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Cal football: Early feelings for 2014

At this moment, what's your overall mood for the 2014 season? Do you believe this team can make drastic strides and be competitive next year?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Fielder: It is really tough to be optimistic about next season after the disaster that this season was. Certainly we should be healthier and another year older, with another year of reps and experience under our belts. But given the way this team regressed throughout the season in all facets of the game I find it hard to be excited. I am hopeful that Goff and the rest of the offense will improve, I am hopeful that our D will both get healthy and learn how to tackle, and I am hopeful that our special teams will revert to early season form and not the end of the season fiasco. I don't know about drastic strides, but to be honest, it'd be tough to be any worse than we were this year, so I guess we can't go anywhere but up!

Leland Wong: First things first, we all know the defense was record-breakingly bad. Is it time for wholesale regime change yet? We're really going to need to see some drastic improvements in all phases of the defenses. However, if we're lucky and no one leaves early for the draft (and Cal is known for good luck!), the one significant loss will be DL Deandre Coleman, but the expected return of Mustafa Jalil and the year of experience for Jacobi Hunter should help mitigate that. Just like the year of experience for the ragtag, thrown-together crew that was forced to play became well-seasoned veterans by the end of the year, right...?

Dykes and the rest of the offensive staff showed a year-to-year improvement while at Louisiana Tech, so you'd think that would give me reason to be optimistic. Unfortunately, the week-to-week regression of the Bear Raid makes it hard for me to assume we'll easily make the same progress. We'll need the running backs and run blocking to improve and bring balance to our offense if we want to win games next year. Or, if we don't want to win games, we can continue our FBS-losing streak.

LeonPowe: Man, I sure hope so, because this year sucked. I mean I was overseas for the Holmoecaust, but without facebook or a lot of Cal friends online, I was sharing my horror alone, which in a way made it easier. Now my twitter and facebook feeds are full of agony and tears and anger and its not much fun. The defense has to get better. I mean just it can't get worse, can it? I think we have 2-3 NFL receivers on the squad. Goff may or may not be the best QB ever, but he's at least on the positive side of competent. The schedule gets slightly easier (right? right?). I'm hoping for fewer blow outs and 4-5 wins.

Ruey Yen: You can't help but be a bit pessimistic about the 2014 season outlook. On the one hand, the team will likely win more than 1 game next year, stay in games beyond the end of the first quarter, and "make an improvement" given how low the bar is set. Yet, I don't think the team will be as successful (be bowl eligible) as we all would have like by next year.

Vlad Belo: I am in a mood to just turn the page. I'm actually looking forward to the 2014 season, surprising as that may be. I'm anxious to see what happens this offseason and what this team is made of. Can this team make drastic strides and be competitive? I don't know. We were so historically bad this year on the defensive side of the ball that I am not sure. My gut feeling, though, is that Cal can make a step forward and at least be competitive next season. There's enough talent on this team that it is not out of the question.

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