Head coach Sonny Dykes and his Golden Bears open 2013 training camp Monday (photo by GoldenBearSports.com)
Cal Athletics

2013 Cal Football Outlook

Exciting, Entertaining and Enjoyable
By Cal Athletics on Mon, August 05, 2013

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A new era for Cal football begins in 2013 with the arrival of head coach Sonny Dykes and the promise of a brand of football that will win games while being exciting, entertaining and enjoyable in the process. Dykes was hired last December following a 2012 season that was arguably the most difficult for the Golden Bears in more than a decade, with a final 3-9 overall record and 2-7 mark in the Pac-12 North to finish fifth out of six teams.

Dykes inherits a 2013 Cal squad that will be one of the nation’s youngest with a preseason experience rating that is No. 12 in the Pac-12 and No. 125 out of No. 126 teams according to Phil Steele’s combined experience chart, with Louisiana Tech ironically the only team in the nation with less experience than the Bears.

“This is a talented but young team,” Dykes said. “There may be some bumps in the road, but we look forward to the veterans we have playing well and getting strong contributions from many of our talented young guys early in their careers.”

At the forefront of the team’s youth movement is the quarterback position, where none of the five Bears on the roster have yet to take a snap in a collegiate game. Despite the lack of experience, Cal does have a talented and highly-touted trio of quarterbacks to choose from in junior Austin Hinder, redshirt freshman Zach Kline and true freshman Jared Goff. The trio began battling for the starting job last spring and will continue when training camp opens in what Athlon lists as one of the top 12 quarterback battles in the country heading into the 2013 campaign.

“Anytime you’ve got three guys you feel like you can win with you’re in a pretty good situation,” Dykes said. “I’ve been places where we feel like we’ve had zero. The good thing is that we don’t feel that way about these guys. We’ll see who can handle all the stuff that goes along with being the starting quarterback and then make our decision.”

Cal will also have a new starter at running back in 2013 with junior Brendan Bigelow and sophomore Daniel Lasco the most likely candidates to see the most action in the backfield and extend the Bears’ streak of their top two rushers combining to produce 1,500 or more yards to 11 campaigns in a row after the now-departed Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson have combined for that total the past two campaigns. Bigelow and Lasco both showed flashes of brilliance in 2012, with Bigelow becoming the first Cal player since Jahvid Best in 2009 to pop off three touchdowns runs of over 50 yards, including an 81-yarder at Ohio State that is the longest ever by an opponent in the esteemed history of Ohio Stadium. Lasco took one in from 77 yards out against Southern Utah.

Despite a lack of experience at the quarterback and running back positions, Cal does have some experienced players at the skill positions with three of its top four receivers returning from a year ago in sophomores Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs, as well as junior Richard Rodgers. The wide receiver position figures to be a key spot in the team’s 2013 offense with four receiver positions (two inside, two outside) listed on the two-deep and Dykes expecting between 10-12 players to be in the rotation.

“We have a lot of depth and different skill sets at that position,” Dykes said. “There’s some good young talent and some guys that we expect to be really productive football players around here for years to come. It’s an exciting group.”

Cal also has some experience on the offensive line with sophomore left guard Jordan Rigsbee, junior center Chris Adcock, sophomore left tackle Freddie Tagaloa and senior right tackle Bill Tyndall all picking up significant experience last season.

The defense is experienced in both its front seven with eight different defensive linemen and linebackers starting a combined 51 contests last year. Defensive linemen who started games in 2012 include seniors Dan Camporeale and Deandre Coleman, as well as junior Viliami Moala. Linebackers in the starting lineup have included juniors Nick Forbes, Chris McCain and Brennan Scarlett, and sophomores Nathan Broussard and Jalen Jefferson. Junior Mustafa Jalil is a ninth player in the front seven with starting experience that he gained in 2011.

The defensive backfield has four players in senior Alex Logan, juniors Kameron Jackson and Michael Lowe, and sophomore Avery Sebastian that combined to start a total of 19 game a year ago. There is concern about the depth in the defensive backfield with only six players on the roster having seen game action.

The team’s entire kicking game returns in senior placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato, sophomore punter Cole Leininger and junior long snapper John Sheperdson.

Seven of Cal’s players – Bigelow, Coleman, D’Amato, Forbes, Harper, Leininger and Rigsbee – have been honored on at least one preseason All-Pac-12 squad. Bigelow (CFPA All-Purpose Trophy), Coleman (Outland Trophy), D’Amato (CFPA Placekicker Trophy), Forbes (CFPA Linebacker Trophy) and Rodgers (CFPA Tight End Trophy) are on early preseason national watch lists.

Cal has 89 returning players and 35 newcomers on its 124-player roster heading into the 2013 season. Of those 89 returnees, there were 25 who started at least one game or were considered a starting specialist last year and 51 that have earned at least one letter in their career. Cal has 31 players on last year’s roster that are no longer with the team, with 19 of those having started at least one game last season and 24 having picked up at least one letter in their collegiate career.

Like most seasons Cal’s schedule will be challenging with Phil Steele ranking it as the nation’s third-most difficult, while Sporting News has it fourth. Cal has games on the docket against eight teams that played in bowl games a year ago (Arizona, Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington) and another that was a perfect 12-0 but ineligible to go to a bowl in Ohio State. Five of Cal’s games will come against squads that were ranked among the top 20 teams in the final 2012 AP Top 25 poll (No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 7 Stanford, No. 17 Northwestern, No. 20 Oregon State) with three of those in the top 10.

“It’s certainly a challenging schedule, especially with two of the first three games against a pair of Big Ten teams that won a combined 22 games last year,” Dykes said. “I don’t know if anybody else is playing those kinds of people out of conference. But that’s something that attracted me to Cal. We have a good tradition of playing against good people.”

Cal will begin its 2013 season with three non-conference home games, sandwiching Big Ten opponents Northwestern (Aug. 31) and Ohio State (Sept. 14) around Portland State (Sept. 7). The two Big Ten schools combined for a 22-3 mark in 2012 between the unbeaten 12-0 Buckeyes and 10-3 Wildcats, while Portland State was 3-8. Cal and Northwestern will be playing for the first time since the Wildcats defeated the Bears on New Year’s Day in the 1949 Rose Bowl that wrapped up the previous season. Cal and Portland State have met just once with the Bears winning at home in 2006. Cal has dropped six straight to Ohio State since a victory over the Buckeyes the first time the teams met in 1920. The teams resumed their series in 2012 at Ohio Stadium for the first time after a 30-year hiatus in the series with the Buckeyes edging the Bears, 35-28.

After a bye week, Cal will begin Pac-12 action with a trip to Autzen Stadium to take on Oregon (Sept. 28) with the Bears looking for their first win over the Ducks since 2008 against a team that was 12-1 overall last season. Oregon has won four straight in the series, but in addition to winning in 2008 the Bears also won at Autzen in 2007.

Cal will return home to host Washington State for Homecoming (Oct. 5) in search of a ninth straight win against a Cougar team that was 3-9 a year ago in the first of four home conference games at Memorial Stadium over a six-week period. Cal will also host Oregon State (Oct. 19), Arizona (Nov. 2) and USC (Nov. 9) during the stretch that concludes its 2013 home schedule with all three teams – Oregon State (9-4), Arizona (8-5) and USC (7-6) – posting winning records last season. Oregon State has taken five of the last six against the Bears. Cal will be playing Arizona for the first time since 2010 and the first time at Memorial Stadium since defeating the Wildcats at home in 2009. Cal is looking for its first win against USC since the memorable dramatic three-overtime victory over the Trojans a decade ago in 2003 that has been followed by a nine-game skid in the series.

