BERKELEY -- Cal coach Jeff Tedford hopes to have his entire defensive line healthy for the first time since fall camp began when the Golden Bears return to action Saturday against visiting Southern Utah.
The Bears were nicked up along the defensive line over the past month, and that lack of continuity didn't help in Cal's season-opening 31-24 loss to Nevada.
"I think we're back on track today," Tedford said after his team's morning workout Tuesday. "We practiced real physical today, went live to get them some more work. They're on the mend now."
Tedford said defensive end Mustafa Jalil, sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury, practiced and might be available to play against the Thunderbirds. Nose guard Kendrick Payne and end Keni Kafusi, both coming off injuries, played against Nevada after resuming workouts last week on a limited basis.
"It slowed us a little bit because for the last two weeks almost, we really had no defensive line," Tedford said. "Going into last week, we had to balance how much (practice time) to give them."
The Bears struggled against Nevada's pistol option offense. They sacked Cody Fajardo just once, secured only one of six Wolf Pack fumbles and allowed a 55 percent third-down conversion percentage.
That combination added up to the Wolf Pack running 89 plays, including nine on the game-winning, 61-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.
"We got fatigued," Cal cornerback Steve Williams acknowledged. "That affects your mental ability. We were just out of it. We've got to play better than we did against Nevada."
Linebacker Robert Mullins said individual breakdowns hurt the Bears.
"It's like an assembly line," he said. "If one guy doesn't do something on an assembly line and 10 other guys do their job, then the product is not right. Unfortunately, that didn't happen consistently."
Southern Utah plays a more traditional prostyle offense, led by 6-foot-5 senior quarterback Brad Sorensen, who began his career at BYU and passed for more than 3,100 yards each of the past two seasons.
Tedford called Sorensen an NFL prospect.
"He can put the ball anywhere on the field. He has a very strong arm," Tedford said. "He's not overly mobile. We definitely have to pressure him."