In what will be a twice-a-week feature, we're counting down to kickoff by taking quick-hit, here's-what-you-need-to-know looks at each of California's positional groups: Offensive line, defensive line, wide receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, defensive backs and special teams.
Cal lost just two linemen after last season: Jordan Rigsbee, a four-year starter who signed with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent, and Brian Farley, who had nine starts at tackle over the last three seasons.
Position of greatest strength
You've got two starting tackles with three-plus combined seasons of starting experience, so you'd think that's where the strength is, but honestly, the interior is going to be hard to beat. Stuckey brings a complete knowledge of offensive coordinator Jake Spavital's offense as a transfer from Texas A&M, and although he didn't practice with the team this spring, he comes in as a ready-made starting center who doesn't need any transition time, like Dominic Granado or Addison Ooms did this spring. Those two are listed as the backup centers, and can both back up at guard. The starters at guard -- Borrayo (who has started every game each of the last two years, and who also started the last five games of his true freshman year), and JuCo transfer Wallace, who brings tackle-size to the interior, and all but won the right guard spot in spring.
Position of greatest concern
I'd say right tackle, but it's really not so much a concern so much as I'm a huge fan of the interior, and it's hard to say the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Cochran is a weak spot, especially after how much he improved through last season, taking over the left tackle spot from Farley midway through. Moore will be one of Cal's representatives at the Pac-12 Media Days in July, he's a veteran tackle (with 36 total starts) and is better at the right than he was at the left, but I like Cochran more than him, just based on pure projectability (I think Cochran can be an NFL tackle).
Confidence level about depth, scale of 1-10
10. I love the depth on the line. Semisi Uluave is going to take over for Borrayo once he departs for the professional ranks, and both he and Wallace, I think, could start at a few other Pac-12 programs. The fact that you have a player like Uluave fighting for reps says a lot about the depth on this line, especially tipping the scals at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds. Left guard, at least on the post-spring depth chart (which I don't completely buy, for a variety of reasons) that's probably where I'm not completely sold on the depth, with former defensive tackle Chris Palmer and redshirt junior J.D. Hinnant (2 career games as a fourth-year player) behind Borrayo, but I think you'd sooner see Granado or Ooms move over to a guard spot, or Uluave (he'd probably be the third guard at this point), so that makes me feel a bit better in terms of real-world depth chart than the one released by the program. The tackle depth, I think, is also solid, but there's a step back from Moore and Cochran when you're looking at Patrick Mekari and Kamryn Bennett. That said, I love Mekari. He's gotten so much bigger, stronger and longer, and got a lot of run last year as a true freshman. He can also play anywhere along the line. Vince Johnson got a lot of run each of the last two years at both tackle spots, so I'm happy with that depth, too.
In addition, Cal will continue with the traditional pass set blocking scheme, as opposed to the vertical set, which the line practiced under Tony Franklin. Once the Bears went away from the vertical set in the middle of last season, the results were astounding. The Bears allowed just seven sacks over the final six games, after having allowed 20 over the previous seven, and allowed 19 tackles for loss over the final six games, compared to the 47 they gave up in the first seven games of the season.
Where does this position group rank on your team from strongest to biggest area of concern?
Without any reservation, this is the strongest unit, by far, on both sides of the ball. It's ahead of the running backs, in my mind, and you're talking about a group that's bringing back it's three most productive players from last season.