Ross Bowers was obviously the big announcement as the new starting quarterback of the California Golden Bears. Bowers beat out Chase Forrest after months of intense spring and fall quarterback dueling. Bowers simply had more impressive performances all throughout, and now he’ll get the chance to prove himself on the field Saturday in Chapel Hill.
But he wasn’t the only surprise.
The depth at wide receiver and defensive back figured to leave a few names in odd places. But it’s hard to believe how different this team will look. Quite a few starters relinquished their spots.
Kanawai Noa has vaulted up the depth chart to become the starting slot receiver, beating out Jordan Duncan and Melquise Stovall. Stovall was getting starting snaps last season—now he is currently third on the depth chart. Bit of a shock.
The most surprising (and worrisome) development is the lack of Ray Hudson on the depth chart. Hudson’s absence indicates injury. One can only hope it’s not too serious. Kyle Wells will be the starting tight end on opening day, with true freshman Gavin Reinwald the backup. Cal might be forced by necessity to return back to their four wideout looks on numerous occasions—the tight ends simply are not there.
Darius Allensworth losing a starting spot is one thing. Losing it to Camryn Bynum OR Elijah Hicks (a redshirt frosh and a true frosh) is pretty incredible. Allensworth was one of Cal’s best defenders the last two seasons. Has to make you feel excited about the new faces.
Safeties! Cal has two new faces. Meet Quentin Tartabull (finally healthy, fingers crossed) and Jaylinn Hawkins, who beat out Luke Rubenzer and Derron Brown. Expect plenty of liberal rotation here though. The Bears can spare the depth.
Probably the biggest surprise is the lack of surprise concerning the Cal starting front seven. Luc Bequtte, Tony Mekari and James Looney have been solid favorites to be the starting Cal defensive line in the new 3-4. Cameron Goode, Cameron Saffle, Ray Davison, Devante Downs showed no signs of letting up as the starters. Then again the depth behind them is not exactly there, so they will hold onto these positions barring health issues.
We didn’t even mention Oregon transfer Valentino Daltoso beating out Semisi Uluave for a starting guard spot. The Steve Greatwood familiarity pays off!
The punting competition goes on! Will it be Dylan Klumph or Steven Coutts booting it up on opening day? Will it be alternating punters? The suspense.
Matt Anderson remains the de facto starter as kicker and kickoff-er.