Jason O. Watson
What does the Cal spring depth chart look like on defense and special teams?
The Cal depth chart was released (PDF!) on Monday, and I looked at the offensive side on Tuesday morning. Today it's the turn of the defense and the special teams to two-deep it up.
Lots of strange mixing and matching going on here. There are players in positions that make sense and other players in positions that don't seem to fit at first glance. But there are definite options available here for the new coaching staff to work with down the line.
Defensive end: (1) Todd Barr, (2) Antoine Davis
Barr is probably the only true defensive end on the depth chart so it figures that he'd be spotted here. Barr is going to have plenty of opportunities to thrive here, although expect plenty of the currently injured OLBs to try and make their mark in the spring.
Nose guard: (1) Deandre Coleman, (2) Villiami Moala, (3) Gabe King
Coleman seems to be firmly in control here. Moala Bear might be waiting yet another season to really make his impact felt at this position. King seems to have finally found a spot for himself, although it remains to be seen whether he'll make it back in time.
Nose tackle: (1) Mustafa Jalil, (2) Keni Kaufusi
Jalil seems like a shoo-in here regardless of what Kaufusi is capable of. He's arguably the best defensive lineman Cal has and he'll be sorely needed to disrupt things on the interior with Coelman.
Rush end: (1) Dan Camporeale, (2) Kyle Kragen
Camporeale seems to have made the transition from 3-4 OLB to 4-3 DE quite seamlessly, although it's surprising to see him at the rush back position. Not surprising at all to see Kragen , who is a pass rushing menace.
The Bears are in good shape here for the next two seasons. They've acquired quality depth thanks to the 3-4 system and should have plenty of options at the position.
Sam linebacker: (1) Jalen Jefferson, (2) Michael Barton
Surprised to see this list, but a few linebackers have been out so it's not surprising to see a new name hit the list. But Jefferson on here will be intriguing to monitor. Dave Wilkerson has been in and out so it's surprising to see him entirely omitted. Barton is an intriguing name to watch, but Jason Gibson will likely make his way back on here if he returns healthy from injury.
Mike linebacker: (1) Nick Forbes, (2) Hardy Nickerson
Forbes has been locked into this position for awhile. He will start here undoubtedly come fall if he stays healthy. It's good to see Nickerson make that leap and get ready to hit the same spot as his dad.
Will linebacker: (1) Khairi Fortt, (2) Nathan Broussard
Fortt looks fully healthy and ready to play. Broussard isn't too bad a backup option either. Cal is stacked here.
Here's Cal's Achilles heel. The Bears don't have much experience at these positions and the depth chart is depleted of actual starting contributors. If the front seven struggles to pressure the offensive front, the backline of the defense will be vulnerable to attack on an unending basis.
Left cornerback: (1) Stefan McClure, (2) Isaac Lapite
McClure is back and healthy enough to start and has had his fair share of big plays. But he still occasionally struggles to get going with that surgically repaired knee. With McClure back he will be ready
Strong safety: (1) Avery Sebastian, (2) Damariay Drew
Free safety: (1) Michael Lowe, (2) Ikem Okwudiafor
Sebastian and Lowe provide a nice one-two combo at safety, but it's clear the safety cupboard is absolutely barren this season. If there's a weakness at any position, it's here.
B cornerback? Backside?: (1) Kameron Jackson, (2) Cedric Dozier
Jackson has probably been the best cornerback in camp so far. He's been taking the man-to-man assignments on Bryce Treggs (the best wide receiver), and both of them have had their fair share of battles on a weekly basis.
Punter: (1) Cole Leininger, (2) Steffan Mos. No surprises here.
Placekicker/kickoffs: (1) Vincenzo D'Amato, (2) Noah Beito. No Matt Anderson or James Langford, eh?
Snapper/holder: Look those up yourself as an exercise!