BERKELEY -- The bye week in Cal's football schedule has brought competition, not vacation.

Coach Sonny Dykes has opened up position battles this week as the Bears (1-2) begin preparation for their Sept. 28 Pac-12 opener at No. 2 Oregon.

That includes offensive line, where starting left tackle Freddie Tagaloa has a fight on his hands.

"If we were 3-0 and ranked fifth in the country, we'd be challenging our guys," Dykes said. "If you have a guy like Freddie, who has got tremendous potential, you want him to play to that potential. You don't want him to be satisfied. I think he's played adequate, not as well as he can play."

Christian Okafor and Bill Tyndall are among those getting a chance at the spot, while Tyndall and Alejandro Crosthwaite are in the mix at right guard, where starter Matt Cochran will be sidelined for at least a month after ankle surgery scheduled for Thursday.

  • Few positions are secure on defense, where the Bears rank 116th nationally, allowing 42 points per game. Dykes said he expects several true freshmen who have played sparingly so far to get increased opportunity.

    Cornerback Cameron Williams is "basically competing for a job right now," Dykes said, after seeing extensive action against Ohio State.

    Linebackers Edward Tandy and Chad Whitener will be in the mix, along with Johnny Ragin III, who played in the first two games but was sick last weekend.


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    "Those guys are learning and hungry and working hard," Dykes said. "They're doing what we're asking them to do and they're improving rapidly. I think you'll see a lot of those guys emerge."

  • Junior linebacker Nick Forbes has been named to the 22-player 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, co-sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association.

    The award pays tribute to the positive impact student-athletes from all level of college football have had on their communities and the lives of others. Forbes has done volunteer work for Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland, City of Berkeley, Playworks, Read Across America, SAGE Mentorship Project and Swim with Mike.

    "Nick does a tremendous job in the community and is very deserving of this recognition," Dykes said.

  • Forbes, sidelined for more than a month with a lower back injury, believes he will be ready to play soon. He wouldn't predict he'll start at Oregon, but said. "I am preparing as if I am that guy."

    "He'll declare himself ready to go by how well he practices," Dykes said.

    Forbes said he and other injured veterans on defense, including Avery Sebastian (Achilles), Brennan Scarlett (hand) and Mustafa Jalil (knee) acknowledge each other's plight with few words.

    "It's more of a silent respect for what they're going through," he said. "We don't really talk about it much because it gets frustrating."

  • Dykes said the Bears' win-loss record must be judged against the schedule they've played, which includes Top-25 opponents Northwestern and Ohio State.

    "There's a lot of people in the country that haven't played anybody, that may be 3-0 right now. They think they're pretty good and they're really not," Dykes said.

    "We know where we are and where we have to improve. I'll take the schedule we've played against anybody in the country. And for a young football team we've done some good things."

    For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.