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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

May 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Review of Pac-12 spring-football camps: Part 7 — Cal


  This is the seventh in a series on Pac-12 football camps. Today, Cal, which begins a new regime under Sonny Dykes:

Starters returning – 13 (7 offense, 6 defense), plus P Cole Leininger and PK Vincenzo D’Amato.

Refresher on 2012 – Bears got off on the wrong foot with a surprise loss in their opener against Nevada and it augured poorly, leading them to a 3-9 season. In mid-season, they launched a five-game losing streak that spelled the end of coach Jeff Tedford’s 11-year tenure in Berkeley. Zach Maynard’s spotty quarterbacking and an uncharacteristically defense were the primary culprits, as Cal was 10th in both pass efficiency and total defense.

Coaching changes – Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, who spent seven seasons at Texas Tech under Mike Leach, is on board, fresh from leading Tech to the No. 1 scoring offense in the country in 2012. His defensive coordinator is Andy Buh, who spent three years at Stanford (2007-09), a couple at Nevada and ’12 at Wisconsin.

Major spring concerns – Sorting out three QB candidates to replace Maynard . . . adjusting to Dykes’ brisk offensive tempo . . . moving to the 4-3 scheme after years of the 3-4 under Clancy Pendergast.

Developments – The QB duel is being waged by RS freshman Zach Kline (6-2, 210), junior Austin Hinder (6-4, 200) and true frosh Jared Goff (6-4, 185), who came in early . . . Goff showed well early, but Kline came on late, and the spring-ending depth chart showed no distinction between the three . . . another QB, Kyle Boehm, got reps at WR and could end up there, and Hinder also got some time at WR and RB . . . QB Allan Bridgford, who threw for 44-percent completions in the Tedford era, left the team early in camp and said as he went out the door, referring to Maynard, “The last two springs, I felt I outperformed him.” . . . Dykes opened practices to fans; they were closed under Tedford . . .  heir to center spot vacated by Titans draftee Brian Schwenke, a three-year starter, appears to be 335-pound RS frosh Matt Cochran . . . RT Bill Tyndall broke an ankle but should return by the fall . . . RBs Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco sat out, rehabbing from surgery . . . among others, former OLBs Brennan Scarlett and Chris McCain moved to DE in Buh’s 4-3 defense . . . coming off an ACL tear, CB Stefan McClure looked good . . . in a story, Dykes said “somebody from the Pacific Northwest” (a school) is using Cal’s recent problems with the Academic Progress Rate against the Bears in recruiting . . . in concert with Nike, Cal unveiled new uniforms, to which 40 percent of respondents in a San Francisco Chronicle poll expressed approval, and 37 percent responded, “It took them 18 months to come up with this?” . . . Cal also changed logos, the new one featuring a snarling, aggressive Bear replacing the old convivial one . . . spring game featured a light touch, as Seahawks and former Cal RB Marshawn Lynch showed up unannounced, and to the surprise of an unsuspecting crowd, ran for a score on a third-down “play.” Said Dykes: “We told them if anybody tackled him, it was going to be a $25-million fine. I didn’t want to be getting a call from Pete Carroll.”

Spring game – In front of 5,831, the defense beat the offense, 28-24, under a special scoring system. Some 22 players sat out with injury problems, 13 on defense.

2013 schedule – It’s a rugged first month, with games at home against Northwestern and Ohio State, and on Sept. 28, a conference opener at Oregon. The Big Game is back in its normal late-November slot and Cal misses Arizona State and Utah.



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