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Tedford: Isi Sofele Is Cal's Backup Running Back

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Isi Sofele will be the #2 back in 2010.
via Isi Sofele will be the #2 back in 2010.

Hat-tip to turkey for his impressive coverage. Without his blogging of the proceedings, breaking this story wouldn't have been possible.

At the March to Victory Luncheon in San Francisco, Tedford spoke to Cal fans about the upcoming season, his team and other topics pertaining to college football. There were a lot of interesting tidbits, but none more interesting than the Cal running back situation.

Isi Sofele has beaten out Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson and Dasarte Yarnway to earn the #2 spot. It'll be an interesting change of pace for Cal's running backs, who have often fit that 5'10, 190-200 pound framework. Sofele is more of a Jacquizz-type who will be tough for big tacklers to get down and someone who can run through tight blocking packages. However, Sofele is much stronger and much more built than Rodgers, and could provide an added dimension of physicality to the Cal running game.

Although to this point he's been relied on primarily for fly sweeps out of the Wildcat/Wildbear formation, Sofele will probably be taking on a more active role to spell Shane Vereen out of the backfield.

Deboskie-Johnson will be third on the depth chart, and he'll be a reliable third option who's experienced enough to handle carries if there are injuries in front of him. More news after the jump.

Tedford was effusive in his praise of Kevin Riley. Riley has been phenomenal in one of the most physical summer camps in recent memory. His footwork (very up-and-down the last two years) has greatly improved, as has his throwing motion. His intermediate throws are much more consistent and he's doing better at hitting his back shoulders. Short passes have also improved as his footwork has improved.

Tedford has talked about his new outlook, to relax more and to not always be grinding away and tense all the time. It's possible that he felt it rubbed off on the players who always became super tense and tried to avoid making mistakes. He wants to manage the week so that his teams have peak intensity on Saturdays.

Cal's new temporary facilities up by Witter Field at the Surge are nicer than their old facilities at Memorial. If Cal does something special this season, may the Surge stand for a thousand years.

The numerous juniors and seniors on this team are not happy with Cal being predicted by most pundits to finish 7th. They seem extra motivated to prove that ranking wrong.

As Pac-10 expansion moves forward, clearly the biggest point of contention is who gets to play USC and UCLA year-by-year. Everyone wants to play them for the recruiting. Until that issue gets resolved, it'll be difficult to break up the conferences into divisions and get the Pac-12 Championship Game that expansion would entail.

Last year there was too much three man rush and not enough jamming and rerouting wide receivers. This year scheme should definitely help out the secondary in doing their job.

Under Genyk, the special teams units will no longer be trying to avoid blockers, but instead staying in their lanes and breaking up their blocking schemes.

More depth chart tidbits

Marc Anthony and Steve Williams are slated at left cornerback. Darian Hagan and Bryant Nnabuife will be lining up on the right. No announcements on who's starting yet.

Keenan Allen (suspected starter), Coleman Edmond, Tevin Carter and Kaelin Clay will all play this year.

In addition to being the backup running back, Sofele will take the usual duty of many a second Cal tailback--kickoff returns. He'll be joined by Chris Conte, Coleman Edmond and Keenan Allen. Jeremy Ross will continue to handle punt returns.

Giorgio Tavecchio will handle field goals and kickoffs, which have pleasantly been reaching beyond the 5 yard line. Newcomer Jed Barnett has also had a solid fall.

Freshman recruit Jacob Wark will see action this season. It'll likely be in short yardage and goal-line situations in three tight end sets, since Anthony Miller and Spencer Ladner have a stranglehold on the first two slots.

Injury news

Shane Vereen pulled his hamstring just before fall practice, hence why he barely saw any time until the final week. He's 100% now.

Mike Mohamed has sore ribs. Doesn't sound too serious though.

Gabe King will might redshirt--Cal's defensive line is pretty well set-up. He could see action if injuries happen in front of him. (Correction from turkey: King will practice with the regular team instead of the scout team, suggesting he might not redshirt after all. Stay tuned.)

Again, thanks to turkey for doing this!