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Spring practice preview: running backs

By Jonathan Okanes
Thursday, March 13th, 2008 at 3:31 pm in off-season stuff.

Much has been made about the depth Cal has at running back. It’s a good thing, because the Bears need it, at least in the spring.

As most of you know, Jahvid Best won’t participate this spring as he continues to recover from a hip injury. Also, James Montgomery is going to be limited during the first portion of spring practice because he is still recovering from minor knee surgery.

That leaves plenty of reps to go around for Tracey Slocum, Shane Vereen and Covaughn DeBoskie.

The Bears are confident Best will be healthy by the beginning of fall camp. If so, he and Montgomery would be the leading candidates to replace Justin Forsett as the featured tailback in the program. It’s hard to believe Best won’t get a lot of touches next season with the type of potential he offers, but Montgomery has been around the program longer and was the No. 2 guy last year (although Forsett carred the overwhelming chunk of the workload).

Still, there is playing time to be had, and without Best and a fully healthy Montgomery, spring will be a chance for Slocum and Vereen to make an impression heading into the fall. Perhaps one of them could put himself into position to become the backup running back.

Slocum is an interesting study. He spent the first half of last season buried on the depth chart but started getting some second team reps near the end of the year. When he did, he looked very explosive. And Cal coach Jeff Tedford has said Slocum has grown a lot both physically and mentally since the end of the season.

Cal is very high on Vereen as well. Tedford said Vereen probably could have contributed as a true freshman but his services weren’t needed. If nothing else, Vereen may get a lot of looks this spring as a kick returner. And he also has a chance to move his way up the running back depth chart with some of the other guys being limited.

Spring will also be a chance for incoming freshman Covaughn DeBoskie to make an impression. DeBoskie graduated from high school early and is eligible to compete in spring drills. He comes to Cal as a highly regarded prospect who picked the Bears over a handful of other major programs.

The Bears are set at fullback with their top three returning. If Will Ta’ufo’ou can stay healthy, he could become the premier fullback in the Pac-10. Brian Holley and Zach Smith are still around to provide depth.

Coming next: Offensive line/tight ends

Note: A message from the moderators of this blog — they are close to banning those posters who abuse the forum. Let’s keep it civil, folks.

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  • RollOnBears

    j.o., is taufoou 100% healthy? he did great last year with the injured acl.

    with javid best cal needs to have an option play in the mix, you can try to run it with nate, but everyone in the stadium will know the pitch is coming. give us riley.

  • CalAlum97

    I’ve been wanting to see Slocum and Vereen as they’ve been highly touted, so this SPring should be interesting! Can’t wait.
    _____________________________________

    Note: A message from the moderators of this blog — they are close to banning those posters who abuse the forum. Let’s keep it civil, folks.
    ……….

    Please mods, don’t wait, moroniscoming has been harassing this site steadily since the days of Jay Heater! Let’s get on with the ban already.

  • Al

    I think the fans will riot if Riley is not our starter…Nate cost us big time with his 4th quarter collapses…I can already predict what’s going to happen…Nate will be lights-out in spring and fall and will likely be the starter…Riley is ready…he has a cannon and is very mobile…out with the old and in with the new

  • Big D

    “Please mods, don’t wait, moroniscoming has been harassing this site steadily since the days of Jay Heater! Let’s get on with the ban already”

    Amen to that!

  • Big D

    J.O.

    Any reason behind Longshore being listed as #6 and Felder #7 on the roster? Just curious….

  • JonathanOkanes

    Rollon, I believe Will is completely healthy.

    Big D, I talked to Nate the other day and there wasn’t a huge reason for the number switch, although he did say it was something “he could take ownership of.” But Nate is the kind of guy who likes to do things differently just to do things differently (remember his blue hair last fall?!). He said that was his main reason, “to do something different.” He downplayed the idea that it was to “shake things up” after last season.

  • http://www.lross.net Lawrence Ross

    I second Big D’s note about moroniscoming. Please ban him.

  • CalBearPete

    Jonathan: When you report on the O-line can you update us on Kevin Bemoll? I understand that he is back with the team now. He came in with great promise and since then we have heard virtually nothing about him. A strong O-line is where a dominating team starts. Cal fans are anxious to see what we can expect from the 2008 group.

  • Jan K. Oski

    “they are close to banning those posters who abuse the forum”

    That’s funny, since Amy has mocked you, J.O. If I were in your shoes, I’d be clamoring for a delete button.

    Thanks again for the series!

    GO YOU BEARS!

  • STEVE IN CONCORD

    The QB competition, the all-new receiver corps, and the opportunities for Slocum, Vereen and Deboskie in Best’s and Montgomery’s absence shpuld certainly make for an interesting Spring Practice.

  • Al da BERKELEY KID

    JO, once again congrats on being able to hang in MEMORIAL and cover the Bears.

  • amythicalprogram

    Jan K. Oski Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 11:18 pm
    “they are close to banning those posters who abuse the forum”

    That’s funny, since Amy has mocked you, J.O. If I were in your shoes, I’d be clamoring for a delete button.

    —————–

    Cry me a river. How does it feel to lose to your local rival 3 times in Women’s basketball, 2 times in Men’s Basketball, and in football? More over, how does it feel to lose to your UC rival 3!!! times in Mens BB and in football.

    What a joke!

  • H8sRed

    Amy/Moron is clearly being paid by U$C to stir the pot here. Why else would she spend so much time on a site that promotes a school she wishes only to badmouth?Sure, U$C wins more football games, but I’m content with the fact that my degree came from Cal, a school that has had 20 faculty Nobel Prize winners and 24 alumni winners. Try finding out how many $C has won — as best as I can find they’ve had only one faculty winner…

  • Marvin

    Montgomery is out at Cal…..

  • dball

    Marvin, what does that mean exactly?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Montgomery is leaving Berkley. JO didn’t report it, because he is a coward

  • AdBear

    “Close to banning”???

    It is absolutely baffling that you haven’t banned MORONS ARE COMING months ago. Now it has flat out called JO a coward. And that only merits a warning? Really?

    MORONS is a disease that can never really be cured, but can only be treated by ban after ban after ban. Time to start the treatment.