TwistNHook: Keenan Allen. Marvin Jones. Keenan Allen! Marvin Jones!
Kodiak: I may be biased, but I think we have the best starting wideout tandem in the Pac-12. Although neither are burners, per say, both KA and Marv have the footwork and moves to get open all over the field, including going deep. When you watch video of their practices, it really strikes you how much separation there is between Marvin Jones, KA, and the rest of the wideouts. They are so much more precise and explosive in their footwork, even while working simple patterns like a 10-yard out.
Marvin Jones is a wonderously strange blend of Bobby Shaw (smoothness, routes), MacArthur (leaping, hands), and Douglas (toughness). If you watch the "highlights" from last year, most of them were Marvin Jones making an incredible adjustment on a poorly thrown ball. He had a number of uncharacteristic drops last year...some might say that he was surprised to have the ball actually thrown where he could catch it instead of 3 feet over his head...But, all reports indicate that he's worked incredibly hard over the off-season and is laser-focused to make the most of his senior year.
After blowing the gates off with his debut, Keenan Allen was slowed by injuries and quarterback ineptitude the rest of the year. Although he's a bigger (6'3) receiver, he has an elite combination of balance, instinct, and change of direction that makes him much more dangerous after the catch than a wide-out who only has blazing straight-line speed.
has a chance to finally live up to his recruiting accolades. Another big receiver, his career has been plagued by injury and inconsistency. He finally broke out towards the end of last year. One thing that insiders have noted...although Calvin isn't one of the faster receivers, he's the one that has the knack for getting open deep. With improved focus, he could provide a reliable 3rd option in the receiving corps. Also, with his size, he's been one of the best blockers out the receiving position the past couple of years. Although most of the balls will go to Jones and Allen, I expect Calvin to develop into a dangerous 3rd option.
The next receiver spots are unknown. Edmond has a nice blend of size and speed, but hasn't been consistent enough to earn playing time. He's in the mix as a returner and could earn more playing time as a deep threat. The dark horse in the receiver corps has been Kaelin Clay
. Although not highly regarded as a recruit, he's reportedly the fastest of the receivers and had a strong spring. Unfortunately, he had to have his meniscus trimmed and has missed almost all of fall camp. If he can quickly return to form, his speed can help open things up for the rest of Cal's receivers. I'm reminded of how dangerous the Tedford offense was in the early years when Lyman was still healthy...and how things stalled when Lyman became injured.
True frosh Harris was catching everything and providing a big target before he sustained a serious bone bruise in his knee. He'll be out "a while" and may very well blueshirt. Walk-ons Bryce McGovern and Jackson Bouza
both have had impressive camps. Bouza broke a finger, and his return timeline is unknown.
I think our starters and even our top 3/4 are set. It would be nice if Clay and Harris are able to get some meaningful experience this year. Jones, Calvin, and Edmonds all graduate which leaves our receiving corp a bit thin after Allen next year. It would be nice if Tosh could bring in an Allen-like recruit each year, but I don't know that we'd be able to count on that. Does Maynard have any more relatives playing football?
OhioBear: Cal is blessed with a formidable starting duo in Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones. If this duo is not the best tandem in the Pac-12, they are certainly in the conversation. Both have speed, both have good hands, both seem to run good routes, and both have the ability to get yards after the catch. As far as the starting WRs go, Cal is just fine. KA and MJ are weapons and Zach Maynard couldn't really ask for anything more as a quarterback.
Speaking of Maynard, I look forward to seeing how he works with his brother, Allen. These guys have been playing football together since they were kids. You have to think that there's a rapport between them, a non-verbal communication that can pay dividends on the field.
After the starting tandem is where I start to have some concerns. I have some cautious optimism about Mike Calvin, Kaelin Clay, and Coleman Edmond. We've been hearing about Calvin's talent since he was a freshman, but injuries have gotten in the way. In Clay and Edmond, we have two of the fastest players on the team (though it remains to be seen how Clay will recover from his knee injury). And then there's freshman Maurice Harris -- if he doesn't redshirt this season, we could see some of him, and perhaps see Maynard and he work well together, as they also know each other well. There's talent after KA and MJ -- we just haven't seen enough of them to know what to expect.
TwistNHook: A concern I have about Marin Jones is that he did have some untimely drops last year. He is clearly an explosive player with the ability to get separation, but I hope that his hands are 100% this season. We'll definitely need him and drops have affected the entire receiving corps the last few years. Hope that all goes away.
HydroTech: I'm not that worried about the WRs this year. Marvin Jones is clearly one of the better WRs in the Pac-10. Keenan Allen is one of those guys that should assert himself as a top WR in the Pac-12 this year too. And while beyond those two guys there are a lot of players who haven't seen a ton of playing time, I'm still not worried. Michael Calvin was a guy who showed some improvement last year catching some really tough balls. I'm bullish on him. Kaelin Clay and Coleman Edmond sound like guys who have the speed to really hurt the defense deep. I'm actually thinking this is perhaps one of the strongest units on offense if not the strongest unit.
I'm hoping that with an improve QB this year, that we'll see our WRs catching more balls down the field rather than on screens. I'm not knocking screens because they do serve a purpose. But last year it seemed that Cal ran tons of screens when Riley went down mostly because (1) we couldn't complete much else down the field; and (2) defenses were constantly blitzing us on passing downs because they knew we couldn't complete a lot of passes down the field. So overall, with an improved QB this season, I think our WRs will enjoy a greater variety of passing routes and catches.
NorCalNick: I've always felt like Tedford's offense has always been at it's best when there's a viable deep threat at WR. Think a healthy Chase Lyman or DeSean Jackson. So my question is: Can Marvin Jones and/or Keenan Allen already be considered a consistent deep threat, or do we need one of our young burners to step up and fill that role as a field stretcher? Marvin certainly has that ability to go up and catch deep balls, but he doesn't seem like an obvious speedster either.
LeonPowe: I think wideout is one area on the team where we're all pretty comfortable. The best unit we've had since the Hawk-DJax-RJordan - I think that one had a lot more talent, but this one has the potential for a lot more depth. With our top two, I think everyone knows where we stand. Big, talented, hands, moves, and enough speed (but not burner speed) but underestimate them at your own risk. I'm intrigued by the 3 or 4 back-ups though. I think there will be plenty of balls for the next 4.