The Cal fall preseason depth chart has been released, and there's no sign of Matt Cochran. It looks like he will not be a part of the team this season. Addison Ooms is now the starting center.
Cal's preseason depth chart pic.twitter.com/lTDPkaQeJG— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) July 29, 2015
Depth: It's crazy how thin the line is now between good and bad for this unit. With Cochran no longer with the team, this unit went from being "dependable" to "uncertain", as Ooms takes on the oh-so-meaningful starting center spot. Our second string offensive line has logged a total of zero meaningful snaps. One injury to any of our starters could spell disaster. Stay healthy big uglies.
Right tackle: Brian Farley vs. Dominic Granado will be the main battle to watch this fall camp. Every other position (Steven Moore at LT, Chris Borrayo at LG, Jordan Rigsbee at RG) should be secure for the starters.
Vic Enwere: Firmly the second string running back and will get most of the snaps that Daniel Lasco doesn't get. He's bulked up to 235 (huge for a running back), so we'll see if he's now specializing in power situations or aiming to be every down. That could open up time for Tre Watson to see the field regularly.
Khalfani Muhammad: I was hoping Khalfani would make a challenge for third string situational down speed back of sorts, but his current weight is really discouraging that opinion. He's listed at 170 pounds (he was 174 as a freshman). Khalfani has put track first over football, and it's honestly a commendable position--he's very good at track. Considering he wasn't with the team for the spring, I doubt he does anything aside from maybe returning kicks this year.
Stephen Anderson & Ray Hudson: Both are officially tight ends this season on the roster, so they'll officially both play the Y slot in the inside receiver position (while Bryce Treggs handles the other inside receiver position as a more traditional slot man).
Luke Rubenzer: Still listed as safety and quarterback. Given the confidence Sonny Dykes is showing in Chase Forrest, it sounds like Luke will only switch back in case of dire emergency.
Shout out! To Andrew Black for making sixth string. This is your moment in the sun, get ready to challenge Cole Webb for the right to be the future trash can drill king!
Experience: Currently Cal has three seniors listed as starters in Kyle Kragen, Puka Lopa and Mustafa Jalil, but I doubt any of them are pencilled in as every down defensive linemen. You can expect Jonathan Johnson and Noah Westerfield to come in as pass rushers, Trevor Kelly and Marcus Manley to plug up gaps in short yardage situations and others
DeVante Wilson: He's not listed yet despite coming in early this spring. Wilson has the potential to be a disruptive pass rusher if he's ready to go.
Jake Kearney: Wasn't expecting Kearney to be the starting SAM, especially after only logging two tackles in the final five games of the season. But he's right there as a potential starter with Hardy Nickerson and Michael Barton. Then again, so is...
Caleb Coleman: And he is definitely not a SAM in any way, shape or form. Caleb is probably being slotted here for potential nickel situations, since he showed promise when Cal went to five defensive backs. I'm guessing Art Kaufman believes there will be a lot of 4-2-5 in Cal's future next season, as more teams opt for spread formations.
Jalen Jefferson: Fourth string WILL seems very odd for a regular Cal starter like Jalen. I can't imagine him not being on the field come fall, but keep an eye on this situation.
Devante Downs: Still not starting. If we're all set at linebacker, I wouldn't mind seeing him at defensive end if the situation remains unsettled there. He has the size and speed to play there a lot. He's too talented to keep off the field for multiple downs.
Cornerback: Darius White seems like he'll claim one spot. Can Darius Allensworth hold onto the other? If it's just Cedric Dozier and Cameron Walker I'd feel good about his chances (the other one listed is walk-on De'Zhon Grace), but a bunch of new faces like Antoine Albert, Jaylinn Hawkins and Malik Psalms are invading this space this fall.
Safety: The current starters listed are Stefan McClure (missed spring due to surgery) and Griffin Piatt (hasn't played since October due to surgery). So I find this depth chart totally reliable. A lot of new faces will be joining the rotation, Damariay Drew is back, and I expect Derron Brown to have skin in the game. Add in Cameron Walker and (amazingly) Luke Rubenzer along with new faces like Khari Vanderbilt, Evan Rambo and more, and you have a wide open race for the safety two deep.
Where to expect the most change come opening day?
- There will be no changes on offense. Our starting 11 should stay our starting 11.
- Expect incoming freshman Carlos Strickland to try and make a move into the top 8 wideouts. He's too talented to keep off the field for too long.
- The coaching staff really like Jack Austin and Matt Rockett, so they should both see their fair share of playing time.
- The secondary depth chart will probably look very different, even if we maintain three or all of the same starters. Expect a lot of upheaval and many new faces to play this fall. Last year was ugly. It's time for some fresh blood.
- I expect that Downs will find his way into a starting role at some point, whether at linebacker or defensive end. Kid is ready to go.
- Lonny Powell will probably pass Khalfani Muhammad on the depth chart and become the team's primary short yardage back.
- Trevor Davis should stay the team's primary kick returner, with Bryce Treggs maintaining his role as punt returner. I would like to see Tre Watson get into the special teams mix too if he isn't getting enough touches.
- The biggest fall battle could be at kicker. I have no idea who we're going with between Noah Beito and Matt Anderson.
What are your thoughts on the depth chart?