Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Larger shoes than you believe: California

Third in a series taking a look at lineup holes which are essential even when they do not make headlines.CaliforniaEverybody is talking about: Two issues have Bears fans talking: 1. Will Kevin Riley be challenged for the beginning quarterback job (most likely not); two. What will the defense look like under Clancy Pendergast (the three-man pass rush may be dead).Bigger shoes than you think: Defensive finish Tyson AlualuAlualu is hardly anonymous. He started 39 games for the Bears, recording 17 sacks within the process, and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 after becoming tapped second team the year prior to. He figures to be picked before round three with the NFL draft ends. Nonetheless, it usually seemed like he operated under the radar. Whilst replacing cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson is much more urgent considering how poorly the Bears' secondary played in 2009, the void left by Alualu -- his production and quiet leadership -- will probably be challenging to fill in 2010.Who's stepping in: Last year's depth chart says it'll be junior Trevor Guyton, who had 4 tackles for a loss as Alualu's backup. Junior Ernest Owusu has the physical abilities for a possible breakthrough. But it's also feasible that Pendergast is going to shuffle some players and look at myriad choices -- is it a 3-4 front, or a hybrid 3-4 or a 4-3 dressed up as a 3-4, and so on. Is this DE position going to be a glorified tackle or a pass-rushing end? Cal beat writer Jonathan Okanes opined that redshirt freshman DeAndre Coleman, "a 6-foot-6, 309-pound man using the athletic capability to play outside" may be a possibility.

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