DAY 10: O-Line Falters

With seven sacks during full 11-on-11 work, the Cal offensive line had a rough day after taking Wednesday off. Could the Bears decide on a starting five as soon as Saturday's scrimmage? Who will take the opening kick against Northwestern? Which running back stepped up? We talk about all of that and more in today's offensive recap.

BERKELEY -- While California head coach Sonny Dykes was pleased with the way his offense performed following a day off – particularly the speed and efficiency with which it was run – there was one glaring soft spot: The offensive line.

Last season, the Bears' front five allowed 33 sacks, and on Thursday, the line allowed seven sacks during full 11-on-11 work, with the vast majority of them coming over the re-jiggered right side of the line, with Matt Cochran at right guard and Steven Moore at right tackle.

"I think that's the moving parts of the offensive line," Dykes said. "We're stressing those guys right now with a lot of drop-back passes. We're just trying to figure out who the best ones are. The thing we've got to do a good job of this year is not getting in third-and-long situations and protecting our guys. I think that's what our offense does a good job of."

Dykes said that he would like to get a starting five settled "quickly," with three linemen seemingly having their spots nailed down – center Chris Adcock, left guard Jordan Rigsbee and left tackle Freddie Tagaloa.

"We've just got to sit down and go through that evaluation process: Who's our best five guys? Who's our next-best tackle? Who's our next-best guard? We'll rotate those guys through," Dykes said. "Right now, our starting guard is our second-best center , so there's a lot of things going on. We're still going through them, and I think that group will come together."

Saturday's scrimmage will be a big test for the potential starting five, and Dykes hopes to have a group more or less settled upon by then.

"I think that the group you see go out there first will be – in our mind – the guys that are starting right now," Dykes said. "There are still a lot of moving parts."

Both candidates for the starting quarterback gig – true freshman Jared Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline -- were about even on Thursday, with Kline throwing an interception to Adrian Lee in the end zone from five yards out, and Goff – during seven-on-seven work -- hitting Kameron Jackson in the chest for a would-be pick with a drag route intended for Bryce Treggs, though Jackson couldn't hold on.

Both QBs, though, did have strong moments, with Kline's first seven-on-seven drive starting with an over-the-top skinny post TD to Treggs, who burned Jackson for the score. After seeing one pass broken up by Lee, Kline was too wide to Bryce McGovern on the right sideline from his own 45, but then found Jeffrey Coprich for 10 yards and went over the top to Stephen Anderson for a 30-yard TD over Damariay Drew.

Kline also pump faked the defense nearly out of its collective shoes in his next series, finding Chris Harper from his own 30 for a long TD.

Goff's seven-on series saw him complete seven straight balls, highlighted by a five-yard zinger to Jonah Hodges in soft coverage and a 13-yard dart to Richard Rodgers. Goff's groove was only broken when freshman Jack Austin clanked a catch on a quick pass to the left sideline. After that, Goff was touch-sacked by Jefferson and then led Darius Powe a bit too much in the back of the end zone, as the 6-foot-3 receiver couldn't get possession before he went out of bounds. Goff then tried for TDs twice from the 10, hitting Chris Harper twice – once on a slant and again on a back-shoulder fade.

"We'll go in and evaluate everything and see where we are," said Dykes, who admitted that neither of the two really separated themselves.

In the first set offense-only 11s, Cal saw defensive end Ted Agu line up in the bone formation as an extra blocker, in the same vein of lining up Chris McCain as a goal-line receiver.

"We'll continue to get him some reps back there and see what he can do," Dykes said of Agu, who didn't receiver the ball or carry it when he was in. "We'll experiment with a bunch of guys back there in the backfield and see who we think gives us something special. The good thing is, we really like the way Lucas Gingold's been playing. He's very physical, he does a lot of good things. He and [Jacob] Wark both have been very impressive."

Dykes said that tailback Khalfani Muhammad -- who showed a nice cut-and-burst in full 11-on-11s, coming out of the Bone formation, to shake Jalen Jefferson -- would likely take the field in the season opener.

"I would imagine if we receive the opening kickoff, he'll be returning it," Dykes said.

Dykes also said that, on the defensive side of the ball, both Johnny Ragin III and Jacobi Hunter will play as true freshmen.

With Brendan Bigelow again held out of full 11-on-11s, redshirt freshman Coprich has been making a case for himself to get some playing time in the backfield, catching early passes of 10 and 15 yards, then taking a handoff from Kline out of the bone, and with the line blocking right, dashed left, broke three tackles – from Michael Lowe, Drew and Alex Logan -- for a 25-yard touchdown.

"He looked good today," Dykes said. "He's looked fast, and made a couple of explosive runs."

NOTEBOOK
-- Wide receiver Idarre Coles was in camp for the first day, without pads.

-- Treggs caught a deep ball from Goff in double coverage between Dan Fadelli and Cedric Dozier for a 35-yard touchdown in the first set of 11-on-11s.

-- Vincenzo D'Amato hit a 50-yard field goal to conclude the first set of 11-on-11s.

-- Against the first-team defense, Kline hit Anderson in stride on a crossing route for 20 yards while under pressure.

-- Former Bears quarterback Kevin Riley was in attendance at practice on Thursday, on a day off from his medical supply sales job in San Francisco.

-- Brian Farley spent time with the second-team offense as the left tackle, while freshman Chris Borrayo saw snaps with the second team as the left guard.

-- Rodgers went up for a TD catch from Kline in full 11-on-11s, out-leaping two defenders.

-- Second-team center Mark Brazinski had trouble with shotgun snaps, sailing one over Austin Hinder's head in 11-on-11s while backed up at the five.

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