With the indefinite postponement of Spring Football—and mostly all sports—it’s been tough to crank out some content for you, the reader, and for us the writers. So, with one last wringing of the content cloth of Spring Football practices, I’ll go over any of the interesting tidbits from the practices.
Photo Credit: Cal Football Twitter
The biggest part of the offense is that it is new! Of course it is! A new OC, QB Coach, RB Coach, and OL Coach. OC Bill Musgrave brings a wealth of experience in offensive coaching and playcalling, along with the added bonus of all but a couple of seasons being in the NFL. Musgrave’s offense looks very much like a typical West Coast offense with some Air Raid concepts. During the first four practices, a firm focus was the run game and play-action—and it very much reminded me of the 2018 Jared Goff–led Rams offense that was heavily built on the run and used play-action for explosive plays. That's not saying that this offense will be built around it, but if it is the point of emphasis through the first four practices, then it has to be an important pillar of what Musgrave wants to build on offense for the Bears. I mentioned this on the pod, but this offense will be rolling if CBJ and the other RBs are able to get off to the hot start as they did in 2019, but the key to them will have to be the offensive line. Injuries derailed some of the progress the line made in 2019, but on the flip side, it allowed players like McKade Mettauer to gain valuable experience. This, in turn, creates depth for the position across the line. You could create a mixed two-deep on the line that has starting experience with all 10 guys. The tight end is the most interesting position because contrary to the previous OC, Musgrave wants to actually use more of them to create mismatches and various different looks. Two-TE sets to a single side, split, in the slot, in run blocking, in pass protection, running routes, working as the safety valve. Those are just some of the ways I witnessed the TEs being utilized and I’m sure it’s just the beginning for the evolution of the offense. The last thing we need to talk about is the return of the fullback. Not an H-Back hybrid like one of my favorite human beings in Malik McMorris, but an actual lead-blocking fullback. The only man at the position is Zach Angelillo. The inside linebacker turned fullback is already hitting the ground running, literally and figuratively as he transitions to a drastically different position. He’s said he’s intrigued by the position, after wanting to move to any other position to be able to help the team in any way and also watching the tape of a very effective fullback in the NFL by the name of Kyle Juszczyk. The coaches did say they had some other guys they were looking at the position and it will be interesting how that position depth is built over just a single summer leading into the fall.
Nothing really has changed here from a schematic standpoint, but gone are the days of Evan Weaver, Jaylinn Hawkins, Ashtyn Davis and Trayveon Beck. There is an influx of talent and youth at every position and its most prevalent at the DB position. Craig Woodson and Trey Paster are the two young standouts from the first four practices. The older guys rave about Woodson’s knack for the ball and with a last name like that playing defensive back, I would be surprised if he didn’t. Trey Paster as a true freshman early enrollee who looks like he could play right away. His size and stature surprised me the most as I did not expect him to look filled out on his frame—I did not notice that on his tape. Schematically, the only real change is the addition of the STAR position. The two players that will most likely get the looks at this SS/OLB hybrid position are Trey Paster and Daniel Scott. Scott has the experience and could allow the Bears to field the most experienced in the defensive backfield with him at the position. Paster provides the size that you would want from the position being able to cover slot receivers, running backs, and tight ends. The biggest storyline from the team and specifically the defensive side was the change of duties by the staff. ILB Coach Peter Sirmon swapped duties with OLB Coach Tim DeRuyter. According to CalBears.com, Sirmon takes on the roles of Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers Coach, and Recruiting Coordinator while DeRuyter is listed as Co-Defensive Coordinator, Associate Head Coach, and Outside Linebackers Coach; Sirmon will also take over playcalling duties. Coach Wilcox did emphasize that it would still be a collaborative effort with the defensive coordinating.
Not much to say here except Jamieson Sheahan might be the best raw talent at punter we’ve seen in quite some time. He can get hangtime and aim and that’s pretty much all you want from your punter to start. Hopefully, we see him start to pin the ball within the 10-yard line.
That’s pretty much it from me. I’d love to do a mailbag of football questions you may have had about Spring Football, the 2020 Cal Football team, or random questions. So if you have any, drop them in the comments and I’ll compile them to have them answered sometime next week! Stay safe, fam!