It won't take long for Cal to get a good progress report on its new offensive line.
The Bears, with two new guards and an inexperienced center, will have to contend with Maryland's attacking 4-3 defense in Saturday night's season opener. The Terps feature new defensive coordinator Dan Brown, who was known for an attacking, aggressive philosophy at Massachusetts.
"That's going to pose a huge challenge for us," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "They are a big pressure team and we have a couple of young guys up there. I have a lot of confidence in our guys as far as their talent level is concerned, but there's probably going to be an adjustment period to figure out what they are doing."
Redshirt freshman Matt Summers-Gavin will make his first career start at left guard, and sophomore Justin Cheadle will start for the second time at right guard. Chris Guarnero, who started three games at left guard last season, will make his first career start at center.
The good news for the Bears is they have sixth-year senior Mike Tepper at left tackle and sophomore Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle. Tepper has started 15 games in his career, although he missed last season with a pectoral injury. Schwartz started every game last year.
The Bears also feature a new starting fullback, Brian Holley.
"They have a great defense," Holley said. "They bring a lot of different looks at you, but I think our coaches have prepared us very well."
This year, Cal is dealing with the opposite situation. Saturday's game doesn't begin until 7 p.m., meaning there will be a long day to navigate before kickoff.
"It's a lot of sitting around on Saturday, but we've played night games before so we'll make sure that we utilize the time properly and we'll be ready to play," Tedford said. "We'll utilize it with meeting time, getting them up, walking around and stretching, things like that. It's not that big of a deal."
The later start time also will allow the Bears to do something they didn't get to do as much of before the Maryland game last season — sleep.
Cal's sophomore has risen to the top of the depth chart at wide receiver and will make his first career start against Maryland.
"I'm just ready to get this started," Jones said. "Last year, I got in the first game, but I'm taking on a new role this year. To prepare for it is different. I know I'm going out there first and I've just got to get my mind right. It's just overwhelming how excited I am.
Jones played in five games as a true freshman, missing a good chunk of the season with a sprained knee. His only career catch came against Maryland.