Cal Football 2012 Preview: Biggest Weakness Roundtable

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 29: Zach Maynard #15 of the California Golden Bears reacts turnover a loss of down in the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on October 29, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

We covered greatest strengths for Cal last week. Now it's time for biggest weakness!


Looking down the roster and depth chart, what position or group of positions do you feel the most apprehensive about, and why?

ragnarok: Do we even have a punter on our roster? I'd say that position makes me a wee bit apprehensive. Although perhaps Bryan Anger has spoiled me.

atomsareenough: Cole Leininger is our punter.

TwistNHook: Good to know that we have a punter!

Vincent S: In my opinion, our biggest weakness has to be WR depth. After Keenan, we literally do not have anyone with significant amount of game experience. Maurice Harris and the freshman have to step up for us to have any semblance of a passing attack this year. Maynard to Allen will only work so many times without someone on the other side.

Ohio Bear: As I have been for many years now, I'm worried about the quarterback position. Zach Maynard, to his credit, improved a great deal from the beginning to the end of last season. (Anyone who wants to disparage Jeff Tedford's "QB guru" reputation should compare Maynard vs. Fresno State (Game 1) to Maynard vs. Stanf*rd and Arizona State (Games 11 and 12). Aaron Rodgers, he's not. Nate Longshore 2006 he's not. But there was real improvement for which Tedford should receive some level of credit.)

That said, I still worry. Maynard is better, but he still doesn't strike you as being the steady guy who minimizes mistakes. And if Maynard goes down with an injury, I am just not sure about Allen Bridgford at this point. It is very difficult for me to look at our quarterback situation and lack apprehension.

HydroTech: I'd have to agree with Vincent S that our biggest weakness is probably WR depth. Keenan Allen is great, but one man can only do so much. We're going to need other players to step up and be a passing threat on the other side of the field. Who is that person going to be? We don't know. Are they going to be any good? We don't know.

atomsareenough: I think WR depth may well be an issue, especially early on, but am I wrong in believing that WR is one of the few positions where talented freshman can make an real impact? Well, we've got a lot of talented freshmen coming in. As long as you run your routes well and understand the blocking schemes, it's really about your ability to separate and make the catch. I think Maurice Harris and Bryce Treggs are both going to show well this season, and probably one of the new guys that we're not necessarily expecting a lot from just yet might show some flashes. I think by the end of the season hopefully we'll be looking at WR as a strength of the team.

Kodiak: I'm actually most worried about our inside linebackers. We'll have two new starters. Because Coach Pendergast likes to use his OLBs aggressively, it's really important that the ILBs make the right reads with regards to playing coverage or filling the right gap.

To a slightly lesser extent, I'm also worried about our safeties. Although Josh Hill is experienced and smart, he hasn't played free safety full-time. The other safety, whether Logan or Sebastian, will have no meaningful Pac-12 level game experience.
I'm remembering getting lit up by Colorado's short passing game last year where the middle of our defense was caught out of position over and over again. Or struggling with the scrape exchange against ucla's slow-moving pistol. Keep in mind that these struggles occurred with two senior ILBs and two senior safeties.

Although a dominant Dline would go a long way towards relieving the pressure on the back seven, I'm very concerned that other teams will take advantage of inexperience compounded by an aggressive scheme.

Is there one player you're most concerned about stepping up who's currently listed as a starter?

solarise: Gonna have to go with Matt Summers-Gavin who will be protecting Zach Maynard's blind side. We don't have a ton of depth at the tackle position. MSG will need to become the One and stay healthy.

unclesam22: I agree with that, and would say additionally the RG position, where someone is going to have to step up big time. The bruising front seven's that led the 2004-06 teams were a huge key to the success of the offense and I think that this crop can be just as good, but they are definitely unproven so I hope they can make it happen.

atomsareenough: Wow, looking at that depth chart, I didn't realize that Richard Rodgers had straight-up won the starting TE job this spring. I'd heard really positive reviews of him, but I figured he'd be getting reps as the #2 guy behind one of the more experienced players. On the other hand, Hagan and Wark have not been very healthy, so maybe it makes sense.

I'm also interested in seeing how Schwenke does at center. That was a huge issue for us last year because of the consistently inconsistent snaps, but it remains to be seen if Schwenke can do better. Interesting that Adcock is behind him; I don't remember him being a center either when he was recruited. I wonder how far away Matt Cochran is from seeing the field.

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