BERKELEY -- After his team surrendered four touchdown passes to a quarterback who hadn't started a game since high school five years before, Cal coach Sonny Dykes said the Bears simply are trying to cobble together the best possible defensive secondary.
He knows it's not going well.
"We have some personnel issues. Everybody is aware of that," Dykes said after Cal's 52-34 loss to No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday.
Safety was a position of concern entering the season, and starter Avery Sebastian was lost for the season to a torn Achilles two weeks ago. The situation is more critical than ever with starters Alex Logan and Michael Lowe hobbling. Their replacements are young and, in some cases, unaccustomed to playing their positions.
"We're kind of grabbing guys," Dykes said. "Hey, so-and-so, get in there."
On Saturday, the Bears took on one of the nation's most talented teams with neophytes in the defensive backfield. Fifth-year senior quarterback Kenny Guiton feasted on the Bears, rendering meaningless that star Braxton Miller was out with a knee injury.
Redshirt freshman safety Damariay Drew was beaten for a 90-yard touchdown on Ohio State's second play of the game. Sophomore Cameron Walker, a converted cornerback, also saw substantial playing time at safety.
The Bears feel set at right cornerback with Kameron Jackson, but left corner Stefan McClure has been moved to nickel back for an alignment Cal will use frequently in the pass-happy Pac-12.
Former walk-on Isaac Lapite is now the starting left corner, and he was victimized on Guiton's second touchdown pass. Ex-receiver Joel Willis also saw considerable action at corner.
"All we're trying to do," Dykes said, "is find the best five players in the secondary."
So far, it's a puzzle the Bears haven't solved.
-- The Bears, who entered the game averaging just 110 rushing yards per game, totaled a season-best 132 against the Buckeyes. Reserve Daniel Lasco had a season-best 64 yards to lead the way.
Dykes said the Bears didn't run more often because they were playing from behind, but he was generally pleased with the run game's improvement.
-- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was impressed by freshman Jared Goff, whose 371 passing yards made him first Cal quarterback with three straight 300-yard games since Aaron Rodgers in 2003.
"I think he's tremendous and I went and told him that after the game," Meyer said of Goff. "They have some very good wideouts and that's a big, strapping freshman. I think he's going to be really good. A lot of respect for him."
-- Meyer said he had an inkling on Wednesday or Thursday that Miller, the preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, might not be ready to play because of a sprained MCL in his left knee. "He's the kind of athlete, that has to be fully healed," Meyer said.
-- Linebacker Khairi Fortt led the Bears with 13 tackles, including two for losses.
-- Cal is 1-7 all-time vs. Ohio State, winless in seven games since a 28-0 victory in the 1921 Rose Bowl.