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Golden Nuggets: Cal Hopes to Answer Questions at Running Back During Fall Camp

One of the biggest questions the team faces when it opens camp on Saturday is who will be the starting RB.  The arrival of some talented freshmen and the improving health of returning players ensure that Sofele will see some serious competition.  Will the junior be able to hold off the challengers?  JO explores the issue at depth.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: How healthy is Bigelow? Even with his knee injuries, Bigelow was one of the most sought-after running backs in the country. He’s been compared to Jahvid Best, and we know that Best was able to play as a true freshman. If Bigelow is at full strength and Tedford is still down on the other running backs, he could make a quick ascent up the depth chart.

The other unknown is where the returning running backs stand with their health, and with their head coach. Can DeBoskie-Johnson prove to Tedford and running backs coach Ron Gould that he is a legitimate candidate to start? Is Yarnway or Briggs perceived as an every-down back at this point in his career?

Anderson is another intriguing study. Since he comes from the JC ranks, one might think he should contribute right away. But Anderson also could have been brought in simply to provide depth since the health of three returning running backs was unknown (don’t forget Anderson was a late commitment in the recruiting season).

IN SUMMATION: With the quarterback competition settled at the end of spring, tailback now becomes the most intriguing position battle of the fall. Even if Sofele is considered the starter at the beginning of camp, it’s clear he will share the load with a backup (not only because Sofele is smaller in stature but because that is Tedford and Gould’s usual preference). Bigelow arguably is the most interesting player in camp, except maybe for new quarterback Zach Maynard. If you believe Tedford, the Bears need him (or another newcomer) to contribute right away. But Cal also has to be careful with Bigelow because of his knee. He missed his entire senior season because of it. Of the returners, DeBoskie-Johnson has the best shot at playing time. Yarnway is recovering from a torn ACL and missed the spring and Briggs is only a redshirt freshman.

After the jump JO continues his position reviews and Tedford does several interviews during the east coast media days.