Over the next few weeks I’ll be breaking down each of Cal’s position groups. Today we get down and dirty with the offensive line.
Cal graduated Mitchell Schwartz and Justin Cheadle who were both long time starters and solid pieces to the line. There are still many questions across and the offensive line is the position group most prone to changes at this point, but we’ll try and break down where things stand as of right now. Needless to say, Coach Michalczik will be tested this year with all the movement and new starters.
The center position was a major hole last year. With the combination of bad snaps and penalties by Dominic Galas it was very tough for the offense to find a rhythm. For now, he has been moved over to RG where he can do what he does best, maul the guy in front of him. This move opened up the center spot for a new starter.
On Coach Tedford’s post spring depth chart Brian Schwenke is listed as that new starter at center. Schwenke is making the move from guard to center but I would expect incoming freshman Matthew Cochran to get a serious look for some early playing time. Cochran is a very big (6-4 340) and physical inside blocker. Should Cochran show enough in the fall to get the job, Schwenke would move back to guard and supplant either Galas or Jordan Rigsbee.
Speaking of Rigsbee, as of right now there are 2 of them starting. The brothers are currently slated to both hold down the left side of the line with older brother Tyler at LT and the aforementioned Jordan at LG. Both are tall and athletic players who have the size and athleticism to be impact players along the line.
Matt Summers-Gavin provides great experience at the RT spot and is coming off an All-Conference Honorable Mention season. I would like to see Brian Schwenke playing next to him at RG and Cochran start at center. I feel that would give Cal an experienced group with 3 seniors and having a true center, as opposed to someone trying to learn the position, will help with snaps.
The future is very bright for the offensive line with many highly touted players coming in. We have already touched on Matthew Cochran, but also from last year’s class were a pair of highly regarded tackles.
Freddie Tagaloa, a local star from Salesian, is a massive and athletic tackle prospect who should compete for playing time as early as 2013 as a sophomore or redshirt freshman. His combination of size and athleticism make him the ideal LT and he should be a real asset there for the foreseeable future.
Fellow tackle Christian Okafor is already on campus and learning the playbook and getting acclimated to college. He is another big and athletic tackle prospect who will compete for a starting spot in 2013.
While there are still many question marks right now with the offensive line, once the fall rolls around we should get a much clearer picture. Where things stand now the line has 4 senior starters and one freshman. No matter how the final depth chart looks, this will definitely be a senior group this year and an exciting and young group starting the year after.