Cal will play a total of five road games in 2013 following its trip to Oregon with contests at UCLA (Oct. 12), Washington (Oct. 26), Colorado (Nov. 16) and Stanford (Nov. 23). Four of Cal’s five road opponents – Oregon (12-1), Stanford (12-2), UCLA (9-5) and Washington (7-6) – had winning records in 2012 and combined for a 40-14 record between them, while Colorado was 1-11. Cal has won four of its last five against UCLA and three in a row against Colorado, including a pair of non-conference games the last two times the Bears have faced the Buffaloes in 2010 and 2011 that were the first between the teams since 1982. The 2013 contest between the schools will be their first-ever Pac-12 meeting. Washington and Stanford both own winning streaks against the Bears with the Huskies taking four in a row since a Cal victory in Berkeley in 2008 and the Cardinal three straight since a Golden Bear win on The Farm in 2009.

“The Pac-12 is a very good and underrated league,” Dykes said. “There are more teams in this league that can win on Saturday than in any other league in the country. The No. 12 team in the Pac-12 can definitely upset the No. 1 team, and that just doesn’t happen very often in other leagues. The teams in the bottom half of this league are stronger than in any other bottom half of the league in the country. You have to play at a high level week in and week out or you’re going to get beat.”

The winners of the conference’s North (Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State) and South (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, Utah) divisions will meet December 7 at the stadium of the team with the best record in the 2013 Pac-12 Championship Game to be televised by either ABC or ESPN.

Television outlets for Cal’s first four contests against Northwestern (ESPN2), Portland State (Pac-12 Networks), Ohio State (FOX) and Oregon (Pac-12 Networks) were announced prior to the season with telecast announcements for the other eight regular-season contests to be determined either six or 12 days in advance of each game. All 12 of Cal’s games will be televised as part of a conference package with broadcast partners ESPN and FOX that assures all of the conference’s home football games will be televised. ESPN and FOX will combine to televise 45 games from Pac-12 sites, while Pac-12 Networks will air another 35 contests in its second year of existence.

Dykes gives much of the credit for increased media exposure, the development of additional revenue streams and the building the league’s credibility to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

“The whole league has changed in the last three years,” Dykes said. “From the time I left Arizona to now it’s a completely different landscape. Larry Scott has brought an aggressive approach to the league, and it’s resulted in additional revenue and additional exposure. The league is now starting to capitalize on its resources, and it’s going to continue to get better and become more respected nationwide. The one thing missing right now is a national championship in football. The SEC has had a run on the national championship, but I think there will be a national champion from this league soon and that will just help build credibility.”

The 2013 squad will play its home games at a renovated Memorial Stadium that has established an excellent balance between providing fan amenities such as state-of-the-art video boards and sound systems, club levels and improved sightlines on the field that should be expected in a modern stadium with maintaining features such as a restored historic façade and the bowl seating that fans have enjoyed so much about Memorial Stadium throughout the years.

 “With the way this stadium is built, there’s not a bad seat in the house,” Dykes said. “That is very conducive for a great fan experience. It’s a very unique and unusual setting that can create a tremendous home crowd advantage. I’m hoping that our fans mirror our football team. I’m hoping that they are dedicated and consistent, weather the highs and lows of a football season and show up and cheer all the way through the game whether it’s good or bad. My hope is that they are a model of our football team; that they are a clone of our football team; that they are passionate about supporting Cal just like we want our players to be passionate about playing for Cal. I hope they stick with the team through thick and thin.”

Dykes also knows fans want to have fun and enjoy their experience at Memorial Stadium.
“We want them to have fun,” Dykes said. “We want our team to be fun and exciting to watch. We want to put a good product out there, so they’ll continue to come back.”

The following is a position-by-position look at the fun the Bears intend to offer in 2013.

Cal will be in its first season in a new offensive system in 2013 under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tony Franklin that at Louisiana Tech last season led the nation in scoring offense (51.50 points per game) and total offense (577.92 ypg). The Bears are hoping the new system will help them improve on an offense that was 69th in total offense (391.25 yards per game) and 91st in scoring (23.00 ppg) last season.

Tony Franklin, 1st Season (Murray State, 1979)
14    Jake Geringer, QB, 6-2, 205, So.,*JC
Newbury Park, CA (Saddleback College/Sacramento State/Newbury Park HS)

16    Jared Goff, QB, 6-4, 205, Fr., HS
Novato, CA (Marin Catholic HS)

7    Austin Hinder, QB, 6-4, 200, Jr.*, SQ
Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs HS)

8    Zach Kline, QB, 6-2, 200, Fr.*, RS
Danville, CA (San Ramon Valley HS)

13    Joey Mahalic    QB, 6-4, 210, Fr.*, RS
Portland, OR (Wilson HS)

Cal will head into the 2013 season without a quarterback who has taken a collegiate snap with Jared Goff, Austin Hinder and Zach Kline in a three-way competition that Athlon lists among its top 12 quarterback battles in the nation in its preseason publication. The battle began with five quarterbacks in the running for the starting job last spring before 2012 backup Allan Bridgford left the program and Kyle Boehm was moved to wide receiver.

“We’ve got three young players that are going to battle it out,” Dykes said. “They don’t have the experience of playing in games, but all three have talent and are good leaders that you want to lead your football team. All three have the work ethic and the intangibles that you want to have at that position, and that’s where it starts. Ultimately, we are going to make our decision based upon which of the three is going to give us the best opportunity to win.”

All three shared reps throughout the spring and played in the spring game. Kline was 7-of-14 for a game-high 124 yards and a touchdown pass, while Hinder was 5-of-9 for 87 yards and a score, and Goff was 7-of-15 for 66 yards and a touchdown. Hinder also added 37 yards rushing as the game’s second-leading rusher.

Hinder is in his fourth season in the Cal program and Kline his second, while Goff joined the team in the spring of 2013. Both Kline and Goff graduated from high school in three and a half years and joined the program as mid-year enrollees in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
All three earned All-American honors as preps among many other awards after putting up strong high school numbers.

Goff was a second-team All-State player as a 2012 senior when he capped an incredibly productive career by completing 235-of-368 passes (63.9%) for a Metro-area leading 3,692 yards and 40 touchdowns to lead his team to the state finals. Goff finished his career by completing 477-of-676 passes (62.2%) for 7,687 yards with 93 touchdowns in three varsity seasons for teams that combined to post a 39-4 overall record.

Hinder was the Gatorade Colorado State Player of the Year as a 2009 senior when he completed 170-of-286 passes (59.4%) for 2,205 yards and 25 touchdowns, while adding 889 yards and 14 TDs on the ground to lead his team to a 13-1 overall record and the state championship game.

Kline was the Gatorade California State Player of the Year during a 2011 senior campaign in which he completed 230-of-341 passes (school-record 67.4%) for 3,630 yards and a school-record-tying 36 touchdowns to lead his squad to the finals of the North Coast Section playoffs.

