In what is looking like the final days of the Jeff Tedford era at Cal, do the California Golden Bears have the talent that gives a good head coach the ability to win as soon as possible? We talk with a host of Cal writers on the subject.
Do you think Cal is built to win now with a new coach, or are rebuilding times ahead?
Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes & California Golden Blogs: When I look at Cal, I see talent up and down the board. In fact, the Bears might have one of the most talented teams they've ever had going into next season. On offense, they have an excellent young group of wide receivers who've all seen action, a star tight end in the making, a potentially spectacular running back with solid backup options, and at least four options to choose from at quarterback.
But for much of the post-Aaron Rodgers era, the Cal offense seems to have always underachieved relative to their talent. There's a big risk in retaining the current coaching staff and hoping they can finally accomplish all they're capable of accomplishing. Whoever takes over must be really good at either coaching up QBs, or putting them in a system where they can maximize their efficiency. If a good coaching staff can come in and perform, they should see instant success.
We haven't even talked about the defense, where the Bears will have one of the most stacked linebacking corps in the conference and decent defensive line talent. Cal's defense has never been the problem the past few years; add in a top-notch offensive staff and suddenly Cal has a potentially dangerous team ready to roar.
Vincent S, California Golden Blogs: Cal would seem to have the personnel on offensive for a quick-strike, wide-open offensive attack. A boatload of skilled receivers, presumably an accurate, smart quarterback, and a running back capable of taking it to the house anytime? Yes please! The offensive line doesn't project to get too much better, but if the ball is out in a second every down, why does that matter?
On defense, the linebackers look scary. The defensive line, however, needs depth. Recruiting depth for the defensive line has been lacking the past two cycles; we run a 2-4-5 as it is much of the time right now, and I don't see that problem resolving itself anytime soon. Given personnel alone, I think Cal can score points; however, the defense will need to be rebuilt.
Berkelium97, California Golden Blogs: Things will be a little rough next year with a young O-line and a first year starter at QB, but the defense has the potential to be the best in the conference (assuming the entire front seven doesn't get injured again). Three consecutive top-25 classes have stacked the cupboard with talent, a boon for whomever takes over as head coach. This team is ready to win.
Bears With Fangs: Obviously, a few things need to be put in place, but I really do think we have the talent to compete in the upper tier of the conference. Just look at UCLA and see what a difference an inspired coach and sheer talent at the QB position can do for a team. Clearly, the Bears' young offensive line will be expected to grow up quickly, and Cal desperately needs Kline to step up as the Bears' next great signal caller, but when you look at this roster from top to bottom, there's little other reason to think that the talent is there for the Bears to be a very good squad. You have nearly the entire starting defense returning with a year of experience, and a few potential stars returning from injury (Fortt, Gibson, Wilkerson, Jalil). The turnaround won't be immediate, but make no mistake, this team should be significantly better next year with some new life.