2021 Cal Football Positional Preview: Outside Linebackers

Bring the Saturday Scaries

The Room

Coach: Keith Heyward

Years at Cal: 1st Season

Experience

  • College Defensive Backs Coach - 9 Years

  • College Safeties Coach - 4 Years

  • College Defensive Coordinator, and/or Passing Game Coordinator, and/or Assistant Head Coach - 5 Years

Player Depth

Seniors - Kuony Deng (RS), Cameron Goode (RS), Matt Horwitz (RS), Marqez Bimage

Juniors - Parker Bosche (RS), Braxten Croteau

Sophomores - Curley Young Jr. (RS), Orin Patu (RS), Carter Lynch

Freshmen - Jeffery Johnson, Patrick Hisatake, Kaleb Elarms-Orr, Ieremia Ieremia, Myles Williams

Projected 2 Deep

1st String - Kuony Deng & Cameron Goode

2nd String - Orin Patu & Braxten Croteau

Pretty easy to say that this is the most terrifying OLB group the Bears have had in the Wilcox Era. Cam Goode has always been good, barring injury. He roared onto the stage when the Bears took on UNC at home back in 2018, and has had consistent production but hasn’t really reaped the benefits of having other parts of the defense step up to allow him 1-on-1 attempts at the pass rush. Enter Kuony Deng. The two will be an absolute terror with their length, speed, and versatility. Added to the actual depth at defensive line, as written by Josh Yuen, the OLB will get their chances to wreak some havoc in the opposing backfield. I honestly, don’t know how else to explain it, except that the starting two OLB will be a part of many PAC-12 Team of the Weeks and overlooked in the OOC games. The two backups will surely be getting in their playtime as well. They’ll be rotating and making sure the position will always have fresh legs. Braxten Croteau, aka The Croteau-Type, will be a good safety net for the position. He’s played and started multiple games, with experience both as Goode’s backup and starting in place of him. Orin Patu is the one player, I hope has finally put it all together. Coach DeRuyter used to say that Orin flashes and just needs one season to put it all together and the lightbulb to turn on. From fall camp? I think that light bulb might’ve turned on and switched to a full-on LED light panel. His speed and length have finally clicked with what the coaches are asking of him. Coach Wilcox also mentioned that Coach Heyward’s approach to coaching might’ve clicked with Orin and really gotten to him to understand, more so than previous methods. So that hire already looks to be paying off. If Orin can put it together in a game, the Bears might have a ferocious 2-deep of OLBs to terrorize opposing offensive lines and backfields.

Speed, Length, Versatility, Tackling, Setting the Edge, Pass Rush, Run Stops. They can do it all.

Editor’s note: Article was written prior to the release of the Game Week Depth Chart.