Left is right for Cal offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin.
The redshirt sophomore is back as the Bears' starting left guard after an ill-fated experiment at right tackle. Summers-Gavin was Cal's full-time left guard last season but lost his job this year after he suffered a knee bruise during training camp.
By the time Summers-Gavin completely healed early in the season, Brian Schwenke had taken over at left guard. The Bears tried to put Summers-Gavin at right tackle to provide depth, but he said he struggled to get the position down.
"It's been frustrating," Summers-Gavin said. "It wasn't the smoothest transition. I thought I'd be playing a lot better. (Right tackle) didn't come to me as fast as I wanted it to. I just tried to stick it out and keep working at it."
It's been an up-and-down calendar year for Summers-Gavin. It looked as though he would be the heir apparent to Mike Tepper at left tackle after taking every rep there during spring practice, but when the Bears lined up on the first day of training camp in August, Summers-Gavin was back at left guard. Then, on the second day of camp, Summers-Gavin suffered the injury and didn't return to practice until the week of the first game.
He said he didn't feel close to 100 percent until around the fourth week.
"Maybe I just wasn't used to right tackle," Summers-Gavin said. "I thought I'd be ready to make that transition. Unfortunately, I didn't. I tried to stick it out. I guess with patience and keeping working hard, I got moved back to my old position and now I'm starting."
Summers-Gavin missed five games last season because of injuries, but the Bears' offensive line had some of its better games when he was on the field. He made his first start of this season last week at Washington State.
"That's what I came here to do, to play," Summers-Gavin said. "I started all last year and I wanted to keep that going. I'm glad I'm back out there. I definitely want to hang on to this position for the rest of my Cal career."
Cal went up to Eugene, Ore., as the No. 6 team in the country and was dominated in every way imaginable in a 42-3 loss. Several starters from last year's team are back and are eager to show the Ducks they are better than that.
"Anytime you get embarrassed like that, it sticks in the back of your mind," linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We kind of want to avenge that and prove that we belong with these guys."
There are many returning starters from both teams, but the Bears feel being at home will make a difference this time around.
"Last year, they pretty much ran all over us in their home," tailback Shane Vereen said. "For some reason, we turn it on here. Guys that were on the team last year to witness that crushing defeat, there's a feeling that we're a better team than that and we want to go prove that Saturday."