Some notes from Cal: Few questions other than at starting pitcher
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
BERKELEY, Calif. -- There will be no thunder clap at the end of spring practice at California.
"There will be no key decisions made after spring ball on who the starter is," coach Jeff Tedford said.
At this point in the story, Tedford and new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig would hasten to add redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney into the mix, because that's what both did when only asked about Riley's and Mansion's progress.
Ludwig said he thought things would start to heat up during the first spring scrimmage Saturday, but it's clear he, too, isn't eager to reveal a pecking order, if there even is one.
So question No. 1 with the Bears isn't going to be answered anytime soon. (We had interesting chats with both quarterbacks and will post a story on that Friday.)
And, to be honest, this team doesn't have many questions other than that. Tedford listed fullback as his biggest concern.
"We didn't lose a lot," he noted.
Those three departed linebackers from the Bears 3-4? Worries are few about Eddie Young, Mychal Kendricks, Mike Mohamed and D.J. Holt. All four played last year, with Young and Mohamed logging starts.
Receiver? Everyone is back, so this will be a far more seasoned group than 2008. And there are new names -- youngsters and players returning from injuries -- making the list of potential contributors long.
Sophomore Marvin Jones? "He's a guy if you ask who stood out the first week, it was Marvin Jones," Tedford said.
Mansion praised sophomore Alex Lagemann, who also earned a note from Tedford. A couple of practice kibitzers expressed esteem for redshirt freshman Charles Satchell. Sophomore Michael Calvin, who's sitting out spring while still recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2008 season, might be the most talented of the lot.
Ludwig, meanwhile, gushed about the depth and athleticism at tight end.
Ludwig likes to talk about playing "pitch and catch." The Bears didn't do that very well last year, ranking seventh in the Pac-10 and 83rd in the nation in passing.
There seems to be plenty of catchers. The issue that likely will decide if Cal is a top-10 team is the pitcher.
Some other notes:
- Tedford's special project with Riley during the offseason was shortening the junior's throwing motion. After watching film of 2008, Tedford said that as the season wore on Riley developed a bigger wind-up that hurt his passing accuracy.
- While the secondary returns intact -- and was very good last year -- cornerbacks Josh Hill and Mark Anthony, both redshirt freshmen, have made an impression and could work their way into the rotation.
- It appears that Mike Tepper and monstrous sophomore Mitchell Schwartz, a budding star, are set at left and right tackle, and Chris Guarnero leads in the competition to replace Alex Mack at center. The prime competition is at the guards.
- Tedford raised a few eyebrows -- or was it panic? -- among Cal fans when he talked about running back Jahvid Best being out of his wheelchair. Best was in a wheelchair because he'd had both elbow and foot surgery, so he couldn't use crutches. Tedford said neither was a major procedure and he's confident Best will be 100 percent by the fall. "He's on track," Tedford said. "This week he's going to start running." Tedford added that it's actually been hard to keep Best in check: "He has so much energy bound up in him. Even with his boot on when he's out there, you'll see him start to jog and you'll go, 'Wait. Woooh. Are you supposed to be jogging in that boot?'"