BERKELEY -- The big news out of California fall camp on Sunday was focused on two players: David Wilkerson and Nathan Broussard -- both Bears linebackers.
The former has requested and been granted his release, and will seek to transfer, according to head coach Sonny Dykes.
"He decided to leave the program, asked for a release and we gave him a release," Dykes said. "There's really not much to it. He just came in and said it wasn't working out, we agreed and it was just time to move on."
Wilkerson has dealt with myriad injuries over the past three years, and this fall was buried on the depth chart behind younger players. No word yet on where Wilkerson will go.
Broussard was on crutches after injuring his left knee on kickoff return drills during Saturday's scrimmage, and is likely out for the season.
"It doesn't look good," Dykes said. "They think it's probably an ACL. I think he'll probably have surgery within the next two weeks."
Both Khairi Fortt and Nick Forbes returned to the field, though in limited duty. The full projected starting defense still has yet to actually practice together in full 11-on-11 scenarios, making it hard for Dykes and his staff to fully gauge how far the unit is coming along, but it has allowed for some exciting (if sometimes unexpected) competition at every position.
"Since we've been here, we've never gotten the whole starting unit together, " Dykes said. "We think we can be pretty good, but some of those guys have go to get back and start improving. But the good thing is, it's allowed some other guys to step up."
Dykes identified Hardy Nickerson as someone who has taken advantage of his increased role with the defense, but the redshirt freshman has recently had his own encounter with the injury bug. He's been slowed by a slight knee injury has kept him out of most 11-on-11s.
So who steps in for Hardy and Broussard? Fortt and Forbes, two linebackers expected to be starters going into fall camp but limited by injuries of their own for the past week.
"Nick and Khairi both are a little rusty," Dykes said. "What happens with guys like that is they're always a little tentative, and both of them you can tell weren't full speed today. But it was good to get them back and get them some reps."
Both players ran with the second-team defense in 11-on-11s, but their impact was minimal on a day where few defensive players stood out. That includes defensive lineman Viliami Moala, who -- save for one quarterback pressure on Jared Goff -- failed to impress when playing with the first-team defense.
"He [Moala] has been good," Dykes said. "He's done some good things. He's a little bit behind from a consistency standpoint, and he's got to probably get in a little bit better conditioning."
Overall, the two strongest performers were familiar names. Defensive ends Puka Lopa and Kyle Kragen continue to stand out for their relentless style of play, and it's starting to pay dividends. Kragen got some time with the first team defense today, and while Lopa never quite got to Goff or Zach Kline, he routinely got past the second-string offensive line and forced the quarterbacks to rush some of their throws.
-- Cedric Dozier struggled again today. He was burned multiple times by Kenny Lawler, and seems to have trouble moving his hips. The natural athleticism is there, but until he hones his footwork and lateral movement, it will be hard for him to see the field.
-- Cornerback Adrian Lee and defensive tackle Jacobi Hunter were both held out of practice. Dykes said Lee's absence was to give him some rest after he was on the field for between 70 and 80 plays during Saturday's scrimmage. Dykes said Hunter has "a little bit of a shoulder injury, nothing serious."
-- Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo defensive back/wide receiver Justin Dunn was in attendance, along with his father – four-time Cal football letterman Steve Dunn.
-- Nickel was the order of the day for the defense, with the first unit consisting of a defensive line of Kragen at the weak side defensive end, Deandre Coleman and Moala in the middle and Chris McCain at rush end, a linebacking pair of Jalen Jefferson and Michael Barton, and defensive backs Stefan McClure, Isaac Lapite, Damariay Drew, Michael Lowe and Kameron Jackson. During hurry-up drills for the offense, Barton came up with a big breakup on a pass from Goff over the middle.
Barton told BearTerritory that, while the defense was a bit perturbed by the speed at which the offense ran on Saturday, sleeping on the affair allowed quite a bit of perspective. Now, Barton said, Oregon won't be surprising at all, or, compared with the Bear Raid, even all that fast.
-- The second nickel unit saw Lopa, Mustafa Jalil, Gabe King and Dan Camporeale up front, with Forbes and Fortt as the linebackers, backed by Dozier, Jason Gibson, Alex Logan, McClure and Lapite.
DAY 13: Broussard Down, Wilkerson Out
BearTerritory.net Top Stories
What to Watch: 3 Things on Offense vs. ASUWhat should you be watching for when Cal takes the field against Arizona State? How much will the Sun Devils Blitz? Who will balance the field wth Chad Hansen? That and more are…
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 5:23 PM
What to Watch: 3 Things on Defense vs. ASUWhat three things should you be paying attention to when California's defense hits the field against Arizona State? We've got you covered.
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 12:24 PM
Chad Hansen's Untold StoryAn illness in his family pushed Cal wide receiver Chad Hansen to seek his release from Idaho State, and now, he's the nation's leading pass catcher.
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 12:50 AM
BTTV: Sonny Dykes Talks Hansen, Cochran, ASUBERKELEY -- Sonny Dykes updates the status of Kanawai Noa and Aaron Cochran before Bears depart for Tempe.
BearTerritory.netThursday at 6:10 PM
In-Depth Preview: Run Tell ThatWe break down Arizona State's attack both in the air and on the ground, and find out just how Darius Allensworth is planning to play the Sun Devils' most dangerous receivers.
BearTerritory.netThursday at 12:10 PM