BERKELEY -- On Monday, California head coach Sonny Dykes said that he would move receiver Chris Harper around however was necessary, in order to get the Bears' best four receivers on the field at the same time.
On Wednesday, though, Cal was without one of that quartet -- Richard Rodgers -- who had a procedure done on his thumb, which he injured close to halftime on Saturday.
"He had a little surgery on his thumb; he injured it the other day in the game, played the rest of the game with it injured," Dykes said of Rodgers, who was out of uniform on Wednesday. Rodgers had two catches for 24 yards against Arizona in the first half, but was not targeted at all in the second half.
"He had a procedure done yesterday, was a little sore today," Dykes said. "We expect him to go tomorrow. It's one of those things where I think they can get him wrapped up, and I think he'll be able to practice tomorrow. I expect him to play Saturday."
Rodgers will have his thumb immobilized in some way on Saturday, and that immobilization will be tested out on Thursday to see how best to work through it.
Dykes said that Harper, Rodgers (Y), Bryce Treggs (X) and now, Kenny Lawler (Z) are the best four receivers, with Lawler, in particular, having a very, very strong week.
"Harper, either at Z or at H," Dykes said. "He's bounced around, kind of played both those positions at times during the year. We could go with different combinations, and then, we're trying to develop Bigelow at that H spot a little bit, as well. If Harper's playing H, Bigelow may not play as much."
Lawler had another strong day on Wednesday, and for Dykes, it's far from a surprise.
"We saw it all spring," Dykes said. "We kind of walked out of spring practice thinking he was as good as anybody we had, and then he hit a little bit of the freshman funk that guys have a tendency to hit, and was streaky. He performed well at times, and he would disappear at other times, but I think he is learning how to work and is maturing more and more, and obviously showed what he's capable of doing on Saturday. He's shown this side at times, so we've just got to keep it consistent."
Dykes said that no special uniforms will be worn on Saturday for the annual Joe Roth Game, but he did express an appreciation for the throwback uniforms worn during the 2007 edition against USC.
"No uniforms; just going to go with the same stuff we normally do," Dykes said. "I like those throwback uniforms, though. It's pretty cool. I thought they were sharp-looking. I would say at some point, down the road, you might see those. Not this year, though."
Linebacker Khairi Fortt was in shoulder pads, but did not participate fully in practice, as he continues to recover from a strained biceps. Michael Barton took his first-team reps at the WILL linebacker position.
Dykes said that he took a calculated risk changing up the offensive line several weeks ago, but that risk has paid off.
"Felt like it was something we needed to do," Dykes said. "We felt like we needed a change, and trying to get our best five, is what we're always trying to do – the guys that are playing the best. That was the idea: Put the best five of them out there. There's going to be some growing pains, but it's a group I think we can bring along and will continue to improve and grow with. I think it's paid some dividends for us."
Former starting right guard Matt Cochran showed more lateral quickness than he has of late at right tackle, as he continues to knock the rust off from six weeks of not playing.
Freddie Tagaloa and Cochran may see some time in the coming weeks at their new positions – right guard and right tackle, respectively.
"That's the idea," Dykes said. "Cochran's coming off of an injury, and Freddie's moving to a new position, so there's always a little bit of a transition, but I would anticipate both of them getting more minutes."
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