The California Golden Bears have released their first official fall roster! And already there is one big question mark: Our potential starting center is not among the players listed. Where is Matt Cochran?
Obviously, no official announcements have been made, which is why this is a bit of a surprise. But a bit of poking around seems to indicate that there is smoke to this potential fire. From this article, Ryan Gorcey seems to think that Cochran will not be returning to the team.
While McCollum's addition comes as the Bears lose the presumptive starter for this year -- Matt Cochran -- and will be going with one of three untested players at the position in Semisi Uluave, Dominic Granado or Addison Ooms, his recruitment was not a function of the depth at that position.
Unlike most offenses, the Tony Franklin System relies heavily on good center play more than quarterback, so this is a big blow. Cochran took all the first team spring snaps with Jared Goff, so this is a reset at the position for the Bears, who will now have to rely on either walk-on redshirt freshman Addison Ooms as his replacement. And if he doesn't work out, Cal might have to reconsider moving Jordan Rigsbee back to center (the only other Golden Bear who's seen significant time at the position), since the alternatives are not that attractive. Bad things happened to Cal when Rigsbee at center (not because he was bad, but the replacements for Rigsbee at other spots...)
Here's a look at the other Cal Bears not listed (again, we're not officially sure if all of these guys are gone, but it's not looking good):
- Cornerback Trey Cheek. Cheek played in a bunch of games last year as Cal experimented with their defensive back rotation, but it looks like he's seeking a transfer, per these Rivals reports.
Defensive lineman Antione Davis. Another junior college defensive line transfer goes by the wayside. Cal had its defensive line troubles but Davis only managed to play in one game last season (after five the year before).
- Offensive lineman Erik Bunte. Bunte was supposed to be a big tackle prospect for us, but he struggled most of his senior year with injuries and has yet to come close to cracking into the offensive line two deep.
Linebacker Arthur Wainwright. The linebacker rotation is crowded, so it figured that someone would end up deciding that the fight was probably a losing one. Wainwright actually had some nice hits last season and could have been a nice situational player. Alas.
- Maximo Espitia had supposedly cleared up his suspension issues and was ready to return to the team, but he is not listed as of this time.
On the bright side, Damariay Drew has officially returned to the roster at his normal #27.
We'll go over more roster notes in a few.