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Golden Nuggets: Athlon Sports’ Cal Football Preview

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Rivals also runs through Cal’s roster.

NCAA Football: California at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Going to be in NYC this week. May even get to say hi to Brittany Boyd on Wednesday... GNs should still come as scheduled except when there’s nothing in the news to report.


California showed improvement in Justin Wilcox’s first season as head coach, but the Golden Bears still missed out on a bowl game with a 5-7 record. The offense returns every starter and could take a major step forward depending on the quarterback play. The defense returns seven starters but most of that experience is in the secondary. Cal has plenty of experience and getting back to the postseason is a realistic goal for Wilcox and company.

What are the top 3 things that “keep you up at night” (have you most worried about) regarding Cal football?

The kicking game: Cal doesn’t have a starting kicker at the moment, and kicking is one of the most important pieces in pushing a good team to a great team. It always brings me back to 2007, and while that was a flawed team to begin with, they lost Tom Schneider before the season started. With a healthy kicker, a couple of close losses may not be losses then. While kicking can be cyclical at the college level, not having someone who you feel confident with from inside 40 yards is worrying. Either Landgrebe or Siemieniec could surprise, they both have the leg strength, it’s accuracy that needs work.

Defensive Line rotation: The defensive line rotation is a bit messy right now

Left end: Luc Bequette, Tevin Paul/Rusty Becker

Nose guard: Chris Palmer or Siu Fuimaono

Right end: Lone Toailoa/Zeandae Johnson/Gabe Cherry/Chinedu Udeogu

It’s a bit of a cluster on the line as to who plays where. Nose guard with Palmer and Siu is pretty set, because those are the two guys that have the size and ability to play at the moment. Bequette’s earned his role at one DE spot, but the others are still up in the air, just due to injury during the spring. There’s plenty of potential there, but it’s unproven at the moment, and we’ll have to see more of who emerges in fall camp.

Adding Johnson into that mix, as he returns from a knee injury, muddies the water even more. While you need more than one group on the defensive line these days, you don’t want to have a ‘too many cooks’ situation, where guys aren’t getting better because they haven’t gotten enough reps.

(read the article to find out the third thing)

  • Trace also goes over the rosters for players with the numbers 89-99 and 88-77.

All Sorts of Awards and Achievements

  • Katrina Carter will get to play a few games this week with the Under-21 Women’s Field Hockey National Team in Argentina. Her games are on June 14, 16 and 17. Best of luck!
  • Andrew Vaughn and Furd player Jack Little were named the NCBWA District 9 (West Coast plus AK and HI) Co-Players of the Year. The article also says Vaughn will be in the Cape Cod League this month along with the US Collegiate National Team.
  • Erik Martinez and Tyrus Greene made the Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mentions.
  • Collin Morikawa was named the Golfweek Men’s Player of the Year after his incredible run this year.
  • Men’s Tennis player Billy Griffith made the All-Pac-12 second team for his stellar senior campaign.
  • And now for the big one... TWENTY-NINE Cal Track and Field players made the Pac-12 All Academic squad. On the men’s side Kai Benedict, Tyler Brendel, Ben Harper made the first team and Garrett Corcoran made the second team. The rest of the men were honorable mentions: Diab Davis, Eugene Hamilton III, John Hogan, Max Leach, Luciano Lopez, Branndon Marion, Malik McMorris, Takeshi Okada, Matt Schwartz, Cameron Tu and Paul Zeiss. All of the women who made the squad were on the honorable mentions list: Ariane Arndt, Jackie Chandler, Jordyn Colter, Rebecca Croft, Asha Culhane-Husain, Marissa Dobry, Chloe Hansel, Bethan Knights, Kendall Mader, Isabella Marten, Lauren Martinez, Jackie Patterson, Nuria Tio Peig and Schantell Williams. Congrats to all!