One significant news item coming out of the Washington game was Coach Sonny Dykes' comments regarding the QB situation - that Jared Goff would remain the starter for the season. When asked to clarify on Monday, he said:
"You're never going to close the door on anything. ... We'll see how it plays out. The worst thing you can do is have a quarterback looking over his shoulder all the time. ... Considering that, you can draw your own conclusions. If the circumstances warrant making a change we'll make one."
"He’s making a position shift, and sometimes that takes a little bit of time," Dykes said of Tagaloa. "He hasn’t played much guard. ... It’s something we think he can do well. We think he’s going to make him more comfortable playing in a confined space."
Dykes on Bigelow at slot receiver: "I think he’s really getting better. He’s playing faster and with more confidence. I’m excited about him, I really am."
Fortunately, there were no new injuries to report at the beginning of the week. And in better news, RB Daniel Lasco and OL Matt Cochran were upgraded to questionable for the Arizona game. Both players practiced this week and might play on Saturday:
Um, yes: Matt Cochran might be back THIS SATURDAY according to head coach Sonny Dykes. #Cal— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) October 29, 2013
Lasco starting to get increased reps today. I'd almost go as far as upgrading him to probable. Not sure how many carries he'll get, though— (@HunterHewitt) October 31, 2013
Nick Forbes, who has missed a substantial amount of practice and game time with a lingering back injury, looks to be out for the rest of the season:
Coach Sonny Dykes of @CalFootball said LB Nick Forbes (back) unlikely to play again this season.— Jeff Faraudo (@JeffFaraudo) October 29, 2013
Cal's defense, which ranks near the bottom in several statistical categories, faces a tough test against Arizona RB Kadeem Carey - the nation's leading rusher with 153 yards per game - and RichRod's up-tempo offense:
Here are [some of Cal's defensive] statistics - along with ranks out of 123 FBS teams:
44.0 points allowed per game - Rank: 120
540.0 total yards allowed per game - Rank: 121
350.9 passing yards allowed per game - Rank: 123
DC Andy Buh has been installing new defensive packages, and younger players are seeing increased reps both in practice and games. True freshman LB Johnny Ragin has been getting on the field in a specific 3rd down blitz look:
Against Washington, [Buh] experimented with a new blitz package that replaced defensive linemen with extra linebackers and defensive backs. ... According to Johnny Ragin, one of the substitutes in the set, it’s called the "Nascar" package.
"We put it in on some passing downs, mainly third downs to get some stops," the freshman linebacker said. "We were able to get some more speed on the field."
Johnny Ragin says that #Cal has a "NASCAR" package on defense "to get some speed on the field."— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) October 29, 2013
There might be a new starter - plus a change in the depth chart - in the secondary this Saturday:
Redshirt freshman Cedric Dozier, who has played primarily on special teams, has taken several reps with the first-team defense this week.
"He’s been one of those guys that we’ve been waiting for him to come, and he’s started to make a little bit more of a push," head coach Sonny Dykes said of Dozier.
Maximo Espitia appears to have moved into the two-deep at strong safety. He has jumped ahead of Jason Gibson.
Looks like Ced Dozier is now taking some reps at cornerback with 1st team alongside Kam Jackson. Why not. Might as well give everyone a shot— Hunter Hewitt (@HunterHewitt) October 31, 2013
Carroll gave Dykes advice on dealing with adversity, and Dykes took a lot from the conversation.
"He wasn’t an overnight success," Dykes said. "It took him awhile to figure out the formula, and he had to keep grinding. He gave some really insightful advice, and I really enjoyed visiting with him. I think we share a lot of similar ways of thinking and approaching the game."