Football: Cal kicker job still up for grabs

Cal is taking Saturday off – one week before kickoff in its season-opener against Grambling State – and will hold a closed practice Sunday.

A few notes off Friday’s practice:

Just days after Noah Beito was listed as the No. 1 placekicker on the team’s first fall depth chart, coach Sonny Dykes said sophomore Matt Anderson now is the leader.

“Our kicker today would be Matt Anderson,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes through the week.”

In other words, stay tuned.

The situation has become a bit more clear at punter, where incumbent Cole Leininger finally delivered the kind of performance last week that gives confidence to the coaching staff.

“I walked away feeling good. Cole had a good week, was consistent,” Dykes said. “Cole kind of found what he needed to find last week, and I feel real good about where we are now.”


Dykes is excited to watch senior cornerback Darius White on game day. Last season was a lost cause for the junior college transfer from Mississippi, who was injured on the first day of fall camp, then burned for a 90-yard touchdown pass on his first play against Washington State in his debut.

Dykes said White’s confidence was shaken and he never recovered all season. But he had a strong spring, summer and fall camp and is “settled,” according to Dykes.

“I think he’s going to be one of the elite corners in this league. I think he’s got that kind of talent. He’s playing with that kind of confidence,” Dykes said. “He’s come a long way.”


Sophomore linebacker Aisea Tongilava missed practice Friday because of a non-football toe injury that was still being assessed. Dykes had no report on Tongilava’s prognosis.

Sophomore offensive tackle Aaron Cochran sat out practice Friday because he wasn’t feeling well.


Football: 5 Questions heading into 2015

Five questions that loom over Cal as the 2015 football season nears:

1) Can the defensive secondary hold up?
No group of DBs in the nation had a tougher time last season than those playing in Berkeley. The Bears signed five freshman and two JC players to help in the secondary, but so far the starters appear to be three players returning from last year (Stefan McClure, Darius Wright & Darius Allensworth) and one returning from 2013 (Damariay Drew). There is better depth and, presumably, more talent. But this group is going to have to show it on the field – and not just against Gramling State – before most people will forget they surrendered an NCAA-record 42 touchdowns passes last fall.

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Football: Cal’s 1st fall depth chart



Brian Farley (6-7, 290, Sr)
Aaron Cochran (6-8, 340, So)
Chris Borrayo (6-3, 310, Jr)
Patrick Mekari (6-4, 290, Fr)
J.D. Hinnant (6-4, 290, So)
Dominic Granado (6-4, 290, Jr)
Addison Ooms (6-4, 295, Fr)
Ryan Gibson (6-2, 280, Fr)
Jordan Rigsbee (6-5, 300, Sr)
Semisi Uluave (6-5, 345, Fr)
Benji Palu (6-0, 280, Fr)
Michael Trani (6-3, 290, Fr)
Steven Moore (6-6, 305, Jr)
Kamryn Bennett (6-3, 290, Fr)
Vincent Johnson (6-5, 285, So)
Jared Goff (6-4, 214, Jr)
Chase Forrest (6-2, 200, Fr)
Ross Bowers (6-2, 190, Fr)
Cole Webb (6-0, 180, Sr)
David Maaghul (6-4, 220, Fr)
Daniel Lasco (6-1, 205, Sr)
Vic Enwere (6-1, 230, So)
Tre Watson (5-10, 195, So)
Jeffrey Coprich (5-9, 175, Jr)
Khalfani Muhammad (5-9, 170, Jr)
Lonny Powell (5-10, 210, Fr)
Fabiano Hale (5-11, 225, So)
Trevor Davis (6-2, 185, Sr)
Maurice Harris (6-3, 195)
Patrick Worstell (6-2, 190, Jr)
Brandon Singleton (6-0, 165, Fr)
Stephen Anderson (TE, 6-3, 230, Sr)
Raymond Hudson (TE, 6-3, 235, So)
Bug Rivera (WR, 5-8, 185, Jr)
Kyle Wells (TE, 6-3, 230, Fr)
Aaron Austin (WR, 6-4, 210, Fr)
Bryce Treggs (6-0, 185, Sr)
Darius Powe (6-3, 220, Sr)
Matt Rockett (5-9, 180, So)
Patrick Laird (6-0, 205, So)
Kenny Lawler (6-3, 195, Jr)
Jack Austin (6-3, 210, So)
Chad Hansen (6-2, 195, So)
Carlos Strickland (6-4, 200, Fr)

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Football: Few surprises on first depth chart but a familiar name to join Bears’ coaching staff

Coach Sonny Dykes released his first fall depth chart and also announced that former Golden Bears star Andre Carter will join the coaching staff as a graduate-student assistant after classes begin Wednesday.

Carter, a consensus All-America defensive end as a senior at Cal in 2000 who retired two years ago after 13 NFL seasons, is returning to campus to complete his undergrad degree.

Dykes is excited by what the San Jose-Oak Grove High graduate can bring.

“Where do you start? He’s obviously a heck of a football player, a great NFL player,” Dykes said of Carter, who played his first five NFL seasons with the 49ers and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2011.

“Probably most impressive is he’s just a good guy. A very humble person, just wants to help, loves Cal. A great role model for your players and the kind of guy you want to have around your program.”

Carter was a two-time All-Pac-10 pick at Cal and totaled 80.5 career sacks after being a first-round NFL draft pick. Dykes said the 36-year-old looks like he could still play.

“We’ll have to try to sneak him in a ballgame if we can,” Dykes joked.


There were few surprises on Cal’s first depth chart, and Dykes said things will remain fluid at some spots.

He named junior Noah Beito the No. 1 placekicker after a training camp but said sophomore Matt Anderson will continue to compete with a chance to win the position.

