The Stanford Cardinal are essentially replacing the best offensive unit in school history. The California Golden Bears displayed flashes of brilliance at times in 2011, but it seemed like they would always slip up whenever there was a chance to take that next step towards the top of the Pac-12.
Both schools have completed their spring camps and are now eagerly awaiting the start of summer workouts and practices in anticipation for the 2012 regular season. Both schools will likely hit a few bumps along the way, but they had some players really emerge in the last few months.
Ted Miller of ESPN spent the spring visiting all of the schools in the Pac-12 looking for potential breakout players. He picked defensive players for both teams.
Here was his pick for the Cardinal:
James Vaughters, LB, Stanford: The coaches have said they are going to let the leash off of this aggressive, physically imposing linebacker and see what happens. We know he'll be at middle linebacker (as opposed to just a third-down specialist last year) where he's expected to wreak havoc.
And his choice from the Golden Bears:
Deandre Coleman, DE, California: Said coach Jeff Tedford of the 6-5, 311-pound junior: "He may be one of the best that we've ever had." That about sums it up. Coleman dominated this spring, looking like an all-conference candidate.