BERKELEY -- Cal coach Sonny Dykes and his staff aren't real hands-on with the team's development of on-field chemistry. That's up to the players, and it seems clear the connection between quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Kenny Lawler is clicking.

Goff threw three touchdown passes to Lawler in the Bears' 73-14 season-opening win over Grambling State, continuing a trend that began last November. Over the past two games -- including the finale against BYU last season -- the two have connected 18 times for 205 yards and six TDs.

"I tell the receivers all the time, 'It doesn't really matter what I want you to do. It matters what Jared wants you to do,' " said Dykes, who also has taken over duties as receivers coach this fall.

Cal Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) makes a throw against the Grambling State Tigers in the first quarter of their NCAA opening game at Memorial Stadium
Cal Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) makes a throw against the Grambling State Tigers in the first quarter of their NCAA opening game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) ( RAY CHAVEZ )

After the Grambling game, Goff said that two years ago he probably wouldn't have connected on any of the three TD passes Lawler caught Saturday.

"I think they both have a lot of confidence in each other. That's what it boils down to," Dykes said. "Kenny believes Jared is going to put the ball in a particular place, and Jared believes Kenny is going to be in a particular place."

Dykes counseled Lawler in the offseason to work on developing consistency in practice because it would translate to trust from his quarterback on game day. Lawler's practice habits have improved, Dykes said, and the communication between quarterback and receiver also is good.


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Goff said his chemistry with all of Cal's receivers is at a high level in his third year as quarterback. He also said Lawler has become something of a "perfectionist" in practice over the past year.

"He wants to be the best, and you can see it in practice, how he competes," Goff said. "He's realizing how good he can be."

  • Nate Broussard, who spent the past two seasons on the sideline after suffering ACL knee injuries during each fall camp, finally was back on the field against Grambling State.

    "It was a lot of fun," said Broussard, whose most recent game action was in 2012.

    The junior linebacker played 11 snaps and did a solid job, Dykes said. "He was a little bit rusty, but who wouldn't be after not playing for two years."

    Mostly, Dykes said he was thrilled for Broussard on a personal level. "Nate's a great kid, and he's been through a lot," said Dykes, adding that Broussard's role could increase Saturday against San Diego State with its run-oriented offense.

    Senior defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil, who battled injuries before beginning to get healthy last season, said the entire team was excited for Broussard. "It was one of the happiest things I saw last week," Jalil said.

    Cal Bears’ Kenny Lawler (4) scores a touchdown against the Grambling State Tigers in the first quarter of their NCAA opening game at Memorial Stadium
    Cal Bears' Kenny Lawler (4) scores a touchdown against the Grambling State Tigers in the first quarter of their NCAA opening game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) ( RAY CHAVEZ )

  • Cal and San Diego State, meeting for the first time since 1996, have split six games, with the home team winning every time. The Aztecs, in fact, have lost 27 straight road games to Pac-12 teams, dating to a 1975 win over Oregon State.

  • No definitive update on the status of backup wide receivers Jack Austin (foot) and Matt Rockett (knee). Dykes said both likely will be listed as "questionable" for Saturday.

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