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Football: Dykes lauds Bears’ effort in practice

Cal held a rare closed practice Monday, with coach Sonny Dykes afterward praising the performance of both his offensive and defensive units.

“Offensively, I thought we executed about as well as we ever have,” he said. “Defensively we were in position a lot of times to make some plays.

“We got as much out of today as we have out of any practice we’ve had up to this point.”

The Bears got work done in their two-minute drill, red-zone and overtime situations.

Wide receiver Bryce Treggs, slowed last week by a sprained foot, went full speed in the no-tackling workout and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff in 7-on-7.

Dykes said the offensive line has performed as well the past 4-5 practices as anytime since he got to Cal.

He noted that redshirt freshman Kam Bennett has been moved from guard to tackle and is competing with Vinnie Johnson for the No. 4 spot. Also, freshman Patrick Mekari is pushing for the No. 4 guard spot, behind classmate Semisis Uluave, who has established himself as the likely No. 3.

The duel between Noah Beito and Matt Anderson for the starting placekicker job remains too close to call, Dykes said, and the Bears punting game continue to need improvement.


 The Bears will hold an open practice Tuesday, beginning at 12:30 p.m.


Football: Bears expect running game to rev in ’15

Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ dream for the perfect ending to a football game is not as glamorous as you might imagine.

“We want to become that kind of team where we can get the ball back with 4 minutes to go and hand it off six times and get out of the ballgame,” he said.

As the Bears prepare for their Sept. 5 opener at home against Grambling State, their goal on offense this season is to become a team that dictates when it wants to run the ball.

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Football: Fall camp winds down

Cal is practicing just once Friday — a closed morning sessions at De La Salle High — then will enjoy a team activity at a Bay Area water park.

The action was a bit more intense during Thursday morning’s practice at Memorial Stadium, where junior safety Damariay Drew got a little too enthusiastic while closing out on Kenny Lawler after the receiver made a catch over the middle.

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Football: Walk-on McMorris trying to find his place

He weighs 310 pounds and was considered too small to play major college football.

Well, too short, anyway.

Walk-on Malik McMorris is the Bears’ big fall camp experiment, a 5-foot-11 freshman defensive lineman from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, who is trying to find a niche as a fullback.

McMorris had scholarship offers from Army, Cal Poly, UC Davis and Holy Cross. He was recruited to Berkeley, not by the coaching staff, but by former Mater Dei teammates Chase Forrest, Addison Ooms and Matt Rockett.

“I think Malik’s pretty similar to me – a lot of people told him he’s too small and couldn’t play at the next level,” said Rockett, a 5-9 sophomore wide receiver. “I know Malik and I know what he’s capable of. I told him, `This is your shot. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something.’ “

“If he was 6-2 he could have gone anywhere in the country,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “But he’s not. We’re lucky he’s here.”

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Football: Bob Ladoceur shares wisdom with the Bears

The Bears held their second of three practices this week at De La Salle High in Concord on Wednesday morning, and got a visit from the man who built the school’s football dynasty.

Former DLS head coach Bob Ladoceur spoke to the Cal team after its workout, and Bears linebacker Michael Barton said the experience brought back special memories from his time in high school.

“Oh, it was awesome,” Barton said after the Bears’ afternoon practice at Memorial Stadium. “He’s one of my biggest role models in life, teaching me more about becoming a man than football. Applying football to life lessons was the most important thing I learned from coach Ladoceur.”

Barton said Ladoceur’s words had all his Cal teammates tuned in.

“Usually, when someone is coming up to speak to the team, guys are just looking down, kind of whispering here and there,” Barton said. “It was the first time I’ve seen guys just looking straight up, eye to eye with the utmost respect. He’s one of the most respected people in all of football, period.”

He said his former coach introduced himself to Cal’s players, including a mention of The Streak – the Spartans’ 151-game record-setting win streak that spanned 12 seasons.

“That’ll get your attention,” Barton said, laughing. “Some of the guys on the team wanted me to introduce them after. They really enjoyed it. They really took it to heart.”

Ladoceur’s message was straight forward: Work hard and work together.

“He was just explaining how there’s no real secret formula for success or else he would have written a book and become famous and retired years ago,” Barton said. “He was just talking about what it takes to make a great team, what he’s learned from his success.

“Every team will be different, he said. Our team is not going to be like any other Cal Bear team that ever existed. He said what’s going to help us is us being brothers and doing our jobs.”

The Bears hold an open practice Thursday morning at 10:15 at Memorial Stadium. They are back at De La Salle for a closed Friday morning practice.


Football: Can defense be improved enough to help lift Golden Bears to their first bowl game since 2011?

Even in the Pac-12 Conference, with its annual collection of top-flight quarterbacks and high-octane offenses, one football reality slammed Cal in the face last season: The best teams play defense.

The eight conference schools that allowed the fewest points played in bowl games. The other four stayed home.

Cal, which ranked last among that group, giving up 39.8 points per game, is determined to provide its offense a credible complement on defense in 2015.

“We’re going to have to play a lot better defense to have the kind of football team we want to have,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said.

On the heels of going 1-11 and 5-7 in Dykes’ first two seasons, the Bears have designs on playing in their first bowl game since 2011. They believe their defense is deeper, more talented and more experienced.

No one is a bigger believer than quarterback Jared Goff, who says the push up front and play in the secondary are on a different level than a year ago.

“If they’re doing it well against us, I’d like to think they’ll do it well against almost anybody,” said Goff, who directed the Pac-12’s second-most potent offense a year ago. “It’s going to be fun to watch them make plays in a real live setting.”

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