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Spring practice review: Offensive line

HELPED HIS CAUSE: Tyler Rigsbee. Because of the back injury to starting tackle Mitchell Schwartz, the Bears got a look at some of their younger tackles during the spring. Rigsbee ended up taking much of the first team reps at left tackle with Matt Summers-Gavin at right tackle. Coach Jeff Tedford singled Rigsbee out as one of the players that stood out during camp. Even if Schwartz and Summers-Gavin are the starting tackles, which appears likely, the experience Rigsbee got this spring should help Cal in the depth department this fall.

WORK TO DO: Matt Williams. The transfer from North Dakota State picked Cal over a host of big-time suitors, but even though he’s a junior, he doesn’t appear close to cracking the rotation yet. Rigsbee, Sam DeMartinis and Bill Tyndall all got more reps and seemed to be in higher regard among the coaches. Williams is no doubt still getting used to the complexities of Cal’s blocking schemes — he’s a Liverpool, England native who is relatively new to football. But Williams, by all accounts, has good athleticism for his size (6-foot-7, 286 pounds), and still could make a push in the fall.

WHERE WE STAND: It was hard to get a true evaluation of the offensive line because of the injuries to Schwartz and projected starting center Dominic Galas. The unit the Bears did line up struggled, but some of that has to be because of the inexperienced players getting reps in the injured players’ absence. Guys like Rigsbee, DeMartinis and Tyndall will be better off in the long run because of the reps they got this spring. But as of right now, it’s clear the Bears need Schwartz and Galas to be healthy for the offensive line to be at its best. Cal also needs tight ends Spencer Ladner and Jarrett Sparks to get healthy, although converted wide receiver Spencer Hagan looked strong in the spring but needs to get bigger.

MOVING FORWARD: Despite the uneven play this spring, the Bears are looking at a pretty experienced unit when everyone is healthy. Assuming left-handed quarterback Zach Maynard gets the starting job, Schwartz should move to right tackle to protect his blind side. That would put Summers-Gavin at left tackle. Justin Cheadle looked strong at times I isolated on him this spring, and he should enter the fall as the starting right guard. Brian Schwenke is back at left guard and Galas has excellent potential at center. Throw in Anthony Miller at tight end, and new (and former) offensive line coach has to feel good about his starting point in the fall. Then throw in the experience the younger guys got in the spring, and there is definitely the possibility for improvement from a unit that has had ups and downs in recent years.

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.