California Golden Bears Position Preview: Running Backs


Before the football season starts, lets look at how the California Golden Bears are doing at each position entering the spring, and see where there are potential position battles. With a squad that’s returning 17 of 22 starters from a year ago, we might not see a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, but it doesn’t hurt to know who’s new, and who’s backing up those 17 returning starters.

A Year Ago…

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Coming into the 2014 season, the Bears’ running back situation was up in the air. Many believed the starting job would go to Khalfani Muhammad, who had a great 2013 season, and was carrying that momentum into 2014. But when Muhammad was out for spring practices, junior back, Daniel Lasco ran away from the competition at the position, and carried all that spring momentum into the 2014 season.

For the year, he ran for over a thousand yards and 12 touchdowns, while also catching 33 passes out of the backfield for over 300 yards and an additional two touchdowns.

Even though Lasco was playing well, Muhammad did indeed return and was a big play threat yet again for the Golden Bears. Cal was also able to turn to Vic Enwere to get the tough yards in goal line situations. And when games had already been decided, Tre Watson got a good set of carries to gain some valuable experience.

With a solid set of backs last season, the offense looked a whole lot less one dimensional. Cal’s offense is still very pass happy with their “Bear Raid” offense, but guys like Lasco and Muhammad helped take some pressure off of starting quarterback, Jared Goff.  With that new found balance, Cal’s offense became better as a whole.

It became clear toward the end of the season that when the running backs were in a rhythm, Goff established a rhythm, and it helped the Golden Bears offense become even more deadly.

Saying Goodbye:

  • Jack Moffett, 6-3, 230
  • John Porchivina, 6-0, 210

New Faces:

  • Lonny Powell, 5-11, 210

Current Roster:

2015 Preview: 

Sep 20, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; California Golden Bears running back Khalfani Muhammad (29) runs the ball for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Arizona won 49-45. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Other than wide receiver, this might be the most talented group of guys on the Bears’ roster. With every major contributor from last season coming back, look for even bigger numbers from this group in 2015.

Last seasons starting back, Lasco, is impressing again, and looks to build off of a 1,000 yard season, while compliment backs Watson and Enwere are looking like they’ll be the goal line backs for the Bears.

While spring practice is going on, big play threat Muhammad is winning 100m and 200m dashes for the Bears’ track team, giving guys like Powell, Enwere, and Watson the chance to earn more and more reps with the first and second teams.

While Lasco figures to be the feature back, the Bears are in good hands when he goes out, with Muhammad, Enwere, Watson, and newcomer Powell. If these guys can perform for coach, Sonny Dykes, and the rest of the Golden Bears offense, than the Bears will more lethal than before on that side of the ball, with a balance that could not be countered by many defenses.

With Goff starting at quarterback, and Lasco  in at running back, the Bears’ offense seems to be in good hands.

Next: California Golden Bears Position Preview: Defensive Backs