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Cal football: Spring review — offensive line

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.

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.

  • calbear

    Jonathan, have you noticed a different attitude to the O-line due to Coach Marshall? How have players been speaking of him? Did they have a seamless transition?

  • Robert

    J.o. if you had to say who you thought would start on the line against Maryland, who would it be? Then, assuming no injuries would it be the same group at mid-season if you had to project?

  • locamotiion

    J.O I read that our O-line was steady but not great in the spring do u think that it has to do with more Def talent, or not having enough time to gel cause the 3-4 if run right is harder to reconize blitzes than the traditional 4-3.

  • cal85

    JO – what is your overall impression of the group? Yes, there is a big minus with Mack gone, but it seems like there are some pluses with the others having more experience under their belts and good depth. So, would you rate this group as better, same, or worse than last year’s group at this point in time?

    Go Bears!

  • Bears

    JO,
    What do you think the potential of the OL in 09 is?
    Many were injured and as a whole did not perform at a consistently high level last fall. Does this year’s group put it all together and produce a strong performance each game 8 deep (in case of injury)?
    I hope they understand the fate of the offense depends on if they can be better than good. They need to be great to allow the Bears offense to reach their potential.
    Exciting time, I hope they get it done this summer and dominate the LOS starting September 5th!
    Go Bears

  • Mustang man

    If Summer Gavin isn’t starting over Boskovich and SwinginggaTeofilo vs Maryland, then the coaches are making a big mistake.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Cal, there doesn’t seem to be much difference with Marshall. He seems to be a little more vocal than Michalczik, and I haven’t heard a bad word said about him.
    Robert, obviously I’d have Tepper at LT, Schwartz at RT and Guarnero at C. I’d guess Teofilo will be healthy enough to start at RG. Boskovich may be able to keep his starting job at the outset, but Summers-Gavin or Cheadle could be there eventually.
    Locamotion, I believe a lot of it is because of the defense. The O-line had trouble at times picking up blitzes and providing pass protection, but I think a lot of offenses are going to struggle with that this season.
    Cal85, I’d say at this point it’s not at the same level as last year, because at this point last year Tepper was still believed to be in the mix and Mack and Noris Malele also were returning. But it’s stronger now than by the end of last year because of the injuries and the return of Tepper.
    Bears, I’d say it’s up in the air right now. The unit didn’t set the world on fire during the spring, but again I think some of that is due to the defense. The key will be finding consistent play at the guard spots. Teofilo should be pretty good there if he is healthy.