“You want to pick a starter and hope that the ride’s not to bumpy, but we’re going to always do what’s best for the team,” Dykes said. “If a guy makes it pretty clear to us that you picked me but I shouldn’t be the guy, we’re not afraid to make a change. At the same time, the worst thing you can do is play musical quarterbacks so there’s a balancing act there. They’ve got to provide you with a lot of evidence that they’re not the one after you make the decision because you’ve got to give them an opportunity to get better.”

Other quarterbacks on the roster include Joey Mahalic and Jake Geringer. The 24-year-old Mahalic spent five seasons playing minor league baseball before joining the Cal program in 2012, while Geringer has transferred to Cal in 2013 after having previously been at Sacramento State and Saddleback College.

Pierre Ingram, 1st Season (Middle Tennessee, 2006)
27    Mitchel Bartolo, RB, 5-8, 190, Sr.*, SQ
San Diego, CA (Westview HS)

5    Brendan Bigelow, RB, 5-10, 180, Jr., 2L
Fresno, CA (Central HS)

30    Jeffrey Coprich, RB, 5-8, 175, Fr.*, RS
Stevenson Ranch, CA (West Ranch HS/Golden Valley HS)

34    Darren Ervin, RB, 5-10, 195, So.*, 1L
Houston, TX (Lamar HS)

44    Lucus Gingold, FB, 6-0, 235, Jr.*, SQ
Clovis, CA (Reedley College/San Diego/Buchanan HS)

37    Fabiano Hale    RB, 6-0, 215, Fr., HS
Santa Cruz, CA (Soquel HS)

25    Austin Harper, RB, 5-8, 170, Fr., HS
Oakland, CA (El Cerrito HS)

31    Jonah Hodges, RB, 5-9, 170, Fr.*, RS
Santa Cruz, CA (Santa Cruz HS)

2    Daniel Lasco, RB, 6-1, 200, So.*, 1L
The Woodlands, TX (The Woodlands HS)

29    Khalfani Muhammad, RB, 5-8, 175, Fr., HS
Sherman Oaks, CA (Notre Dame HS)

26    Brendan O’Donnell, FB, 6-1, 200, Fr., HS
Lafayette, CA (Acalanes HS)

39    Kenny Portera, RB, 5-10, 185, Fr., HS
San Jose, CA (Leland HS)

Cal will need a different pair of running backs to extend the school’s string of having its top two backs combine to rush for 1,500 yards to 11 consecutive campaigns. Both members of the duo of C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele that extended the streak for the last two seasons have exhausted their collegiate eligibility. Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco next in line to accomplish the feat as the top two players on the preseason depth chart in 2013.

Both need to recover from injuries that forced them to miss 2013 spring practice but are expected to be ready for the season. They have shown signs of being capable of becoming the next in a long line of great Cal running backs over the last decade during the streak that in addition to Anderson and Sofele have included the likes of J.J. Arrington, Jahvid Best, Adimchinobi Echemandu, Justin Forsett, Marshawn Lynch and Shane Vereen.

Bigelow is a 2013 third-team preseason All-Pac-12 choice according to Athlon and Lindy’s, while Phil Steele has him on his fourth team after some especially brilliant moments in 2012, including three touchdown runs of 50 or more yards to become the first Cal player to do that since Best in 2009. He had two of those runs at Ohio State when he rushed for 160 yards and the two scores on only four carries to become only the second Football Bowl Subdivision player in the last decade to post 150 or more yards rushing in a game on five or fewer carries. One of the scoring runs was an 81-yarder that was the longest ever by an opponent at Ohio State, while the other was for 59 yards. He also had a 57-yard touchdown run at Utah and finished the season with 431 rushing yards to rank third on the team, picking up his total on only 44 carries for an average of 9.8 yards per rush.

Lasco was used sparingly in 2012 but did have a 77-yard touchdown run against Southern Utah among his 109 yards rushing on six carries.

Darren Ervin is listed as the third running back on the preseason depth chart after playing in the top spot for much of the spring with Bigelow and Lasco out due to injuries. Jeffrey Coprich and Jonah Hodges also saw significant action in the spring with Ervin also missing some of the practice sessions including the spring game due to injury. Hodges was the leading rusher in the spring game with 12 carries for 59 yards, while Coprich contributed 28 yards on the ground on 13 carries. None of the three have carried the ball in a regular-season contest.

Another option for the Bears may be speedster and two-sport high school star Khalfani Muhammad. Muhammad made a name for himself on the track as a prep as only the third person to ever win back-to-back individual California boys state titles in the 100 and 200 meters during his 2012 junior and 2013 senior campaigns. But he also put up huge numbers during an All-American career on the gridiron with totals of 3,397 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns on the ground over 559 carries. Muhammad led the Serra League in rushing as a 2012 senior with a career-high 1,420 yards and 18 scores.

Mitchel Bartolo is the other returning running back on the roster, while Fabiano Hale, Austin Harper and Kenny Portera join the Bears in 2013.

Lucus Gingold missed the 2012 season due to injury but had a strong spring in 2013 and is expected to be the starter at the bone position. He is one of two fullbacks listed on the roster along with incoming freshman Brendan O’Donnell.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now at running back because our top two returnees from last year in Bigelow and Lasco did not practice in the spring,” Dykes said. “We think they both have a chance to be good, and Muhammad might be somebody who can kind of get in the mix as well as other guys who played in the spring. We’ll have to just kind of see how it goes.”

Outside Receivers – Rob Likens, 1st Season (Mississippi State, 1990)
Inside Receivers – Mark Tommerdahl, 1st Season (Concordia College – MN, 1983)
36    Ross Anderson, WR, 6-5, 195, Fr.*, RS
Moraga, CA (Miramonte HS)

