payroll and the biggest superstars. And the A’s have won by having the smallest payroll, no superstars and a great team.

“You have to figure out who you are. I think right now we’re a little bit more like the A’s than the Yankees. And that’s fine.”

What that means to Dykes and the Bears a year after staggering to a 1-11 record is creating a culture where the whole is bigger than its parts. Cal’s roster isn’t bulging with five-star recruits, but can achieve beyond those expectations, Dykes said.

“We’ve got to kind of embrace that and buy into that. I just believe that is how you sustain a program, by having good people and creating a good culture and getting guys to play hard for each other on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

“I think we’re much further along than we were, but I’m not quite sure we’re there yet.”

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6

Football: Bears encouraged after spring finale

Encouraged but hardly satisfied, Cal closed its spring workouts Saturday with an 86-play scrimmage in front of an announced crowd of 2,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.

Five months after after completing an historically bad 1-11 season, the Bears are focused on their future, including their Aug. 30 season opener at Northwestern.

Sophomore quarterback Jared Goff said the team is ready to make a leap forward. “We’re done with everything that had to do with last year,” he said. “We’re a brand new team now and we’re ready to go.”

Coach Sonny Dykes has called the Bears a work in progress, and he continues to see good and bad.

“I thought we got better,” Dykes said of his team’s work over the past four weeks. “Our guys are still learning what it takes to win at this level. I’m not sure we completely understand that yet.

“I certainly like where we’re headed, but we still have a long way to go.”

The defense had the upper hand early on Saturday, prompting defensive end Brennan Scarlett to pronounce, “We were dominating.” The offense was more effective in the second half, Dykes noted.

Goff, just 5 for 11 for 27 yards in the first half, was 9 for 12 for 143 yards the rest of the way. He had an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler and a 37-yard completion to Bryce Treggs, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch.
 
2

Football: All systems go in Sebastian’s comeback

Suddenly, things are looking up for Avery Sebastian.

When we last saw Sebastian on game day, he was being carted off the turf after tearing his Achilles tendon in the 2013 opener against Northwestern. That catastrophe came on the heels of suffering a concussion during fall camp that was scary enough an ambulance rolled into Memorial Stadium to take him to the hospital.

But the redshirt junior safety from McDonough, Ga., is on his way back. He participated in Cal’s spring workouts, doing whatever he felt his body would allow, and expects to be in the mix Saturday (11 a.m.) when the Bears hold their spring game.

Plus, by the end of this spring semester he will be just one class shy of earning his degree in American studies.

That will give Sebastian an array of options. He plans to take just a single class in the fall, allowing him to concentrate on all things football.

In the meantime, he intends to take the GRE this summer to become eligible for grad school. Asked about his plans for the fall of 2015, when he’d be able to play his final football season, Sebastian admitted, “I have not thought that far.”

Unspoken is the possibility he could enter the NFL draft in 2015. But he wants to study broadcast journalism and can easily envision himself doing so at Cal.

“You can’t beat a Berkeley education, so if I have that opportunity to do that again (as a grad student), the option’s definitely there,” Sebastian said after practice Wednesday.

Right now, Sebastian is just happy to be healthy once again.

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0

Football: Agu’s cause of death determined

Former Cal football player Ted Agu, who collapsed after a Feb. 7 team training run, died of the same heart condition that took the lives of athletes including Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis, according to the Alameda County Coroners office.

Sgt. Paul Graves confirmed that Agu died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle, and is a common cause of unexpected death in athletes.

Graves said the pathologist’s report, which will not be complete for another couple weeks, did not indicate any other significant conditions which may have contributed to Agu’s death. CBS Sports reported shortly after Agu’s death that he had tested positive for the sickle cell trait.

Agu was a 21-year-old junior defensive end and pre-med student from Bakersfield.

A spokesman for Cal athletics said the school has not yet seen the coroner’s report.

“Out of respect for Ted Agu’s family, we will have no comment on the Alameda County Coroner’s findings until that office publicly issues its final report,” the athletic department said in a statement. “Our team, our student-athletes and our University will continue to honor Ted Agu. He will forever be a beloved member of our Golden Bear family.”

According to the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association website, the muscle thickening of the heart occurs without an obvious cause, but prevents proper blood flow.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common of all genetic heart conditions, according to the HCMA, affecting 1 in 500 people in the general population. Based on that, the association estimates as many as 600,000 people in the United States have HCM.

The website says there is no gender, age or ethnic factor specific to the condition, and no specific symptom or complaint unique to HCM.

“The reason for the onset of symptoms is often not clear,” according to the HCMA website.

