Young Roster Will Pay Dividends for Cal Bears, but Not in 2013

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA TODAY Sports

As Sonny Dykes takes over the Cal Bears and implements his up-tempo offensive attack, there are bound to be some growing pains. Those struggles are only going to be exacerbated by the extreme youth of his new roster. While those young legs will pay dividends for the program down the line, they’ll have to take their lumps as they learn a new system in 2013.

In all, the Bears have just 12 seniors on their roster and will line up as one of the youngest teams in the country this season. That could be an issue for Cal as they need strong leadership to emerge to help them turn this program around under a new regime. Dykes recognizes the challenges of having such an inexperienced roster, but sees plenty of potential for growth:

“We’re a very young team that’s playing a very difficult schedule. If you’re on the outside of our program and you’re looking at Cal football, it doesn’t look very good. The thing is, from the inside, we think it looks very good. We’re around our players all the time. We know the talent that exists in our program. We know the dedication and the buy-in that these guys have had.”

That optimism is great as it sounds like the program is headed in the right direction, but the inexperience can’t be overstated. The work that the team is putting in now will help them down the line in another year or two, but trying to figure things out on the fly in the middle of a season is not a recipe for a strong 2013 campaign.

Dykes has this program heading in the direction he would like it to go, but the youth and inexperience that he will rely on will make that process a bit slower this season. Down the line, the lumps they take this year will be serious learning tools that will make the Bears a real threat in the Pac 12 once again.

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