Dynamic Duo Headlines CAL’s Receiving Corps

(photo by Norman Mo)

By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com

In just three years behind center for the Golden Bears, CAL quarterback Jared Goff already owns 16 different passing records in the Berkeley history books. And by about midway through the fall of 2015, he figures to tack on a handful more as he continues to bolster his NFL résumé. Surely, much of this passing success can and should be attributed to the wide-open Bear Raid offense that Sonny Dykes brought over with him from Louisiana Tech. It is an offense in which seemingly everything is designed around the concept of allowing the quarterback to get off as many pass attempts as possible.

But, of course, there always needs to be a capable body at the other end of every fastball Goff pumps across the middle, or fade he lobs into the back corner of the end zone. For the last few years Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs have been tasked with the duty of making Goff look good, and they have responded by making him look spectacular.

Both Lawler (a junior) and Treggs (a senior) grew up in the football skill position hotbed that is southern California. Lawler prepped east of L.A. in Pomona, while Treggs learned his craft in the city of Inglewood. Lawler has plenty of height for a receiver and lines up far outside on the line of scrimmage. Treggs, meanwhile, is under six feet and lines up inside in the slot. But most importantly, both have breakaway speed and sticky hands. Two traits that Jared Goff can’t get enough of.

As much as Bear Backers would like to believe Jared Goff has a shot at the Heisman, perhaps a more realistic goal would to simply be crowned the best quarterback of the PAC-12. But even with Marcus Mariota gone to the Tennessee Titans and NFL scouts singing his praises, Goff is still pitted behind USC’s Cody Kessler for conference QB supremacy. The duo of Lawler and Treggs know the feeling all too well.

Despite combining for 15 touchdowns, over 1,200 yards, and over 100 catches last season, Lawler and Treggs still have a lot to prove before they can bypass their PAC-12 peers. The three schools in the conference who are getting the most wide out hype are as follows: JuJu Smith & Adoree’ Jackson of USC, Jordan Payton & Thomas Duarte of UCLA, and Cayleb Jones & Thomas Duarte of Arizona.

But based on last year’s performance, CAL’s yin and yang duo of Lawler and Treggs certainly deserves to be in the conversation of the conference’s best heading into 2015. One handed catches in the corner of the end zone have become the norm for Lawler, who has steadily gotten bigger and stronger over the course of his career in Berkeley and has learned to overpower smaller defenders. His nine touchdowns last year led all CAL receivers and he is already 9th on CAL’s all-time touchdown list after just two seasons.

Treggs figures to be CAL’s emotional leader this year, when you combine his noticeable charisma and three full years of playing experience under his belt. Add on the fact that Bryce’s dad Brian was CAL’s leading receiver for three seasons from 1989-91 and is now enshrined in the Bear’s Hall of Fame. Pretty soon you begin to realize #1 has all the makings of yet another break out season in his last year in a Bears uniform.

CAL’s dynamic duo will have more than enough support around them, so if their stats somehow slip, it could be that Goff is just spreading the wealth.  Stephen Anderson is another tall wide out that is a popular target for Goff, and this year he will be playing more tight end. Even after missing the first two games due to injury, Anderson tallied five touchdown catches despite not being the featured receiver.

Another talented receiver that will provide support is herald freshman Carlos Strickland out of Texas. Perhaps CAL’s most prized recruit of the incoming freshman, Strickland’s highlight tape speaks for itself, as he is one of the most electrifying playmakers in the nation. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see an immediate impact made by Strickland vs. Grambling on September 5th.

With only one ball to go around and so many weapons to choose from, some might begin to worry that Lawler and Treggs might not get all the touches they need. But if anyone should be worried it should be radio play-by-play legend Joe Starkey. “TOUCHDOWN BEARS” might begin to sound like a broken record if he isn’t careful. 

(Photo by HArry How)

Jared Goff Comes out Gunning in his Collegiate Debut

Goff's first college TD pass was a 52 yard deep post to Chris Harper (Photo by Jose Fajardo)

By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com

As the clock approached midnight on the last night of August, Jared Goff sat exhausted in the Cal Football media room following what had to be the fastest 4 hours of his life. He had just thrown the ball an eye-popping 63 times, good for 445 passing yards in route to a whirlwind loss to Northwestern in his first college game. You couldn’t blame him if he wasn’t exactly colorful in the postgame presser.

