Quarterback: Zach Maynard #1, Allan Bridgford #2. Known for awhile.
Running back: Isi Sofele #1, and Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson held off the late charges from C.J. Anderson to stay positioned in the backup role. Expect Anderson to stay in the third position, but slowly reinsert himself back into the number two debate as the season wears on. Cal's running back situation remains fluid, and Ron Gould might have to think about distributing the run snaps a little bit more to everyone.
Fullback: Will Kapp moves up to the top spot with the season-ending injury to Eric Stevens; Kapp has played some, but wasn't nearly as effective as Stevens was in the playing time he got. He'll be tested hard in his senior season, unless Cal decides to move away from the fullback slot with their main man out.
Tight end: Anthony Miller remains established at the top spot. It's walk-on Spencer Hagan who has climbed his way up into the two deep through spring and fall camp. Spencer Ladner was the original second tight end, but injuries have kept him sidelined all offseason. Hagan is probably followed by redshirt freshman Jacob Wark, then true freshman Richard Rodgers. Cal is looking precariously thin at tight end unless Hagan really can produce; he has yet to play significant offensive snaps for the Bears.
Wide receivers: There's a clear hierarchy in place. Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen are the starters, Michael Calvin and Coleman Edmond the backups. Cal is not particularly strong beyond their starting four--Kaelin Clay (redshirt frosh) and Maurice Harris (true frosh) are next in line, but both have struggled with injuries.
Offensive line: Same five starters as before--Mitchell Schwartz has a good chance to be one of the best tackles in the conference, and Matt Summers-Gavin should also be okay playing out of his natural guard position. Brian Schwenke and Justin Cheadle will try and recover from rough 2010 campaigns, and Dominic Galas will hope to bring bacfk the mean streak that defined the early Tedford offensive lines.
The biggest differences come at the second level, where guards Chris Adcock and Justin Gates have emerged to overtake Geoffrey Gibson and Alejandro Crosthwaite. None of these four guards enjoys much experience, so it's a mystery as to how they'll perform once given the lights.
Defensive line: Nothing much changes from the spring. Kendrick Payne moves ahead of Aaron Tipoti in the nose guard position, but Tipoti did miss much of camp with concussion issues, so they'll probably be spelling each other most of the season. And the big monster looms behind them, as true freshman Viliami Moala is ready to take over and become one of the most imposing figures in the Pac-12.
Cal defensive ends Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu will have a hard time replacing Cameron Jordan, but with DeAndre Coleman and Gabe King behind them, it's hard to see the D-line dropping off drastically from previous seasons. And as an added bonus, true freshman Mustafa Jalil has entered the fray in the two deep.
Linebackers: Mychal Kendricks moves from outside to inside to take over as the leader of the defense, with the capable D.J. Holt right beside him. Kendricks has played a lot of outside most of his time at Cal, but he's versatile enough to play at multiple spots on the field and will have plenty of responsibility guiding the defense. Holt provides a steady, veteran presence with three years of experience right under his belt.
The outside is where the adventure is. Chris McCain and Cecil Whiteside were making noise early in fall camp, but it's sophomore walk-on Dan Camporeale and redshirt freshman David Wilkerson earning the outside linebacker spots, with senior Ryan Davis also getting into the action. McCain did make the two deep, and Whiteside is just off it; you'd figure at least one of the two or both will play.
A lot of Cal's fortunes in defense will depend on how well Cal can replace Mike Mohamed inside. Mohamed helped guide players to their assignments based on the formations the defense was showing.
Defensive backs: Marc Anthony and Steve Williams are the starters, with Josh Hill right behind them as the nickelback. True freshman Stefan McClure is also on the two deep and should also play. Safeties Sean Cattouse and D.J. Campbell are established on the backline and C.J. Moncrease is a capable backup but hasn't played much on defense, with Michael Coley and Avery Walls the young up-and-comers (Coley ahead of Walls).
It'll be hard to replace Chris Conte, even with a pro prospect like Cattouse. But if Cattouse can get the mental aspect of the game down
Conclusions: Lots of veterans that have flown under the radar, lots of young talented individuals who may or may not be ready. Things could go really well, they could go really poorly, or they could end up somewhere in the middle.
I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS TEAM. I guess that's what makes it fun.
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