March 4, 2013
BERKELEY - While much of the talk about the Cal football team this offseason has revolved around the Golden Bears' revamped offense, much of the team's ultimate success in 2013 will likely to be tied to a defensive unit that brings back some of its top players from a year ago including the veteran trio of senior defensive lineman Deandre Coleman, junior linebacker Nick Forbes and junior defensive back Kameron Jackson.
Coleman is the team's leading returning tackler among defensive linemen after making 48 stops a year ago, while also contributing a team-high-tying 8.5 sacks (-32 yards), 3.0 sacks (-20 yards), one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Forbes' 85 tackles in 2012 in his first season of significant action was second on the team only to senior defensive back Josh Hill. Forbes also contributed 4.5 tackles for loss (-20 yards), 1.5 sacks (11 yards), one interception that he returned for 26 yards, three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
Jackson got his feet wet as a part-time starter in 2012 and co-led the team with three interceptions all in Cal's victory over Pac-12 South Division champion UCLA. Jackson will be heavily relied upon to take over on a full-time basis at one of the starting cornerback spots left vacant by 2012 starters Marc Anthony and Steve Williams.
Although all three put up solid numbers last season, they more importantly realize the importance of their roles as emerging leaders in 2013.
"It's really unique to go through the transition of being one of the little scrubs running around and trying to make a name for yourself to coming out there and being one of the players that the younger guys are looking at," Forbes said. "I'm trying to take it with an open mind and stay humble. I was talking to [former Cal linebacker] D.J. Holt the other day and he was giving me a few pointers on how to carry yourself."
"I feel like I need to step up and do everything right on the field and off the field so they can follow," Coleman offered.
"I'm stepping up and stepping out, letting my voice be heard," Jackson added. First-year defensive coordinator Andy Buh is pleased with the trio and the entire defense.
"The older leaders are vocalizing enthusiasm for what we're doing and it really helps the coaches out," Buh said. "There hasn't been a hesitation by any of those guys or really any guy on the team. It's a seamless transition right now."
The transition will continue when the Bears next practice at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, March 6 (4 - 6:30 p.m. PT). All practices are open to the public and admission is free. Fans should enter the stadium through Gate 1 on the north end, where they will be directed onto the concourse level and into available seating in the lower area of sections EE, F, FF and G. Fans are not allowed onto the field. Cal's spring practices will conclude with the 2013 Cal Football Spring Game to be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks on Saturday, March 23 (4 p.m. PT).
In addition to attending practices, fans can visit the 2013 Spring Football Central Spring Football Central page on CalBears.com throughout spring ball for a complete practice schedule, fan information and a wide array of additional content including blog entries, videos, features and much more.
For 2013 ticket information, visit CalBears.com or call (800) GO-BEARS.
2013 CAL FOOTBALL REMAINING SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE