Last year, Jordan Rigsbee found himself playing alongside two seniors – his brother Tyler at left tackle, and All Pac-12 First Teamer Brian Schwenke at center. Just one spring later everything is new again. Gone is the tandem of Rigsbee and Schwenke; in their stead are two underclassmen, Freddie Tagaloa and Matt Cochran.
“Freddie and Matt are awesome,” Rigsbee said. “I got the chance to play with Freddie a little bit last year, so we have a little bit more in-sync-ness, but Cochran's doing a great job as a young center. It's really not much of a drop off. It's been good. “
Heading into the 2014 season, the California offensive line is probably best described as “in transition” - the unit returns only one starter this spring in Rigsbee, and will get a second once Chris Adcock makes it back for fall camp. When asked about his experience, though, Rigsbee said he didn't feel like it made a large difference.
“It's not as big of a deal this year, because we have a whole new offense and whole new coaches, so everyone's kind of started on their own step. I still have game experience, which is nice to have, but everyone's doing real good.”
As far as the new Bear Raid offense, Rigsbee echoed the thoughts of his teammates, who have been near unanimous in praise for the system.
“It took a little while to get used to, just because of the fast pace and the vertical sets and all that, but you know, I love it,” Rigsbee said. “It's been going awesome. Our offense has been better in the spring than I've seen it since I've been here, as far as practices and that stuff goes. It's just real exciting to put up some points and stuff. “
The simplified schemes have also paid off in the o-line's play, as well. When asked about whether or not he had seen the line take a step forward from last season, Rigsbee said, “Yeah, I do.”
“We struggled a little bit as far as sacks and that kind of thing. We got a young line coming out, we're playing well. We're all learning our new vertical sets, which I think will help us as far as picking up twists and that kind of thing, so I think we're doing well.”
Thus far, those improvements have been seen by only diehard fans and media members. Saturday marks the team's final spring practice, as well as their annual spring game - so what does the big redshirt sophomore want to see as the Bear Raid hits the Pac-12 Network airwaves?
“I'm just hoping for the whole team to come out and play well. You know, obviously, I want to see one of the quarterbacks come out and assert himself. I want to see the offense come to our full potential and do what I know we can do.
And for his team to win? “Yes, of course.”