A quick glance at the statistics from the blowout over Eastern Washington does not tell the whole story. Of Cal's 17 receptions, only four ended up in the arms of a receiver. The rest found tight ends, fullbacks, and the talented group of running backs.
Though Kevin Riley barely used his receiving corps, the same cannot be said about Jeff Tedford. Undoubtedly everyone saw when Marvin Jones came up and knocked the hat off a crashing linebacker on a goal-to-go run play in the second quarter, but this was not an isolated incident.
If you look back at Cal's first play from scrimmage, it was quickly evident how the receivers would play that day. Jahvid Best took the ball left to the outside, led by the pulling left tackle, who was freed of his responsibility by Jones' stunning block on the defensive end.
The tackle cleared out the corner and Best ended up with 11 yards and a first down.
From that play on, any shot of Jones on a running play would show him hitting a defender hard to free up the Golden Bears' elusive running backs.
Jones might be one of the best examples, but all of Cal's receivers have done the less glamorous aspect of their job with aplomb.
The best example of their utility thus far probably came on Cal's signature play of the season.
In the Maryland game, Jahvid Best had broken through to the secondary and, since both safeties had cheated up, he only had cornerback Nolan Carroll to beat. Best slowed himself down slightly in an attempt to outmaneuver Carroll, which allowed Verran Tucker to finally engage the corner back and escort Best to the end zone.
Tucker essentially ran a quick slant on the play in an attempt to take out a safety, but with the safeties already committed to the run, Tucker paused briefly before recognizing the one man left for Best to beat.
In spite of Carroll having two steps on him, Tucker never stopped hustling, and the result of his determination was another Best touchdown.
The next time you see Best scampering down the sidelines, look closely at the replay for the job the wideouts are doing to enable him. If he has any shot at the Heisman this year, it will be with some unsung help from the speedsters on the outside.
So ignore the stat sheet that says they have only two receiving touchdowns amongst their scarce touches. These receivers are doing their part to put the offense in the end zone and the team atop the rankings.
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