Sophomore Isi Sofele will be Shane Vereen's backup at tailback this season, Cal coach Jeff Tedford said Thursday, and being the No. 2 tailback in the Bears' system is a significant role. The 5-foot-7 Sofele provides a big-play threat as a runner and receiver, and he is tough enough to run inside, despite his small stature. The No. 2 tailback gets quite a bit of action in Cal's offense. In fact, the No. 2 Cal tailback has averaged 112 carries and 678 yards over the past seven seasons and is often used as a pass receiver as well. Vereen was the No. 2 tailaback last season, and he wound up with 952 rushing yards and 25 receptions.
Tedford said Sofele will be used much like backup tailbacks of the past, which means Vereen will get about 25 carries and Sofele should get about 8 to 10. Establishing a backup tailback during preseason camp was a priority for Tedford, who did not want Vereen to carry the heavy load he had late last season. Vereen carried the ball 42 times against Stanford, and the toll showed its effects in the final two games.