First of a two-parter about Cal running backs. This one focuses on our workhorse this past season, as he is at the very least 50-50 to turn pro.
1. If Shane Vereen had a decent offensive line the past two seasons, would we consider him the best Cal tailback of the Tedford era right now? As it is now, where does he rank?
Kodiak: He would have to be in the discussion. Projecting Shane playing with Arrington's team or subbing him in for Marshawn or Forsett...pretty tough call. I'm almost inclined to give Shane the nod over each of them...better speed than JJ, better vision than Marshawn, better hands/power than Forsett. However, if you put Jahvid on any of those teams, I think he would have had the best season of any Cal tailback of all time. I love all those guys. I suppose if I had to, I'd go Jahvid, Shane, Marshawn, Forsett, JJ.
Ohio Bear: Vereen is very good, but I don't think we would consider him to be the "best" of the Tedford era. I think that Beast Mode and Best still have the explosiveness factor that puts them a cut above. And you can't forget J.J. Arrington's 2004 season, albeit he got to play with one of the best (if not THE best) offensive line of the era.
To actually answer the call of the question on # 1, I'd rank them:
1. Beast Mode, 2. Best, 3. J.J., 4. Vereen, 5. Forsett, 6. Ech, 7. Igber
solarise: The way I see it:
TwistNHook: BEASTMODE!!!!!!!! SHUT ALL YOUR FACES
2. Will Vereen stay or will he go? Should he stay or should he go?
Kodiak: He should go and he will. Nothing left to prove. I suspect he got dinged up this year again. Playing behind an unproven Oline with an unproven QB...well, we saw how the last few games went. Run free Shane. Run free.
Ohio Bear: He will go. And he probably should. Academically, he has nothing left to prove: he is graduating in May. Athletically, why should he stay? Is there any reason to believe he will be playing behind a more adept offensive line next year?
solarise: I think Vereen will go, and he should.
Berkelium97: He should be able to finish up his degree this year, and there's nothing he has to prove next year. I'd love for him to stay (because I would be mildly concerned about the running game otherwise), but I'd be very surprised if he dons the Cal uniform next year.