Football: Wednesday night update

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.

Other notes:

  • 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.

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.

  • Thanks for the update Okanes, are you going to do predictions for the Pac-10 games this week?

  • milo

    Nice reporting JO. Season opener is close. Go Bears!

    p.s. I think JO has the Bears slated at 7th. He called his shot. If he’s wrong, and Cal does better, can’t let him forget it.

  • rollonubears

    i want consistency during the games. i don’t care how well they kick during practice. i’d kind of like to give the new kid a chance. all three of the other kickers have proven they can’t handle the pressure of kicking a ball as hard as you can off a tee.

    i really hope the o-line is THAT good, that msg has now been relegated to #2 at a position he’s never played. how do you go from guard to left tackle to right tackle, to backup right tackle, without ever having a chance to play? this guy was the lynchpin of the o-line last year! oh well.

  • Frank

    Galas had as good a training camp as any lineman on the roster,was announced as a starter in the original depth chart.His payoff,”backup guard”.Nice evaluation o-line coach and J.T.

  • GldnBear71

    Let’s cut through the cr@p. Can Schwenke play at a level to make a difference? That’s all that matters.

  • MSG is our best and when ready will start.This has been proven.We are better when he plays.

  • old bear

    I would suggest Schwenke didn’t burn his redshirt year (a la Pat Barnes) but rather played in 12 games, including 2 or 3 when the game was still contested and he filled in for a shift or two for the starters. This puts him a little ahead of Mitch Scwartz in relative experience, and he has started quite well since his RS frosh year.

  • rollonubears

    this offensive line is a bigger question mark than at any time i remember, since following cal. maybe it’s just because of all the press coverage. they seem infatuated with it. we’re either going to be really good, or really bad. and with all the shuffling going on, i’m really worried.

  • Fair Weather Fan

    The shuffling is a little disconcerting, but all of these guys have game experience, and most have quite a bit of experience. There is every reason to expect that the O-line will be better than last year.

    There is also every reason to believe Cal will be better as a team than last year if Riley improves. He does not have to be great, just better.

    Cal was 5-4 in conference last year. They should be 6-3 or better this year. That will put them in the top 3 or 4 in the conference.

  • TedfordsBlackBMW

    I’m not worried at all. There’s more than enough depth on the O-line.