By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 at 3:18 pm in off-season stuff.
HELPED HIS CAUSE: Giorgio Tavecchio. With incoming freshman Vince D’Amato set to compete in the fall and David Seawright continuing his comeback from injury, Tavecchio did himself a big favor by having a terrific spring. His work in the weight room has obviously paid off, as Tavecchio routinely boomed long field goals and his kickoffs went further than last season. Seawright is progressing slowly, Tavecchio appears to be the favorite in the fall.
WORK TO DO: Seawright. He didn’t start attempting field goals until the latter part of spring practice, but looked pretty sharp once he started. Seawright still has yet to resume kicking off. It’s a long way back with his healthy history, but the time in between spring and fall camp should help. If he’s substantially more healthy in the fall, it could make for an extremely compelling competition.
WHERE WE STAND: Besides placekicking, the Bears are pretty set on special teams. Bryan Anger, although a little inconsistent in the spring, still will be one of the nation’s top returning punters next season. And the return game should be dynamic, with Jahvid Best returning kicks and Syd’Quan Thompson on punt duties. It will be hard to get a gauge on how Cal’s kick and punt coverage is improving until they actually play in games.
MOVING FORWARD: The kicking spot will be the most fluid in the fall. It’s rare to have three viable placekickers in the same program at the same time, but that could be the competition going on during camp. The other thing to follow will be the second kick returner. There may be times when Best doesn’t return kicks, whether it be to preserve him physically or because of the offensive set the Bears plan on beginning with for the ensuing possession. Jeremy Ross did OK in that role last season, but you might see Shane Vereen or Marvin Jones get more looks there.