HELPED HIS CAUSE: Mychal Kendricks. Many thought this would be the opportunity for Kendricks to make an impact, and that’s exactly what has happened. Kendricks flashed gobs of potential last year as a true freshman and now it appears he’s locked into a starting job on the inside. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory used Kendricks on both the outside and inside this spring before finally settling him inside. That comes as a bit of a surprise with Kendricks’ speed, but Gregory said he has all the tools to be a very good inside linebacker.
WORK TO DO: Devin Bishop. This is not an indictment of how Bishop played this spring. He played well. But when Kendricks ultimately wound up inside, Bishop wound up outside. Bishop ended spring as the starting weakside outside linebacker, but that’s a position he’s expected to get competition from junior college transfer Ryan Davis in the fall. Bishop will have to continue to improve in the fall to hold off Davis, who is believed to have lots of potential as a rush linebacker.
WHERE WE STAND: For the first time in a couple years, there are no Zack Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder to hold down the linebacking corps. Obviously, the Bears have some major players to replace, but Gregory is confident in his young linebackers. Mike Mohamed, who backed up all four positions last year, may have been the team’s best linebacker. He’s now going to start inside with Kendricks. Mohamed and Kendricks potentially give Cal a dynamic due of inside backers. Eddie Young maintained his job on the strong side outside.
MOVING FORWARD: The biggest question in the fall will be the weakside outside spot. Gregory was happy with how Bishop played at the end of last season and in the spring, but Davis deserves a look. The Bears also have to consider where D.J. Holt fits in. Despite playing through a shoulder injury this spring, Gregory repeatedly praised Holt for his play. If nothing else, he gives the Bears some depth on the inside.