California Golden Bears Position Preview: Defensive Backs


Before the football season starts, lets look at how the California Golden Bears are doing at each position entering the spring, and see where there are potential position battles. With a squad that’s returning 17 of 22 starters from a year ago, we might not see a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, but it doesn’t hurt to know who’s new, and who’s backing up those 17 returning starters.

A Year Ago…

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The defensive backs for the Golden Bears struggled mightily in the 2014 season. The regulars included Michael Lowe, Darius Allensworth, Darius White, Stefan McClure, Cameron Walker, and Cedric Dozier, with Lowe being the most consistent of the bunch. At the beginning of the season, White was a hyped up JUCO transfer that many fans and analysts thought was going to contribute for the Golden Bears right away. Unfortunately for White, he was hampered by injuries all season long, and never got into a good rhythm.

With or without White though, the Golden Bears could not stop the other pass-happy teams from the Pac-12 Conference. Cal found themselves constantly getting beat deep and exposed by spread teams like Oregon and Arizona.

Cal’s pass defense ranked dead last in the Pac-12, surrendering an average of 367.2 passing yards per game. For the season, the Golden Bear’s defense also gave up 42 passing touchdowns.

Cal’s overall defense also ranked dead last in the Pac-12, and it was mostly because of the poor play of their defensive backs. As a unit, they consistently missed tackles and could not make plays against the better teams in the Pac-12.

Saying Goodbye:

New Faces:

  • Antoine Albert, 6-1, 185
  • Malik Psalms, 6-3, 175
  • Evan Rambo, 6-4, 185
  • Trey Turner, 6-2, 185
  • Derron Brown, 6-2, 190

Current Roster:

Cal Golden Bears
Cal Golden Bears /

Cal Golden Bears

2015 Preview:

Oct 4, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; California Golden Bears cornerback Darius Allensworth (2) knocks the ball away from Washington State Cougars wide receiver Calvin Green (83) during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Bear beat the Cougars 60-59. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

With a huge group of DB’s this season, the Golden Bears expect to be much improved against the pass. They will be returning many experienced players who should be much better this season, and the highly regarded White will finally be injury-free and ready to fully contribute.

Darius White has impressed coaches again during spring practices, and looks to solidify himself as Cal’s best defensive back. Newcomer Derron Brown also has impressed this spring, as coaches have been raving about his size and speed, They believe that he has the ability to make a positive contribution to the Golden Bears defense immediately.

Another storyline in the defensive backfield worth following is the addition of former quarterback, Luke Rubenzer. It will be interesting to see just how much he will actually play at safety this season, though he has been getting a lot of the spring reps there.

One impact freshmen that could see early playing time is Rambo. His impressive size, and raw athletic ability has made him stand out this spring. At 6-4, Rambo is very tall for his position and if he can develop early this spring, you could see him playing as early as the season opener.

With Rubenzer’s knowledge of the quarterback position, Brown’s size, and White’s playmaking ability, this group looks to be much improved this year, and has the depth to compete with Pac-12 wideouts. And there is no question that an improved defensive backfield is essential for the Bears to make a run at competing for a Pac-12 North title.

Next: California Golden Bears Position Preview: Quarterbacks