Golden Nuggets: Brendan Bigelow--The Key to Cal's Success on Offense in 2013?

Jamie Sabau

ESPN's Pac-12 Blog identifies Brendan Bigelow as the Bears' most important player for 2013. As an absolute terror to opposing defenses, he should take some heat off Klinedergoff and the passing game.

This week Uncle Ted is going team by team to identify the most important (non-QB) players in the conference. His choice for Cal: Brendan Bigelow.

If you watched Cal last season, you surely laughed at the above statistics. Talk about misleading.

Rushed for 431 yards? Er, Bigelow averaged 9.8 yards per carry. Scored three touchdowns? Who watched the Cal-Ohio State game? Anyone? How about four carries for 140 yards, including his 81-yard scoring scamper, one of the season's top plays by anyone. That touchdown jaunt was the longest run ever by an opposing back in 90-year-old Ohio Stadium. So, yeah, it was sumpthin.

His first two seasons in Berkeley, Bigelow battled injuries and inconsistency. Oh, and there was a sometimes baffling lack of touches, even when he was (reportedly) healthy. Was the Pac-12 blog alone last year when he rasped out loud, "Would someone give the ball to Brendan Bigelow? Just for kicks. Purty please?" The Pac-12 blog thinks not.

Know this: New coach Sonny Dykes really wants Bigelow to get the ball and do his explosive thing, preferably in space.

So, why is Bigelow Cal's most important player? Because if he averages 20 touches a game over a 12-game schedule, Cal will be a bowl team.

Bigelow's spotty history staying healthy -- he missed spring after surgery on the same knee he twice had ACL surgeries on while in high school -- makes the mere opportunity to give him touches a question. He's not a given for 12 games, but being able to hypothetically project him as one transforms this team.

For one, Cal will be breaking in a young quarterback this fall. His life will be infinitely easier if the guy standing in the backfield with him scares the pooh out of the opposing defense. Second, the Cal offensive line is, well, questionable. Bigelow is the sort who can do things on his own. Give him a sliver of light, and he'll give you 81 yards.

Ted makes a good case for Biggie.

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