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Familiarity all around when Cal visits North Texas

Oct 22, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox during the first quarter against the Washington Huskies at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

There still will be familiarity between two distinctly different programs when California hits the road to face North Texas at Denton, Texas, on Saturday.

Cal’s new run-game coordinator and offensive line coach Mike Bloesch was the offensive coordinator at North Texas under Seth Littrell, who was fired after last season and is now an offensive analyst with Oklahoma.

North Texas’ new head coach Eric Morris was the offensive coordinator at Washington State, which defeated Cal 28-9 last year at Pullman, Wash.

The low score in that game was indicative of Cal’s offensive execution last season.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox fired former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave on Nov. 13 after the Golden Bears lost six straight games and were ranked 99th in total offense. Later that week, Cal pulled off a 27-20 home victory over rival Stanford.

Wilcox hired former Texas State head coach Jake Spavital as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Spavital served in the same role at Cal in 2016 when the Golden Bears’ offense and quarterback Davis Webb set several school records while ranking fourth in the nation in passing offense and 10th in total offense.

As an offensive coordinator at Cal, Texas A&M and West Virginia, Spavital’s teams finished in the top 20 in the country in total offense six times.

“We know that the margins are extremely thin,” said Wilcox, who has endured three consecutive losing seasons. “Everything that we do, it all matters.”

Spavital has announced Sam Jackson V, a redshirt sophomore and TCU transfer, as the starting quarterback against North Texas.

Jackson, who has attempted only six passes in college, was selected over North Carolina State transfer Ben Finley and redshirt freshman Fernando Mendoza.

“Sam’s the starter and we want to get him out there and get him into a rhythm,” Wilcox said.

Morris, who coached Incarnate Word at San Antonio before leaving for Washington State before last season, has announced Stone Earle is the Mean Green’s starting quarterback.

Earle, a junior, rushed for 110 yards mostly out of the wildcat formation last year and added 45 yards on 5-for-8 passing with one touchdown.

“His intermediate stuff was really good,” Morris said about Earle’s performance in fall camp. “He was also able to push the ball down the field at times and create explosive plays. He has done a great job of not revamping his game but of fitting more into our offense by becoming a better and more accurate passer.”

–Field Level Media