1

Football: Kicker job remains open competition

The competition for placekicker will continue into fall camp, coach Sonny Dykes said after Wednesday’s practice.

Sophomore Noah Beito had the upperhand early in spring camp, but the depth chart released on Wednesday showed Beito, senior James Langford and redshirt freshman Matt Anderson separated by “or.”

For all the troubles the Bears experienced last season, placekicker was an oasis of consistency. Graduating senior Vincenzo D’Amato converted 17 of 20 field goal attempts and all but one of his PAT tries.

“Vince was a mentally tough kid,” Dykes said. “If something didn’t go his way, he reacted incredibly well, just believed in himself and grinded through it. That’s unfortunately rare in kickers a lot of times.”

Dykes and his coaching staff will be looking for that mental toughness when they choose among the three candidates in August.

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0

Football: Cal Spring Football Experience

Coach Sonny Dykes said the Bears will run about 80 plays Saturday during their Cal Spring Football Experience.

The occasion won’t be strictly a spring game. There are lots of festivities planned to go with the scrimmaging, but a full-fledged spring game isn’t practical, Dykes said.

“When you’re an uptempo offense the problem you run into is spring games become a real pain in the rear end,” he said. “When we were at Louisiana Tech we ran I think in the neighborhood of 75 plays in the first quarter of the spring game one year.

“There’s no rest. You have 22 guys playing, so it’s basically like 150 plays. That’s a bit of an issue.”

Dykes said Saturday’s free event will have a mix of fan interaction. “Try to make it a good experience,” he said.

Gates will open at 10 a.m., with the scrimmage beginning at 11 a.m. Pac-12 Networks will televise the proceedings.

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0

Football: Wilfley, Manley earn top spots on depth chart, but D-tackle remains a question mark

As the Bears prepare for Saturday’s spring practice finale — the Cal Spring Football Experience — there is improved depth and experience almost everywhere on the field.

Except defensive tackle.

With junior Mustafa Jalil shelved while recovering from offseason knee surgery and sophomore Jacobi Hunter out for personal reasons, the Bears have no one at the position with any Division I game experience who will participate on Saturday.

“That’s going to be the big position that’s up in the air for us,” coach Sonny Dykes said Wednesday after practice.

Cal released a depth chart earlier in the day, and redshirt senior Harrison Wilfley and redshirt junior Marcus Manley are listed as the starting defensive tackles.

Wilfley was recruited as a tight end, then moved to defensive end, the position he played at American River College. The 6-foot-5 Sacramento native redshirted last season because of a shoulder injury, and this spring was moved to defensive tackle.

Manley came to Berkeley from City College of San Francisco a year ago, and was redshirted.

Trevor Kelly, who arrived this spring as a transfer from College of San Mateo, also is playing the position, along with redshirt freshman Tony Merkari. Kelly, at 6-2, 315 pounds, needs to drop about 20 pounds, Dykes said.

The total D-I game day experience of those four players: Zero.

The Bears’ experienced player at the position is Jalil, once a top-10 national recruit at his position. He remains a question mark after missing all of last season.

Dykes said Jalil underwent surgery to alleviate pain in his knee caused by a lack of cartilage. Doctors tell the coaching staff the surgery was a success, but Jalil was held out of spring ball to let the knee recover fully.

“He’s feeling much better, but he hasn’t done much,” Dykes said. “He’s got to get in shape, get his weight down and give himself a chance to be a player.”

Still, Jalil was enough of a question mark that the Bears signed JC defensive tackles Kelly and David Davis, who will arrive in August.

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8

Football: Spring’s 1st depth chart released

Cal has released a depth chart entering Saturday’s Cal Spring Football Experience, otherwise known as its spring game, otherwise known as its final practice of spring ball.

This is not the depth chart we will see the week of the 2014 opener against Northwestern. This reflects who has practiced during spring ball and/or who is available to participate Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You will notice, for instance, that WR Chris Harper is not listed as a starter because he has basically sat out spring workouts following offseason shoulder surgery. Same thing for CB/safety Stefan McClure (knee) and DT Mustafa  Jalil (knee). Chris Adcock (knee) could alter the offensive line picture when he returns in August. 

RB Khalfani Muhammad has practiced this spring, but isn’t expected to participate Saturday because he’s running in Cal’s Brutus Hamilton track invitational.

We’re also awaiting word from coach Sonny Dykes on the long-term status of DT Jacobi Hunter, who currently is attending to a personal matter. 

Keep in mind also that competition makes the depth chart fluid at many or most positions, most notably right tackle, where Brian Farley is battling to hold off Christian Okafor.

