BERKELEY -- Cal coach Sonny Dykes has given defensive coordinator Andy Buh a vote of confidence even though the Bears have set a single-season record for points allowed.

Wracked by injuries that have sidelined five starters for virtually the entire season, the Bears are using young players, often out of position, and have virtually no depth. The defense ranks last in the Pac-12 in nearly every category.

"It's easier for me to judge Andy because I see him coach every day," Dykes said. "I have complete confidence in him and his staff. Those guys know what they're doing, and they'll get it done."

Still, Dykes and Buh understand there is a strong undercurrent of unrest among Cal fans. Dykes said he doesn't take much of the online criticism seriously.

"There's guys on the message boards who have four personalities and have arguments with themselves," he said.

Buh said he doesn't read the online comments, but he knows there is only one way to evaluate a defense that has allowed its 10 FBS opponents nearly 46 points per game.

"The only thing you can judge it off is how we've performed on the field," Buh said. "There's many different reasons you can blame for the performances on Saturday. The bottom line is we haven't played well enough to win."

  • Backup quarterback Zach Kline wants to stay at Cal, which he calls "the school of my dreams." His family is nearby, his girlfriend and his high school buddies all are at Berkeley. His roommate is his best friend.

    "Really, my whole life is here," he said.

    But Kline, playing behind freshman Jared Goff, understands he will soon have to address his future.

    "That's definitely the core of the thing -- is there an opportunity?" he said in an interview, without ever using the word "transfer."

    "It's always been a dream of mine to play and start as a college football quarterback, and I want that opportunity here. But it's something I definitely have to think about: Am I going to get that opportunity here?"

    Once regarded as Cal's quarterback of the future, Kline has made appearances off the bench in five games for the 1-10 Bears. At Colorado last Saturday, he took over for two series in the third quarter, couldn't generate any points, and Goff came back in. As any player would, Kline wanted to stay in the game.

    "Colorado was definitely one of the hardest moments, getting in and getting pulled," he said. "Like I said after the game, you have to trust what the coaches are doing, even if you believe otherwise, because that's part of being a leader."

    Although he doesn't choose to show it, Kline admits feeling frustration at times.

    "There's been a lot of nights when I'm about to punch the wall because I trust my ability, I trust myself, I know the plays I can make. I just trust that I'm a good quarterback," he said. "It's hard for any good player to not play."

    Still, Kline insists on maintaining a positive outlook. "We've seen the worst of Cal football," he said. "It's going to get better starting on Saturday."

  • Cal got an oral commitment from wide receiver Erik Brown, a 6-foot-2, 170-pounder from Summit High in Fontana. Brown, rated as a four-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, decommitted from Washington in favor of the Bears.

    For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.