Freddie Tagaloa and Jordan Rigsbee are fixing to anchor the left side, but who else is in the running as the Bears remake the offensive line?
Freddie Tagaloa (STARTER)
6-foot-8, 330 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 39 offensive tackle; 2012 Semper Fidelis All-American.
6-foot-6, 305 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect out of junior college; Born in Manchester, England.
Bill Tyndall (STARTER)
6-foot-4, 280 pounds
As a recruit: Unrated as a defensive tackle coming out of Pacific Grove High School, attended one year of junior college at Monterey Peninsula.
6-foot-7, 290 pounds
As a recruit: Two-star prospect out of San Diego (Calif.) Henry Senior.
6-foot-6, 315 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 34 offensive tackle.
THE SITUATION: With both Matt Summers-Gavin and Tyler Rigsbee gone, the Bears will start two brand new tackles, but by no means will they be rookies. Tyndall played in 10 games and started five, while Tagaloa played in 11 of Cal's 12 games. Beyond those two, though, the other tackles have only logged a combined one game of experience.
TALE OF THE TAPE: The left tackle situation seems all but settled with Tagaloa, who was the first true freshman offensive lineman to play at Cal since Brian Schwenke (fourth-round pick at 107th overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2013 NFL draft) in 2009. Tagaloa is a candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the top lineman on either side of the ball or linebacker, as well as the Jim Parker Trophy for the nation's top offensive lineman.
Tagaloa is, accoding to new strength and conditioning coach Damon Harrington, "one of the most massive human beings I've ever seen," and yet, he's gotten just a bit less massive, dropping from 346 to 325 pounds over the summer.
"I got my diet right, I cook grilled chicken, steak, some salads – just cutting it down," Tagaloa says. "My hips are way loose. I notice it in my squat. I'm breaking the parallel easily. My hips used to fight me going down, and just moving – my cuts are more smooth – everything. I can tell you: I'm in the best shape of my life."
While losing weight, Tagaloa has gotten dramatically stronger, as well. His bench press is now up from 335 pounds when he came in, to 465 pounds, and he's upped his power clean to 365 pounds from 315.
Williams has only seen one game of action – against Southern Utah in 2012 – since coming in from South Dakota State College of Science, and has been shuffled around along the interior as well as between the tackle spots. Physically, he certainly fits the bill, and he has plus footwork thanks to spending most of his life as a basketball player, but he has yet to break through for the Bears. Williams may be a candidate to move over to right tackle early in camp, as starter Tyndall will still be hampered from an ankle injury suffered during the spring.
Farley is long, lean and athletic – the exact type of tackle this staff uses so well -- and he it looks like he'll be the man to beat on the right side while Tyndall gets worked back in. This could be Farley's big shot to make an impression, while Tyndall is on the shelf.
Okafor has all the body you could ask for in a tackle, and physically, he has all the tools. At this point, it's a matter of playing unconscious and playing fast. He has yet to do that.
Redshirt freshman center Matt Cochran.
THE CONTENDERS (RIGHT GUARD):
Alejandro Crosthwaite (STARTER)
6-foot-4, 290 pounds
As a recruit: Four-star prospect, No. 20 offensive tackle; High school teammate of defensive lineman Mustafa Jalil.
6-foot-3, 330 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 87 offensive tackle.
THE CONTENDERS (CENTER):
Chris Adcock (STARTER A)
6-foot-3, 303 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 18 center.
Matt Cochran (STARTER B)
6-foot-2, 300 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 18 center.
6-foot-2, 305 pounds
As a recruit: Four-star prospect, No. 2 center; 2009 Under Armour All-American.
THE CONTENDERS (LEFT GUARD):
Jordan Rigsbee (STARTER A)
6-foot-4, 310 pounds
As a recruit: Four-star prospect, No. 12 offensive guard; 2011 U.S. Army All-American.
6-foot-6, 285 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 54 offensive tackle.
THE SITUATION: With the departure of Schwenke thanks to the NFL Draft, plus the installation of the new offense, the center position is going to be new in several different ways. First, it's almost certain that whoever gets the job in the middle will be making his first college start, and that's going to have a cascade effect along the interior of the line.
TALE OF THE TAPE: First, of course, there's Cochran. Built like a fire hydrant, the redshirt freshman was brought in specifically to be the next four-year starter in the middle by the previous regime, and his intelligence and football IQ earned him the first-team nod less than a week into his first spring camp with the new staff. Brazinski has played in just five games off the bench, and missed nearly all of 2012 with a knee injury, playing in one game.
Right now, Cochran is listed as the co-starter along with Adcock, who missed all of spring with a shoulder injury. Like Cochran, Adcock was brought in as a pure center, but he's seen all of his action thus far at the guard spots. The big Texan has played in 15 games with 11 starts, and is by far the most experienced player returning on the line. Adcock has been bitten by the injury bug, with hand and shoulder issues in the past, but none of them have really affected him while playing (he generally gets all the bumps and bruises out of the way during the offseason, as well as spring and fall camps). Adcock is a formidable force in the middle, no matter where he plays. He's a tough SOB with a big mean streak, but like the other two center contenders, he's one of the smartest players on the team. He's consistently at the top of team GPA reports and was a valedictorian coming out of high school. That's exactly what you want in your center, especially when – as he will be in this offense – the center is the one calling the plays. Adcock will be hampered by his lack of experience in this scheme thanks to the injury this spring, but both he and Brazinski will push Cochran. The quarterback race may be the one most fans will be looking at, but the race for who is hiking the ball to said quarterback will be just as intriguing. Still, though, when Aug. 31 comes around, it's hard to think that Cochran won't be the one getting the nod.
The benefit of having three solid options at center is that the guard spots will get stronger, as a result.
Adcock – as mentioned previously – has 15 games of experience – almost exclusively at guard. If he's not the keystone, expect him to slide over to the right, while Rigsbee stays at the left guard spot he locked down all of last season. Rigsbee – like Adcock – is a mauler inside, with a mean streak a good country-mile wide. With a year of mistakes under his belt, he's learned from them, and the pairing of Adcock and Rigsbee flanking Cochran is going to blow some folks back.
Adcock's recruiting classmate Crosthwaite hasn't broken through in his three years in the program, alternating between the interior and the exterior, but he's listed as the starting right guard going into fall camp, which would suggest that the staff saw enough of him during spring camp to have faith in El Feo Grande. So far, he's played in four games off the bench – all in 2012.
Gibson is another one who came in as a tackle, spent time working out as a tackle, but is best suited to the interior, especially considering how big the Bears are getting on the outside with the recent recruiting classes, which includes the 6-foot-6 Moore. Moore's always been more of an athlete than a lineman, but that kind of length, speed and size fits better on the interior of a line in this system than it may have fit a tackle spot in the old system.
Gibson has had to battle his body every single year he's been at Cal, coming in at a Brando-ian 370 pounds, dropping down to 305 and finally settling at 330. Gibson was a mainstay on the PAT/field goal team last season and got into a few games on the line when injuries chipped away at the unit. Gibson has quick feet for a guy his size, and battled Crosthwaite throughout the spring for the right guard spot. The slot opposite Rigsbee will continue to be hotly contested between these two recruiting classmates throughout fall camp.
In the final estimation, you want to have a top five, and then a second three – another center, another guard and another tackle. The advantage of having players who have played all across the interior (Cochran, Adcock) and players who can be both a guard and a tackle (Moore) is that the top eight or top 10 become interchangeable and more flexible in a pinch.