89    Stephen Anderson, WR, 6-2, 210, So.*, 1L
San Jose, CA (Piedmont Hills HS)

80    Jack Austin, WR, 6-3, 205, Fr., HS
Chino Hills, CA (Chino Hills HS)

17    Kyle Boehm, WR, 6-3, 215, So.*, SQ
San Jose, CA (Archbishop Mitty HS)

28    Jackson Bouza, WR, 6-0, 180, Sr.*, 2L
Lafayette, CA (De La Salle HS)

21    Caleb Coleman, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., HS
Berkeley, CA (St. Mary’s College HS)

83    Idarre Coles, WR, 6-0, 170, Jr.*, SQ
Visalia, CA (Redwood HS)

82    Jake Davis, WR, 6-4, 215, Jr.*, RS
King City, CA (Monterey Peninsula College/King City HS)

82    Trevor Davis, WR, 6-1, 170, Jr., TR
Martinez, CA (Alhambra HS)

19    Maximo Espitia, WR, 6-2, 210, So., 1L
Salem, OR (South Salem HS)

85    James Grisom, WR, 5-11, 180, Jr.*, 1L
Lynwood, CA (Lynwood HS)

87    Spencer Hagan, WR, 6-5, 220, Sr.*, 3L
Sacramento, CA (Capital Christian HS)

6    Chris Harper, WR, 6-0, 180, So., 1L
Northridge, CA (Crespi HS)

3    Maurice Harris, WR, 6-3, 200, So.*, 1L
Greensboro, NC (Northern Guilford HS)

15    Raymond Hudson, WR, 6-3, 235, Fr., HS
Pleasanton, CA (Foothill HS)

4    Kenny Lawler, WR, 6-3, 185, Fr.*, RS
Pomona, CA (Upland HS)

86    Bryce McGovern, WR, 5-10, 205, Jr., 2L
Danville, CA (Monte Vista HS)

45    Jack Moffett, WR, 6-4, 220, So.*, TR
Stockton, CA (Marist/St. Mary’s College HS)

35    Griffin Piatt, WR, 6-2, 185, Fr.*, RS
Moraga, CA (Campolindo HS)

10    Darius Powe, WR, 6-3, 210, So., 1L
Lakewood, CA (Lakewood HS)

11    Richard Rodgers, WR, 6-4, 245, Jr., 2L
Worcester, MA (St. John’s HS)

1    Bryce Treggs, WR, 5-11, 180, So., 1L
Inglewood, CA (St. John Bosco HS)

84    Jacob Wark, WR, 6-4, 250, Jr.*, 2L
Tualatin, OR (Jesuit HS)

81    Drake Whitehurst, WR, 6-6, 215, Jr., JC
Portland, OR (City College of San Francisco/Lincoln HS)

18    Joel Willis, WR, 5-10, 190, So.*, 1L
Garden Grove, CA (Pacifica HS)

88    Patrick Worstell, WR, 6-2, 185, Fr.*, RS
Danville, CA (San Ramon Valley HS)

The wide receiver position will be key to the team’s 2013 offense with four spots listed on the depth chart and between 10-12 players expected to be involved in the rotation. The four positions include two outside receivers and two inside receivers with all of the players listed a year ago as tight ends now considered to be wide receivers on a roster that includes 26 players at the position.

“The rotation will depend on how many guys can help us win,” Dykes said. “We want to get the best four on the field at the same time. The idea is to have a good two-deep in all those spots and then maybe have a third guy that can bounce between the outside spots and inside spots. That would leave us with 10 guys that would play a pretty big role. There’s lots of opportunities for guys to carve out niches, and we’ve got more guys to choose from here than other places I’ve been in the past.”

Cal has 12 receivers listed at the four positions on its preseason depth chart, including three of the team’s top four receivers from last season in Chris Harper, Richard Rodgers and Bryce Treggs.

Harper and Treggs exploded onto the scene as true freshmen a year ago when both caught touchdown passes in their first collegiate game in the season-opener against Nevada, becoming the first pair of true freshman to score in their first game at Cal since Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch in the 2004 season-opener against Air Force.

Harper, a third-team preseason All-Pac-12 selection by Phil Steele, played in all 12 games with starts in each of the team’s final five contests. He posted 41 catches for 544 yards and two touchdown receptions to rank second on the team in all three categories, while his 13.3 yards per catch was also second on the club among regulars and third overall. His reception and receiving totals were just shy of true freshman school records posted by Keenan Allen (46 catches in 2010) and DeSean Jackson (601 receiving yards in 2005).

Treggs played in the team’s first nine games with eight starts before missing the final three contests due to injury. He finished with 21 catches for 216 yards and one touchdown
Rodgers played in 11 games with seven starts and recorded 20 receptions for 288 yards and one touchdown. He ranked first on the team among regulars and second overall with an average of 14.4 yards per catch, while he was third in yards receiving, tied for third in touchdown catches and fourth in receptions. He had a notable game in Cal’s victory over Pac-12 South Division champion UCLA when he racked up career highs of seven receptions and 129 yards receiving, with one catch going for 50 yards and another for 42.

Other receivers on the preseason depth chart who registered catches in 2012 include Jackson Bouza (one reception, 18 yards), Maurice Harris (nine receptions, 99 yards) and Darius Powe (12 receptions, 134 yards, 1 TD), with Powe starting four of the 11 games he played in.

Returnees Stephen Anderson, Kyle Boehm, Maximo Espitia, Kenny Lawler and Joel Willis are also listed on the preseason depth chart along with Drake Whitehurst, a mid-year enrollee who went through spring practices with the Bears in 2013 after two seasons at City College of San Francisco.

Additional veterans who have collegiate experience include Spencer Hagan, Bryce McGovern and Jacob Wark. Hagan caught 12 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011 but missed most of the 2012 campaign after suffering a season-ending injury at Ohio State. McGovern has played mostly on special teams at Cal but did have one catch for nine yards as a 2011 freshman. Wark contributed seven catches for 74 in 2012 but is expected to see most of his action at the bone position in 2013 where he is listed as the backup on the preseason depth chart.

The remaining returning wide receivers on the roster include Ross Anderson, Idarre Coles, Jake Davis, James Grisom, Griffin Piatt and Patrick Worstell. Transfers Trevor Davis and Jack Moffett, as well as incoming freshmen Jack Austin, Caleb Coleman and Raymond Hudson complete the list.

“We have a lot of depth, a lot of different body types at the wide receiver position,” Dykes said. “There are some guys that can run well, some guys that are bigger guys, and that’s kind of what‘s interesting is that there are lots of different skill sets with this group. Everybody brings different strengths to the table. You get lots of versatility. You can play with four big guys, four smaller and quicker guys or with great combinations of guys. We have a lot of flexibility in this group that I’m very excited about.”

Zach Yenser, 1st Season (Troy, 2007)
58    Chris Adcock, OL, 6-3, 305, Jr.*, 2L
Rowlett, TX (Dallas Christian HS)

66    Chris Borrayo, OL, 6-5, 290, Fr., HS
Paramount, CA (Paramount HS)

68    Mark Brazinski, OL, 6-3, 305, Sr.*, 3L
Basking Ridge, NJ (Immaculata HS)

67    Erik Bunte, OL, 6-8, 325, Fr., HS
Laguna Niguel, CA (Mission Viejo HS/Santa Margarita HS)

75    Aaron Cochran, OL, 6-8, 350, Fr., HS
Atwater, CA (Buhach Colony HS)

74    Matt Cochran, OL, 6-2, 300, Fr.*, RS
Atwater, CA (Buhach Colony HS)

71    Alejandro Crosthwaite, OL, 6-4, 290, Jr.*, 1L
Rosarito Beach, Mexico (Cathedral Catholic HS)

59    Brian Farley, OL, 6-7, 290, So.*, SQ
San Diego, CA (Patrick Henry HS)

61    Donovan Frazer, OL, 6-3, 285, Jr.*, RS
Martinez, CA (Laney College/Alhambra HS)

70    Geoffrey Gibson, OL, 6-3, 330, Jr.*, 1L
Las Vegas, NV (Bishop Gorman HS)

77    J.D. Hinnant, OL, 6-4, 280, Fr., HS
Fountain Valley, CA (Fountain Valley HS)

54    Vincent Johnson, OL, 6-5, 275, Fr., HS
El Dorado Hills, CA (Christian Brothers HS)

64    Steven Moore, OL, 6-6, 285, Fr.*, RS
Elk Grove, CA (Elk Grove HS)

63    Carson O’Connell, OL, 6-3, 310, Fr., HS
Chico, CA (Pleasant Valley HS)

76    Christian Okafor, OL, 6-6, 315, Fr.*, RS
Houston, TX (Westbury HS)

73    Jordan Rigsbee, OL, 6-4, 310, So.*, 1L
Chico, CA (Pleasant Valley HS)

78    Freddie Tagaloa, OL, 6-8, 330, So., 1L
Richmond, CA (Salesian HS)

79    Bill Tyndall, OL, 6-4, 280, Sr.*, 2L
Pacific Grove, CA (Monterey Peninsula College/Pacific Grove HS)

72    Matt Williams, OL, 6-6, 305, Sr.*, 1L
Liverpool, England (North Dakota State College of Science/Proctor Academy)

The play of the offensive line will more than likely have a major impact on the team’s offensive success in 2013. The Bears return two full-time starters from a year ago in left guard Jordan Rigsbee and center Chris Adcock, while Freddie Tagaloa and Bill Tyndall also have experience and look to be the top candidates to start at left and right tackle after significant contributions in 2012. Tagaloa played in 11 games off the bench as a true freshman in 2012 and Tyndall, who missed much of spring ball with an injury, started five of the 10 contests he played in. Cal is expected to have a new starter at right guard where Adcock started last season, with Alejandro Crosthwaite listed as the starter on the preseason depth chart.

