Coach Sonny Dykes’ first year in Berkeley was forgettable, as Cal finished at the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference with a 1-11 record.
But the start of spring football has the current Bears excited and ready to wash away the memories of one of the worst season’s in program history.
“Last season wasn’t indicative in terms of what we are capable of doing as a program,” Dykes said during a teleconference Sunday. “We have to improve the best that we can, and our players will be a year wiser. We have a lot of good returning players, but we’re just focused on improving.”
Cal quarterback Jared Goff — who threw for 3,508 yards and 18 touchdowns in his freshman year — is close to 100 percent after undergoing offseason surgery on his right shoulder, but he’ll be monitored closely during the spring session.
Goff will have the luxury of having his top two targets back from a season ago in wide receivers Chris Harper (70 receptions, 852 yards, give TD’s) and Bryce Treggs (77 receptions, 751 yards, and one TD). The Bears welcome highly-touted running back recruit Tre Watson (Centennial High School) to complement the returning Khalfani Muhammad.
“We had a month off from football after the season, and it was hard watching the bowl games without us involved,” Goff said. “Year 2 of this system is when things are supposed to take off, and we’re excited about that.”
Defensively, the Bears brought in Art Kaufman as the new defensive coordinator. He will oversee a defense that gave up a whopping 45.9 points per game last year, the second-most in all of college football.
“We’re still going to run a 4-3 defense, but the thing I’m excited about [is] our players coming back looking to get the bad taste out of their mouth from a year ago,” Dykes said. “We’re all not happy about last season’s performance.”
Cal will hold all of its spring practices at Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium. Spring football will conclude April 26 with the Cal football experience.