A Closer Look At The 2011 Cal Football Depth Chart

How will Keenan Allen and the California Golden Bears fare next year?

Well, we're starting up spring practice and everybody is focusing their attention on the 2011 football team.  We decided here at CGB to put our heads together and see what we could figure out when it came to the 2011 Football depth chart.  Of course, these are all educated guesses, but the entire CGB team has over 100 years worth of Cal football experience, I think we've got this down pretty good.  I wish I could take credit for this entire process, but I am very stupid when it comes to football analysis.  We discussed it and wrote it as a team, so please do credit the entire team and not just me.  Tell us your thoughts if you think somebody might not be starting who we think is starting or whatever.  Thanks!

WR

No secrets here: It all starts with Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones. Cal will be looking for contributions from younger players like Kaelin Clay, Tevin Carter and Coleman Edmond or veteran Michael Calvin. But when you have a talent like Keenan Allen at the WR spot you want to find ways to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. Right now we've been told that Calvin has the 3rd WR slot based on experience but that the competition is completely open for anybody who can separate himself during spring and fall practice. KA has simply been unstoppable in spring workouts. He shows an uncanny rapport with Maynard on timing routes, but has benefited from Bridgford's strong arm on go routes. On hitch routes, he actually prefers Mansion. "The ball comes in fast and low," said Keenan. "I don't have to jump up and get exposed for a big hit. Instead, I get to gather myself and can explode upfield."

Depth Chart:

1. Keenan Allen
2. Marvin Jones
3. Michael Calvin
4. Kaelin Clay
5. Tevin Carter
6. Coleman Edmond

A closer look at all the other positions after the jump.  Who is gonna start at Quarterback?  Who is going to start on DLine?  The answers after the jump!  GO BEARS!

Returners
Last season, Keenan Allen displayed how explosive he could be in the return game, busting open a kickoff return for a touchdown against Arizona State. Even though that was called back by a penalty, the message was clear: Allen is a home run threat.

So, no surprises here: Allen will return kickolffs. But that is not all: Coach Tedford and special teams coach Jeff Genyk have decided to try Allen as a punt returner, believing that Allen can provide the same spark in that area of the game that DeSean Jackson provided the Bears .

"I'm excited to do both," Allen said. "I love having the ball in the open field. The more touches in the return game for me, the better."

KOR
1. Keenan Allen
2. Coleman Edmond
3. Kaelin Clay

PR
1. Keenan Allen
2. Steve Williams


CB
Darian Hagan & Bryant N'nabuife graduated and moved out of the rotation. Both had memorable moments sacking QBs in Coach P's aggressive scheme. Coach Al Simmons departs for perhaps personal reasons. In comes Coach Ashley Ambrose who brings in a wealth of NFL experience that'll immediately earn the respect of players. Coach Kiesau even vouched for Coach Ambrose, calling him "my boy." The rotation at CB is worrisome though behind projected starters Marc Anthony and Steve Williams. In 2010 Anthony played through an assortment of injuries including a concussion. Williams played with a club as his left hand. Incoming freshmen Stefan McClure & Kameron Jackson have plenty of talent but their strength may not match up against college wideouts yet. Adrian Lee, the lone CB recruit from the 2010 class, is a converted RB. Although Lee appeared strong and speedy from high school, he hasn't played a down in the Pac-12 yet. Vachel Samuels is back to provide more depth. Once again, no one has seen a single down yet from Samuels and I wonder how much he has left in his tank.

The key question for 2011 at cornerback is how to bolster the 2-deep behind Anthony & Williams. Coach Ambrose needs some magic besides hoping for Lee, McClure, and Jackson to learn quickly and become Syd post-Tennessee 2006.

So, yes, there are some concerns here at CB.  Yet, we here at CGB are not worried and neither should you be!  Have no fear Bears fans, according to recent reports from the spring practice field, your hero has emerged this spring.  Keenan Allen, who went both ways in high school, is certainly smiling at these developments.  Take a look at the depth chart to see our thoughts on the CB 2 Deep:

CB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Marc Anthony

CB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Steve Williams

Safety

 

 

I love Sean Cattouse. Gunna say it again. I love Sean Cattouse. The man's got ball skills, hits a ton, and plays hard & fast. I can't help but root for Cattouse on the field. Then this disaster occured because Cattouse was overly aggressive and believed himself so much that he could destroy Luck.