But there should be plenty of opportunities for other offensive linemen to make an impact with both head coach Sonny Dykes and Tony Franklin expecting more than five to play critical roles for the Bears.

“If there are eight guys that can play then we’re going to try to play with eight offensive linemen,” Dykes said. “Typically you want to have your starting five, a backup center, a guard that can bounce between the two guard spots and a tackle that can also balance. If you’ve got those eight guys you can play with, then you’ve got a chance to have a pretty good offensive line.”

“The biggest thing with our offensive line is that we expect tough guys that play fast and play together, and hopefully that will add up to at least seven or eight guys playing,” Franklin said. “That’s a big deal because the camaraderie is a lot better the more guys you have playing. If there are seven or eight guys who can play, we’ll play all of those guys.”

Dykes and Franklin also entertain the idea that there may be more than five offensive lineman on the field at the same time, potentially as extra offensive linemen or even in the backfield.

“We’re going to get the best 11 guys on the field at the same time and if eight of them are offensive linemen we’ll figure out a way to play with eight,” Dykes said. “That’s on us as coaches to figure out who the guys are that can help us win and figure out a way to let them play.”

“At Louisiana Tech, we created formations where we would have seven or eight offensive linemen in the game at the same time,” Franklin added. “They might be lined up as tight ends or in the backfield. They have fun doing it and it causes some problems. It also helps us practice better because they know they’re going to play.”

Others looking for playing time include Matt Cochran, who is listed on the preseason depth chart as a co-starter at center along with Adcock after spending most of the spring starting at the position with Adcock injured. Others listed as backups include Mark Brazinski (center), Brian Farley (right tackle), Geoffrey Gibson (right guard), Steven Moore (left guard), Christian Okafor (right tackle) and Matt Williams (left tackle).

Donovan Frazer, who redshirted last year after transferring from Laney College, is the team’s other returnee on the roster, while the incoming freshmen include Chris Borrayo, Erik Bunte, Aaron Cochran, J.D. Hinnant, Vincent Johnson and Carson O’Connell.

Cal will also be in a new defensive system in 2013, switching its base from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment under first-year defensive coordinator Andy Buh, who played a key role as the linebackers coach for a Wisconsin team that played in the Rose Bowl and ranked in the top 25 in all major categories on the defensive side of the ball in 2012. In contrast, Cal’s defense was ranked 70th or lower in every major defensive category a year ago.

Defensive Ends (10) – Garret Chachere, 1st Season (Tulane, 1992)
Defensive Tackles (10) – Barry Sacks, 1st Season (Montana, 1980)
35    Ted Agu, DE, 6-1, 240, Jr.*, 1L
Bakersfield, CA (Frontier HS)

41    Todd Barr, DE, 6-3, 255, So.*, 1L
Lakewood, CA (Lakewood HS)

43    Dan Camporeale, DE, 6-3, 250, Sr.*, 3L
Lafayette, CA (Acalanes HS)

54    Austin Clark, DT, 5-10, 275, Sr.*, 3L
Tampa, FL (Plant HS)

91    Deandre Coleman, DT, 6-5, 315, Sr.*, 3L
Seattle, WA (Garfield HS)

24    Antione Davis, DE, 6-4, 260, So.*, SQ
El Sobrante, CA (Contra Costa College/Pinole Valley HS)

31    Raymond Davison, DE, 6-3, 215, Fr., HS
Encino, CA (Crespi Carmelite HS)

95    Jacobi Hunter, DT, 6-1, 300, Fr., HS
Houston, TX (Cypress Falls HS)

90    Mustafa Jalil, DT, 6-2, 295, Jr., 2L
San Diego, CA (Cathedral Catholic HS)

99    Gabe King, DT, 6-5, 295, Jr.*, 1L
Burlington, NC (South Eugene HS/Aiken HS)

13    Kyle Kragen, DE, 6-3, 255, Jr., JC
Danville, CA (Diablo Valley College/San Ramon Valley HS)

75    Puka Lopa, DE, 6-1, 240, So.*, 1L
Sacramento, CA (Grant HS)

92    Marcus Manley, DT, 6-2, 280, So., JC
Los Angeles, CA (Santa Monica College/Fairfax HS)

40    Chris McCain, DE, 6-6, 250, Jr., 2L
Greensboro, NC (Oakridge Military Academy/Northern Guilford HS)

97    Tony Mekari, DT, 6-2, 265, Fr., HS
Thousand Oaks, CA (Westlake HS)

55    Viliami Moala, DT, 6-2, 315, Jr., 2L
Sacramento, CA (Grant HS)

48    Bradley Northnagel, DT, 6-3, 250, Fr.*, RS
San Carlos, CA (Junipero Serra HS)

17    Brennan Scarlett, DE, 6-4, 260, Jr., 2L
Portland, OR (Central Catholic HS)

34    Sione Sina, DE, 6-4, 275, Jr., JC
Elk Grove, CA (College of San Mateo/Monterey Trail HS)

80    Harrison Wilfley, DT, 6-5, 280, Sr., 1L
Sacramento, CA (American River College/Casa Roble HS)

Head coach Sonny Dykes and defensive coordinator Andy Buh believe the team’s defensive line could be one of its top strengths in 2013.

“I was impressed with the defensive line this spring,” Dykes said. “I think they got a lot better. It was a little bit of a transition obviously making the move from an odd front to an even front but I think it’s a good group. We have some depth in some key spots.”

“The defensive line is our foundation,” Buh added. “We’re looking for them to be great run stoppers and apply a lot of pressure to the quarterback on first and second down situations, and then we’re really going to let them loose on third downs and be creative with them to utilize all their talent.”

The group is led by Deandre Coleman, who has been Cal’s most decorated player in the 2013 preseason and projected to go as high as early in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Coleman is on the watch list for the 2013 Outland Trophy given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman and is also a second-team preseason All-Pac-12 selection by Athlon, College Sports Madness and Phil Steele, as well as a third-team pick of Lindy’s. In addition, he is a candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award given annually to the country’s top lineman on either side of the ball or linebacker, as well as the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award given to the nation’s top defensive player.

“I think it starts with Deandre Coleman,” Dykes said. “He’s got a chance to be a really good player in this league. He is in better shape than he’s ever been, he’s more mature than he’s ever been and he’s primed to have a great year.”

Coleman played in all 12 games in 2012, recording a team-high-tying 8.5 tackles for loss (-32 yards) and 3.0 sacks (-20 yards) to rank third on the club, while registering 48 tackles to lead all defensive linemen.

Mustafa Jalil is expected to start at the other inside position opposite Coleman with Viliami Moala as the primary backup. Jalil had a strong spring after struggling through 2012 with injuries following a promising true freshman season in 2011. Moala was a five-star high school prospect and one of three true freshmen to play two seasons ago along with Jalil in 2011.

