BERKELEY -- Cal is banking on Year 2 of the Sonny Dykes era to be much better than the first, if for no other reason than it can't get much worse.

Dykes and the Bears opened spring practice Monday at Memorial Stadium hoping the rain that fell for more than half the session could help wash away thoughts of the dreadful 1-11 season that included a winless record in the Pac-12 Conference.

When Cal's season gets underway in August, the Bears will be riding a 10-game overall losing streak and streaks of 14 straight Pac-12 losses and 16 straight losses to Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Injuries ripped apart the defense last year, and the Bears hope health, and the guidance of new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman make a difference as they take their first steps toward rebuilding the program.

Here are the biggest topics looming for Cal this spring:

Kaufman's new defense: How do you begin to fix a defense that allowed 529.6 yards and 45.9 points per game last season?

Kaufman wants to start with a fresh slate. He's not interested is seeing what mistakes the players made last year but wants to spend the 15 spring practices evaluating what he sees under his watch.

"My thing is to only judge them on what they do from here," Kaufman said. "What we try to do is leave them in positions, for the most part, that they've played and just out there and let guys play.

"Our big thing is No. 1 to find out what guys can do and what they can't do and make sure we don't ask them to do things they can't do."


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Setting the line: With a returning quarterback, depth at receiver, and some freshman talent at running back set to arrive this summer, the biggest offensive question comes on the line, particularly at right tackle.

Steven Moore, who started 11 games there last year, is now at left tackle. Sophomore Christian Okafor, junior Brian Farley and redshirt freshman Aaron Cochran figure to be in the mix, with Okafor and Farley getting the first repetitions there Monday.

Wiping away the memories: As bad as last season was, how do the coaches and players try to forget about it and erase the scars of a bad season?

"We tell our players all the time, 'Play the next play,' and we've got to do the same thing as a program," Dykes said. "What's over is over, and so our focus now is on what we can control, and that's what's ahead of us.

  • Cornerback Adrian Lee is serving a suspension and not on the roster. Dykes said they will "see if he comes back or not." Isaac Lapite, another cornerback, isn't with the team right now because of personal reasons, Dykes said.

    Running back Darren Ervin has medically retired because of a series of injuries, and Jacob Wark has left the football team to focus on baseball, Dykes said.