LIVE THREAD: Read more about the scrimmage in the live thread play-by-play
BERKELEY -- Much like Spaceball One, the California offense has now officially gone into plaid.
The Golden Bears were at full Ludicrous Speed on Saturday, running 82 plays in about 60 minutes, including time taken out for special teams work. Head coach Sonny Dykes, though, thought it could go just a bit faster.
“It’s kind of slow, honestly,” he said, eliciting laughs from the media. “Typically, it’s about 30 minutes for 80 plays. We had some special teams in the middle there that slowed it down.”
The second scrimmage of the fall was light years away from the first full-contact work on Monday in just about every conceivable way. While on Monday, the offensive line was penalized six times and the offense started with a fumble, a sack and four straight incompletions, on Saturday, the Bear Raid was only flagged three times, with two false starts.
[RELATED: Bear Raid Uneven in First Test]
“It was good to see our offense start a little faster than we did last week,” said Dykes. “When your offense looks good, you worry a little bit about your defense. Last week, the defense looked really good and we were worried a bit about the offense, but it was fine. I liked what I saw today. We were much cleaner, a lot less penalties. You could tell that’s been a real focus of ours this week in practice – getting penalties cleaned up. That was positive. There’s a lot to take out of this.”
During the week, offensive line coach Zach Yenser turned in a workmanlike effort as he hammered discipline into his charges, and on Saturday, it showed. The same starting five that started the week meekly -- Steven Moore at right tackle, Matt Cochran at right guard, Chris Adcock at center, Jordan Rigsbee at left guard and Freddie Tagaloa at left tackle -- plowed the way for 169 rushing yards, unofficially.
“They’re improving every day,” Goff said. “Every day they’re getting better, every day they do something new that they’re getting better at, and it helps me a lot and gives me a lot of confidence.”
The offensive line allowed just three tackles for loss and no sacks.
“There are still some battles for some spots, but I think the line you saw today starting was probably the line that has the lead right now, and we feel pretty good about it,” Dykes said. “We’ll look at the tape and continue to make the decisions and personnel moves, if we need to, but right now, we feel pretty strong about seven – possibly eight – guys.”
With cornerback Stefan McClure getting limited time, Trevellous Cheek and Avery Sebastian still on the shelf (though Dykes said the latter may start his return to action as soon as next week), the secondary was put to the fire by a relentless passing attack.
[RELATED: Sebastian Goes Down After Massive Hit]
Between true freshman Jared Goff, redshirt freshman Zach Kline and redshirt junior Austin Hinder, Cal piled up a total of 288 yards through the air, with the trio completing 30 of 42 passes for three touchdowns.
“I thought they were good. I thought there was some good and some bad,” Dykes said. “It was the first time Jared’s turned the ball over this entire fall camp, so you don’t want that, but I thought it was good. I thought Austin did some good things when he got some reps, and I thought Zach looked really good and I thought Jared looked good. As we’ve said all along, the thing we’ve got, we have three quarterbacks who we really like, so we’re in a pretty good situation.”
[VIDEO ANALYSIS: Goff Earns the Nod]
The one black mark on the day was Goff’s first pick of fall camp. At his own 25-yard line, Goff rolled left on a play-action, stepped away from pressure by Dan Camporeale and fired to the end zone, only to see his pass picked off by Damariay Drew for a would-be 27-yard pick six, but the play was whistled dead.
“Any time there’s a change in possession like that, we’ll blow it down. That would probably have been a touchdown, I’m sure,” Dykes said.
Goff went 12-for-19 for 113 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
“If I thought I wouldn’t throw a pick this camp, I’d be kidding myself,” Goff said. “It was just a little miscommunication, but I can’t throw that ball. It’s just a ball I can’t throw. It was a bad read, a bad throw, but you learn from it. It’s going to happen.”
Better today than, say, two weeks from now, when the Bears open up against top-25 Northwestern.
“Trying to get them out of the way,” Goff smiled. “It’s fine. No big deal.”
Goff – named the starter on Friday morning – said that the decision had finally sunk in, and he was much more comfortable behind center.
[FEATURE: Goff Shows Big League Calm]
“I think the offense as a whole was more comfortable,” he said. “We scored a lot more touchdowns, obviously, but I think we just felt more comfortable with each other, rolling right along and, play after play, just getting better.”
Goff led the offense to a stellar first drive, moving the ball 63 yards on 14 plays, completing 6-of-8 passes for 44 yards, though the drive ended at the 12-yard line on an incomplete pass intended for Brendan Bigelow.
After a four-play drive resulted in a punt, Goff came back out for his third series and drove the offense 75 yards, going 2-for-4 for 30 yards, polished off by a 19-yard scoring strike, going over the top to a leaping Chris Harper to beat Cedric Dozier.
After the pick by Drew, Goff came out on his next drive and hit Bryce Treggs for 10 yards, backed up on his own 25. After two big runs by Bigelow for 30 and seven yards, respectively, and an eight-yard first-down rumble by Khalfani Muhammad, Goff faked a handoff left and just underthrew Harper in the end zone, covered by Adrian Lee. On the next play, Goff found Treggs over the top on a deep post for a 20-yard scoring strike, with Treggs flat-out beating Dozier in a dead sprint.
Having Harper and Treggs back for the scrimmage was big for the offense, as the two starters missed Monday’s session because of academic obligations.
“Those are two – in my opinion – two of the best receivers in the country,” Goff said. “To have them flanked on both sides, it’s great.”
Treggs and Harper combined for four catches and 65 yards, with two of the three receiving touchdowns on the day.
“I wouldn’t say I was frustrated [not playing on Monday], because I know that we have guys that can still go out there and make plays without me and Chris, but I was more anxious, I would say, because I want to get live contact before the Northwestern game,” Treggs said. “I was ready to get some full contact.”
The star of the day on the receiving end, though, was redshirt freshman Kenny Lawler. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder led all receivers with four catches and 57 yards, with one touchdown.
Lawler saw almost all of his snaps come with Kline at the helm, starting the day by hauling in a 30-yard grab from the redshirt freshman signal caller over the top against an overmatched Cameron Walker to set up an eventual two-yard TD rumble by Jonah Hodges. On Kline’s next drive, he marched the second-team offense down the field, completing three straight passes for 22 yards and finally hitting Lawler in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown just over the top of McClure.
Kline went 14-of-17 on the day for 156 yards and one touchdown, with no picks, and stayed away from the bad decisions that have bit him in the behind the past several days. Kline looked particularly sharp and comfortable playing at the accelerated pace, and even executed a nice zone read pass to Junior Espitia for 31 yards. Kline also showed good pocket presence, when after finding himself in third-and-nine with the pocket collapsing and the defense blitzing, he found former high school teammate Patrick Worstell for 16 yards during his third series.