We lost one of our best linebacker, Mike Mohamed, this season to the NFL. However, filling in for Mohamed will be Mychal Kendricks (See Picture Above), who played Outside Linebacker (mostly on the weakside) last season. There should be no problem with Kendricks and DJ Holt in the middle next season, as they are veterans and both can put up big numbers. DJ Holt had a team season record of 16 tackles against Nevada last season, though he seemed to be the only person who could tackle that game. Currently, Kendricks is on the list for many noteworthy awards this upcoming season (Rotary Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lott IMPACT Trophy and the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy).
At Outside Linebacker, we have a lot of new talent coming in. Currently Ryan Davis and Dan Camporeale are the starters after Spring Practice. However, I expect that to change going into our first game. There is a lot of athleticism in Cecil Whiteside and David Wilkerson. I expect these two to take over the starting spots by the middle of the season, and also keep an key on Chris McCain and incoming freshmen Brennan Scarlett to get in the mix (even though he is slated as a DE on Rivals.com).
Darian Hagan left Cal for the NFL, who recently signed with the Houston Texans, but we have returning starter Marc Anthony. I think Steve Williams will have no problem filling in for Hagan next season because he has great footwork and an amazing vertical. Lets hope they won’t get lit up against big time QBs like Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Nick Foles. Behind Steve Williams and Marc Anthony, will be Josh Hill and a lot of new guys. There will most likely a mixture of cornerbacks and safeties used as a nickelback with Pendergast’s style of defense. I expect Josh Hill or Michael Coley to be that dependable nickelback next season. Also, keep an eye on Adrian Lee to become a reliable backup at CB.
All-Pac 10 Strong Safety Chris Conte has left for the NFL, and Free Safety Sean Cattouse will be back for his senior year. DJ Campbell is currently slated to take over for Chris Conte, but don’t expect the same production. There will be competition from Josh Hill, Michael Coley, and true freshman Avery Walls for the strong safety position. Expect big plays from Sean Cattouse next season, as long as he stays healthy.
Some 2010 Season Defensive Stats:
Total Defense: #18 in the Nation, #1 in Pac-10
Scoring Defense: #40 in the Nation, #3 in Pac-10
Sacks: 34 total, #13 in the Nation, #1 in Pac-10
Interceptions: 9 total, #89 in the Nation, tied #7 in Pac-10
Passing Defense: 56.08% Opp Completion, #21 in the Nation, #1 in Pac-10
Rushing Defense: 132.08 Opp Rushing Yds/game, #35 in the Nation, #4 in Pac-10
Redzone Defense: 76% Opp RZ Pct (Includes FG), #26 in the Nation, #3 in Pac-10
Opp PPG: 22.6 pts