QUICK HITS: Ahead of Schedule

Did Avery Sebastian's hit actually knock some sense into him? What will the defensive line rotation look like? Who will return the first kickoff of the 2013 season? We talk about that and more after Cal's first night practice of the fall.

BERKELEY -- On Friday, with his mother Yvonne in the stands – because she just had to see him after taking a horrific hit nearly two weeks ago – California free safety Avery Sebastian put on his helmet for the first time since a collision between him and running back Jeffrey Coprich popped that helmet off, and ended the Golden Bears' first scrimmage.
Nick Forbes, however, was not on the field.

"I think that just speaks more to Avery," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "The thing is, what you try to do on these things is you try to prepare for the worst, so we're preparing as if Nick's not going to be there, and then we'll see and make adjustments if he is. That was kind of what that was."

Dykes said that he anticipated that Sebastian will be available in some capacity on Aug. 31 for the season opener.

"He'll have to complete practice and complete the protocol, but I think the plan right now is to make him available, if he successfully completes the protocol," Dykes said.

So far, Sebastian has passed each and every test with flying colors, and his IMPACT test even came out better than his baseline test, taken before the start of camp.

Dykes also said that Sebastian would also play on special teams, which is where he first made his impact as a true freshman.

"I don't know that it will happen this week, but yeah, we'll progress him back on special teams, being a starter on special teams," Dykes said.

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Friday night's practice was a chance for the coaching staff and the freshmen to get experience under the lights at Memorial Stadium, with mainly special teams and pregame rehearsal being the order of the day.

"It was good to get out here. It was good for me," said Dykes. "It was the first time I've been out here under the lights where it wasn't six o'clock in the morning, so that was a positive. It was good. I don't think it bothered anybody. Like anything else, as a football coach, we always want to make sure we show them every possible scenario and get them as comfortable as we possibly can before we play, so that's what that was."

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Add linebacker Chad Whitener to the list of true freshmen who will be playing this season. He'll be starting on special teams.

Along with Whitener, others who will not redshirt include linebacker Johnny Ragin III, offensive lineman Chris Borrayo, defensive lineman Jacobi Hunter, starting quarterback Jared Goff and tailback Khalfani Muhammad.

"I think we're going to go ahead and play him," Dykes said of Whitener. "He was a guy who we felt like in camp was probably ready to play, based on his performance, and then we've had some guys go down and we wanted to make sure we had enough depth at that position. He's a guy we were really impressed with, and the more we talked about it as a staff, the better we thought it was to go ahead and play him."

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Depth Chart Discussion
While Bryce Treggs was listed as the primary kick returner on the initial depth chart out of fall camp, there is still room for others in the mix.

"We've worked three guys, really," Dykes said. "Bryce has worked some, Khalfani has worked some and also Chris Harper has worked some back there, and [Daniel] Lasco, as well. We're going to have four different returners who could all play. We'll see how it goes during the week, see who catches the ball the best, makes the best decisions."

Much like the wide receiver depth chart – which, beyond Treggs and Harper, is going to see heavy rotation, with both Treggs and Harper given the choice to sub themselves out – the two defensive end spots (RUSH and DE) will also be rotated.

"We'll see how it plays out this week," Dykes said. "I would say that [Dan] Camporeale will play, Puka [Lopa] will play. We'll play with a bunch of different guys. [Kyle] Kragen has, quite frankly, probably had as good a camp as anybody. There's a lot of good options over there -- obviously, [Chris] McCain -- so we feel like that's a position that has great depth, and if it doesn't work with Brennan [Scarlett], somebody will step up and play."

McCain, Kragen and Todd Barr have played both the rush and end spots in camp, and will continue to do so, depending on offensive alignment and situation.

"We've flip-flopped guys at times," Dykes said. "The good thing is that Kragen has done a really great job of playing both. We feel like he can do both, and Barr is in the mix to get playing time, as well, so we have a lot of different combinations. I would think that we would play probably three rush and probably three or four ends. Several guys play both. Not everybody, but several guys can bounce to both rush and end, with Kragen being the primary guy that does both."

Dykes is leaning towards redshirting JuCo transfer defensive lineman Sione Sina.

"Potentially," Dykes said. "We'll see. If we can get him back healthy pretty quickly, we'll try to play him, but otherwise, I would think he would probably redshirt. We have enough depth at that position. We want to try to get him healthy, but we'll see how it plays out."

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