Sonny Dykes is going to be looking for playmakers in his first season as the head coach of the Cal Bears. Luckily for him, he may have one of the best playmakers in the Pac 12 already in his backfield. Last season, running back Brendan Bigelow was criminally under-utilized in the Cal offense. That shouldn’t be an issue in 2013 and should equal a breakout junior campaign for Bigelow this fall.
Despite averaging 9.8 yards per carry and gaining 160 yards on just four carries against the Ohio State Buckeyes early on in his sophomore season, Bigelow could not find a significant role in the Bears’ backfield. Trapped behind seniors C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele, Bigelow averaged just 3.67 carries per game in 2012 and managed 431 yards and three touchdowns on just 44 carries. Jeff Tedford’s inability to find some way to get more touches for Bigelow certainly didn’t help the team find many wins last season.
This year, however, the way is cleared for Bigelow to make a major impact. He is the leading returning rusher on the team and has the explosive athleticism that Dykes loves in his running backs. Last season when he was with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Dykes found plenty of touches for his dynamic backs and freshman Kenneth Dixon was one of the nation’s leaders with 27 rushing touchdowns. Now, Dykes gets to see what he can get out of Bigelow in 2013.
The talent is undeniable and now Bigelow will have the opportunity to be a featured part of the offense this fall. Can he take that opportunity and continue his explosive playmaking to become one of the nation’s top running backs?