What's going to prevent a replay of the Big Game 2010 at our safety spots? Cattouse returns as a fiery leader in the secondary. Seniors DJ Campbell and CJ Moncrease are ready to strengthen the depth chart after losing All-Pac10 Conference Chris Conte to graduation. Avery Walls arrived this Spring as an early enrollee. The Army All-American is known for his intelligence to sniff out plays before they develop. Alex Logan is in the rotation this spring. Fans have heard plenty of his heavy hits from practices but it may be difficult for Logan to crack the starting lineup when there are more experienced players in front of him.

There is depth and experience with the Bears' safeties this fall. Can they execute and play true to their position? Can they replace an All-Conference player? Alas, hope is eternal this spring. Surprises have come in the form of Thomas Decoud 2.0. He's fast. He's strong. He's got the afterburner to shut down the entire field by himself. He will not hesitate to intimidate opposing receivers from going into air. He will dominate over smaller receivers and snatch the ball out of the air in front or behind them.

But, really, does it even matter?  All those guys will play great, but, of course, Keenan Allen, born to play safety according to all recruitniks, is here to lead once again.

Depth chart:

SS

1. Keenan Allen
2. Sean Cattouse

FS

1. Keenan Allen
2. DJ Campbell


RB
There are injuries and uncertainties up and down this depth chart, and without stalwart Shane Vereen, we've heard word that the competition is wiiiide open. There is concern about whether Isi Sofele, Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson, and Dasarte Yarnway will be able to step up in the absence of Vereen. Players like Trajuan Briggs have a lot of potential, but have yet to see the field. This is the first time, really, in the Tedford era that we've had this uncertainty at RB.


Do not fret, loyal readers! For we have heard from a source that Keenan Allen has been taking significant reps in the backfield. Jeff Tedford really wants a ‘home run hitter' taking handoffs, and Keenan clearly showed that ability in his freshman campaign. Working from a pistol/wildbear/spread formation, there's no reason to think Keenan can't fulfill the weight of expectation created by a succession of brilliant Cal RBs. "It's all about competition," said Coach Ron Gould. "We're very demanding. The best guys are going to play. Period. It's not about a one-trick pony. You need to be able to block, catch, and then make athletic plays with the ball. Keenan can do all of those things. Let's not sugar-coat it. He needs to have the ball in his hands."

1. Keenan Allen
2. Isi Sofele
3. Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson
4. Dasarte Yarnway


QB
Life is full of surprises, and just yesterday Tedford delivered the first big surprise of spring camp by naming the tentative starting quarterback for the rest of the spring.

Tedford explained the process behind his decision, "first of all, you have to look at who has the most experience and obviously that means Brock and Beau. Brock has the most starting experience, and Beau has quite a lot of game time handing off the ball -- that experience is invaluable." But experience isn't everything. Tedford explained that "we also evaluate the quarterbacks on their day to day performances and in the first two days of practice Bridgford and Maynard have shown that they bring a lot to the table."

Despite this praise of the existing quarterbacks on the roster, the big surprise is that neither of these quarterbacks sit atop the quarterback depth chart right now. So who is the starting quarterback? None other than one-man wonder Kennan Allen.

"Keenan being quarterback is something which just happened by accident. Yesterday we were trying him out as the direct-snap tailback out of the wildcat on a run play but the play got botched, and yet he eluded three defenders and threw a 40 yard touchdown to Marvin [Jones]. After seeing him do that, any coach would be crazy not to consider him as the starting quarterback."

When asked what this means for the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster Tedford stated that the other quarterbacks will still get reps, but Keenan will get the majority of the reps. "Guys like Bridgford and Hinder don't suddenly become useless -- we still need someone to be the holder on PATs."

1. Keenan Allen
2. Allen Bridgford
3. Zach Maynard
4. Brock Mansion
5. Beau Sweeney


TE

Injuries have been a serious issue for the TE position this spring. Already, there are reports that QB Beau Sweeney has been forced to suit up for workouts. With some TE's graduating early, and others (Wark, Sparks) still recovering from injury. We've only had Miller and Ladner participating in early drills. Although Miller was previously known more as a receiver than a blocker, he bulked up last year in an attempt to improve his blocking. This had mixed results. He was better suited to hold his ground against pure power moves, but lost some agility for speed rushers. He was also noticeably diminished in the passing game. Ladner has had to overcome a myriad of injuries to get regular snaps. A converted WR from HS, he's yet to really showplace his receiving talents. Instead, he remains a work in progress as an H-back or in-line blocker.

