With the season approaching, we here at the CGB thought it would be prudent to start examining and ranking the players at all the positions on the team. The purpose of these posts will be to give our thoughts on who we think are the best players at each position and who are most likely to start and contribute this season. So to start off this 1 post series, we start with the most important position on the team. No, not the I'm-responsible-for-every-win-and-loss players, I mean QBs, but the Cal Football Sports Writer position..
HydroTech: I don't know about you guys, but I'm particularly excited about the Cal Football Sports Writers position this year. I think we have a lot of talent and potential. With this crop of writers, I think we could definitely reach the Rose Bowl.
Let me recap the outstanding group of players we have at the Cal Football Sports Writers position this year. I know Coach Tedford is very excited about this group of players and thinks that they are the linchpin of our team.
First up, we have Jon Wilner. Wilner started off as a 3 star prospect out of Mercury News High, but upon arriving on campus he quickly proved to Coach Tedford that he had what it takes to be one of the best at the Cal Football Sports Writers position. Unfortunately, some injuries have set Wilner back in the depth chart. He's currently in his 6th year of eligibility and is fighting just to secure one of the four starting spots on the field. Rumor has it that he's also been in Tedford's doghouse after breaking some unknown team rules. Wilner doesn't see many snaps nowadays but he still gives his best from what limited playing time he sees.
Next up we have Jonathan Okanes. Okanes is a walk-on and is entering his sophomore year. While Okanes was not heavily recruited coming out of Contra Costa Times High, as the saying goes, what is one man's trash is another man's treasure. While no other major Pac-10 programs gave Okanes a look, Tedford did. And as we all know, Tedford is known for finding diamonds in the rough. In Okanes' first year, he quickly proved to Cal fans and to Tedford that he can be a starter and an all-conference player. Okanes is averaging 2.2 posts a day and is quickly proving that he can handle the punishment of being an every-day writer.
Miller keeps himself clean-shaven to maximize his aerodynamics.
One of Cal's most promising players at the Cal Football Sports Writer position this year is true freshman Ted Miller. Miller comes to Cal via the extremely prestigous ESPN High in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was a consensus Parade All-American both his junior and senior year of highschool and also won the APSE award (Associated Press Sports Editor award) in 2007 for his Marshawn-esque domination of opposing teams. Miller was ranked as a 5 star recruit by both national recruiting services Scout and Rivals.com. He is Tedford's second 5 star recruit as a head coach. Rivals.com rated Miller as the 9th best overall prospect in the nation last year and Scout rated Miller as the 12th best overall prospect in the nation. Miller was the consensus #1 recruit at the Sports Writer position by both Scout and Rivals.com. Miller is expected to earn a starting job immediately and be an instant-impact player for the Cal Football team. Reports out of spring, summer, and fall camp are that Miller is averaging a whopping 3.1 posts a day! Miller clearly has the stamina to play every single down of the game and contribute on special teams too. Cal fans have high hopes for Miller to become a locker room leader and a force on the field.
Most of the players at the Sports Writer position that we have covered are fairly young players in their freshman or sophomore year. But to make up for those players' lack of experience, we have one of Cal's most experienced players at the Sports Writer position: GreyBear. GreyBear was a 4 star recruit out of BearInsider High. He is in his 10th year of eligibility after a long string of re-occurring carpal tunnel injuries to his wrists from his hobby of creating sports chatboards. GreyBear has seen an increase in playing time recently due to the surge in popularity of the SAHPC style of play in the Pac-10. He is a well respected player by his peers and Cal fans. GreyBear seems to be the biggest celebrity of the players at the Sports Writer position and is regularly found perusing the fine restaurants in North Berkeley's gourmet ghetto with his posse consisting of MoragaBear, Joshbalt, Calfans, and inkbowlglory. GreyBear's true name is unknown but it is rumored that his hippie mother gave him the name since he was born with a full grey beard as a baby and looked like a bear.
