Football: Training camp issues — Who will start at fullback?

The losses of Alex Mack and the linebackers get more attention, but the departure of fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou is a significant one. Ta’ufo’ou was one of the top fullbacks in the Pac-10 last season and was a key cog in the Bears’ running attack.

Ta’ufo’ou was an excellent lead blocker, possessed good football instincts and commanded respect from his teammates. Cal will have a hard time finding a replacement that will play at a similar level.

That being said, Cal’s coaches are enthusiastic about the possibilities. Brian Holley, who has been on the field a lot as a backup and on special teams, will begin camp as the No. 1 fullback. He had the best spring at the position. But coach Jeff Tedford started raving about Will Kapp during the spring and hasn’t stopped since. He gushed about him at Monday’s Bay Area Media Day, and even though confirmed that Holley would start camp taking the first reps, said Kapp had a good chance to win the job. Kapp, a converted defensive back and the son of former Cal quarterback Joe Kapp, has bulked up in the offseason and demonstrated good ability as a blocker during the spring. He’s also athletic enough to catch the ball out of the backfield.

John Tyndall also is in the picture. Tyndall has been a good special teams player and should push the other two candidates for playing time.

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.

  • covinared

    what about Peter Guerts? He looked good running last year. Maybe he needs to be a better blocker, but we have been missing a good running threat from the fb spot since Manderino. He was slow but enough of a 3-5 yard threat that defenses had to pay attention to him. Guerts can run.

  • calbear

    Will + Rosebowl = Joe + Tequila

  • Not to mention we have some incoming talent which should provide additional deptrh at that position. There was talk of a Rugby/Football player that was being recruited from the East Bay that was +250 lbs possibly getting a look. Has anybody hear anything about this.

  • abe

    though a drop off at this position is imminent regardless who starts, it may not be significant enough to even be an issue, according to this opinion:http://thebearwillnotquit.blogspot.com/. I have faith in Gould.

  • CalAlum97

    Ta’ufo’ou getting some love from the Chicago Bears fan board:


  • Robert

    Hey J.O. are you going to be at most of the practices?

  • jpf

    I’m glad that the coaches are up on their FBs, but Will Ta’ufo’ou was unbelievable. He exploded through small gaps and just absolutely destroyed any LBs and DBs in his way. AND he could catch the ball and run. He is going to be very difficult to replace and easily the biggest drop-off in talent Cal is experiencing this year. I’m not worried about Guarnero one bit at C, that was his projected position and Cal’s OL dominance the last few years should not mean a significant hit. At LB, we are deep in talent with the starters, its the second-tier that is a little more questionable (but mostly from an experience stand-point–Cal has recruited LB VERY well the last few years). The 3-4 will be in full fluid force this year too.

    But FB is one of those “island” positions. When you have that key iso block the play hinges on you. Will was SO steady last year he was never noticed. And that’s what a good Fullback gives you. I’m really worried that for the more athletic defenses we’ll play this year that a lack of strength could be extremely problematic. Especially if we rely on the power run game (read Riley struggling).

    No I think this is the BIGGEST thing that Cal fans should be concerned about. I am seriously more worried about this than I am a mediocre year from Riley. His numbers weren’t horrendous last year. Even a performance like that this year means winning 8 games and possibly 10. But poor performance at FB could decimate the power run game and then defenses can key in on JB if he lines up anywhere outside of the I.

    Thanks for the update JO! All info on this topic will certainly be read closely!