So our first bits of significant news of the spring emerged from Ted Miller of ESPN with the departure of one of our promising frosh and our first official quarterback depth chart of the spring. Let's talk about the interesting before we move to the exasperating.
We have our three suspected contestants ready to go at signal-caller. We have the experienced Brock Mansion, the young up-comer Allan Bridgford, and the intriguing transfer Zach Maynard. Poor Beau Sweeney is listed fifth; he will likely never see a significant snap at Cal. Austin Hinder is fourth, so the kid has got some growing to do before he challenges for the spot.
I've been hearing complaints that Jeff Tedford seems to be favoring Mansion over the other two unknown commodities. My response: What do you expect? Bridgford has missed nearly a year due to shoulder surgery and Maynard has only been practicing with the Bears for a few months. Mansion might not have performed well on the field, but he's been here for years and is definitely familiar with performing in practice. And the light may very well turn on for him in his senior campaign as he now knows he has a solid shot at winning the job (unlike previous years, where Kevin Riley was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone).
Bridgford and Maynard might not be quite polished in practice, but let's not get too antsy about their lack of production this early on. They're only at the start of their journey as Golden Bears and have a lot of catching up to do on the fundamentals of being a college quarterback. With Mansion probably refocused and doing his best to win the spot, they'll all be challenging each other and growing and developing as a group under Tedford's tutelage. That would be the ideal situation for the staff, the players, and the fans, and could very well be the end result of this competition.
So basically, if you're desiring a quick resolution to "Who's the starter?", might as well take a long vacation from following the Bears and come back in August. I'd take up golf.
After the jump, we talk about Carter.
Losing Tevin Carter hurts. He had a legitimate chance to start next season, particularly based on the lackluster receiving production of our current starters. While Eric Kiesau should be able to get more out of his players than Kevin Daft did, you'd like to have more guys who can make plays out there, particularly with such uncertainty at quarterback and running back.
With Marvin Jones, Michael Calvin, and Coleman Edmond graduating after this season, it'll also mean Cal will need another receiver to look for this year in addition to the two or three they were planning to recruit. And it leaves the Bears with only four scholarship receivers (Keenan Allen, Kaelin Clay, Terrance Montgomery and Maurice Harris) that won't be frosh in 2012. It's a situation that won't hurt us this year as much as it'll bother us in our return to Memorial.
While I'm far from believing this is the start of a trend, this news should remind us how much of college football is dependent on the choices of young adults who are still developing and maturing as individuals. You never know what might come up. Particularly when it comes to being a Cal grad, where talented athletes have to adjust to one of the toughest academic environments in the country and deal with adversity in a way they never dealt with in high school. Not all will handle it properly, and hopefully Carter will not regret his decision.
We wish Tevin the best.