Keni Kaufusi Leaves Cal Bears With Depth Concerns at Defensive Tackle in 2013

Kelley L. Cox – USA TODAY Sports

New Cal Bears head coach Sonny Dykes has plenty to worry about as he takes over in Berkeley. He’s implementing a new offensive philosophy and will have to find a new quarterback, running back and No. 1 receiver to run it. His defense is transitioning out of their 3-4 alignment into a 4-3, stretching the depth of the defensive line, particularly at defensive tackle. That depth took a big hit this week when reserve defensive lineman Keni Kaufusi left the football program.

Kaufusi was never a big impact player for Cal, playing in limited spots as a backup rotational player. He notched just 10 tackles in 2012 and never more than two in a single game with 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He wasn’t able to catch on in the Bears’ 3-4 scheme, partially because of the depth that Cal used to have at the position. With the ranks thinned out by graduation and the implementation of two defensive tackles at a time, Kaufusi appeared like he would get a shot at an expanded role in 2013.

That won’t happen now, though, and Dykes is left to find help for the interior of his defense elsewhere. Mustafa Jalil and Deandre Coleman are firmly entrenched as the starters and will see the majority of the snaps next season, but they will need someone to rotate in from time to time. The team is confident in Viliami Moala to come in at either defensive tackle position as their first super-sub, but the depth chart thins out in a hurry after that.

Someone will have to distinguish themselves when fall camp opens to seize the opportunity and earn a spot in the defensive rotation. Who will step up for the Cal Bears next August?

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