By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 8:46 pm in off-season stuff.
RETURNING STARTERS: Tackle Mitchell Schwartz, tackle MIke Tepper, guard/center Chris Guarnero, tackle Chet Teofilo, tackle/guard Donovan Edwards, guard Mark Boskovich.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR: Center Dominic Galas
POSSIBLE SURPRISE: Matt Summers-Gavin
THE BREAKDOWN: Although the Bears lose a lot of experience and talent along the offensive line with center Alex Mack and right guard Noris Malele departing, they still feature pretty good depth. That will make for a very competitive spring.
Cal has six linemen that have started games in their careers. Mike Tepper and Mitchell Schwartz are the top returning tackles and figure to be starters. Coach Jeff Tedford said Tepper will play left tackle and Schwartz will be at right tackle. Tepper was slated to play left tackle last season before injuries shelved his whole season. The spring will be important for Tepper to get back into the swing of things.
Schwartz started the 2008 season at right tackle but swapped with Chet Teofilo early on and played the left side the remainder of the season. Teofilo missed the second half of the season with an ankle injury, and that allowed Donovan Edwards to get some experience. Teofilo and Edwards will battle to provide depth, and Edwards could move to guard.
Justin Cheadle, who replaced Malele for a couple games last season because of injury, is on the fast track to earn one of the guard spots. The other side appears to be pretty open. Mark Boskovich became the starter at left guard after Chris Guarnero incurred a season-ending toe injury early in the season, but he could be pushed by Matt Summers-Gavin, Richard Fisher or Edwards if he makes the switch inside.
Guarnero will switch back to his natural position at center now that Mack has moved on, but Tedford said redshirt freshman-to-be Dominic Galas could make a push. Galas was pulled off the scout team last year to take reps with the offense after the injuries piled up. If Galas plays well, perhaps he or Guarnero could play guard after all.