BERKELEY -- There is probably only so much Cal can learn about itself Saturday against Southern Utah, a Football Championship Subdivision team playing a Pac-12 opponent for the first time.
The Bears have beaten five previous FCS teams by an average of more than 43 points.
But a major objective for the Bears in their first game after their season-opening loss to Nevada is to generate a running game that will help both quarterback Zach Maynard and the Cal defense.
The Bears rushed for just 113 net yards in the 31-24 loss to the Wolf Pack -- their lowest output against a non-BCS automatic qualifying conference foe in nine seasons. And 39 of those yards came on an end around by wideout Keenan Allen, with running backs C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele combining for only 88 yards on 19 attempts.
It's not like they got stuffed, but it was a surprisingly tepid performance from a running attack that totaled 16 games of 200 yards or more in its previous 24 nonconference outings.
"It is an emphasis. We've got to be physical, got to run the football," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "We're not going to be one-dimensional, but it would be nice to get the run game going."
The Bears will continue to work out of the no-huddle offense they unveiled last week and will play without their best offensive lineman, tackle Matt Summers-Gavin, out this week with a knee injury.
Offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik said the no-huddle can keep defenses off balance and create momentum.
"Our players have bought into that attacking mentality," he said. "That's a good part of it."
Against Nevada, the Bears didn't sustain enough drives to keep their defense off the field. And they didn't run well enough to give Maynard and the passing game a complementary threat.
"Very unacceptable," Anderson called the performance. "We don't run the ball in that fashion. We run violently and we run hard."
Sofele, who rushed for 1,322 yards last season, got just five carries against Nevada. Over time, the distribution of carries will become more balanced, Michalczik said.
Center Brian Schwenke said the Bears are determined to get the ground game cranked up. "We're going to run 'em over," he said.