GreyBear misses all his readers who haven't left cyberbears.org to follow him to bearinsider.com
If you thought GreyBear was old then you must not know about Cal's oldest and most experienced player at the Sports Writer position: Glenn Dickey. Dickey hails from Freelance Writer High and was not rated coming out of highschool because Scout and Rivals.com did not exist back then (neither did the internet or electricity). Dickey has been a part of the Cal team since before most of you were a zygote. He is without a doubt Cal's most experienced player at the Sports Writer position. In fact, Dickey has 37 years of experience at the Sports Writer position. It is unknown how he has maintained eligibility for the past 37 years but most Cal fans don't know and don't care. Dickey has been a regular contributor at the Sports Writer position since before Tedford's arrival and after Tedford's arrival. Although he only averages 1 post a week, he is well respected among the other Sports Writers for his superb old school skills and keen coaching insights. Dickey should not be mistaken for GreyBear. While both players have a resemblance and both have full gray beards, GreyBear looks like a bear.
When colleges recruit highschool players, if a school has a long history of obtaining recruits from the same highschool, it is often said that the school has a pipeline from that highschool. Cal appears to have a pipeline from SF Gate High as since the final three players at the Sports Writer position are both from SF Gate High.
One of Cal's youngest players at the Sports Writer position is true freshman Carolyn Jones. Jones hails from the nearby SF Gate High. Jones was a 2 star recruit out of SF Gate High but has potential to be a solid contributor next year if not an all-conference player. Jones is known for her quickness and speed. She has hit the ground running during spring and fall camp but has sparked the ire of some Cal fans for her careless style of play. Tedford has suggested that Jones needs to be more disciplined on the field to ensure she secures herself a starting position this year. Coach Tedford has also suggested that Jones be careful to not let her interests in the hippie culture, Native American culture and her pursuit of a Dendrology degree affect her performance on the field.
Another SF Gate product at the Sports Writer position is former concensus 4 star recruit Rusty Simmons. Simmons is in his 5th year and is an inconsistent contributor at the Sports Writer position with an average of 0.9 posts a week. While he has plenty of experience on the field, he seems to be fighting just to stay at the middle of the pack at the sports writer position and not buried at the bottom of the depth chart.
Finally, last but not least, is Ray Ratto from SF Gate High. Ratto has been a part of the team for longer than I've been following Cal Football and is an occasional contributor. Ratto only averages a small 0.8 posts per week. Tedford has suggested that Ratto's other extra curricular interests have gotten in the way of excelling on the field as well as in the classroom and filmroom. Ratto has an intense interest in other sports including baseball and the Oakland As and San Francisco Giants; and pro football and the San Francisco 49ers. Most of Ratto's free time goes into playing fantasy baseball, fantasy football, and going to pro sports games instead of perfecting his caligraphy and typing technique. Ratto looks to be a very small contributor and will probably only see time on special teams.
Okay, so what do you guys think? Which four out of the eight will win the starting spots at the Sports Writer position this year? Personally, I have high hopes for Miller. I think he has what it takes to make the Freshman All-American team and possibly win the Heisman. I mean, did you see that amazing play during summer camp when he wrote: "And for you Cal fans who are tired of Berkeley protests and would rather see some of the most over-the-top, highly detailed, often fascinating analysis of the pros and cons of QB Nate Longshore, well friends, this is for you." Good god. If we keep getting plays like that out of Miller then our Sports Writer position is going to be one of the best in the nation!
I'm also thinking Okanes secures a top starting spot. He has a decent post-per-day average and isn't afraid to let the fans know what's really going on in the locker room. Reading his posts make me truly feel like I'm a part of the Cal Football team!
And my wildcard pick is Carolyn Jones. I gotta rep Jones because although I've never met her, she sounds hot. Hydrotech likes hotties.
Is this Carolyn Jones?
YellowFever: I don't know what this says about me, but I really don't read any of these guys on a daily basis except for Ted Miller, and that's because his stuff is over at the four-letter. I probably should, you know? And I probably shouldn't admit that I don't already read these guys. Ok, I'm going to go slink off into a corner now.
TwistNHook: I remember standing next to Okanes at the Coaches Tour back in May. I wanted to be all "Man, I'm so sad that Jay Heater left the CoCo Times. That guy was the best. I couldn't think ANYBODY would or could ever fill *his* shoes!"
But I kept my mouth shut, like an idiot!
Ragnarok: Funny, usually it's opening your mouth that causes us to call you an idiot.
TwistNHook: Remember, it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. What does that mean? Better say something or they'll think you're stupid. Takes one to know one. Swish!