Others listed on the preseason depth chart in the middle of the defensive line include returnees Austin Clark, Gabe King and Harrison Wilfley.

With the move from a 3-4 to a 4-3, several of the team’s outside linebackers from a year ago have made the transition to defensive end with Brennan Scarlett expected to lead that group. Scarlett, a candidate for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end, started all nine games he played in a year ago when he registered 40 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss (-23 yards) and 2.5 sacks (-17 yards). He also shared the team lead with two forced fumbles, while adding three quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.

“We think Brennan Scarlett has a chance to be as good as there is in the league,” Dykes said. “I think he is the prototypical even front defensive end. That position in this defense will be perfect for him, so I’m excited to watch him play.”

Others expected to be in the rotation at the defensive position are Todd Barr and Sione Sina. Barr contributed 12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss (-20 yards), 2.0 sacks (-11 yards) and one forced fumble last season. Sina is a junior college transfer from the College of San Mateo who missed spring ball due to injury after being the nation’s fifth-ranked weak-side defensive end in junior college a year ago.

The rush end position is expected to be manned by Dan Camporeale, Kyle Kragen and Chris McCain, with Camporeale and Kragen listed as co-starters on the preseason depth chart.
Camporeale is a fifth-year senior who has improved throughout his Cal career and contributed a career-high 23 tackles a year ago, while adding 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks.

Kragen came to Cal as a mid-year enrollee this past January after two strong seasons at Diablo Valley College, where he combined for 131 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks and eight fumble recoveries. Kragen broke the school’s single-season record with 14.5 tackles to lead the Mid-Empire League as a 2012 sophomore.

McCain is making a transition from an outside linebacker position the last two seasons where he played in 21 games with 16 starts that are the most among active Cal players. McCain was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 pick in 2012 after recording team-high-tying totals of 8.5 tackles for loss (-38 yards) and 3.5 sacks (-27 yards), with the yards lost for both the most on the club. He added 50 tackles, a team-high four quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery.

Other defensive linemen on the roster include returnees Bradley Northnagel and Harrison Wilfley along with newcomers Jacobi Hunter, Marcus Manley and Tony Mekari on the inside. At the defensive end spots, other returnees include Ted Agu, Antione Davis and Puka Lopa, while Raymond Davison will join the squad at the position.

Andy Buh, 1st Season (Nevada, 1996)
8    Michael Barton, LB, 6-1, 225, Fr.*, RS
Concord, CA (De La Salle HS)

22    Nathan Broussard, LB, 6-3, 235, So.*, 1L
Plano, TX (Plano West HS)

1    Nick Forbes, LB, 6-1, 230, Jr.*, 2L
Frederick, MD (Governor Thomas Johnson HS)

11    Khairi Fortt, LB, 6-2, 240, Jr.*, RS
Stamford, CT (Penn State/Stamford HS)

9    Jason Gibson, LB, 6-2, 205, So.*, SQ
Gardena, CA (Junipero Serra HS)

10    Lucas King, LB, 6-3, 230, Jr.*, 1L
Berkeley, CA (Berkeley HS)

7    Jalen Jefferson, LB, 6-2, 230, So.*, 1L
Oxnard, CA (Ventura St. Bonaventure HS)

47    Hardy Nickerson, LB, 6-1, 230, Fr.*, RS
Oakland, CA (Bishop O’Dowd HS)

28    Johnny Ragin III, LB, 6-3, 225, Fr., HS
Wilsonville, OR (Wilsonville HS)

32    Edward Tandy, LB, 6-1, 220, Fr., HS
Tustin, CA (Tustin HS)

25    Chad Whitener, LB, 6-1, 240, Fr., HS
Mansfield, TX (Mansfield HS)

44    David Wilkerson, LB, 6-2, 220, Jr.*, 1L
Danville, CA (Monte Vista HS)

Cal feels it is both deep and talented at the linebacker position with a solid two-deep heading into the 2013 campaign as Cal has a group of seven players that could all fight for a starting job according to defensive coordinator Andy Buh. Nick Forbes, Khairi Fortt and Jalen Jefferson are listed as the three starters but Buh is quick to point out that Michael Barton, Nathan Broussard, Hardy Nickerson and David Wilkerson are all “nipping at their heels.”

“We’ve got seven guys that we feel are pretty solid and can be good players for us,” Dykes said. “The group has depth, it’s just a matter of staying healthy and getting guys in the right spots.”

Forbes and Nickerson are expected to start the season as the team’s top two players at middle linebacker (MIKE).

Forbes is a fourth-team preseason All-Pac-12 choice of Phil Steele, on the watch list for the preseason College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy and a candidate for the Butkus Award and The Jack Lambert Trophy as the nation’s top linebacker. He had a strong 2012 campaign in which he was played in all 12 games with eight starts, finishing second on the team with 85 tackles while ranking 11th in the Pac-12 with an average of 7.1 stops per contest. He also had a team-high three of the squad’s nine fumble recoveries, ranking tied for third in the conference with an average of 0.25 fumble recoveries per contest. In addition, Forbes is a strong candidate for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® and the Wuerffel Trophy presented for community service involvement.

Nickerson, the rapidly improving son of former Cal and NFL player Hardy Nickerson, was named the Scout Team Player of the Year on special teams a year ago and had a game-high-tying six tackles as well as 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks in the 2013 spring game that Forbes missed due to injury.

Jefferson will go into the 2013 season as the starter at strong-side outside linebacker (SAM) after a promising campaign in 2012 when he started seven of the eight games he played in and recorded 47 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss (-11 yards), 1.5 sacks (-11 yards), one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries in his first season of action with the Golden Bears. He continued his momentum with a strong spring and had a game-high-tying six tackles in the spring game, as well as a game-high 1.5 sacks (game-high -7 yards) and a game-high-tying 1.5 tackles for loss (-7 yards).

Barton is listed as the team’s No. 2 player at the SAM position and is also pushing the envelope to become a starter after being named both the team’s Scout Team Player of the Year on defense and its Freshman Lifter of the Year in 2012.

Fortt leads a crowded race at the weak-side outside linebacker (WILL) with Broussard and Wilkerson both looking for playing time at the position as well. Fortt is the only one of the trio yet to see action at Cal, but compiled two-year totals of 50 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards) and 2.5 sacks (-16 yards) over 22 games and one start during two seasons at Penn State in 2010 and 2011. He sat out the 2012 season with an injury after transferring from Penn State to Cal in August of 2012 but claimed a starting spot during 2013 spring practice. Fortt is listed as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Players Back from Injury” by Athlon in its preseason magazine.

Broussard, who is also a candidate to play at the MIKE spot, made strong contributions during both the 2012 season and 2013 spring practice. Broussard played in 11 of 12 games with four starts last fall, recording 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards) and 3.0 sacks (-21 yards). He was second on the team in sack yards, as well as tied for third in sacks and tackle for loss yards. In the spring game, he had five tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss for a game-high nine yards.

Wilkerson missed the 2012 season due to injury but returned for the spring game and contributed a game-high-tying six tackles and 1.0 tackle for loss (-4 yards). Despite playing in only 13 games with two starts over his first two seasons with the program from 2010-11 and missing the 2012 campaign, he is third among active Cal players in career sacks (4.0), sack yards (-23 yards) and tackle for loss yards (-35 yards), while ranking fourth in tackles for loss (5.5). All of his stats other than three games played and two tackles came during the 2011 season.

