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Football: Spring practice review — secondary

HELPED HIS CAUSE: Michael Coley. The redshirt freshman has taken advantage of some of the departures Cal had from its secondary since last year. Gone are NFL draft pick Chris Conte, Bryant Nnabufie and Darian Hagan. Josh Hill, a part-time starter last season, missed the spring to focus on academics. Coley was given an opportunity and played well as the nickel back. Coley was a well-regarded recruit coming out of high school in 2010 and could make an impact as the first defensive back off the bench, even when Hill returns in the fall.

WORK TO DO: Adrian Lee. Another redshirt freshman, Lee benefitted from a lot of reps in the spring. He’ll need that experience when fall camp arrives because he’s going to face some stiff competition from newcomers Stefan McClure, Kameron Jackson and Joel Willis to get into the playing rotation. Coach Jeff Tedford has said from the outset the three incoming corners are going to be given every chance to be in the rotation. Lee needs to use his experience to gain an edge.

WHERE WE STAND: While the linebacker corps may be the deepest position on the team, the secondary’s starting unit is at the same level. Cornerback Marc Anthony, following up his first season as a starter, had an excellent spring. He and Steve Williams give the Bears potentially one of the top corner duos in the Pac-12. Sean Cattouse is experienced, talented and a leader, and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has to be comforted by the senior’s presence on the back end. D.J. Campbell, now a fifth-year senior, appears to have locked down the other safety spot after seeing time as a backup last season. With Coley, C.J. Moncrease and Alex Logan, and possibly even freshman Avery Walls, the Bears appear to be in pretty good shape at safety. The only question in the secondary is the depth at corner. Cal can use Hill there, but don’t be surprised if another incoming freshman cracks the two-deep in the fall.

MOVING FORWARD: The Bears could really see some playmaking Cattouse this season. The fifth-year senior has a better grasp of Pendergast’s schemes and is on the radar of NFL scouts. Anthony could emerge as one of the conference’s better corners. He is a pretty good cover man and displayed excellent open-field tackling during the spring. Hill can backup at both safety and corner, so would he be a better candidate to play nickel? His absence this spring certainly gave Coley a boost. The biggest developments this fall will be at backup corner. Out of the three incoming freshman, McClure is considered to be the one with the most potential.

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.

  • rotfogel

    I’d say with the addition of our DLine recruits, the secondary, while very talented and somewhat deep, is the weakest link of the defense. Cal’s DLine is very stocked full of NFL talent.

    In other words, if the secondary is the weakest link, which isn’t really that weak, the defense should be a top 10 defense in the nation. I expect them to be this year.

  • c98

    This defense is going to be really good, and in the next few years it is only going to get better.

  • Ornithophilous

    I’m also impressed by our defense. The only thing that can stop this defense is our offense–if there are a lot of three-and-outs and turnovers, our defense will be on the field an awful lot and may get tired and discouraged. Good thing we have quality depth to rotate in players.

  • Calduke

    If the defense has to spend 75% of the game on the field, bottom-line results may not be what is expected.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    From what I read about your secondary, I can just see Robert Woods and Matt Barkley having career days.

  • CMRBEAR

    I think the depth of the defense is going to play a big role this year with the young guys coming in and should help clancy’s aggresive D-Style.

    Also with Tedford calling plays and a mobile QB in Maynard I think we are going to see more creative play calling like we saw when he first arrived on campus.

  • CoBears

    Career lows for Woods and Barkley, that is.

    Looking forward to some low scoring opposing offenses this year, including the Toejams.

  • GldnBear71

    Like last year’s game?

  • CoBears

    Last year’s game was an anomaly defensively for us. Ugly as hell, but an anomaly. And this year, we are at “home”, which should help even more. Look how we did against Oregon last year.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Are the 9 blowouts you guys have had the past 3 years anomalies? If I recall we blew you guys out in 2009 in your own stadium. You guys never showed up.

  • calgrizzlybear

    the blowouts aka mollywhoppin must cease

  • CMRBEAR

    Im sorry “We” ? What position did you play MoreNCsarecoming? You really need a diffrent hobby

  • BlueNGold

    What moron REALLY needs is a life.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    What BlueNGold needs is another s/n. Any “advice”? LOL.

  • BlueNGold

    Actually, moron, I am very happy with the screen name I have now and see no reason to change it. Further, unlike you, I have no reason to resort to the use of multiple screen names on this blog in order to post repetitive and snarky comments here that are obviously written by you despite your weak and feeble attempts to conceal your identity.

    But if I were to decide to use another screen name on this blog, I think I might like ‘MoreLiesarecoming’. How does that grab you?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    It devastates me. HAHAHAHAHA

  • calgrizzlybear

    just as long as we show up .. none of that we won the second half stuff k… we got talent across the board PUT IT TO USE GO HARD OR GO HOME