“I didn’t even know I threw it that many times,” Goff explained postgame, very matter-of-factly. “It’s more than I threw in high school, but it didn’t feel like that much more. I was just throwing the ball when I was supposed to, handing off when I was supposed to, you know, it just happened to work out like that.”

On this night, according to head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin at least, Goff was ‘supposed’ to throw the ball a whole helluva lot. Set up in the shotgun for the entirety of the game, Goff orchestrated an offense that operated at a breakneck speed. The 99 plays the Bears ran from scrimmage was the third highest total in Cal history. Not bad for a 18-year-old’s first night of college football, playing against an elite Big-10 team.

Believe it or not, never before has a true freshman started the season as the Bears starting quarterback. Nor has any Cal frosh ever thrown for that many yards in a single game.  In fact, only one other quarterback in the history of Cal,  Pat Barnes in 1996, has thrown for that many yards in a game before and he needed four overtimes to do so.

“I’m really excited for the future of our offense,” said Goff following his stellar first impression in blue and gold. “You saw in the third quarter how much rhythm we can get and how much our offense can get rolling. I’m super excited about it.”

It is becoming abundantly clear that Jared Goff is much more Ken Dorsey or Joe Montana than current Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Not one to dominate a conversation or bring attention to himself, Goff has already established himself as a cool customer who is content with simply making the right play on each and every down. And beside just one interception that was his fault, Goff did just that. He took the snap and preceded to quickly make the right play, over and over again. Just as Dorsey did in Miami’s heyday during the early 2000’s, Goff utilized his playmakers all night long, spraying the ball around the field to Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs and Brendan Bigelow for smooth, consistent yardage gains.

It is safe to say Sonny Dykes’ signiture Air Raid offense showed up in Berkeley as advertised, much to the delight of the big crowd on hand on a picturesque night at Memorial Stadium. Sonny's young offense seemingly made it their goal to run as many plays as they could in the allotted 60 minute timeframe. It eventually got the the point that the experienced, Big-10 tested defense of Northwestern decided to resort to the type of gamesmanship usually reserved for defenses playing against the vaunted Oregon Ducks. If nothing else, it was a compliment to the Bears new offense that the Wildcats of Northwestern would resort to “allegedly” faking injuries on the field to slow down the Goff/Harper/Treggs “Bear Raid” onslaught.

It wasn’t more than three weeks ago that redshirt freshman Zach Kline, complete with a year of seasoning and a dominate high school career under his belt, was assumed to be the starter on opening night. That never came to fruition, however, as Sonny instead decided to hand the reins over to the cool headed Goff, a son of a Major League baseball player and Cal alum.

Goff’s high school coach at Marin Catholic, Mazi Moayed, has no problem going on record and comparing Goff to Joe Montana and Tom Brady and pegging his understudy as a future NFL’er. After Saturday night, that sort of praise seems to make logical sense, albeit it was just one game.

Yes, Goff technically threw three interceptions on Saturday, and no he didn’t get the W. But what he did do is restore hope in Berkeley that great quarterbacking can and will take place on the Memorial Stadium turf. Now if only he can find a way to steal a victory over Ohio State or Oregon, then the Dorsey comparisons can really begin to pass as the truth.

Bryce Treggs was all over the field catching balls on Saturday night (Photo by Jose Fajardo)

"A New Era Up In The Canyon" - Previewing 2013 CAL Football

(Kristopher Skinner/BayArea News Group)

By Devin "Reno" Wright (@TheRealReno)

So here we are. Back to square one again. It has all come full circle.

In 2001 the Cal Bears turned in one of the worst seasons in, well, since the forward pass was introduced to football. A year later, they hired offensive guru Jeff Tedford away from Oregon, and all of a sudden, the Bears were contenders. We were winning games, churning out All-Americans and NFL studs, going to bowl games, beating SC, UCLA, and Oregon. It was a glorious time in Berkeley.

