Jake Curhan has started 25 consecutive games at right tackle for the Bears, but what is most impressive to head coach Justin Wilcox is that Curhan is still improving.
“He was noticeable,” Wilcox said of Curhan’s spring performance. “Jake’s getting better.”
The 330-pound Larkspur resident started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and all 13 games last season as a third-year sophomore.
He got a chance to get some work at left tackle as well during the spring. The goal of any team is to have their best five available offensive lineman on the field at the same time, as Wilcox notes in the video. So when one offensive lineman has to leave because of injury, the Bears don’t want to insert the listed backup at that position if he is not one of the five best available linemen. Switching a starter to a new position along the line to accommodate a replacement, who is better suited to another position, is often done to maximize the line’s performance.
Valentino Deltoso, also a third-year junior, is another offensive lineman who started every game last season. Gentle Williams and Michael Saffell also have experience starting games for Cal. The Bears are hoping for improved play from its offensive line after giving up 36 sacks last season, an average of 2.77 per game, which ranked 105th of 129 Division I schools in 2019. Of course, the quarterback bears some responsibility for that high sack total.