So, you might be familiar with the fact that wide receiver coach Rob Likens and offensive line coach Zach Yenser are pretty close. They were good friends at Louisiana Tech, where Likens was the established receivers coach while Yenser was just getting his feet wet as a graduate assistant/early assistant. Likens was one of the first coaches to depart Louisiana Tech to join Sonny Dykes at Cal, while Yenser had to wait almost until the end to get the job, but they're back together and are now fixture staples at every spring practice.
Lindsay managed to get perhaps the greatest interview ever with these two best friends [from last Friday]. It's on my shortlist right next to Frost/Nixon and Stewart/Crossfire.
For those who can't view the video now, here are some samples.
Likens, on Yenser being big-boned:
"Could you please go stand back there by the stands so we can get you in the frame?"
Likens and Yenser being lunch buddies:
Yenser: "We're like two little peas in a pod I guess you can say. We've been working together the last three years at Tech."
Likens: "We were really good friends at Tech. Matter of fact, we probably ate lunch together four or five times a week. And we would go out, talk football and all."
Likens on having separation anxiety from Yenser. "When I was one of the first guys to get hired here. And Zach was the last. And so there was a time where I guess I'm not gonna see Zach a bunch anymore... But then he got hired, and I was excited."
Likens and Yenser on sandwiches they eat:
Yenser: "Five dollar foot longs."
Is that a little Subway plug?
Likens: "All I know is he can eat a foot long Subway before I get even close to being done with a six inch."
Yenser experiences torture:
Yenser: "I used to have to take a bite everytime he took a bite like to slow me down."
Likens: "I made him slow down one time and I said 'listen, you're going to eat the same exact time I do, you're going to take a bite when I do, and he said it was the most..."
Yenser: "...miserable experience of my life."
On Tony Franklin, and on whether they've met any hippies:
Likens: "Does that include our offensive coordinator?" [laughter]
Yenser: "He's a self-proclaimed one, he loves it."
On transitioning to Berkeley:
Yenser: "I bought a homeless guy some lunch today."
Likens: "A little Southern hospitality on Telegraph!"
Full transcript will be available later, and there's plenty of other stuff like finger waving, how practice went, but for now this will have to do! Also check out other coaching interviews Lindsay has conducted with running backs coach Pierre Ingram and defensive coordinator Andy Buh.
Nam did his thing for Bear Insider, and provides the only thorough free report of the entire dealio. Lots of interesting nuggets. A lot of other good stuff on formation alignments and what not. Read!
The big thing is that Jared Goff continues to perform exceptionally well in the system.
In recent practices, Goff has maintained a consistently strong level of play, while his upperclassmen teammates have been more up and down. While his arm strength may not be fully up to Kline's, he puts his deep balls in very catchable places for receivers, and his command of the offense is strong. Whether or not Coach Dykes starts him this season, it does look like the Bears struck gold with this commitment.
Zach Kline continues to struggle with ups and downs. His upside is so huge that he still might be the favorite even if he doesn't win the job outright before spring camp (and Goff still has some conditioning to do to get totally into shape for the fall). He just might need time to totally acclimate to the system Dykes is trying to install. Right now though he's overcoming some hurdles.
Austin Hinder was involved in more running plays, and even lined up in other various positions. This could mean that Hinder might be closer to the third best candidate to the job and that it could be narrowing down to Kline/Goff, or that he's getting his own series of packaged plays because he might be the best runner of the three players vying the hardest for the position. The quarterback is expected to run in this offense so don't expect Hinder to be totally eliminated even if he's behind on the passing element. It'd be nice to see Dykes to find a way to get multiple quarterbacks on the field if one of them isn't good enough to seize control of the position outright.
Kyle Boehm was a wide receiver. That is not the position many of us probably envisioned him in, but there was always the possibility that Boehm could move on considering the caliber of players he was matching up with.
Dykes did not indicate this suggests the QB battle is down to two players. What he said was that because Boehm and Hinder have backgrounds as running quarterbacks, the coaching staff wants to see what they have to offer in different roles.
"We’ll be creative," he said. "We’re still trying to see what those guys can do from a running standpoint. If (Boehm) and Hinder can run, they’re the two guys who have a running background."
Joel Willis is also out for the rest of spring with a broken foot. Willis looked like a potential weapon that could be utilized in various miscellaneous ways so we'll have to wait awhile to see what he's truly capable of doing.
Harrison Wilfley has moved to the defensive side of the football exclusively (he was generally recruited as a tight end), but he has the capability to be a 4-3 rusher and seems to have made a potential dent in the rotation, particularly with not a lot of true 4-3 defensive ends on this team.
Spring practice highlights from Monday.
Sonny Dykes gives his daily practice report.