Heart and soul of Cal football Chris Adcock on the comeback trail

Sonny Dykes takes a minute -- and just a minute -- to replay Chris Adcock's injury in his mind.
October 2nd.
Afternoon practice.
Routine padded drill.
Of all the parts of last season he doesn't want to relive, this one is near the top of his list.
"I remember talking to him," Dykes says, trailing off. "I remember talking to him right after the injury took place. He wasn't laying there feeling sorry for himself. He was talking about coming back. Right after it happened he was talking about coming back."
Sitting somewhere deep inside Levi's Stadium, Cal football's second-year head coach is going through the motions of his second Bay Area College Football Media Day.
And saying at least some of the same things he said a year ago -- especially in regards to the offensive line.
"You want to find the best five guys, then you want to find a good backup center, a good backup guard, a good backup tackle. If you can get to that magic eight, you're gonna have a chance to have a pretty good group."
Adcock ruined any chance of that early on in 2013.
"He's your center, he's the quarterback of our offensive line, that really changed our situation, with Jordan (Rigsbee) having to come in and play center, a position he wasn't very comfortable with," Dykes says. "It was obviously a tough thing to work through -- he did a great job filling in at that spot, but it's not his natural position. So getting Chris back will really solidify our offense in a lot of ways, allow us to get the best five offensive linemen on the field."
The 6'3", 295-pound Dallas Christian High product -- whose 15 starts are the second most of any current Cal offensive lineman -- has at times looked like the best of that group.
"I expect him to be the center for our team, a leader for our team," Dykes says. "He's the heart and soul of our program and what's good about college athletics."
He's also finally healthy -- nine months after tearing basically every ligament in his knee -- and will join an offensive line group that returns the entirety of the group that started the final handful of games last season, while reinserting that "heart and soul" and JuCo transfer Dominic Granado, who should compete with Rigsbee for Cal's starting right tackle position.
The 1-11 season now squarely in the rear view, Adcock says he's just happy to be this close to being back on a football field.
"That was so hard... I've never had to sit out like that through high school or college," Adcock says. "It was difficult. It took some getting used to.
"It was honestly pretty hard mentally -- you get a lot of time to think about stuff that you didn't before. When you're out it's kind of like what else can I spend my time doing, how can I help out in other ways."
Thinking is something Adcock has always been good at. A two-time first-team Pac-12 All Academic honoree, he's a 2014 nominee for the prestigious Campbell Trophy (basically the "Academic Heisman").
It's one of the reasons Dykes and Co. handpicked the Rowlett, Texas native to take over the cerebral duties of Cal's center.
"Chris is gonna be a future doctor someday, he's a really bright young man," Dykes says. "He's one of those guys everybody respects, everybody admires the way he comes to work every day, rolls his sleeves up and gets to work."
His beard as bushy and bright red as ever, Adcock is ready to roll 'em up again.
"I've been at a Cal for a long time now. I want to leave my mark on the football program. We have a great opportunity to come back from what happened last year."
There he goes again, talking about coming back.