Cal football: Spring review — running backs

HELPED HIS CAUSE: Covaughn DeBoskie. He didn’t get a whole lot of looks as a freshman because he wasn’t on scout team and was also the fourth-string running back. That meant on-field activity was limited. With Jahvid Best out with an injury and Tracy Slocum no longer in the program, DeBoskie suddenly was the Bears’ No. 2 tailback in the spring. And DeBoskie made an impression. He ran hard with good explosiveness, especially on the perimeter and in space. DeBoskie still needs to work on running between the tackles, but he certainly opened some eyes with his performance this spring. With injuries always a concern at the running back position, it looks as though the Bears have just that much more depth at a position where Best and Shane Vereen already give them a formidable 1-2 punch.

WORK TO DO: John Tyndall. He was considered possibly the leading candidate for the fullback job after last season but now appears to be behind Brian Holley and Will Kapp on the depth chart. Tydnall is a good special teams player but will have his work cut out for him in the fall to become the team’s top fullback.

WHERE WE STAND: There’s no deep analysis needed here. We all know Best will be the featured tailback and one of the best in the country if he is healthy. His absence this spring was good for Vereen and DeBoskie. Vereen was steady but not spectacular in the spring, but he proved last season he is a valuable backup. It will be interesting to see if DeBoskie pushed Vereen at all for some second team reps. Vereen is incredibly dependable and one of the most respected players on the team by both coaches and teammates.

MOVING FORWARD: Best said he expects to be completely healthy well before the start of training camp. He hopes to be ready in time for offseason conditioning workouts, which start around the end of June. When the fall comes around, Best will be the most overexposed offensive player on the West Coast. Even if he is completely healthy, which everyone expects, the coaches still may limit him a bit during camp. They do that even when he isn’t injured, simply to protect their star player. Again, that will help Vereen and DeBoskie. There’s no reason to believe Vereen won’t once again get his occassional chances as a backup. He won’t simply be waiting in case Best gets hurt. The Bears will use him.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.