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Stefan McClure, Sonny Dykes and Jared Goff at Pac-12 Media Days.
Courtesy: Cal Athletics
Ready to Take the Big Step Forward
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  07/23/2014

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – With approximately 400 members of national and local media in attendance at the annual Pac-12 Football Media Days on Wednesday at Paramount Studios, questions posted to the California contingent ran through a full spectrum of topics. But one in particular surprised quarterback Jared Goff the most (“What is your favorite snack food?”).

By the way, Goff’s favorite snack food is Cheez-Its, a fact ESPN’s Joe Schad let the world know through Twitter.

By the way, Goff’s favorite snack food is Cheez-Its, a fact ESPN’s Joe Schad let the world know through Twitter.

No matter the angle, Goff, along with safety Stefan McClure and head coach Sonny Dykes, drove home the point that the Bears are prepared and determined to turn things around on the field this fall.

“We’re a completely different team now,” said Goff, the 6-4 sophomore. “I think the biggest thing that’s changed is the mindset of the team. It’s almost a 180-degree turn from where we were last year as far as the mentality goes. We have guys that are stepping up as leaders, myself included. I want to improve on everything. I want to be the best leader I can be. I want to be the guy that can get it done.”

In 2014, Goff will be directing an offense that returns nearly all the key members from Cal’s talented passing attack with wide receivers Chris Harper, Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler and many others all returning at Goff’s disposal. The Bears set single-season school records for passing yards (3,977) and pass completions (368) last year.

“I’ve said this before, I think we have the best receivers in the country, depth-wise,” Goff said. “I don’t think you can name me another team that has eight guys that could probably start anywhere. Between Maurice [Harris], Trevor [Davis], Darius [Powe] and Stephen [Anderson], it’s just stacked. I’ve got to be the luckiest quarterback in the country to have all those guys out there.”

Like several key defenders from last season, McClure is returning to action after missing significant time due to injury in 2013. Others include defensive end Brennan Scarlett, safety Avery Sebastian, linebackers Nathan Broussard and Hardy Nickerson, and defensive tackles Austin Clark and Mustafa Jalil. Dykes and first-year defensive coordinator Art Kaufman will be excited to see them back on the field when fall training camp opens on Aug. 4. McClure, for one, has noticed a big difference around the team with the way summer workouts have progressed.

“I’ve seen guys working hard and being dedicated to the program,” McClure said. “Guys are killing it in the workouts, instead of just getting through them. We are ready to compete and work. We’re going to be better. We’re a year older, wiser and stronger. That will make a big difference this year.”

Dykes, Goff and McClure spent the majority of Wednesday bouncing around the different media tents, fielding questions from various radio stations and television stations. The trio also had a chance to go up on stage for live interviews with Pac-12 Networks personalities Mike Yam, Rick Neuheisel and Curtis Conway. In addition, they also met with a large number of writers and bloggers inside the Paramount Theater lobby.

As Dykes was asked countless questions about the direction of his team and rebounding from last season, he, just like Goff and McClure, expressed nothing but confidence about putting the past behind them and looking toward 2014 with a fresh start.

“The great thing about young people is they're incredibly resilient, so they bounce back,” Dykes said. “They showed up every day [during the summer workouts] with a great attitude, worked hard and they really have bought into what we ask them to buy into. We feel like we're in a really good spot. I couldn't be more proud of the offseason we had, especially this summer. We've really become a football team this summer, and it's good to see those guys start to come together and do the things that we think make a big difference in the program.”

Outside of the usual routine at media day, the Bears also had a chance to take part in some fun activities like playing a game of cornhole, answering Cal trivia questions, drawing the Cal script logo and putting on some costumes and posing in fun, light-hearted pictures with Ashley Adamson from the Pac-12 Networks.

Here are a collection of tweets from the event.

“Pac-12 Media Day is a great event,” McClure said. “There’s a great atmosphere here. To be out here with some fellow Pac-12 student-athletes and great coaches has been really fun. I’ve been meeting and talking to people from ESPN, FOX Sports and of course the Pac-12 Networks. It’s just been really fun to talk about football, talk about everything we’ve been doing during the offseason and talk about the upcoming season. Hanging out with Jared and Coach Dykes has been great too.”

There’s no doubt the Bears made it loud and clear that they are focused on putting the program back on the right track. 

With the offseason about to turn into the regular season, they all believe that the hard work they’ve endured since the end of 2013 will pay off in 2014.


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