In 2004 we were robbed of a Rose Bowl by a self entitled program and a sketchy voting system (not to get political but that seems to be the norm for Texas, cough..George Bush..cough Rick Perry). Then we were on the cusp of a No. 1 ranking, only to see it all dramatically fall apart in 2007. Soon thereafter, a downward spiral ensued, and no one seemed to be able to stop the mounting losses. Years of mediocrity accumulated, eventually leading Sandy Barbour to come down with the axe on the "Ted Head Era".

Enter 2013. A new coach, running a new offense and defense, a new stadium, and #CAF new uniforms. Cal fans can't help but feel a little bit better about the future of the program, but maybe that is because we have NO IDEA what that future holds. What we do know is, 2013 will be a very interesting year for Cal football. Come with me as I break down the 2013 Bears before they embark on one of the toughest schedules a Pac-12 team has ever encountered.


Before we break things down by position group, let us think about a few of the names on this side of the ball. Zach Kline, Austin Hinder, Jared Goff, Brendan Bigelow, Daniel Lasco, Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs, Maurice Harris, Kenny Lawler, Richard Rodgers, Jordan Rigsbee, Chris Adcock. There is A LOT of potential here to form a great offense in Sonny Dykes' new #BearRaid system.


The name of the game here is potential. After the transfer of Allan Bridgeford, the QB competition has been whittled down to 3 contenders, none of whom have taken a single snap at the NCAA level. But, as mentioned before, this group is all about what might be. Kline, Hinder, and Goff were all very highly recruited signal callers out of high school (Kline from San Ramon Valley, Goff from Marin Catholic). All three bring different skills to the table as well. Kline is the big armed QB that gets the ball out quick and deep when needed. Hinder probably has the lesser of the three arms, but has the ability to make plays out of the pocket with his feet. Goff is a true Frosh that is rumored to be very comfortable with the system, as he played in a similar spread type system during his high school days in Kentfield.

Coach Sonny has stated that he likes all three of the QB's he has, and knows all these guys can run his system, but he would like to get this competition figured out as soon as possible early on in August. I think I speak for all the fans when I say that we do as well.

My pick is Kline, by the way. Mostly because I want to see him play and live up to the hype that media outlets like The Section have eagerly bestowed upon him.

Running Back:

Bigelow, Bigelow, Bigelow. PLEASE GIVE THE KID THE BALL!!

I wish someone could get an answer from Tedford as to why Brendan Bigelow only touched the ball 86 times last season (45 were kickoff returns). Did Tedford miss this game? Bigs only carried the ball 38 times after this game, and only 4 times in the NEXT GAME. This kid has the talent to be the best RB in the Pac, but he needs to touch the ball to prove it. Louisiana Tech Running Back Kenneth Dixon carried the ball 200 times last year in Sonny's #BearRaid offense. If Bigs can stay healthy, this kid is has the potential to go HAM on Pac -12 defenses week in and week out.

After Bigs, it looks like Daniel Lasco will get the lion's share of the backup carries. Lasco is more of a "between-the-guards" back who enjoys lowering his pads, looking for contact, and driving the pile. Behind Lasco will be a mix of Darren Ervin and Jeffrey Coprich. It should be noted that at La Tech, the top two backs had over 140 carries, so expect to see a good amount of rotating in the back field.

Sonny, Treggs, and Mo Harris go over the Bear Raid offense inside Memorial Stadium (Kristopher Skinner/BayArea News Group)

Wide Receiver:

Bryce "Trigga" Treggs likes to call the Cal wide receiving corps, "The Heem Team." This is where I think the most talent lies on this Bears young squad. Treggs and Chris Harper are beasts. The two came onto the scene as freshman last season and made some incredible plays. Now, with a wide open offense to work in, these two are due for breakout seasons that should get them some national pub.

Harris (who is somehow still a sophomore), Lawler, Darrius Powe, Richard Rodgers (in the #BearRaid, there are no Tight Ends), Bryce McGovern, Maximo Espitia and Jackson Bouza can all make plays. All these pass catchers bring different elements to the table in terms or stretching the field, and settling in the zone. If they can pick up the system, and get in a rhythm with their new QB, this group has a chance to be the most well rounded in the conference.