OFFENSE
LEFT TACKLE
NO NAME POS HT WT YR EXP HOMETOWN (LAST SCHOOLS)
64 Steven Moore OL 6-6 295 So.* 1L Elk Grove (Elk Grove HS)
75 Aaron Cochran OL 6-8 355 Fr.* RS Atwater (Buhach Colony HS)
LEFT GUARD
66 Chris Borrayo OL 6-3 310 So. 1L Paramount (Paramount HS)
78 Vincent Johnson OL 6-5 275 Fr.* RS El Dorado Hills (Christian Brothers HS)
67 (Myles Bunte) OL 6-7 320 Fr.* RS Laguna Niguel (Mission Viejo HS)
CENTER
73 Jordan Rigsbee OL 6-4 315 Jr.* 2L Chico (Pleasant Valley HS)
77 J.D. Hinnant OL 6-4 280 Fr.* RS Fountain Valley (Fountain Valley HS)
58 (Chris Adcock) OL 6-3 295 Sr.* 3L Rowlett, TX (Dallas Christian HS)
RIGHT GUARD
71 Alejandro Crosthwaite OL 6-4 295 Sr.* 2L Rosarito Beach, Mex. (Cathedral HS)
61 Donovan Frazer OL 6-3 290 Sr.* SQ Martinez (Laney College/Alhambra HS)
74 (Matt Cochran) OL 6-3 310 So.* 1L Atwater (Buhach Colony HS)
RIGHT TACKLE
59 Brian Farley OL 6-7 285 Jr.* 1L San Diego (Patrick Henry HS)
76 Christian Okafor OL 6-6 325 So.* 1L Houston, TX (Westbury HS)
QUARTERBACK
16 Jared Goff QB 6-4 195 So. 1L Novato (Marin Catholic HS)
7 Austin Hinder QB 6-4 200 Sr.* 1L Steamboat Spgs, CO (Steamboat Springs HS)
- or 17 Kyle Boehm QB 6-3 225 Jr.* 1L San Jose (Archbishop Mitty HS)
13 Joey Mahalic QB 6-3 210 So.* RS Portland, OR (Wilson HS)
18 (Cole Webb) QB 6-0 180 Jr.* San Pedro (El Camino CC/Mary Star of Sea HS)
RUNNING BACK
2 Daniel Lasco RB 6-0 210 Jr.* 2L The Woodlands, TX (The Woodlands HS)
20 Jeffrey Coprich RB 5-8 175 So.* 1L Watts, CA (W.Ranch HS/Golden Valley HS)
24 Austin Harper RB 5-6 160 Fr.* RS Oakland (El Cerrito HS/De La Salle HS)
82 Kenny Portera RB 5-10 170 Fr.* RS San Jose (Leland HS)
29 (Khalfani Muhammad) RB 5-7 170 So. 1L Los Angeles (Notre Dame HS)
FULLBACK (BONE)
44 Lucus Gingold FB 6-0 245 Sr.* 1L Clovis (Reedley College/Buchanan HS)
37 Fabiano Hale FB 6-0 225 Fr.* RS Santa Cruz (Soquel HS)
15 Jack Moffett FB 6-3 225 Jr.* RS Stockton (Marist/St. Mary’s HS)
WIDE RECEIVER (X)
9 Trevor Davis WR 6-2 180 Jr.* RS Martinez (Hawai’i/Alhambra HS)
3 Maurice Harris WR 6-2 195 Jr.* 2L Greensboro, NC (Northern Guilford HS)
88 Patrick Worstell WR 6-1 185 So.* SQ Danville (San Ramon Valley HS)
WIDE RECEIVER (Y)
89 Stephen Anderson WR 6-3 215 Jr.* 2L San Jose (Piedmont Hills HS)
10 Darius Powe WR 6-3 220 Jr. 2L Lakewood (Lakewood HS)
11 Raymond Hudson WR 6-3 235 Fr.* RS Pleasanton (Foothill HS)
WIDE RECEIVER (H)
1 Bryce Treggs WR 5-11 185 Jr. 2L Inglewood (St. John Bosco HS)
81 Drake Whitehurst WR 6-6 215 Sr. 1L Portland, OR (CCSF/Lincoln HS)
86 Bryce McGovern WR 5-10 205 Sr. 3L Danville (Monte Vista HS)
WIDE RECEIVER (Z)
4 Kenny Lawler WR 6-3 190 So.* 1L Pomona (Upland HS)
85 James Grisom WR 5-11 180 Sr.* 2L Lynwood (Lynwood HS)
21 Jack Austin WR 6-3 210 Fr.* RS Chino Hills (Chino Hills HS)
6 (Chris Harper) WR 5-11 170 Jr. 2L Northridge (Crespi HS)

