Cal Announces Offensive Starters for Opener
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  06/21/1999

August 31, 1998

Berkeley - Cal head coach Tom Holmoe announced his starting offensive unit for Saturday's season-opener against the University of Houston.

The biggest speculation has been about the offensive line where a number of injuries have forced new offensive line coach Monte Clark to do a large amount of shuffling over the past two weeks.

However, things are beginning to look up as redshirt-freshman Reed Diehl is back in full contact workouts and is now being listed as a starting guard for the opener. Stalwart left tackle John Wellbourn is also back at full strength after missing most of last week with a sprained knee.

Those two will be joined by center John Romero, guard Tate McCallister and right tackle Kevin Doherty.

Holmoe also indicated that redshirt-freshman Brandon Ludwig is recovering quickly from a sprained knee and is on pace to return to full contact drills in the next two weeks. It's anticipated that he'll be ready to reclaim his starting position by the Pac-10 opener against Washington State on Sept. 26, but could even be ready a week earlier depending on how his rehabilitation process continues to proceed.

The coaches also indicated that A.J. Kunkle will be the starting tight end but that sophomore Brian Surgener would also get a lot of playing time. Redshirt-freshman Corey Smith continues to nurse a hamstring problem and it's likely that he'll sit out the opener in order to be a full strength for the Nebraska game the following week. The starting receivers will be Dameane Douglas, who has sparkled throughout the pre-season, and Philip Pippersburg. The backfield will feature quarterback Justin Vedder, fullback Joshua White and tailback Marcus Fields. Ignacio Brache will man the placekicking duties, although Tim Wolleck will handle the kickoffs.

Defensively, coordinator Lyle Setencich is still undecided who will be the starters at cornerback with Deltha O'Neal, Chidi Iwuoma, Drae Harris and Derrick Gardner all capable of filling those starting roles.

The Bears defense hopes to get a boost on Tuesday as defensive end Mawuko Tugbenyoh may have his academic eligibility status clarified, possibly in time to practice in the afternoon.

NOTES: The Cal Football TV preview show, hosted by Tim Sharp, which aired on both Fox Sports Bay Area and KGO-TV (Channel 7) over the weekend, will be replayed Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 4:00 p.m. and on Friday, Sept. 4 at 12:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Bay Area.