Trepidation. Excitement. Deliverance.
This week is historic: An accumulation of hard work, ambition and perseverance as aspiring professional football players take their first steps into the NFL. With the glitter and drama of the NFL draft, however, it is easy to forget the origins of all these potential NFL stars: from a small-town college in the middle of nowhere; from a scraped knee during spring training; from a life-changing scholarship.
While for some this weekend holds the promise of realizing their dreams, for others, these handful of days are only the beginning. Enter: Cal football.
After finishing the 2021-22 season with an embarrassing 5-7 record, the Bears are ready to rest, rebuild and rehearse.
Cal football began the month of April at the face of significant loss. Walking into the new season, the team had to deal with the loss of nearly two-thirds of the 2021 starting lineup including quarterback Chase Garbers, leading rusher Christopher Brooks and star wide receivers Kekoa Crawford, Trevon Clark and Nikko Remigio. Not only does the team lack veteran experience on the field, but it lacks a solid leadership core as well.
This was shown on the field, as spring practice yielded significant holes in the offensive line, outside linebacker and defensive secondary. After 15 spring practices throughout the month of April, the coaching staff lacks an answer to its most pressing question: Who will take the Bears’ first snap come Sept. 3 and replace Garbers as starting quarterback?
With sixth-year graduate transfer Ryan Glover departing the program in favor of the transfer portal, the Bears currently have five athletes listed under the quarterback position on the roster: Kai Millner, Jack Plummer, Robby Rowell, Zach Johnson and Blake DeBisschop. Many are inexperienced, however, and most have not taken a snap yet. Despite the lack of an offensive leader, the coaching staff is not worried.
“In terms of naming a starter, that’s not really on the list right now,” said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox. “We are just focused on those guys getting better and comfortable and when it’s time we’ll make the announcement.”
For now, the Bears are taking it one day at a time. Their Cal Football Spring Showcase will happen this Saturday, April 30 at California Memorial Stadium.