Jaydn Ott says Cal's new offense is 'more enjoyable' than the 2022 version
Jaydn Ott was just about the only positive from the 2022 Cal Golden Bears’ football season.
The first-year running back dazzled, leading all Pac-12 freshmen in all-purpose yards, total touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns. He set a Pac-12 record for single-game rushing yardage by a first-year player when he exploded for 274 yards and three scores in a win over Arizona.
And Ott is just getting started.
Cal had a competition day inside California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, holding a 90-ish-play scrimmage. Ott ran wild, piling up 139 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. One of his scores went for 43 yards.
“Jaydn looks as fast or faster than he did in the fall,” said head coach Justin Wilcox. “He looked really good.”
The overall rushing attack, despite the presence of Ott, lagged last season. The Bears were dead last in the Pac-12 in attempts, last in yardage, and 10th in rushing efficiency. On Saturday, the ground game was a central part of what the Bears did. The ran the ball 54 times and gained 303 yards with four scores. Ashton Stredick ran 13 times for 117 yards — including a 53-yard sprint — and one touchdown.
“It’s been fun, I can’t complain,” Ott said of the offense. “This is what I love to do and Coach (Jake Spavital) has made it a lot more enjoyable this year, even just from only five practices this spring. I’m enjoying myself, and I’m sure that everybody else on the offense is.
“Maybe not the defense, though.”
Oregon transfer Byron Cardwell had a muted day — 6 carries, 15 yards — but Ott called him a baller after practice and said he’s brought good competition to the group.
Asked what to expect in the fall, Ott couldn’t help but reveal a little excitement.
“A bunch of explosive plays,” he said, “and we’ll be touching the paint a whole lot of times.”
Cal hasn’t ranked better than eighth in the Pac-12 in scoring since 2016. Spavital has a rebuild of sorts on his hands as Cal’s new offensive coordinator. But, with Ott in tow, he’s got some playmakers to build things around.