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Cal football depth chart predictions, and a brief Monday practice report

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Go Bears!

NCAA Football: Armed Forces Bowl-California vs Air Force Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Light practice yesterday, so nothing major to report from fall camp. With the first football game less than two weeks away, let’s take a look at CGB’s projected depth chart for Hawaii. For some perspective, here is the depth chart released at Pac-12 Media Day.

Offense

Quarterback

Davis Webb was named the starter earlier in camp and it seems like he’s comfortably in this spot. The bigger question is who will be in the second-string position. You would think Chase Forrest would be holding his spot from the spring, but Ross Bowers has also had an impressive fall so he could very well challenge. Max Gilliam will in all likelihood redshirt.

Starter: Davis Webb
Backups: Chase Forrest, Ross Bowers

Running back

I doubt there will be an established starter for Cal; much like last season it will go by situation and/or rotation. Tre Watson proved himself to be the most consistent runner down-by-down, so I’d expect to see him get the bulk of the snaps come Monday

Zion Echols definitely looks promising, but could potentially redshirt given the depth of this current backfield.

Starter (?): Tre Watson
Backups: Khalfani Muhammad, Vic Enwere, Billy McCrary, Patrick Laird

Wide receivers

Brandon Singleton has had a consistently strong fall camp. I expect him to hold onto his starting X spot, but Demetris Robertson is going to make him work all fall to hold onto that spot. Chad Hansen probably has the other spot on lockdown, but Vic Wharton is not going to be hurting for playing time.

Melquise Stovall has been so good since arriving in the spring. He will be starting barring weirdness. Ray Hudson is probably holding onto the other spot, but there’s no guarantees here. Jordan Veasy has been outstanding all fall and is going to get a lot of snaps. Expect plenty of receivers to mix and match.

Outside (X)

Starter: Brandon Singleton
Backups: Demetris Robertson, Patrick Worstell

Inside (H)

Starter: Ray Hudson
Backups: Jordan Veasy, Jack Austin

Inside (Y)

Starter: Melquise Stovall
Backups: Bug Rivera, Matt Rockett

Outside (Z)

Starter: Chad Hansen
Backups: Vic Wharton, Jordan Duncan

Offensive linemen

Aaron Cochran’s injury changes things a bit, so expect Patrick Mekari to slide over as the offensive lineman super sub. Three offensive linemen positions are pretty much set—Chris Borrayo will start at left guard, Dwyane Wallace at right guard and Steven Moore at right tackle. But it’s still hard to figure out who will be starting at center. There are three options.

Left tackle

Starter: Aaron Cochran
Backups: Patrick Mekari, Vincent Johnson

Left guard

Starter: Chris Borrayo
Backups: Jeremiah Stuckey, Chris Palmer

Center

Starter: Dominic Granado
Backups: Addison Ooms

Right guard

Starter: Dwayne Wallace
Backups: Semisi Uluave, Gentle Williams

Right tackle

Starter: Steven Moore
Backups: Kamryn Bennett, Jake Curhan

Defense

Defensive linemen

The battle for Noah Westerfield and Cameron Saffle has raged all camp, and I don’t think it’s come close to being settled. Expect the battle to continue in the Hawaii game and only get resolved around the time Cal heads back to play Texas. I’d expect every other starter to be secure in their position.

Defensive ends

Starters: Cameron Saffle, DeVante Wilson
Backups: Noah Westerfield, Evan Weaver, Trevor Howard, Russell Ude

Defensive tackles
Starters: James Looney, Tony Mekari
Backups: Luc Bequette, Marcus Manley, Rusty Becker

Linebackers

Linebackers? What linebackers? This unit runs six deep, but it gets dicey after the starters and hits emergency levels if it goes beyond the backups. Cal’s defense is going to have a heck of a time stopping the teams that love to bring power in the run attack. The good thing is Cal seems to have settled on their six, and they appear to have found a rhythm.

Devante Downs should be the breakthrough player this season, but neither he nor Ray Davison nor Aisea Tongilava played a ton last season. Expect growing pains. Thankfully Cal will spend a lot of time in 4-2-5, but not every offense Cal faces will be stopped with that type of squad, so there will be tests ahead.

Sam
Starter: Aisea Tongilava
Backup: Jordan Kunaszyk

Mike

Starter: Devante Downs

Backup: Hamilton Anoa’i

Will

Starter: Ray Davison

Backup: Derron Brown

Secondary

Cal’s deepest defensive unit suffered a big blow when they lost Damariay Drew indefinitely, and it’s unclear where their trajectory lies. They could keep on getting a little better or experience some regression. It’s unclear where they go.

Cornerbacks
Starters: Darius Allensworth, Antoine Albert
Backups: Malik Psalms, Traveon Beck, Ashtyn Davis, Nygel Edmonds

Nickelback
Starter: Cameron Walker
Backup: Trey Turner, De’Zhon Grace

Strong safety
Starter: Khari Vanderbilt
Backup: Luke Rubenzer, Jacob Anderson

Free safety
Starter: Evan Rambo
Backup: Jaylinn Hawkins, Marloshawn Franklin

Special Teams

Cal had almost a full page dedicated to their spring depth chart for special teams (including holder!), so expect a lot of variation this season. Kickoffs remain a huge issue. Good news: Cal should have the requisite depth to field competent coverage units. You’d think.

Punter
Starter: Dylan Klumph
Backups: Noah Beito, Harry Adolphus

Placekicker
Starter: Matt Anderson
Backups: Noah Beito

Kickoffs
Starter: Noah Beito
Backups: Matt Anderson

Punt returner
Starter: Vic Wharton
Backups: Jaylinn Hawkins, Brandon Singleton

Kick returner
Starters: Khalfani Muhammad and Tre Watson
Backups: Jaylinn Hawkins, Melquise Stovall

Brief Cal fall practice report

  • Greyson Bankhead is probably out indefinitely after sustaining a broken leg from a scooter accident. Don’t expect to see him on the field during the 2016 season.
  • Chad Hansen had a bruised calf and did not practice.
  • The Cal defense had the bulk of the highlights, with Jaylinn Hawkins landing a nice interception.