BERKELEY -- As of Thursday, California running back Daniel Lasco was still moving gingerly. Head coach Sonny Dykes said that both he and receiver Matthew Rockett are questionable for Saturday's game against Texas.
“We’ll see what he can do tomorrow. He did a little bit yesterday, and a little bit today, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow," Dykes said of Lasco, who rushed 19 times for 123 yards against San Diego State last weekend.
“He’s sore. He’s a little bit sore," Dykes said of the injury to his starting tailback. "He pulled a muscle – kind of a strange muscle – in his hip. It’s one that, typically, that’s a groin pull or something. It’s not really a muscle that you use that much. He was really sore in the early part of the week, started to move around better. We’ll see what he does tomorrow, in tomorrow’s practice, and see if he can play. He certainly wants to play, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He’s a big part of our offense. The great thing about it is, if he’s unable to play, we have four solid running backs behind him that are really good players, and we think we can win with all four of those guys.”
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1587780-vic-enwere-one-way... Dykes said that he doesn't have a sense of where Lasco could be headed, health-wise, but where he currently is, is similar to where Dykes thought he'd be at this point. He was sore during the first half of the week, and continues to get looser. He'll have one more shot to practice on Friday morning, before the team leaves for Austin at 11 a.m., but Dykes doesn't want to push things, because he doesn't want to lose Lasco for longer, as playing with the injury could exacerbate it.
“Potentially, yeah, so we’ve just got to see what he does tomorrow and how he feels," Dykes said. "The biggest thing, if he can play, he wants to play. We’ll see how he does tomorrow.”
At the moment, as expected, Vic Enwere is the man at tailback. Like Lasco, Enwere is a Texas native, and Dykes feels "great" about Enwere taking the first reps.
"The good thing is, we’ve got tons of depth," Dykes said, referring to Enwere, Tre Watson, Khalfani Muhammad and Jeffrey Coprich. "We’ve got four good backs besides Daniel, so we have complete confidence in all those guys.”
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1587696-what-does-cal-need... “They both looked good this week," Dykes said. "Both of them had good practices. Matt really kicked the ball well this week. I was really pleased with the way we punted the ball, particularly yesterday and today, both. I thought Cole really punted the ball well.”
The New Guys
This was our first chance to chat with Dykes about the two players Cal signed to financial aid agreements this week -- offensive tackle Jake Curhan out of Larkspur (Calif.) Redwood and receiver Jordan Duncan, out of Mississippi.
"Those guys are both really special kids," Dykes said. "Their work ethic, their maturity, the way they handled recruiting. They were a joy to recruit, and they’re both really good players. Jake’s what you’re looking for as an offensive tackle. He’s got great size and length. He’s going to be a big guy. He’s a good athlete for someone who’s as big as he is.
“Jordan’s just a special, special player. He’s got great size, great speed. We need a physical presence at wide receiver, and he gives us some size. They’ll be here in January at some positions of need.”
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1585282-updated-gilliam-in... Both Curhan and Jordan Duncan -- along with quarterback Max Gilliam -- will enroll early in January.
“We’re starting to really build some great depth on our offensive line, and I’m really excited about the future of our offensive line, and how many big bodies we have, guys that are going to be competitive," Dykes said. "There’s going to be great competition for those tackle spots next year, and those guard spots. Both of those guys will be in the mix. I’m sure Jordan will have an opportunity to play, because we lose so many receivers.
“[It's] definitely [easier for a receiver to come in early] than an offensive lineman, but the two guys we got this year are both playing at a really high level, so they can do it. It’s different, nowadays, because they do so much stuff in the summer, and guys can grow up a little bit more over the summer than maybe they have in the past when guys showed up in August. Now, they get here, and especially when they get here in January, they’ve got a long time to prepare.”
Dykes confirmed that the Bears will have "several more" early signees in the 2016 recruiting class, and that they all fit the new academic profile the program has been looking for.
“Very much so. These guys all fit the academic profile," he said. "They’re all high-GPA kids, really solid students, and all of those midyear graduates, they have to be.”
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1587011-jake-curhan-signs-... On Curhan, Dykes noted how the 6-foot-5.5 tackle has gotten bigger, but also leaner, bulking up from 305 pounds to 320, while also dropping bad weight, since he committed back in May.
“I think he’s moved some weight around, which is good," Dykes said. "He’ll have to continue to do that ,and it’s always something young linemen have to do. He’ll probably come in too heavy, like they all do, and we’ll have to take that weight and put different weight on him, but he’s done a really good job of working, and he’s leaned himself up and looks great.”
That 2005 Holiday Bowl
The biggest beef between Texas and the Bears stems from the Longhorns politicking their way into the 2005 Rose Bowl, over then-No. 4 Cal and Aaron Rodgers. Dykes was the wide receivers coach for the Texas Tech team which wound up beating the Bears in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl that season.
“I think they were disappointed to be there, and we were excited to be there," Dykes recalled. "I think, when you sit down and look at bowl games, and you pick the winners in bowl games, that’s the most important thing: Which team is the most excited to be there? It’s a month of preparation. We had an opportunity to play a bowl game in California that was outside of the bowl games we’d played a lot in Texas, and I think they were disappointed to not be in the Rose Bowl, and deservedly so. We kind of had our way with them that day.
“They had a good team. Honestly, we didn’t know that much about Cal. We just knew they had a good football team with a really good record. Looking back, they were really good. I didn’t know how good. I didn’t know that there was going to be arguably one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game, and fantastic running backs and the guys that they had. But, we knew they were a really good football team.”
While Rodgers and the Bears didn't make it to Pasadena that year, Dykes and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Kate did.
“I actually went to the Rose Bowl," Dykes remembered. "It’s funny, because I stayed in California after our bowl game. I had never been to the Rose Bowl, so I went and bought tickets and went to the Texas-Michigan game, just as a fan. I sat in the stands. It was the last game I sat in the stands. I went with Kate, my wife, and we were just starting to date at the time. She came out to the bowl game, and we hung around for a couple of days and went to the Rose Bowl.”
Watching a team he had played from the stands was certainly new for Dykes.
“It was different. To sit in the stands was a whole different experience," he said. "I think it’s the last time I sat in the stands at a football game, a college game. I’d never been to the Rose Bowl, and heard all those years about all the pageantry and stuff, so it was a cool experience.”