We looked at Shane Vereen last week; today, it's all about the next generation.
Isi Sofele. A lot of people seem to not like him for whatever reason (he's too small he's too small!). What do you think? If necessary, would you be ready for him to be the feature back next season?
Kodiak: He'll do fine provided we have the O-line to block for him, and the offense avoids being one-dimensional. Look at Jacquizz Rodgers. He was a stud in 2009 playing with a senior quarterback, great Oline, and his All-American wide receiver brother outside. This year...he has none of the above and has looked pretty mortal. (except when running through us - sigh)
I suppose you could ask if Sofele didn't get as many carries as previous backups because Gould has questions about his ability, or because Shane is just that good.
I would not be surprised if Trajuan Briggs, Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson, or Dasarte Yarnway seize the starting job, but Sofele has the edge on all of them because he's been our best back at blitz pickup. He might be small, but he gets great leverage and position. That's one of the reasons Justin Forsett got so much time as a backup - he was one of the best pass pro blockers from the tailback position that we've ever had.
Ohio Bear: I think it's unfair that so many have piled onto Isi Sofele. We all recognize that our O-line is not stellar. So why are we throwing Isi under the bus for not looking particularly good running behind it? There is no question in my mind that Isi has some ability. Will he be the next Justin Forsett? I don't know, but I'd sure as heck like to see how he does behind a competent line. If he wins the starting job, I'm fine with him being the feature back.
solarise: Isi performed admirably at times. His lateral running style stretches the D. I also like how he finishes off runs despite of his diminutive size. He has the heart and strength to take on LBs and pick up blitzes. Overall I'm happy w/ Isi's progress, except for that botched handoff to Keenan Allen in the Crazy Formation against Washington. Huge glaring mistake.
Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson and Dasarte Yarnway fell out of the rotation and got injured. Will either be a major contributor, or will Gould and Tedford turn to young Trajuan Briggs or even one of the true freshmen?
solarise: I think Covaughn & Dasarte are the front runners @ the moment to complement Isi. If it weren't for the fumbles & injury I think Dasarte would've stood out more this year w/ his north-south running style. I will mention though that both Covaughn & Dasarte are untested in their pass catching and blocking. If either wants to become Cal's feature back in 2011 then they must win the coaches' trust in all aspects of the game.