This is a group of Big Uglies that has A LOT to work on. Now, few of us were big fans of the erratic Zach Maynard, but the kid was often running for his life in an attempt to make plays. The Bears will start this season with only two returning starters up front. Now, that usually is viewed as a bad thing, but with how poor the line played last season (allowing almost 4 sacks a game), getting some new blood in there shouldn't be a bad thing.

Cal's line will be anchored by the insanely talented and massive LT Freddie Tagaloa. He will likely be joined by Jordan Rigsbee, Chris Adcock, Alejandro Croswaithe, and Matt Cochran. While this group will probably be young no matter who starts, the key will be finding a starting center that can make the right line calls and that will keep the Quarterback clean versus uber-athletic teams like Ohio State and Oregon. Adjusting to a new blocking scheme will also be of great importance for this group. While they will be young, it bodes well for the future the more games the young guys get under their belts.


If there was one group that the Tedford staff always recruited well, it was Defensive Line. Of course that was thanks in large part to the Cal version of Benedict Arnold: Tosh Lupoi. There was a lot of hype from guys like Deandre Coleman and Viliami Moala, but we are still waiting on them to have their break out seasons. The scheme change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 will put guys like Todd Barr and Chris McCain on the end of the line, where their speed should help in the pass rush, but their size could be an issue in the run defense.

Mustafa Jalil, Dan Camporale, Puke Lopa, and Gabe King can provide depth up front. But the big question is how will these guys adapt to a new scheme lead by new Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh, and D-Line coaches Barry Sacks (perfect last name right?) and Garrett Chachere (note: Like the WR's, who have separate slot receiver and outside receiver coaches, the D-Line has both interior and ends coaches).


A quick note: Last season, Nick Forbes lead the team in tackles. The next two guys on the list were Defensive Backs. That isn't a good thing, especially in a 3-4 defense that is designed to have the linebackers make most of the tackles.

The switch to the 4-3 alignment will be an adjustment for the Bears linebackers as well. This is a very young group, that has not played a lot, but certainly has some potential. They were very young, and were very inconsistent last season. Other than Nick Forbes, it remains to be seen who will step up in Fall Camp and be named starters.  Penn State transfer Khari Fortt, and youngsters like Michael Barton, Hardy Nickerson Jr, and Jason Gibson will get a chance to crack the starting line up. Meanwhile, Jalen Jefferson, and Brennan Scarlett will need to impress in their new roles in the 4-3 if they want to see extensive playing time on the field this year.

Defensive Backs:

Here is what we do know. Avery Sebastian likes two things, tweeting, and hitting. This is a guy who can really take the next step by improving with his pass defense and creating some turnovers from his safety spot. After that, it's kind of a guessing game for the Bears defensive backfield.

Kameron Jackson saw time in all 12 games last year, and showed some flashes with three interceptions. Stefan McClure did not play at all last year, but might be considered the frontrunner for the other starting job. Michael Lowe should hold down the other starting safety job with Sebastian.

After that core group, it is really up in the air regarding depth with this group. Expect a lot of the younger guys to see time this season.


As a fan, my thinking is simple, There is talent on this team.

If the offense can get acclimated to the new system we should be able to score in bunches. This leaves the onus on our defense to get stops, against some of the best offenses in the country no less.

Why can't we go 7-5 and make a bowl game? We did it with Tedford in his first year (minus the bowl game due to a bowl ban). Unfortunately, only 9 starters are coming back, and the Bears are facing a schedule that features home games against Northwestern, Ohio St, USC, Oregon St, and road games at Oregon (which comes right after Ohio St), Washington, UCLA, and Stanfurd. It really doesn't get much tougher for a young team that is breaking in a new QB, and learning a new system on both sides of the ball. I'm hoping for 7-5 or 6-6, but I'm afraid we are looking at something like 5-7. Let's hope the young kids develop (especially at QB and DB), and lay the foundation for what I think will be a successful future in Strawberry Canyon.


Zach Kline, pictured here in 2011 on the O.co turf, expects to be named QB1 by Aug. 31st.