Monday, May 9, 2011
Spring wrap: California
By ESPN.com staff
2010 overall record: 5-7
2010 conference record: 3-6
Offense: 7, Defense: 5, punter/kicker: 2
WR Marvin Jones, WR Keenan Allen, OT Mitchell Schwartz, LB Mychal Kendricks, LB D.J. Holt, P Bryan Anger
RB Shane Vereen, C Chris Guarnero, QB Kevin Riley, DE Cameron Jordan, S Chris Conte
2010 statistical leaders (*returning starter)
Rushing: Shane Vereen (1,167)
Passing: Kevin Riley (1,409)
Receiving: Marvin Jones* (765)
Tackles: Mike Mohamed (95)
Sacks: Mychal Kendricks* (8.5)
Interceptions: Marc Anthony* (2)
1. Getting defensive: Even with the top two nose tackles out -- Aaron Tipoti and Kendrick Payne -- the Bears' front seven controlled the line of scrimmage. Ends Trevor Guyton, Gabe King and Deandre Coleman turned in strong springs. Mychal Kendricks moves from outside to inside linebacker next to D.J. Holt, while the rest of the linebacking crew is young but talented, including Cecil Whiteside, Chris McCain, Nick Forbes and David Wilkerson.
2. Isi on top: Isi Sofele isn't big and some wonder if he can take the week-to-week pounding a starting tailback does, but he was the clear No. 1 on the depth chart at the end of spring. He likely faces a challenge this fall.
3. Team matters: There was a lot of focus this spring on intangibles -- improving the team culture and building unity. Players wore workout shirts that said "Team Matters," and that was a theme that seemed to catch on. In 2010, the Bears were a talented team that often appeared unfocused. They either played great or terrible. Coach Jeff Tedford wants more consistency.
1. Is Maynard the man? Zach Maynard, a transfer from Buffalo, seemed to emerge as the top quarterback by the end of spring practices, eclipsing Brock Mansion and Allen Bridgford. Particularly appealing is his mobility. Will he hold his spot in fall camp, or might Mansion or Bridgford make a charge?
2. Is there going to be a youth movement? The Bears signed an outstanding recruiting class, and incoming players could be in the mix immediately on both sides of the ball. Who makes a move? It seems almost certain that one of the running backs gets into the rotation, but the incoming talent on defense is already on coordinator Clancy Pendergast's radar.
3. Tedford takes charge: Tedford is working extensively with the quarterbacks now, and he will be the primary play-caller this fall, a job he's juggled at various times during his Berkeley tenure. Will this extra coaching involvement help, particularly at quarterback, where things have fallen off in recent years?