As an out-of-the-box move, there are reports that Keenan Allen has been receiving some snaps at TE and H-Back. "It's all about getting as many playmakers on the field as possible," said Coach Tedford. "Keenan is an incredibly gifted athlete. He's the strongest of our receivers and a real student of the game. He's our best blocker from the wideout position. With more WRs and fewer TEs, it just makes sense to see what he can do. We want to be multiple and he gives us the best chance to do that."

1. Keenan Allen
2. Anthony Miller
3. Spencer Ladner
4. Jacob Wark
5. Jarret Sparks
6. Richard Rogers (enrolls in the fall)

 


DL
We've certainly seen some great talent on the DLine the last few years. Tyson Alualu. Cameron Jordan. However, both of those guys are gone and the question now is who is going to step up? Players such as Trevor Guyton and Deandre Coleman have some great experience heading into 2011 and will hopefully anchor a staunch line coming into 2011. Even young players like Gabe King hope to see some time this upcoming season on the DLine.

However, recent reports from spring practice suggest that Keenan Allen "is just a beast out there. He's unblockable." You've heard that speed kills? You've heard of might makes right? You've heard of peace through superior firepower? After an intensive offseason of lifting weights and using flaxseed oil, KA21 is now KAlphaOmega. Stronger than the average receiver, but faster than the average Dlineman, the coaches have finally found their answer off the edge. Who needs a swim move if the tackle is left grasping air? How can a TE chip and release when the pass rusher can push his ribcage into his vertebrae? "We originally called the rush end spot ‘Predator,'" said defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. "I had no idea that it would apply to someone fast and strong enough to actually decapitate guys. We've had to tranq him in practice more than once."

"Um. Yeah," said Coach Tedford, "He executes well and we like his effort. He's always around the ball and we're trying to be stay competitive. We really wanted to emphasize getting to the QB this year. Of course, it means that some of the guys are a little nicked up. Ryan (Wertenberger) might need some well-meaning and available fan to nurse him back to health."
"We're still trying to figure out his natural position," said Coach Tosh Lupoi. "His speed says end. But, the NY Giants won a Super Bowl by using ends at tackle. We're not ruling anything out at this point."

SDE:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Trevor Guyton
3. Gabe King

DT:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Austin Clark
3. Keni Kaufusi
4. Kendrick Payne/Aaron Tipoti (if healthy)
5. Viliami Moala (enrolls in the fall)

WDE
1. Keenan Allen
2. Ernest Owusu
3. Deandre Coleman

 


Kickers
Ever since Tom Schneider went down with injury while warming up for the Tennessee game in 2007, kicking has been an issue for special teams. Even with a new coach, kicking continues to be a problem. This spring Jeff Genyk has made a point to emphasize consistency in the kicking game. Although Tavecchio has demonstrated that he has great range, he is prone to missing the chip shots. D'Amato is more accurate with close field goals--even at unusual angles--, but he does not have the range that Giorgio has. Early on it's already apparent that someone has been putting in extra time at kicking, and Genyk has already placed him at the top of the depth chart. If the season started tomorrow, Genyk would send a familiar face out to kick field goals: Forza...Carolina? That's right, North Carolina native Keenan Allen has supplanted both Giorgio Tavecchio and Vince D'Amato.

"I like to emphasize competition in all positions" said Genyk, who first noticed Allen trying to kick field goals towards the end of the season last year.

"If Ndamukong Suh can kick an extra point for the Lions, then why not me?" Allen said of his decision to start practicing field goals. "I want to be putting points on the board in all phases of the game: offense, special teams, and defense."

The decision to start kicking came one day late last season. With Brock Mansion serving as the first team QB after Riley's season-ending injury, there was a temporary void at holder on field goals. Until Sweeney accepted the job, Allen's half-brother Zach Maynard was holding for kicks in practice. Towards the end of one practice session, Allen thought it would be funny to have Maynard hold while Allen tried his hand at kicking. To everyone's surprise, Allen split the uprights on a 35-yarder on his first attempt. "If I can keep working at this during the offseason...I might have a chance to take this job" Allen said. He and Maynard spent all winter working on field goals and now the sophomore is kicking up to 55 yard field goals.

Asked to comment on losing his starting role, Tavecchio only had one thing to say "Mamma Mia!"

1. Keenan Allen
2. GiorgioTavecchio

3. Vince D'Amato

 

 

OL


Oftentimes you hear that size matters on the O-Line. Certainly with starting tackles weighing in at over 300 pounds a piece, and guards between 285 and 300, the bulk to keep defensive linemen out of the backfield and also provide a push up front when run blocking is pretty much seen as gospel.

