Another day. More depth chart projections!
The California Golden Bears defense is a tad harder to project, simply because there is more volatility and flexibility as to how players could be rotated around. Let’s take a look at what the defense looks like.
Nose guard: Luc Bequette, Chris Palmer, Hunter Abel
Defensive end 1: Tony Mekari, Rusty Becker, Tevin Paul
Defensive end 2: James Looney, Chinedu Udeogu, Gabe Cherry
This is kind of a stab in the dark. I do not know exactly who is nose guard or who is defensive end in this alignment because a ton of rotation is expected at these positions. It’s very similar to the old version of the 3-4 at Cal under Bob Gregory and Clancy Pendergast, with three defensive ends up front providing more variance in terms of looks and scheme switches to throw at the offense. With Zeandae Johnson out for the year, the starting three look pretty clear.
Inside linebacker #1: Raymond Davison, Jordan Kunaszyk, Gerran Brown
Inside linebacker #2: Devante Downs, Hamilton Anoa’i, Aisea Tongilava
Outside linebacker #1: Cameron Saffle, Russell Ude, Trevor Howard
Outside linebacker #2: Cameron Goode, Evan Weaver, Alex Funches
Hey, what do you know. A coaching staff that has excellent pro-style defensive abilities comes in, and Devante Downs finally finds his way into the starting lineup. Who would’ve thought good coaches bring the best out of good talents!
As for the outside, Saffle is drawing all the raves, but once offenses start focusing their attention away from his side of the field, the name that will quickly pop up on the radar is redshirt freshman Cameron Goode. He’s good. He’s going to make waves.
This defense gets limited past the starting four, but this is far from a bad starting four. With enough good coaching and development, they may even pass for a capable linebacking corps. It’s possible!
Cornerback #1: Darius Allensworth, Traveon Beck (nickel), Elijah Hicks
Cornerback #2: Marloshawn Franklin, Camryn Bynum or Josh Drayden (dime)
Safety #1: Luke Rubenzer, Quentin Tartabull, Jaylinn Hawkins
Safety #2: Derron Brown, Trey Turner, Malik Psalms
If any of the freshmen are playing early, it’s probably Hicks. The raves came early for Elijah in spring camp, and he’s continuing to battle to make the two-deep regular rotation once summer turns to fall.
Things are weird in the sense that Cal has actually a ton of defensive back depth, for once. If given the proper coaching, you’d have to think this unit will hold its own (the pass defense was the strongest part of the team last season, although it got roasted a few times).
Kickoffs: Gabe Siemieniec
Placekicker: Matt Anderson
Supposedly there’s a thought that Siemieniec is the better placekicker, so he might end up winning that spot. Anderson should be set to ram in the field goals this year.
Punter: Steven Coutts, Dylan Klumph
You have to figure Coutts wins this job if he is eligible to go. He’s by far the best punter on the roster leg-wise. But don’t count out Captain Klumph. The man is a Malibu legend and was a fine enough punter last year.
Long-snapper: Grant Gluhaich, Garrett Frum, Alonso Vera
The battle to replace Bradley Northnagel will be long and furious. We wish you good fortune in the wars to come.
Cal fans, who do you think is winning what position on the depth chart this year?