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Cal Football 2011 First Looks: Possible Weaknesses

Can Steve Williams and Marc Anthony handle cornerback responsibilities on their own for most of 2011? (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Can Steve Williams and Marc Anthony handle cornerback responsibilities on their own for most of 2011? (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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What will be a trouble spot in 2011?

Avinash: For the first time ever, the run game. Yeah I know, trust in Gould and all that, but look at the running back corps and tell me if you see a workhorse we can trust like we have the past seven years. We're going to have be a little bit more radical than our usual two-back formula--perhaps do what the Furd did last year and go with a five back rotation.

Kodiak: Lack of experienced depth in the secondary.  We'll either rely on a 1st-time starter at one safety, or hope that Cattouse can play more under control and Hill can play faster.  Although Williams/Anthony are a solid tandem, we're really vulnerable to a injuries (a la Tim Mixon) and could have issues with our nickel/dime packages.

We're also likely to take a step back w/ our linebacking play.  The defense just wasn't the same without MikeyMo in there.  None of his backups have shown the ability to be difference-makers yet.  And, we never found the answer at the OLB opposite Kendricks.  With two new starters, most likely true or RS frosh due to talent, and the aggressive, upfield charge favored by Pendergast, we're really going to be vulnerable to misdirection plays.  Remember how 'sc, OSU, and furd gashed us all day?  I worry that will be the norm, not the exception.  Even if the new guys are faster/stronger/more talented, it takes time for players to master their assignments and to learn to play instinctively.

Berkelium97:  The defense could be an issue again this year.  Our DBs will not have any depth and our LBs will probably have two new starters.  Cam Jordan will also be tough to replace.  Clancy will have to ensure that these guys put in strong performances week after week.  Last year's inconsistency cannot continue if Pendergast wants to stay at Cal for several years.

atomsareenough: I'm inexplicably kinda sanguine about Maynard for some reason, but honestly the QB position is a huge worry. It's a strange and disheartening feeling knowing that the QBs that we have seen (Mansion and Sweeney) don't inspire much confidence yet. Still, they could take some steps forward, and we haven't seen anything at all yet from Maynard, Bridgford, Hinder, or Boehm, so who knows, maybe someone will be ready to go by fall. As of now, though, I'm worried.

norcalnick: I suppose it's the obvious answer, but I think QB is still pretty likely to be a trouble spot, in that next year's QB probably won't make us forget about 2002 Boller, Rodgers, or pre-ankle injury Longshore.  Sure, with a wide open competition and so many options, there's a pretty good chance that next year's QB will be solid.  But unless Mansion wins the job we're going to have a player with zero starts in Tedford's offense running things, and that probably means a learning curve.  And that's fine and to be expected - we just need to admit that it's probably coming.

Ohio Bear: Unless someone shows me otherwise on the field, I believe quarterback will continue to be a problem.  Aaron Rodgers isn't walking through that door.  Heck, Nate Longshore (the 2006 version) isn't walking through that door.  We can only hope that someone steps up in spring and/or fall camp.  While I know there's optimism about Zach Maynard and even Allan Bridgford, we just can't know what to expect from these guys until we have seen them.  For all we know, it will be Brock Mansion lining up under center on September 3.