Notebook: Holmoe reveals starting lineup

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It's been that distant date on the calendar for so long, players, coaches and fans were starting to wonder if it was ever going to come. And to top it off, the rest of the teams in the Pac-10 have already played their first game.

But it is finally game week for the Cal football team, which will get its season under way Saturday at 3:15 p.m. when Utah rolls into town for the season-opener.

"I'm really excited to get the season under way," Cal head coach Tom Holmoe said. "I have mixed emotions about the bye. I'm okay with it now, but I won't like it later in the season."

Because of the scheduling quirk, the Bears will not have a week off during the season, which allows extra preparation for the upcoming opponent and more importantly, time to heal injuries.


Head coach Tom Holmoe announced the starting lineup this week. Eight players will make their first career starts for the Bears - three on offense and five on defense.

The offense returns Kyle Boller at quarterback, Joe Igber at tailback and Marcus Fields in the new H-back position.

The offensive line is anchored by Reed Diehl at center. Diehl injured his hand and knee in fall camp, but said that he has healed and will play Saturday.

Joining Diehl on the line are Langston Walker (left tackle), Brandon Ludwig (left guard), Robert Truhitte (right guard) and Mark Wilson (right tackle). Truhitte, a senior in his second season at Cal, and Wilson, a redshirt freshman, will start for the first time for the Bears.

The line is still trying to get healthy. Holmoe said Scott Tercero and David Hays are still weeks away from making a return. Both players are out with knee injuries.

The starting nods at receiver - the biggest question mark on the offense this year - went to the two most veteran pass-catchers on the team, senior Phillip Pipersburg and junior Sean Currin. Holmoe did say that as many as six to eight receivers will see playing time Saturday.

"I think the new guys coming in and the veteran guys, we're out to prove everybody wrong," Currin said. "We want to prove to the media, fans and everybody else that we're not weak."

Brian Surgener returns at tight end for his senior season.


Unlike last season, Cal will field a team that is less experienced on offense than it is on defense.

Up front, preseason All-American Andre Carter returns to anchor the defensive line along with Jacob Waasdorp. The two seniors are joined by Daniel Nwangwu and Tully Banta-Cain, who will make his first career start Saturday.

"We've lost a lot of great players," Carter said. "Now it's just me and Jacob, but I'm confident about the guys we have up there now."

Harder hit by graduation is the linebacker unit, which will have two career starts among its three players. Scott Fujita has the most experience on the unit and will start at outside linebacker. Junior college transfer Chris Ball and former walk-on John Klotsche are the starting inside linebackers.

The secondary returns one of Cal's most experienced players in cornerback Chidi Iwuoma. Holmoe has not made a decision on the other corner spot and will choose between sophomore LaShaun Ward or senior Harold Pearson.

The defensive backfield will also be occupied by Nnamdi Asomugha at free safety and Dewey Hale at the strong safety position.

Mark-Christian Jensen won the hotly contested field-goal kicking job, edging out Tyler Fredrickson and Jeremy Hershey. Jensen connected on 4 of 8 attempts last season, with a long of 37 yards.

Preseason All-American Nick Harris will punt.


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