DEFENSE
DEFENSIVE END
NO NAME POS HT WT YR EXP HOMETOWN (LAST SCHOOLS)
17 Brennan Scarlett DE 6-4 265 Jr.* 2L Portland, OR (Central Catholic HS)
41 Todd Barr DE 6-2 250 Jr.* 2L Lakewood (Lakewood HS)
24 Antione Davis DE 6-5 250 Jr.* 1L El Sobrante (CCosta JC/Pinole Valley HS)
DEFENSIVE TACKLE
92 Marcus Manley DT 6-2 295 So.* SQ Los Angeles (S.Monica JC/Fairfax HS)
91 Trevor Kelly DT 6-2 315 Jr. So S.Francisco (CSM/Sac St/El Camino HS)
95 (Jacobi Hunter) DT 6-0 305 So. 1L Houston, TX (Cypress Falls HS)
54 (Austin Clark) DT 5-10 270 Sr.*^ 3L Tampa, FL (Plant HS)
DEFENSIVE TACKLE
80 Harrison Wilfley DT 6-5 265 Sr.* 1L Sacramento (ARiver JC/Casa Roble HS)
97 Tony Mekari DT 6-1 270 Fr.* RS Thousand Oaks (Westlake HS)
48 Bradley Northnagel DT 6-3 260 So.* SQ San Carlos (Junipero Serra HS)
90 (Mustafa Jalil) DT 6-3 305 Jr.* 2L San Diego (Cathedral Catholic HS)
DEFENSIVE END
13 Kyle Kragen DE 6-2 240 Sr. 1L Danville (DVC/San Ramon Valley HS)
75 Puka Lopa DE 6-2 260 Jr.* 2L Sacramento (Grant HS)
11 Jonathan Johnson DE 6-2 235 Jr. Pittsburgh, PA (Pierce Col/Snow Col/Woodland Hills HS)
99 (Sione Sina) DE 6-3 265 Jr.* RS Elk Grove (Col of SMateo/Monterey Trail HS)
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
19 Maximo Espitia LB 6-2 215 Jr. 2L Salem, OR (South Salem HS)
46 Drew Bryant LB 6-1 215 Fr. HS Sparks, NV (Reed HS)
9 (Jason Gibson) LB 6-2 210 Jr.* 1L Gardena (Junipero Serra HS)
MIDDLE LINEBACKER
8 Michael Barton LB 6-0 230 So.* 1L Concord (De La Salle HS)
32 Edward Tandy LB 6-1 225 So. SQ Tustin (Tustin HS)
22 Nathan Broussard LB 6-3 235 Jr.* 1L Plano, TX (Plano West HS)
47 (Hardy Nickerson) LB 6-0 225 So.* 1L Oakland (Bishop O’Dowd HS)
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
7 Jalen Jefferson LB 6-2 220 Jr.* 2L Oxnard (Ventura St. Bonaventure HS)
31 Raymond Davison LB 6-2 220 Fr.* RS Encino (Crespi Carmelite HS)
1 Devante Downs LB 6-3 240 Fr. HS Mountlake Terrace, WA (Mountlake Terr HS)
CORNERBACK
3 Cameron Walker CB 5-10 180 So. 1L Los Angeles (Loyola HS)
37 Cedric Dozier CB 5-10 180 So.* 1L Roanoke, AL (Lakes HS)
29 Vachel Samuels CB 5-11 185 Sr. SQ Compton (Lynwood HS)
18 (Joel Willis) CB 5-10 185 Jr.* 2L Garden Grove (Pacifica HS)
SAFETY
4 Avery Sebastian S 5-10 195 Jr.* 2L McDonough, GA (Eagle’s Landing Chr HS/UnGrove HS)
26 Griffin Piatt S 6-3 195 So.* SQ Moraga (Campolindo HS)
42 David Garner S 5-9 190 Fr.* RS Fort Lauderdale, FL (University HS)
SAFETY
5 Michael Lowe S 5-11 220 Sr.* 3L Hyattsville, MD (DeMatha Catholic HS)
27 Damariay Drew S 5-11 205 So.* 1L Livermore (Livermore HS)
38 Cormac Craigie S 6-2 200 Jr.* SQ Piedmont (Trinity-Pawling Sch/Piedmont HS)
CORNERBACK
2 Darius Allensworth CB 5-11 185 Fr.* RS Menifee (Heritage HS)
10 Caleb Coleman CB 5-11 185 Fr.* RS Berkeley (St. Mary’s College HS)
23 Trey Cheek CB 5-10 175 Fr.* RS Lawrenceville, GA (Archer HS)
21 (Stefan McClure) CB 5-11 200 Jr.* 2L Vista (Vista HS)

