Just a quick summary of all the important notes from a Thursday conference call with our Cal football coach and some of the main players. Thanks to Ryan Gorcey and Grant Marek for their notes.
Lots to list. Let's go through it all.
On the O-line: Dominic Granado looks like he's ready to compete for a tackle spot, performing the best out of any lineman in conditioning. That would be huge. Cal would love to have Jordan Rigsbee shifting inside and Steven Moore and Granado holding the outside. Matt Cochran is competing at both center and guard. There's no certainty as to who will win what spot.
Coming out with 8-10 guys "who can play" is more important than coming out of spring with a starting 5 for the OL, Dykes says. #Cal— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) March 6, 2015
The running backs all seem to be running well, with Daniel Lasco, Vic Enwere, Tre Watson all getting good marks. More impressively, Lonny Powell got high marks as a freshman. Get hyped about our run game people.
In terms of speedy pass rushers, DeVante Wilson stood out. Hardy Nickerson is also healthy.
The list of players out or limited for spring practice: Brennan Scarlett, Stefan McClure, Steven Moore, Griffin Piatt, Quentin Tartabull, Joel Willis, Patrick Worstell (all out), Nathan Broussard, David Davis (all limited)
Other players who have supposedly impressed: Center Addison Ooms, receiver Matt Rockett, offensive lineman Myles Bunte, and someone named Jake Hanson (Ashton?), who compares to Griffin Piatt (there is no Jake Hanson on the roster, so I'm not sure who this is yet).
Goff had a historic regular season, and he might be in even better shape this time around to have an even stronger 2015 campaign.
"I feel a LOT better," Jared Goff says, compared to last year. "I was smaller and younger, and now, I'm bigger and stronger"— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) March 5, 2015
Goff says the team will miss the departing Chris Harper, but believes there's plenty of quality depth. Goff is a big fan of Erik Brown, who is an immediate candidate to take Harper's open spot at outside wide receiver.
Goff on @aybroitsEB: "He's done some good things in the weight room, bigger, stronger, faster, chance to get some substantial playing time."— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) March 5, 2015
Regarding expectations, Goff says he hasn't heard much of any preseason hype, but he does feel the expectations for this team to produce something special, and that the team has Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl aspirations.
Goff also did mention he could operate the offense at times, and that he might be able to call more plays at the line rather than waiting for the offensive coordinator to signal them in. Could the offense actually be moving at an even faster pace this season if Goff isn't having to worry as much about check-with-mes?
Footwork is another big area of improvement Goff is aiming at.
Lasco had this to say about Goff's leadership.
"He's grown a voice, and his voice is very powerful." -- @DLasco2 on @JaredGoff16 #Cal #CalFootball ... "he never settles."— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) March 5, 2015
Lasco: "Heisman talk, that's for all the media to talk about, that's for you all, we could care less about it." #Cal— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) March 5, 2015
Goff said Lasco ran a 4.4 and complemented him on his pass catching abilities. He also jumped pretty high.
An impressive 41" vertical jump by @DLasco2! @CalFootball @coachDamon51 #gobears #cal #beastmode #calgang pic.twitter.com/SP3VIwWjB2— CalBearStrength (@CalBearStrength) February 25, 2015
Lasco had some impressive numbers in his conditioning workouts, but still wants to improve in various ways. He also wants to learn more about defenses and identifying various blitzes to protect his quarterback.
Lasco talked about Tony Franklin's new role as running backs coach, and says that Franklin actually enjoys coaches running backs more than quarterbacks. The man does it all! It sounds like quarterbacks and running backs will be meeting together, as Franklin is now tasked with both squads.
Lasco says the end of last season overshadows everything, and not getting to a bowl has left a chip with this team they're taking with them into opening kickoff.
Jefferson also commented on how much faster everyone seems to be moving this spring, noting the 4.5 and 4.6 speeds. It would be huge for Cal to get more of an impact on that side of the football. Jefferson has also put on extra weight, moving from 225 to 240, which he says will keep him "healthy and fast".
Jefferson was quick to hype defensive tackle James Looney as a difference maker this spring, saying "He's gonna be something special'. Looney transferred from Wake Forest and had to sit out the season, but it sounds very much like he's ready to come in and give Cal a very solid presence at defensive tackle. He is a big dude.
Looney chose to transfer to Cal because of his brother with the 49ers, the education at Cal and facilities. Looney emphasized that there will be added weight to rushing the passer with more urgency.
"I think he's a good player. I think he's a good athlete. We'll see how he transitions to being an every-down player," Dykes says of Looney— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) March 6, 2015
Looney: Squatted 500, Benched 365, ran a 4.95 40 at 285lbs.— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) March 6, 2015