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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
California Bears spring wrap

By Ted Miller

2012 record: 3-9

2012 conference record: 2-7

Returning starters

Offense: 5; defense: 6; kicker/punter:  2

Top returners

DE Deandre Coleman, RB Brendan Bigelow, OLB Chris McCain, K Vince D'Amato

Key losses

WR Keenan Allen, C Brian Schwenke, CB Steve Williams, DE Kendrick Payne

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: C.J. Anderson (814 yards)
Passing: Zach Maynard (2,214 yards)
Receiving: Keenan Allen (737 yards)
Tackles: Josh Hill (87)
Sacks: Chris McCain*, Kendrick Payne (3.5)
Interceptions: Steve Williams (3)

Spring answers

1. New systems in: New coach Sonny Dykes brought big changes. On offense, the Bears switched from a pro-style scheme to an up-tempo spread. On defense, the Bears switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3. While only games will test these new systems, Dykes and defensive coordinator Andy Buh said it was mission accomplished as far as an introductory installation.

2. Cornered: The Bears are replacing two quality cornerbacks but they seem to have two quality replacements in experienced junior Kameron Jackson and sophomore Stefan McClure, who is coming back from a knee injury that killed his 2012 season. Depth is still a question, though.

3. Fronted seven? If you followed recruiting over the past four or so years, you will recognize just about every name on the Bears' defensive front seven. This is a talented group across the board, and don't forget that Penn State transfer Khairi Fortt, who sat out last year with a knee injury, is penciled in as a starter at weakside LB.

Fall questions

1. Who's the QB? Dykes provided no pecking order between redshirt freshman Zach Kline, freshman Jared Goff and junior Austin Hinder on the post-spring depth chart. While Kline is generally viewed as the favorite among the hoi polloi, Dykes seemed to step back from his statement late in spring practices that Kline had "made a move" during the Pac-12 coaches teleconference this week.

2. Healthy? A lot of key players missed all or a lot of spring practices, including the top two running backs, Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco, and tight end Richard Rodgers and OT Bill Tyndall, who broke his ankle during spring practices. While the word is all are expected to be ready to go in August, that is always written in pencil.

3. Brutal welcome to Berkeley for Dykes: Cal may play the toughest schedule in the nation. It includes eight teams with legitimate top-25 aspirations and three teams that are likely to be in the preseason top 5: Stanford, Oregon and Ohio State. It could be a slog, and the challenge for Dykes will be keeping his team focused and positive.