SPECIAL TEAMS
PLACEKICKER
NO NAME POS HT WT YR EXP HOMETOWN (LAST SCHOOLS)
19 Noah Beito PK 6-0 190 So.* RS Scotts Valley (Scotts Valley HS)
- or 45 James Langford PK 6-3 215 Sr.* SQ Pleasanton (Cal Poly/Foothill HS)
- or 9 Matt Anderson PK 5-11 185 Fr.* RS Danville (San Ramon Valley HS)
41 Robbie McInerny PK 5-10 175 Fr.* RS Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach HS)
PUNTER
16 Cole Leininger P 6-1 200 Jr. 2L Fruit Cove, FL (Bartram Trail HS)
19 Noah Beito P 6-0 190 So.* RS Scotts Valley (Scotts Valley HS)
LONG SNAPPER
69 John Sheperdson LS 6-3 220 Sr. 3L Danville (San Ramon Valley HS)
48 Bradley Northnagel LS 6-3 260 So.* SQ San Carlos (Junipero Serra HS)
HOLDER
86 Bryce McGovern HLD 5-10 205 Sr. 3L Danville (Monte Vista HS)
21 Jack Austin HLD 6-3 210 Fr.* RS Chino Hills (Chino Hills HS)
PUNT RETURNER
1 Bryce Treggs PR 5-11 185 Jr. 2L Inglewood (St. John Bosco HS)
9 Trevor Davis PR 6-2 180 Jr.* RS Martinez (Hawai’i/Alhambra HS)
6 (Chris Harper) PR 5-11 170 Jr. 2L Northridge (Crespi HS)
KICK RETURNER
1 Bryce Treggs KR 5-11 185 Jr. 2L Inglewood (St. John Bosco HS)
9 Trevor Davis KR 6-2 180 Jr.* RS Martinez (Hawai’i/Alhambra HS)
29 (Khalfani Muhammad) KR 5-7 170 So. 1L Los Angeles (Notre Dame HS)

(Players in italics and parenthesis injured and/or unavailable for the Cal Spring Football Experience listed at their positions in no specific order)
*has utilized redshirt season prior to 2014; ^sixth-year senior in 2014 

2

Football: Final week of spring ball begins

Cal worked out in shoulder pads and helmets for its 13th of 15 spring practices on Monday and coach Sonny Dykes continued to see improvement.

“I thought we had a pretty good day,” he said. “It was competitive, a pretty physical day. Everything’s smoother, timing is better, execution is better, things are happening faster.

“You can kind of see it starting to take hold and that’s encouraging.”

The Bears will hold practice in full pads on Wednesday, then again for Saturday’s spring finale. They will scrimmage on both days.

Cal also expects to release a two-deep chart on Wednesday.

*****

Dykes is seeing consistent progress from a defense that was among the nation’s worst last season.

“Our guys are competing, especially on the back end,” he said. “Our young players, the corners and safeties, have really improved. It’s much more competitive now.

“The thing we’ve got to do is just limit the big plays. If we can make people drive the football, then I think our defense will be where it needs to be.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, a lot of guys have got to improve. But I’m liking the progress we’ve been making.”

The Bears allowed 45.9 points per game last season, and consistently were victimized by long scoring plays.

*****

Junior defensive end Puka Lopa sprained his ankle during Saturday’s practice and may not practice again this spring, Dykes said.

*****

Sophomore running back Khalfani Muhammad is not certain to participate Saturday because he could be running with the track team in Cal’s Brutus Hamilton meet.

Dykes said he’s not concerned, suggesting that Muhammad is in football shape and has gotten plenty of practice time this spring.

11

Football: Cal lands 1st two commits for 2015 class

Wide receiver Austin Aaron of Napa HS became the first member of the 2015 graduating class to commit to Cal. Then safety Malik Psalms of Chino Hills also said he will accept a scholarship from the Bears.

Rated a 3-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, Aaron is 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. Rivals lists him as the No. 62 overall prospect in the state.

His father played baseball at Cal, according to Rivals, and his grandfather also attended the university.

Aaron picked Cal over offers from Utah, Washington State, Duke, Harvard, Penn, Nevada and San Jose State.

Psalms, from Ayala HS, is a 6-1, 174-pound prospects who picked Cal over San Diego State and San Jose State. He is not rated by either Scout or Rivals.