There were a few positives we knew going into camp.
Who's going to start at tight end?
Who's going to start on the defensive line along side Logan Harrell?
Is the offensive line going to stay healthy and perform well?
Who's going to back up the starting five o-linemen?
Is Jermaine Thomas capable of playing just nine months removed ACL surgery?
With the conclusion of camps, there are a few welcomed surprises.
Derek Carr is a special quarterback.
The running backs and wide receivers are ridiculously deep and talented for a young team.
The team speed on defense is improved.
Logan Harrell is a beast on the defensive line.
Kevin Goessling may be the best kicker in the nation.
The incoming freshman class of defensive linemen and linebackers is more impressive in person.
Two incoming skill position freshman could contribute this year, and one may even start.
"We didn't play that many starters," head coach Pat Hill said about the 70-play scrimmage that featured many younger players that will likely not play during the 2011 season.
"It's not as precise as the last of our practices. I'm sort of getting used to the last scrimmage of camp as the fourth exhibition of the NFL. We've had about eight scrimmages – one that was called a scrimmage – this one tonight we looked at a lot of young guys."
Hill says he had to look at the film before he could evaluate players' performances.
"The contact wasn't as good as I wanted it. But that's what happens, the older guys know they are not playing and it's just not as energetic. The young guys, they're learning."
While Hill wasn't overly impressed with the scrimmage, he is impressed with the 2011 training camp. And he is relieved to escape camp with minimal injuries.
"I think we had a really good camp. The last scrimmage, you want everything to be great. But when you're playing guys that can't make many calls, and it's basic and vanilla, it takes away from the impact of the first [scrimmage].
"It was good that we finished camp with only the one injury – Tapa (Kulitapa Taumoepeau). That's the best thing I can take from this."
Depth Chart Coming Together
Hill says the coaches spent Sunday and Monday going through the numbers to put together a workable depth chart as prep begins for Cal this week.
"Starting Tuesday, we'll start getting our units together," said Hill.
As many nine true freshmen could be in that group. "We have at least seven on defense," said Hill. "And Malique Micenheimer is definitely going to help us on offense, and we are still looking at Davante Adams.
"We got two weeks before the first game. The first two games of the season are big-time games. We are going to keep a lot of these guys coming whether they are in a role in the first two games or not. They might be in a role by the time we hit October. We are going to keep polishing. We have about nine freshmen that are legitimate guys that can help us this year because of position need. If they were injuries, they'll be playing.
Hill says most of the depth chart is in place, but says a few positions will be decided in the next weeks before the Sept. 3 season opener.
"We're still looking at the defensive line," said Hill. "We got a lot of wide receivers. Whom the starting three or starting two doesn't mean those are the only guys playing. We're going to shuttle in seven guys.
"We got running backs that can play, and a multitude of tight ends. The offensive line will probably be a pretty solid group. There is not going to be much change in that group. The defensive line there's a lot of interchangeable parts. The linebackers and the secondary are starting to solidify, but our nickel and dime sets, we are still making decisions."
Stay with BarkBoard.com for our projected offense and defense starting lineups and depth chart coming Tuesday.
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