The fact that Brian Schwenke is starting at left guard on Saturday is the culmination of an interesting perspective on how coaches make decisions about redshirting players.
The coaching staff decided not to redshirt Schwenke last year, but he still didn’t play much. So did he burn his redshirt year? The kneejerk reaction might be that he did. But the decision was more about the future than about the past.
Since he didn’t redshirt, Schwenke got to take second team reps all season. He was in all the offensive line meetings and was part of game planning each week. Had he been a redshirt, he would have been on the scout team, meaning he would have been more familiar with all the opponents’ offenses than his own.
That made Schwenke much more game-ready this season. Had he redshirted, he would have likely been much farther behind in terms of getting comfortable with Cal’s offense. Now, with Matt Summers-Gavin getting injured at the beginning of camp, Schwenke finds himself starting the season-opener.
Speaking of Summers-Gavin, he’s looking good to go Saturday. But he won’t start, and there’s no guarantee he’s going to start anytime soon even when he’s completely back up to speed. Summers-Gavin is now playing right tackle, and if Donovan Edwards does the job in front of him, he’s likely to keep his job. But having Summers-Gavin available is comforting for the coaching staff since he can play both guard and tackle and should be ready if someone goes down with an injury.
- Cal coach Jeff Tedford said today that Giorgio Tavecchio has won both the field goal and kickoff job. He had previously said Tavecchio would handle field goals, but was taking a longer look at freshman Jed Barnett on kickoffs. But it turns out that Tavecchio clearly beat the competition in both areas. “We looked at Vince (D’Amato), we looked at Barnett, (David) Seawright had some chances through camp,” Tedford said. “Giorgio is clearly the most consistent.”
- Tedford said freshman running back Trajuan Briggs will redshirt. No surprise since Tedford never mentioned Briggs as a candidate to play during camp, but it is notable since Briggs enrolled early and went through spring practice, presumably giving him a slight advantage. But with four running backs already ahead of him (Shane Vereen, Isi Sofele, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson and Dasarte Yarnway), there clearly is no reason to use Briggs this season.