If this week's practices & pressers are any indication, the Bears remain confident and are still competing hard every day. At Tuesday's weekly press conference [link1 & link2] several players mentioned that the UCLA game was a turning point for the team:
Jared says team is still confident, there was a point during UCLA game where team came together & confidence level was where it needs to be— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 15, 2013
"When the defense started playing well and the offense was playing well at the same time, we felt, ‘This is how it should be.'" -- Goff— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) October 15, 2013
If anything, the team's unity grew stronger despite the loss in Pasadena:
"We came together in the middle of the game and definitely felt the unity," freshman quarterback Jared Goff said. "I think the confidence level was a little shaken early in the year, but it’s back to where we want it to be."
"There was definitely a different mentality on the sideline. He’s definitely right," said slot receiver Richard Rodgers, echoing Goff’s remarks. "Toward the middle of the game we came together and started clicking a little bit.
"We haven’t seen that. Sometimes guys get their heads down. But UCLA was different. We came together and were really battling and fighting to stay in the game."
Walker on what the team wants for the rest of season: "Keep playing hard, grow every week as a team and don't give up no matter what."— Cal Football (@CalFootball) October 15, 2013
Coach Sonny Dykes commented on his team's growth through the first half of the season:
"There is a better sense of mental toughness then we had at times during the season," he said. "Guys are more confident than they were, and believe in themselves and our program more than they did."
"They continue to buy in even when things aren’t going our way. It shows a real level of maturity and commitment from those kids."
Dykes: "I see a lot of signs, but I want to see some results on Saturday just like everyone else."— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) October 15, 2013
In one case, the growth is literal as Jared Goff - whose dad went to high school withdad - turned 19 on Monday:
Goff up next - his 19th bday was yesterday: parents came over yesterday, he got an ipad mini— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 15, 2013
Goff on Mannion: "His dad and my dad went to high school together. He's had an incredible year... He's putting together almost a Heisman yr"— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) October 15, 2013
The defense, in particular, showed promising signs of improvement by the middle of the week, including a NINE-turnover performance during Wednesday's practice:
Andy Buh giving a tongue lashing to some players here today. He really wants this defense to improve. Very passionate— (@HunterHewitt) October 16, 2013
quick Wed practice update: defense had 8 takeaways today - 1 INT in full team, plus 6 INTs & 1 forced/recovered fumble in 11s D vs scouts— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 17, 2013
check that math: forgot to count both of Lowe's picks, so make that 8 INTs + 1 FF = 9 turnovers total— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 17, 2013
The offensive line remains a work-in-progress but the group is slowly making strides:
Likens with the "Quote of the Practice": "Come on O-line hit somebody in the FACE."— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) October 16, 2013
Coach Sonny Dykes told reporters after practice Monday night that running back Daniel Lasco will sit out Saturday’s game against Oregon State.
No clarification on Lasco's shoulder injury from Dykes, but he doesn't expect him back for at least a couple weeks— Hunter Hewitt (@HunterHewitt) October 15, 2013
True freshman Khalfani Muhammad remains the starter, while redshirt freshman Jeffrey Coprich also received reps with the first-team Monday.
"We’ll have some options," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "It’s the same old mantra, if somebody goes down, somebody’s gotta step up."
Brendan Bigelow spent most of the practice at receiver, but Dykes said he will be ready to play running back if needed.
"We’ll see how he progresses," Dykes said. "We’re just trying to figure out ways to get him involved and give him the ball and let him make some plays for us."
Here's Cal's updated depth chart. Only changes are Drew ahead of Lowe at safety and Bigelow listed as second RB pic.twitter.com/urK98lB6wk— Hunter Hewitt (@HunterHewitt) October 15, 2013
LB Jalen Jefferson and CB Joel Willis, who both sat out the UCLA game with head injuries, are cleared and will play vs. Oregon State.
Jefferson & Jackson & Willis are all playing today— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 16, 2013
also, Coach Dykes confirmed after practice that Jalen Jefferson (head) & Joel Willis (head) will play on Saturday— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) October 17, 2013
Sonny expects to have Matt Cochran back in two weeks.— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) October 15, 2013
Dykes says LB Nick Forbes has had a "setback," and didn't "move particularly well yesterday."— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) October 15, 2013
Lastly, don't miss this feature interview with Pierre Ingram and the story behind the name of his daughter Berkley!