Other linebackers on the roster include returnees Jason Gibson and Lucas King, as well as newcomers Chad Whitener, Johnny Ragin III and Edward Tandy.

“I think it’s a very good group,” Dykes said. “We need them to be physical and we need them to hold up. Linebackers are like running backs and they get beat up so you better have a lot of depth. I feel pretty good about our guys and the depth we have at this position.”

Cornerbacks (8) – Randy Stewart, 1st Season (Boise State, 1982)
Safeties (9) – Randy Stewart, 1st Season (Boise State, 1982)
2    Darius Allensworth, CB, 5-11, 175, Fr., HS
Menifee, CA (Heritage HS)

23    Trey Cheek, CB, 5-11, 175, Fr., HS
Lawrenceville, GA (Archer HS)

38    Cormac Craigie, S, 6-2, 200, So., TR
Piedmont, CA (Richmond/Trinity-Pawling School/Piedmont HS)

37    Cedric Dozier, CB 5-11, 175, Fr.*, RS
Roanoke, AL (Lakes HS)

27    Damariay Drew, S, 6-0, 205, Fr.*, RS
Livermore, CA (Livermore HS)

33    Dan Fadelli, S, 5-11, 190, Fr.*, RS
Moraga, CA (Campolindo HS)

42    David Garner, S, 5-10, 180, Fr., HS
Fort Lauderdale, FL (University School/North Broward Prep)

3    Kameron Jackson, CB, 5-9, 175, Jr., 2L
Long Beach, CA (Long Beach Poly HS)

20    Isaac Lapite, CB, 5-9, 190, Jr.*, SQ
Eugene, OR (Sheldon HS/South Eugene HS)

15    Adrian Lee, CB, 5-11, 200, Jr.*, 2L
Dallas, TX (Skyline HS)

6    Alex Logan, S, 6-2, 210, Sr.* 3L
Denver, CO (Mullen HS)

5    Michael Lowe, S, 5-11, 215, Jr.*, 2L
Hyattsville, MD (DeMatha Catholic HS)

21    Stefan McClure, CB, 5-11, 200, So.*, 1L
Vista, CA (Vista HS)

29    Jordan Morgan, S, 6-0, 190, Fr.*, RS
Chandler, AZ (Blue Ridge HS/Valley Christian HS)

26    Ikem Okwudiafor, S, 6-0, 200, Jr.*, SQ
Fremont, CA (Mission San Jose HS/St. Mary’s College HS)

4    Avery Sebastian, S, 5-10, 195, Jr., 2L
McDonough, GA (Eagle’s Landing Christian HS/Union Grove HS)

14    Cameron Walker, CB, 5-11, 180, Fr., HS
Los Angeles, CA (Loyola HS)

Despite losing three of its top four defensive backs from a year ago with the departure of starting cornerbacks Marc Anthony and Steve Williams, as well starting safety and leading tackler Josh Hill, the Golden Bears still have five defensive backs with starting experience in the defensive backfield in Kameron Jackson, Alex Logan, Michael Lowe, Stefan McClure and Avery Sebastian.
Jackson and McClure, both of whom have filled in for Anthony as a starter, are expected to take over starting roles at the two cornerback positions. Sebastian is listed as the starting strong safety, while Lowe is the starter at free safety although Logan held the role for much of the 2013 spring before being injured prior to the spring game. Both spent time as the team’s starter at the position a year ago.

Jackson played in all 12 games with three starts in 2012 and is best known for his three-interception game in a victory over Pac-12 South Division champion UCLA that earned him several honors including Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Jackson shared the team lead for the season with those three interceptions that tied a Pac-12 single-game season high and was tied for 11th in the Pac-12 with an average of 0.25 interceptions per game. He also added 27 tackles and one fumble recovery.

McClure, who was listed as an “Impact Player” by Sporting News in its 2013 preseason magazine, returns after missing the entire 2012 season with a knee injury suffered at Arizona State in the final regular-season game of his 2011 true freshman campaign. McClure played in 11 games with two starts and recorded 24 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss (-5 yards) and one interception before his injury. His signature performance came against USC when he primarily covered consensus first-team All-American Robert Woods and held him to five catches for 36 yards, his second-lowest single-game totals of the season in both categories.

Sebastian became a part-time starter at strong safety in 2013 with four starts among his 11 games played, while he also saw extensive action on special teams as an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection among non-returners and kickers. Sebastian finished with 56 tackles in 2012 to rank fifth on the team and was 45th in the Pac-12 with an average of 5.1 stops per game. Sebastian registered 14 of those tackles coming off the bench vs. Arizona State to earn his first career start the next game against UCLA. He also had a strong 2013 spring game, sharing game-high honors with six tackles.

Lowe put up strong numbers a year ago while playing in all 12 games with eight starts, including each of the team’s last five contests. He co-led the team with three interceptions that he returned for a team-high 67 yards, while ranking fourth on the club with 69 tackles. His per-game averages in interceptions (0.25) and tackles (5.8) were 11th and 35th in the Pac-12, respectively.

Logan is a fifth-year senior who has played in 26 games over the past four seasons primarily on special teams but also as a starter at safety for each of the team’s first four contests in 2012 when he played in nine games total and finished the campaign with 24 tackles.

The amount of experience in Cal’s defensive backfield after the top five does get thin as Adrian Lee with one tackle in 14 career games played off the bench primarily on special teams is the only other player on the roster with any experience. Lee is listed as McClure’s backup at cornerback, while the other players on the preseason depth chart are Isaac Lapite as a backup corner behind Jackson and Damariay Drew as Sebastian’s backup at strong safety.

Returnee Cedric Dozier and newcomers Darius Allensworth, Trey Cheek and Cameron Walker are the other cornerbacks on the roster.

Additional safeties on the squad include returnees Dan Fadelli, Jordan Morgan and Ikem Okwudiafor, as well as newcomers Cormac Craigie and David Garner. Linebacker Jason Gibson could also play safety.

The team is not settled on its nickel back position yet but likely candidates are Lapite, Drew and McClure.

“Although we are thin at defensive back, we think we have some guys at the top of the pecking order who do have some experience,” Dykes said. “We will need to keep them healthy and also count on some of our younger and less experienced players to come through. There is a good opportunity at this position for our young guys to make an impact immediately.”

Cal’s entire kicking game returns from 2012 in punter Cole Leininger, placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato, long snapper John Sheperdson and holder Jackson Bouza after all four were in their first seasons as full-time starters in those roles a year ago. D’Amato and Sheperdson did have limited experience earlier in their careers with D’Amato sharing placekicking and kickoff duties with Giorgio Tavecchio as a true freshman in 2009 and Sheperdson starting the 2011 Holiday Bowl as a substitute.

Cal’s return game includes kick returner Brendan Bigelow, who has significant experience in the role over the last two years, and punt returner Chris Harper, who picked up limited experience last year after a season-ending injury to starter Keenan Allen late in the campaign.

Cal’s punt return game was its highest nationally ranked unit at 24th last year.

“We are excited to have everyone back in the kicking game and some promising returners,” special teams coordinator/outside receivers coach Mark Tommerdahl said. “We are wll aware that significant improvements need to be made.”

