Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at California.
Spring practice begins: Tuesday, March 13
Spring game: Saturday, April 21
Returning starters: Six on offense and five on defense.
Three Things To Watch For:
1. Hope springs eternal with Zach Kline. Ever since Aaron Rodgers left Berkeley, head coach Jeff Tedford has been searching for an answer - any answer - at the quarterback position. Considered by many to be the top quarterback in the West after 36 touchdown passes his senior year and a host of honors, Kline enrolled early in order to get a jump on the competition and maybe even win the starting job. He'll split reps early on behind backup Allan Bridgeford and incumbant Zach Maynard. While Kline brings one of the strongest arms in the country to Cal, consistency will be key if he's going to make things interesting and give plenty of Golden Bears fans hope for the future. Though he's atop the depth chart, Maynard's up-and-down season and bad ending in the Holiday Bowl means this is certainly an open competition. Whether Kline can make a move remains to be seen but there's no doubt he has the talent to this spring.
I just want him to come in here, be able to concentrate on what he's doing, process the offense and do his best without all the expectations," Tedford said of his newest signal-caller. "He's a very good player, no doubt about it, but he's got to go through the phases. It's a different game at this level. We'll have to see how it goes, but we don't want to put any undue pressure on him."
2. Defensive replacements. One of the bright spots of the 2011 season was the play of the Cal defense. In addition to leading the
"There's a lot of guys who are young," Tedford said. "It's their turn now to take the next step. That's what you use spring football for, to try to get those guys to step up.
3. Keeping injuries at bay. The walking wounded list for Cal this spring has plenty of contributors the coaching staff is hopeful to get back healthy by the time fall camp rolls around. Until then, keeping everybody else upright and ok is going to be a priority this spring if the Bears are going to have any shot of winning the North division. The most notable name out is wide receiver Keenan Allen, who had offseason ankle surgery, but Marc Anthony, Michael Coley, Dominic Galas, Stefan McClure, Brennan Scarlett, Eric Stevens and Dasarte Yarnway among others will also sit out this spring for a variety of reasons. Don't expect the Oklahoma Drill from the Bears much over the next month.