BERKELEY -- Cal released its first depth chart of fall camp, and we've got your position-by-position breakdown.
Some of the key takeaways:
- Tackle J.D. Hinnant has been wearing the No. 85 jersey for the past several days of practice, and has worked as a blocking fullback. He's listed as a FB/TE, but I think he'll mainly be used as a blocker, while former defensive end Kennedy Emesibe -- who's been working with the second team at fullback -- could be someone to catch or carry the ball out of the backfield.
- After missing several days, Billy McCrary III is fifth on the running back depth chart, behind Patrick Laird, who's proven able to get some tough short-yardage first downs. McCrary is a dynamic threat with the ball in his hands, and I think he and Laird can provide some change-of-pace carries after the top three of Tre Watson, Vic Enwere and Khalfani Muhammad.
- Jaylinn Hawkins has had two interceptions over the last three days of camp, and he's got the size and the speed to play boundary safety, so that's where he is on the depth chart, even though he's come in and worked mainly at corner.
- The fact that Marloshawn Franklin is listed as the starter opposite Darius Allensworth at corner isn't a surprise. The fact that Antoine Albert is not only not listed with Franklin, but rather behind walk-on Ashtyn Davis (who, admittedly, has had a fantastic camp, and shows a lot of physicality, toughness and moxy), who himself is backing up Allensworth. Could that mean that the staff is trying to send a message to Albert? He's been very active and physical, but at times he's played a bit out of control, and while the physicality is encouraging, he may need to rein it back in, lest he be penalized during games. He also gave up two big plays during Saturday's scrimmage.
- I love the move of Traveon Beck to the nickel spot. Given how often the Bears are going to be in nickel and dime, a three-man rotation of Cameron Walker, Trey Turner and Beck -- who's been everywhere, seemingly, over the last week, with six breakups and three interceptions -- puts Cal's strongest defensive backs on potentially the opponent's most dynamic playmaker out of the slot, and it helps put better bodies on an outside receiver to help Franklin or Allensworth.
- Demetris Robertson isn't listed as a kickoff returner, which, considering he had another 40-plus-yard return on Monday despite dropping the ball, is a bit curious. I don't think this one lasts very long. Robertson may have his drawbacks -- he still needs to hone his finer skills both as a receiver and as a returner (that's why he won't be returning punts), but he has great instincts and such effortless speed as a kickoff returner, that the possibility of having him and Melquise Stovall as a pick-your-poison pair of returners is too good to pass up.
- Speaking of Stovall, he's a no-brainer at the Y receiver spot. Behind him is a lot of speed in Bug Rivera (who keeps showing up, day after day, in one-on-ones and as a jittery, shifty option out of the slot) and Matthew Rockett, who's come on very strong over the last two days since returning to practice.
- The original depth chart distributed to us at practice has Ray Hudson ahead of Jordan Veasy, but it was later revised to an -OR- situation, and that makes a lot of sense. They're two very different receivers, with Hudson being more of a blocker and true tight end who can clear out the middle, and Veasy having more downfield ability, better hands and a wider catch radius.
- Curious to see that Dwayne Wallace is now the No. 1 at right guard. He hasn't run with the first-team offense much this camp, but head coach Sonny Dykes said he's improved greatly. I think he and Jeremiah Stuckey will continue battling for that spot, and may wind up rotating, as Stuckey rotates in at left guard at times to spell Chris Borrayo.
- I think the center spot is far from resolved, although Dominic Granado had two bad snaps on Tuesday, one costing the second-team offense a drive. I think the staff wants Addison Ooms to run away with the spot, but he's still been moved by the defensive tackles with regularity. He's very technically sound, is a great snapper and knows the offense, but he's just a little light in the pants. That said, Granado's snaps have been inconsistent. I think this one goes down to the wire, and right now, they're listed as -OR-.
Countdown to Kickoff
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: CAL SPECIAL TEAMS (members)
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: DEFENSIVE BACKS (members)
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: CAL RUNNING BACKS (members)
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: CAL DEFENSIVE LINE (members)
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: QUARTERBACK (members)
- COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: CAL WIDE RECEIVERS (members)
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