However, with the hiring of Coach Michalczik, we've been hearing about some pretty radical ideas for improving the performance of the offensive line from the last two years. One of the intriguing ideas has the Cal o-line placing skill players all the way across the front. Could this be a preview to our eventual move to the A-11 offense?

Reports from spring practice are obviously to be taken with a grain of salt, but we're hearing that #1 Keenan Allen (6'3" 202 Greensboro NC So) is taking snaps at the tackle, center, and guard positions, running with the first team offense.

We ask Coach M about this position change, "Yeah, it's a pretty counter-intuitive move, however, we pride ourselves on being out of the ordinary here at Cal. Allen has been destroying the defensive line, while also being able to get to the second level and block downfield much better than those chuckers Summers-Gavin and Schwartz ever could. I'd love 5 Keenan Allens on the line, we'd march all the way to Atlanta!"

It is still early, but based on what we've seen out of spring practices so far, the depth chart looks like this:

Left Tackle:

1. Keenan Allen
2. Mitchell Schwartz
3. Tyler Rigsbee

Left Guard

1. Keenan Allen
2. Matt Summers-Gavin
3. Brian Schwenke

Center

1. Keenan Allen
2. Mark Brazinski
3. Dominic Galas

Right Guard
1. Keenan Allen
2. Brian Schwenke
3. Justin Cheadle

Right Tackle
1. Keenan Allen
2. Sam Demartinis
3. Matt Williams

 


LB

The SEC thrives off of using safeties as linebackers. They're also a bunch of inbred hicks who avoid sanctions by paying off the NCAA with their meth money. Why just use safeties when you can use actual skill players? If speed kills, speed + skill ANNIHILATES. Players like Chris McClain, Mychal Kendricks, and DJ Holt have those great combinations. But when it comes to elite linebacking play, there is one name that stands above the rest:

Keenan Allen

"He's very instinctive," said Coach Kenwick Thompson. "We haven't had a guy back there who can read the quarterback like that. He's used to seeing balls get thrown for interceptions, y'know? This is just the next logical step. Now those interceptions will benefit our team."
"We want to attack. We want to dictate terms. We want to force turnovers," said Defensive Coordinator Clancy Pendergast. "It's all about matchups. We want our guys to play fast. We want our guys to get the ball back. Sometimes, you have to roll the hard six. What better way to do that than have your best guys on the field? And Keenan is our best guy! He's just an incredible athlete. Put him in attack mode and just let him go."

Coach Thompson has been trying Allen out on first string snaps for all 4 linebacker positions, sometimes at the same time! No person is safe with Keenan Allen at outsider and inside linebacker. Not the opposing running back, not the opposing wide receivers, not the opposing QB. Hell, not even Keenan Allen himself. Sometimes he likes to just hit himself, so he knows what it's like to be the opposition. And it doesn't feel nice.

Linebacker Depth Chart:

OLB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Chris McClain

ILB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. DJ Holt

ILB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Mychal Kendricks

OLB:
1. Keenan Allen
2. Cecil Whiteside

 


Rope Coach
What purpose of general coachery is there if not to motivate the players? And how best to motivate players than to twirl a rope? Around and around and around and around and around and around. And around. There has been no coach better than Rope Coach and for years there has been no Rope Coach better than Kevin "Rope Coach" Parker.

On gamedays, Coach Rope Coach swings that rope around and around, each hand motion more furious than the last. His machinations inspire the players to greatness. He is less Rope Coach and more Hope Coach!

But what if there was a coach superior to Rope Coach? What if there was a man who could step in and inspire the players to all new levels of awesomeness? What if there was a man where the mere mention of his name and the words Rope and Coach in the same sentence made us all weak in the knees. Ah, but there is! There is! I present to you: Keenan Allen, Rope Coach. The Rope Coachiest Rope Coach To Ever Rope Coach.

Anybody who has ever seen Keenan Allen spin a rope knows that this is what he was born to do. He was born to lasso that rope. I mean he came out of the womb with a rope connected to his body! The doctor even had to cut it off of Allen, Allen was so loathe to remove it himself. As a young child, Keenan Allen spent hours practicing the varying rope maneuvers needed to become an elite Rope Coach. This rope prodigy practiced the Circle, the Rectangle, the Bearded Monroe, the Von Dillinger, and, of course, the Keenan Allen. Even though he was but a lad, his Rope Coaching was already so legendary as to create a name for his own unique rope move.


So, the depth chart for Rope Coach for 2011 appears to be:

1. Keenan Allen
2. Kevin Parker

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