By Jonathan Okanes
Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 10:42 am in off-season stuff.
HELPED HIS CAUSE: Chris Guarnero. There was really no reason to doubt Guarnero’s ability to come back from his season-ending toe surgery, but he still was making the transition from guard back to center this spring. Except for a few bad snaps, Guarnero had a good spring by all accounts. Center is Guarnero’s more natural position anyway — he simply played guard last year because a fellow by the name of Alex Mack had the center spot locked down. With Mack now gone, Guarnero can slide back to center. There was some talk of possibly keeping Guarnero at guard and taking a look at oncoming sophomore-to-be Dominic Galas at center, but that never materialized. Plus, Galas missed some of the spring with a sprained ankle.
WORK TO DO. Donovan Edwards. He became a starter at right tackle by the end of last season because of an ankle injury to Chet Teofilo, but with the return of sixth-year senior MIke Tepper, Edwards’ days at tackle seem to be over, at least this season. Edwards is in the mix at guard, but wasn’t one of the top four guards by the end of spring. Instead, Edwards took almost exclusive reps as the second team left tackle. With both guard positions pretty open, that appears to be Edwards’ best chance to get back on the field this season.
WHERE WE STAND: Cal is set at both tackle spots and at center. Tepper will be the Bears’ left tackle while redshirt sophomore Mitchell Schwartz will play right tackle, where he started last season before moving over to the left side early on. The questions are at guard. Mark Boskovich took most of the first team reps at left guard after starting there last season when Guarnero went down. Chet Teofilo is penciled in at right guard for now but was in and out of spring practice as he still recovers from his ankle injury. The backups – Matt Summers-Gavin and Justin Cheadle — both came to Cal with major press clippings and are talented. They should both push for playing time in the fall.
MOVING FORWARD: The competition for the guard spots will be one of the most closely followed in the fall. Boskovich has the experience, but he struggled at times last season and wasn’t at his best in the Emerald Bowl to close the season. Teofilo has only played tackle at Cal so guard will be a transition for him. Coach Jeff Tedford lauded Summers-Gavin for having a good spring and he could be the next in line to compete with Boskovich or Teofilo. Galas is a wild-card. Could he do what Guarnero did last season, move to guard to get his talents on to the field? Or would Cal still consider keeping him at center and moving Guarnero back to guard? Those questions will be answered during fall camp.