BERKELEY -- As if Cal receiver Chris Harper wasn't busy enough Saturday against Washington State -- catching 13 passes for 217 yards -- now he's a candidate to perhaps play defense?
After injuries continued to strip down the Bears' ranks at cornerback, coach Sonny Dykes said Harper and fellow receiver Bryce Treggs already have been given some practice reps on defense and will get more.
"We considered both today. We just didn't feel like they had enough practice," said Dykes, stressing that they would be used in a game only in an emergency situation.
Dykes also said a couple running backs could get the chance to work at linebacker.
"We're kind of out of linebackers," he said.
The Bears are approaching emergency status after two more cornerbacks -- Stefan McClure and Joel Willis -- were injured in the Bears' 44-22 loss to the Cougars. Linebacker Jalen Jefferson also went out with an injury.
Cal finished the game with just three healthy corners -- Adrian Lee, Isaac Lapite and Cedric Dozier. Lapite is a former walk-on who was repeatedly targeted by the Cougars, and Dozier is fairly new to defense after being recruited as a receiver.
Harper didn't sound enthused about the prospect of playing both ways, but said, "Whatever we have to do for the team."
Dykes said the Bears will not pull true freshmen corners Trey Cheeks or Darius Allensworth out of their redshirt years. Cheeks missed most of fall camp with a hamstring injury and Allensworth is coming off major knee surgery last year in high school.
Defensive coordinator Andy Buh said all of Cal's young defensive backs simply need more practice.
"Getting a DB ready to play at this level takes a thousand reps," he said. "This is a repetition game. Defense is reactionary. So you've got to give them tons and tons and tons of repetitions. We're behind on that.
"And there's no way of replicating that in this short period of time. We just have to continue to get better every day."
The Bears hope to have starting corner Kam Jackson back by next week's game at UCLA. He played a few snaps against the Cougars before being pulled because his sore ankle wasn't ready.
--- Cal's running game continues to struggle, and no one is having a tougher time than junior Brendan Bigelow.
Bigelow rushed 12 times for 43 yards, three times was stopped on tries from the 1-yard line, and twice lost fumbles. He is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry this season.
"Poor kid just doesn't have a lot of confidence right now. We've got to figure out a way to get him some," Dykes said. "It's tough right now to play him, honestly. We'll see what happens."
-- Quarterback Jared Goff, pulled from the loss at Oregon late in the first quarter last week, was 32 for 58 for 489 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Cougars. He was sacked three times and rushed hard most of the game.
Dykes said his performance was solid, especially given his difficulties the week before when he was 3 for 7 for 11 yards in the 55-16 loss to the Ducks.
"He did some good things today. I don't know if he ever got comfortable," Dykes said. "It didn't seem like he was playing with the same level of confidence he was before the Oregon game.
"Part of it is natural. You have what happened against Oregon happen to you, I think it shakes you a little bit when you're an 18-year-old freshman. I didn't think we protected very well up front. Those two things resulted in him probably not being as sharp as he has been to this point."
Even so, Goff is just the second Pac-12 quarterback with three 450-yard passing performances for his career. And he's done it in five games.
-- Dykes was complimentary of Washington State, coached by his former mentor Mike Leach. The Cougars were just 1-8 in Pac-12 games a year ago in Leach's debut season, but already have wins over USC and Cal.
"Their guys play with an edge -- I like the way they play," Dykes said. "They've made big strides since he took over the program last year."
-- Cal linebacker Lucas King, who took over when Jefferson was injured in the first quarter, responded with a career-best nine tackles.
-- Place-kicker Vincenzo D'Amato kicked field goals of 35 and 43 yards and is 11 of 12 for the season.
-- Cal and WSU combined for 1,027 passing yards, setting a Cal record for most yards by both teams. The old mark was 921 in a 1996 game vs. Arizona.