BERKELEY, Calif. – Sonny Dykes is willing to make accommodations for Saturday’s spring game. But even California’s new head coach does not have the power to override the forces of television.
Pac-12 Networks will go on the air live from Memorial Stadium at 4 p.m., even if the Golden Bears men’s basketball team is playing for a spot in the Sweet 16 down in San Jose at the same time.
“They have kind of locked our times in,” Dykes said. “I don’t think it’s real flexible.”
But with depth reduced far beyond the backups at several positions, Dykes will be flexible and indicated he would use a modified scoring system that rewards the offense and defense for plays made rather than recognizing only touchdowns and field goals, citing problems from the frenzied pace that will be featured.
“You always want to be able to divide into two teams and play,” Dykes said. “The problem is last year we had 58 plays in the first quarter at Louisiana Tech. We’ve got two healthy running backs and about one deep in the secondary, so it is hard to have those guys play 240 plays.”
When it comes to the defensive backfield, Dykes wasn’t exaggerating. Redshirt freshman Damariay Drew was on crutches, dealing with a stress fracture in his right leg that could sideline him for a month, while redshirt junior Adrian Lee was set to undergo an unspecified surgery that Dykes characterized as “minor.”
Offensive tackle Bill Tyndall is looking at a more significant recovery from a broken ankle. Tyndall won’t be ready for contact for at least four months, but would likely be making his return just in time for fall camp.
In more positive news, Dykes indicated that running back Darren Ervin and linebacker David Wilkerson could be available for the final scrimmage.
Dykes and his family will be at Thursday’s first-round game between Cal and UNLV, looking for a better result than the 76-75 loss to the Runnin’ Rebels in December at Haas Pavilion, his first public event after being hired.
“Hopefully we’ll get a better last five or six seconds than we did last time,” Dykes said.
And with most of the usual media contingent absent from practice to attend Cal’s shoot-around and pre-game press conference, Dykes is prepared for another sparse crowd Saturday.
“Hopefully you guys have backups coming here,” Dykes joked. “Maybe we’ll get the B-team.”
Dykes said he would try to allocate reps equally between quarterbacks Zach Kline, Jared Goff and Austin Hinder during the spring game, but a formal decision would be made Thursday or Friday. … After a “sluggish” practice Monday, Dykes was pleased with Wednesday’s effort, which included a sprawling one-handed end-zone catch by redshirt freshman Kenny Lawler.
Dan Greenspan writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.