Tommerdahl coached two-time Ray Guy Award winner Ryan Allen the last four seasons at Louisiana Tech, with the Bulldogs leading the nation in net punting a year ago with a 43.51 yards per punt average behind the performance of Allen, who paced the country with a school-record 48.04 yards per punt. The previous campaign Allen was fifth nationally at 46.12 yards per punt, while the Bulldogs were eighth with a net average of 40.12. Tommerdahl’s first two punt return units at Louisiana Tech led the Western Athletic Conference, while ranking 10th nationally in 2010 after being 25th in 2009. Tommerdahl also coached his TCU kick return unit to the nation’s best average in 1999 and 2000.

Mark Tommerdahl, 1st Season (Concordia College – MN, 1983)
16    Cole Leininger, P, 6-1, 200, So., 1L
Fruit Cove, FL (Bartram Trail HS)

40    Steffan Mos, P, 6-0, 190, Jr., 1L
San Diego, CA (Grossmont College/Clairemont HS)

14    Chad Smith, P, 6-5, 215, Jr., SQ
Los Angeles, CA (Loyola HS)

Cole Leininger returns for a second season as Cal’s punter after taking over the job from four-year starter, three-time All-Pac-12 selection and two-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist Bryan Anger in 2012. Leininger is a third-team preseason All-Pac-12 choice of Phil Steele and a candidate for the Ray Guy Award himself in 2013 after a solid freshman season with the Golden Bears when he played in all 12 games and averaged 39.9 yards per punt. Leininger also forced opponents to make 26 fair catches and pinned them inside their 20-yard line 13 times with only one touchback as Cal’s net punting average was 54th nationally and 22 spots better than Leininger’s individual ranking.

“Cole received valuable experience last season and understands that he needs to continue to improve to be consider an upper echelon Pac-12 punter,” Tommerdahl said.

Steffan Mos is the backup for the second consecutive season and punted twice for a 37.5 yard average a year ago.

Chad Smith is also on the roster.

Mark Tommerdahl, 1st Season (Concordia College – MN, 1983)
9    Matt Anderson, PK, 6-0, 185, Fr., HS
Danville, CA (San Ramon Valley HS)

19    Noah Beito, PK, 6-0, 180, Fr.*, RS
Scotts Valley, CA (Scotts Valley HS)

36    Benjamin Calder, PK, 5-11, 215, So.*, SQ
Houston, TX (Lamar HS/Westbury Christian HS)

13    Vincenzo D’Amato, PK, 6-1, 205, Sr.*, 3L
Lake Forest, CA (El Toro HS)

41    Robbie McInerny, PK, 5-11, 170, Fr., HS
Laguna Beach, CA (Laguna Beach HS)

45    James Langford, PK, 6-3, 205, Jr.*, RS
Pleasanton, CA (Cal Poly/Foothill HS)

Cal will have first-team All-Pac-12 placekicker back in the fold in fifth-year senior Vincenzo D’Amato, who is also a 2013 preseason first-team All-Pac-12 choice of Lindy’s and Sporting News, a second-team selection according to Athlon and College Sports Madness, and a third-team pick by Phil Steele. D’Amato is also on the watch list for the College Football Performance Awards Placekicker Trophy, a candidate for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker and the No. 8 draft eligible kicker in the nation prior to the season according to Phil Steele.

D’Amato reclaimed a starting role in 2012 after two campaigns behind Giorgio Tavecchio and led the conference in field goals made (1.33 fgmpg) to give Cal the Pac-12’s top field goal kicker for the second consecutive season after Tavecchio became the first in 2011 since Doug Brien in 1991. D’Amato finished fifth in the league in field goal percentage (16-23, 69.6%) and per-game scoring among kickers (6.5), while ranking 12th in scoring overall and putting up a team-high 78 points by adding 30-of-33 extra points. At one point, he made 11 consecutive field goals.

“Vince is a veteran who overcame moments of adversity last season,” Tommerdahl said. “We’re looking forwad to him having a rock-solid year.”

Cal has five other placekickers on the roster in returnees Noah Beito, Benjamin Calder and James Langford, as well as newcomers Matt Anderson and Robbie McInerny. Beito is the only one to have played in a Cal uniform for one kickoff against Southern Utah in 2012, while Langford was the top placekicker at Cal Poly in 2011 before transferring to Cal and sitting out the 2012 campaign.

Mark Tommerdahl, 1st Season (Concordia College – MN, 1983)
83    Cary Kriegsman, LS, 5-10, 200, Jr.*, SQ
Pacific Palisades, CA (Loyola HS)

86    Brandon Madueño, LS, 6-0, 250, Sr.*, SQ
West Covina, CA (Damien HS)

38    Duke Moran, LS, 6-3, 215, Fr.*, RS
Menlo Park, CA (Sacred Heart Prep HS)

69    John Sheperdson, LS, 6-3, 220, Jr., 2L
Danville, CA (San Ramon Valley HS)

John Sheperdson returns as the team’s starting long snapper and has made every snap without an errant one since moving into the starting role as a fill in for Matt Rios in the 2011 Holiday Bowl.

Cal has three other players at the position in Cary Kriegsman, Brandon Madueño and Duke Moran.

Although he has never made a snap, Madueño is in his fifth season on the roster and listed as the backup on the preseason depth chart. Kriegsman is in his fourth season, while Moran is in his second.

“Our long snapping situation is competitive,” Tommerdahl said. “We have last year's starter returning with quality reserves pushing him.”

Mark Tommerdahl, 1st Season (Concordia College – MN, 1983)
5    Brendan Bigelow, RET, 5-10, 180, Jr., 2L
Fresno, CA (Central HS)

34    Darren Ervin, RET, 5-10, 195, So.*, 1L
Houston, TX (Lamar HS)

6    Chris Harper, RET, 6-0, 180, So., 1L
Northridge, CA (Crespi HS)

2    Daniel Lasco, RET, 6-1, 200, So.*, 1L
The Woodlands, TX (The Woodlands HS)

1    Bryce Treggs, RET, 5-11, 180, So.,1L
Inglewood, CA (St. John Bosco HS)

Although many players are often involved as returners throughout the season, head coach Sonny Dykes makes an emphasis that it is a priority to become established in the return game early in the season especially at the position of punt returner, where wide receivers Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs are the top two listed on the depth chart to replace 2012 starter Keenan Allen, who led the Pac-12 and ranked eighth nationally with an average of 14.1 yards per return.
Harper moved into the role for the last three games of the 2012 campaign after Allen suffered a season-ending injury, while Treggs has prep experience.

Bigelow is an accomplished kick returner with a combined 1,285 yards on 58 returns for an average of 22.2 yards per return over the last two seasons. He had 35 kick returns for 810 yards in 2012, both the most by a Cal player since Lavelle Hawkins in 2007, while ranking fifth in the Pac-12 and 52nd nationally with an average of 23.1 yards per return to earn honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a kick returner. As a freshman, he returned 23 for 475 yards including one for an 88-yard touchdown against Presbyterian.

But with Bigelow potentially moving into a starting role at running back in 2013 he may be limited on kick returns, which could open the door for someone else with Darren Ervin and Daniel Lasco among the top early candidates.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out at kick returner, but it’s a big deal to get our depth chart nailed down early especially at punt returner,” Dykes said. “I like to stick with one punt returner that’s the same guy all the time because usually if you have two in the role it’s scary and it really means you have zero. The only way I would want two is if we have two guys back there at the same time if we get a lot of directional punting. At kick returner it can be a little bit more of a revolving door.”


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