HydroTech: Okay, since nobody seems to have any more insight into this fabulous group of players we have at the sports writer position, I guess we'll unveil the rankings. (Note: the rankings were created by a collective ballot between the CGBloggers. HydroTech's vote was worth 10 votes as opposed to everyone else's 1 vote except for TwistNHook. His vote was worthless).
And here are the rankings:
The four projected starters at the sports writer position:
(1) Jonathan Okanes - Although Okanes is relatively inexperienced, he has shown incredible improvement in a very short amount of time. He currently averages 2.2 posts a day during fall camp but expect those numbers to increase once the football season starts. Has very good grammar and quick finger speed. He does make the occasional mental spelling error but the benefits far outweigh the risk of having Okanes on the field. Tedford labeled Okanes as a "true competitor" with "flawless penmanship technique." Okanes is almost a sure lock to make the Pac-10 All-Conference team. Shows incredible potential and could be a Heisman darkhorse candidate in a year. Very cordial with fans and press.
(2) Ted Miller - While Miller will be a true freshman on the field this year, he has really hit the ground running upon arriving on campus. Miller averages 3.1 posts a day and could break the 4.0 posts per day mark by the start of the season. Has shown incredible play-making ability (see his post linking the CGB) and has already shown he can be even more of an emotional leader on the field than some seniors. Needs to improve his focus by focusing more on Cal rather than other Pac-10 teams. Must avoid egregious highschool level brain-farts such as the fall camp play where he wrote that the Stanfurd's band is the Pac-10's best band. Incredible potential. Flawless prose and grammar. Barring unforeseen injuries, Miller will compete for the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award. Should be a darkhorse Heisman candidate in 2009 and a legit Heisman contender in 2010.
Miller hopes to bring the Heisman home to Cal.
(3) Jon Wilner - Experience is Wilner's best asset and despite being in Tedford's doghouse he'll secure 1 of the 4 starting positions. Has improved the mental aspect of his game but needs to improve his consistency and especially his stamina. Wilner often fades in the 4th quarter - especially during very physical games. Coaches would like to see him improve his stamina and stats to an average of 3 posts a week. Solid prose and grammar. Excellent penmanship but his fingerspeed is somewhat lacking.
(4) Glenn Dickey - Experience is the key factor in Dickey obtaining the last starting spot at the sports writer position. While he does only average 1.0 post a week, those numbers should improve as the season approaches. Excellent accuracy and consistency. Needs to improve on his finger speed. Always makes a play when on the field and never shies away from contact. One of the most intelligent players at the sports writer position and has been called a "general on the field" by Coach Tedford.
The projected reserves at the sports writer position:
(5) GreyBear - GreyBear just misses out on securing one of the four starting positions. GreyBear's limitations are that he's a specialist of the SAHPC style of play. Not every Pac-10 team plays that style of football and thus it makes little sense to have GreyBear on the field for every snap although he should see plenty of snaps on 3rd down. Coaches would like to see GreyBear average 1.0 post a week but such a statistic might be impossible to acheive considering GreyBear's limited playing time. A definite locker room leader and one of the most vocal players on the team. GreyBear was a team captain last year and will most likely be one again this year. Shares a close relationship with Coach Tedford and is one of Tedford's favorite players.
(6) Rusty Simmons - Averages 0.9 posts a week. Has skipped numerous team meetings and is often MIA. Is often considered somewhat of a "loose cannon" and some have suggested his ego has had a negative influence in the locker room. Has potential to be a solid contributor if he gains the self-discipline to attend practices and contribute. Should be a contributor on special teams. Sub-par field vision.
(7) Ray Ratto - Only averages 0.8 posts a week. Has numerous off-the-field issues and needs to prioritize Cal Football over his extracurricular activities (skipped out on optional summer practices to go watch 49er practices, Giants and As games). The coaching staff seems to be losing their patience with Ratto and his unwillingness to put the team first. Has a very sharp mind and good prose but lacks dedication.
(8) Carolyn Jones - While her biggest asset is her speed, Jones' inexperience will keep her out of the starting lineup. May be a small contributor on special teams. Tedford has been quoted saying Jones needs better concentration, sentence structure, and fact-researching skills. Jones is a bit undersized for the sports writer position and needs to work harder in the weight room to obtain her desired playing weight. Has 4.3 speed, and some have speculated she may be faster than Jahvid Best. More of an in-line runner and lacks incredible lateral speed and elusiveness.