Yes, that Marshawn Lynch.
As Cal put the finishing touches on its first spring under new head coach Sonny Dykes, the former Bear and current Seattle Seahawks running back made an impromptu appearance at his alma mater’s spring game. Or, more specifically, in his alma mater’s spring game.
Lynch, following a conversation with a Cal official, entered the game for one play and went untouched for a 22-yard touchdown run, with the school’s release stating that “[t]he only players to touch the All-Pro running back were members of the Cal offense that mobbed him in the end zone after his score.” It wasn’t due to ineptness on the defense’s part, though, as that unit was under strict orders to not lay a hand on the back.
“We told the guys if anybody tackled him, it was going to be a $25 million fine,” Dykes said according to the Oakland Tribune. “I didn’t want to be getting a call from Pete (Carroll, Lynch’s coach with the Seahawks).”
Lynch, who remains second on Cal’s all-time rushing list (3,230) in a collegiate career that ended in 2006, is hopeful Dykes and his staff can turn around a program that won just three games in 2012, its worst showing since 2001.
“I felt pretty good out there knowing this was home,” Lynch said, adding, “I hope his regime comes and they turn it back into what it was when I was here.”
As for the “real” part of the spring game, the glorified scrimmage got Dykes no closer to naming a true front-runner at the quarterback position, at least publicly.
With the abrupt departure of Allan Bridgford to transfer, Cal was left with presumptive favorite and redshirt freshman Zach Kline as well as true freshman Jared Goff, and junior Austin Hinder as the players vying for the starting job. Through the 14 practice sessions and one spring game in which each tossed a touchdown pass, Dykes stated in quotes distributed by the team that he “didn’t see anything today that indicated that somebody stepped ahead.”
While Kline is still expected to eventually stake his claim to the starting job, the official competition will stretch on into at least the first part of summer camp.