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CGB Pre-Season: California Golden Bears Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

TwistNHook:  So, is Marvin Jones the next DeSean?  Is he Tha1 2?  Is he Tha2?

Yellow Fever: He's probably closer to THA0.5, rounded up to 1.

Avinash:  I think when we start comparing people to the best we've ever had, we start getting ourselves into trouble.

Jones is really impressive and has a lot of legitimate talent. He's a strong possession receiver, adjusts to off-target throws, can take a hard hit and hold onto the ball, something Cal has needed a lot of. I do think he's on path for a great season if all goes according to plan.

A lot will depend on who holds the other position. As I said before, Cal needs a steady #2 option on the other side to keep the offense humming. We know we can rely on Jones and Miller, but who will be the other player to handle the other side? Keenan Allen is talented, but is he ready to handle starting responsibilities his first year learning the always complex Tedford playbook?

NorCalNick:  I find this year's receiver situation really interesting because of the possibilities and uncertainties.  After Marvin there are so many question marks, but so many answers as well.  I don't feel at all comfortable trying to predict which WR will step up, but I do feel confident that out of Jeremy Ross, Alex Lagemann, Keenan Allen, Tevin Carter, Kaelin Clay and Coleman Edmond there will be a couple guys that will break out and have a solid year.

Add in Anthony Miller and Vereen out of the backfield and I think Riley shouldn't be lacking for decent targets this year.


TwistNHook:  Here is some video on Keenan Allen.

Solarise had this to say about him earlier this year:

He doesn't look to have the speed of Carter or Clay, but has good vision and quickness to make cuts that take advantage of open spaces. His length is going to bother a lot of DBs in redzone situations, almost like $C's Dwayne Jarrett.

I'd be happy with Dwayne Jarrett!

HydroTech:  Well, if I recall correctly, didn't Tedford say that one of his favorite abilities of Allen was his "range."  Now, range is sort of an ambiguous term.  I think it can refer to a player's ability to get to the ball all over the field, and make plays all over the field.  However, to have those abilities, I would assume implies that the player has great speed too because a slow player would have a much harder time having good "range."  Therefore, I would assume that Allen must have good speed -- unless we are saying that Carter and Clay are just that much faster.

Yellow Fever:  I've always interpreted a "rangy" receiver to be one with a good catching radius - meaning he'd be able to pluck balls out of the air that some might otherwise not be able to because arm length and things like that.  Well, that and speed.

Ragnarok:  Sort of like a good centerfielder?

Avinash:  Clay is very fast. Carter's no slouch himself. But as we can all agree, being a wide receiver isn't all about speed.

Still, it's clear Tedford has the utmost confidence that all these frosh can contribute for the Bears sooner rather than later. Other than Allen, who do you believe will play first? And do you share our coach's confidence?

TwistNHook:  It is interesting to me that we are back to the speedy receiver.  After 2007, we were all talking about the big burly receivers that Cal had now.  Players like Michael Calvin were the new receivers.  But we're back with the smaller, speedier guys.  Is this good?  Is this bad?  Considering how poorly our WRs have been the last few years, I'm hopeful that a return to speed will be a step in the right direction.

HydroTech:  Anthony Miller.  I think he's one of Cal's top NFL prospects on the team right now.  I think he'll be a good one.

Avinash:  Miller definitely has all the ability. Nimble feet, huge body, great blocking ability, strong in the open field, can catch in traffic...looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to what the newcomers are capable of--Spencer Ladner was a physical beast and probably could've started last season if he was healthy. Jarrett Sparks will have another year of experience under his belt. And Jacob Wark allows Cal flexibility with their goal-line personnel. It's a very strong unit, especially compared to last year (when we lost the underrated Tad Smith and limited Ladner to mostly ST work).

I think Miller and Ladner could form a dynamic two tight end blocking duo. Those guys just have very strong frames and can probably handle most defensive ends and rushing outside linebackers. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of two tight end sets if no clear second or third receivers emerge this season and run out of that set a lot.


TwistNHook:  Ladner has not had a lot of success to date, but at the high school level was very successful.

HIGH SCHOOL: A SuperPrep All-America and All-Midlands choice ... earned a four-star rating from Scout and was listed No. 15 among tight end prospects nationally ... Rivals tabbed him as a four-star recruit and its No. 4 prospect in the state of Missouri as well as its No. 16 tight end in the country ... posted 28 receptions for 279 yards and three scores in his senior year ... hauled in 31 receptions for 575 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, when he earned All-Freelance League, All-Area and All-Metro honors ... also lettered in basketball and lacrosse.

The only problem???  His older brother played football....AT STANFORD!!!

Well, it is official.  Allen is the other starting WR:

Tedford did jump the gun a little when he confirmed the obvious: True freshman Keenan Allen will start at one wide receiver opposite Marvin Jones, and sophomore Marc Anthony seems to have held off promising freshman Steve Williams to earn the starting left-cornerback job.

Kodiak:  I'm not sure which stud WR of old that Jones reminds me of...The first word that I think of is "smooth."  He's fast, but not exactly a burner...quick, but not exactly a jitterbug.  Has good hands, but isn't exactly a throw-it-anywhere type of rebounder.  Perhaps he's like Bobby Shaw with a tad more height and speed.  In any case, he's our clear #1.  We really need him to take the next step from being solid to being a guy that the defense has to worry about at all times. 

It sounds like Allen has won the starting spot opposite Jones.  He may not be a pure burner, but he's reportedly very strong and very shifty in the open field.  Ross is probably #3.  Throughout his career, he's been more of an athlete learning to play receiver.  However, there's a long and proud Cal tradition of receivers wearing #3 putting it all together as seniors.

Calvin and Loggy will try to hold off Clay, Edmonds, and Carter for the rest of the rotation.  Baring injury, it sounds like Edmonds and Clay may have a leg up because of their superior speed.  In particular, Clay sounds like he may be that guy that everyone overlooked because of his height.  Although we've clearly had some misses in past recruiting classes, this year's class of new WR's seem to a pleasant surprise with regards to their adjustment to Div-I ball.

At TE, we have arguably the most complete receiving/blocking threat in the league with Miller.  When he's not hurt, Ladner is a huge target who provides a nice complement.  Bursting on the scene this year is true frosh Jacob Wark.  Although his recruiting tapes show him destroying people with aggressive blocks, he's shown off a surprisingly soft pair of hands in camp.

My concern is past years is the lack of detail shown w/ route running.  Sometimes, the QB would look really bad because the WR ran the wrong route, or rounded it off.  I'm not sold yet on Daft as the best guy to develop our young talent.  He may be more of an X's and O's strategy guy instead of a technician.  In fairness, it could simply be that he did the best he could with what we had in previous years.  But, if the new guys can all play, it'll go a long ways to providing our passing offense with a much-needed kickstart.