By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 11:34 am in off-season stuff.
HELPED HIS CAUSE: Sean Cattouse. The safety came on at the end of last year and started the Emerald Bowl, but much of that is because Brett Johnson wasn’t fully healthy. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory went into spring thinking Johnson was solid as a starter, but Cattouse played too well and now the competition will continue on into the spring. Cattouse made a lasting impression with a nice interception in the final scrimmage.
WORK TO DO: Darian Hagan. Last year’s starter at one corner practiced just once a week during the spring to focus on academics. Coach Jeff Tedford was pleased with Hagan’s attitude and how he handled his business, but the bottom line is his absence allowed others a chance to make an impact. Chris Conte, Bryant Nnabufie, Josh Hill and Marc Anthony all did that. Hagan should still be in good shape to return as a starter, but he needs to make sure he takes care of business in the fall.
WHERE WE STAND: This is the deepest position on the team. With Hagan and Syd’Quan Thompson at corner, Marcus Ezeff at one safety and either Cattouse or Johnson at the other, the Bears will have a talented and experienced secondary this season. If anyone falters, the depth should shine through. Conte has started games, Nnabufie is a talent who came on during the spring, and Gregory has raved about Hill and Anthony.
MOVING FORWARD: There are no real pressing questions. Cattouse and Johnson will battle for a starting job, but both players will get significant playing time and both are quality players. Hagan should still start the fall as a No. 1 cornerback, and he simply has to continue to play hard and maintain a good attitude. Simply put, Cal is loaded in the secondary, and that should make things easier on the rest of the defense this fall.