Cal head coach Sonny Dykes isn't taking Gary Anderson's Oregon State defense lightly

BERKELEY -- Cal's defense will once again miss linebacker Derron Brown, while the offense has to make do without Kanawai Noa and Matthew Rockett.

On practice this week: "It's been a good week. Our guys, I liked their focus. I think they've been kind of attentive, and have had a good amount of attention to detail. It's been a good week. I thought we had a lot of energy Tuesday and Wednesday, and today's a mental day for us, and I thought we were really focused. I'm pleased."

Clarification on Evan Rambo's injury, is it a tear to his ACL? "Yeah. He's having surgery I think next week."

Is this a game where you'd like to run more than last week: "We'll kind of see how it plays out. We always want to try to establish the run game. A lot of it just depends on how the game goes, and what the match-ups are like, and what we see from them, defensively. We always go into a game wanting to run the football, and sometimes, people play us differently and we end up throwing it more, and other times, they play us differently and we end up running it more." Oregon State's quarterback situation compared with Cal's: "I think we like our guys. We like our quarterbacks, we like their development, and we came out of spring practice, we didn't say, 'Oh, goodness, we need to get a transfer.' It just kind of worked out that way, so we like our young guys, we liked them then. The way it worked out with Davis, it was kind of a unique situation. We were fortunate it worked out."

Having your defense hold the last two opponents to 3.26 yards per carry, have they turned a corner? "We'll see. The thing about football is, you're as good as your last game. Our guys, I don't think we're walking around here, pounding ourselves on the chest or that kind of thing. We're trying to get better, trying to improve, and I think defenses are always measured on their ability to stop the run. Good defenses stop the run, and bad ones don't. We want to be a good one, so we continue to stop it, and I think it's going to allow us to play winning football."

How are Kanawai Noa and Matthew Rockett doing? "Neither one of them are probably going to play this week. We'll kind of see how it plays out after that."

With injuries, Oregon State may not have a dime package. How do you really know what you're going to see? "Gary Andersen's a really good football coach. Gary's won everywhere he's ever been, and is one of the best defensive minds in the game. They'll be ready. They'll figure it out. He'll have something that is a little bit different than what we've seen that we'll have to make some adjustments to. This week's no different than any other week for us. It's really about us. It's about us executing and we've been a good offense when we haven't had penalties and we haven't had negative plays. We've been not a very good offense when we do. We've got to do that same thing. Not having penalties is really on you, not your opponent. We've got to be disciplined enough to play with good technique, and not let those things that have hurt us in the past hurt us."

Having Vic Wharton and Jordan Duncan on the inside, does that mitigate not having Noa and Rockett? "Yeah. We've had to move some guys around. That was part of the move for Vic, inside. He'd played outside, and we're just trying to figure out who the best guys are and get them in the best positions where they can be successful, and that's what we always try to do, offensively, is when we have a chance to evaluate players, figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are, then we can usually find a role for them." Demetris Robertson: "Yeah, he never says a word. He shows up every day and works hard. He just loves football, loves the game, really respects the game, and is just remarkably humble. He's just one of those kids that it's never about him. It's always about us. All he wants to do is win and help us win. Whether that's catching 20 passes or zero, he'll be just as happy as long as we win."

How much did Khalfani Muhammad's injury have to do with the paucity of run plays against Utah: "A lot of it had to do with we didn't run a lot of plays. That was the one thing. We've been running plays in the 80s or 90s, and that game was in the 40s. That had something to do with it, but not having Khalfani, you go back and you look at the first half against Arizona State, we ran the ball well, when he was getting a majority of the carries. Getting him back is going to be big for us. He's a different dimension than our other guys, and he's just different. All of them have their strengths and their weaknesses, but Khalfani's a little bit different, just in his ability to hit the hole with speed and quickness that creates big plays. That's going to be big for us, but we'll get good play out of all those guys."

With Rambo going down and Jaylinn Hawkins stepping forward, how are you feeling about safety? "Oh, good. You go back and look at us, we've had some injuries at that spot. You go back to last spring, I think in the post-spring depth chart, we lost six of our eight top guys for the year. When you go back and you say, [Griffin] PiattDamariay Drew, you go right down the list, Derron Brown was a safety at that point, Rambo, A.J. Greathouse, you just go down the list. There's a lot of guys who aren't playing due to injury. That's a lot. The good thing is, Khari Vanderbilt has really stepped up and is playing incredibly well, and I'm really pleased with what he's done. Luke [Rubenzer] has played well, as well, and gets better all the time. As you said, Jaylinn's starting to come into his own. Those young players, the more they play, the better they're going to get. It's good to see those guys step up and play well."

What happened with Derron Brown? "He's not playing right now. He's got a hand."

So he's out for the season? "We'll see. He hasn't played in a couple of weeks."

On Oregon State wide receivers Victor BoldenJordan Villamin and Seth Collins: "They're good. They're really good. Collins has been really productive. Villamin and Bolden seem like they've been around for a long time. Those guys have made a lot of plays, but they're different. Bolden's the big play guy, Villamin's the go-up-and-catch-the-ball-with-three-people-on-you guy. They're different guys. But, they're all effective. Collins has been incredibly productive. Really good receiving corps, some guys that can make plays and make plays when they're covered. Bolden's one of those guys that you can have him hemmed up and have good leverage on him and he can make people miss. We're going to need to do a good job of playing the ball when it's in the air, and making sure we're leveraging the ball carrier correctly and getting those guys on the ground when we have a chance to." Top Stories