Cal Wide Receivers Must Step Up For a Successful Season
Since Desean Jackson, Robert Jordan, and Lavelle Hawkins departed the California Golden Bears the team has not had a consistent number one wide receiver and because of this the team has struggled because. There's been flashes of brilliance from several wide receivers, but none of them have shown the consistency to become a number one receiver.
After coming off another disappointing season, one of the biggest weaknesses the Cal Bears have had the last couple of seasons has been the play of its wide recievers. This year the Bears have Marvin Jones returning along with Jeremy Ross, Alex Lagemann, Michael Calvin, Quinn Teford, incoming freshman include Keenan Allen, Tevin Carter, Kaelin Clay, Terrance Montgomery, Spencer Hagan (redshirt), transfers are Kaulin Krebs and junior college transfer Coleman Edmond.
Jones a sophomore for the Bears in 2009 was one of the players who showed that he could become a go to favorite for Riley, leading the team in receptions (43), yards (651), yards per game (50.1), plus hauling in six touchdowns.
If the Bears want to be successful Jones will have to step up his game and become an even bigger threat. Jones provides excellent height at 6'2" and has shown very nice hands.
The problem, again, is consistency. One game looking great, the next game not being a factor. In three games he caught just one pass and all six touchdown receptions came in five games.
Allen, an incoming freshman, could help take some pressure off Jones. At 6'3" he has excellent height for a wide out and, according to ESPN and Rivals, Allen is such a tremendous athlete that he play on either side of the ball.
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Also, worth noting that the Bears only have a few other wide receivers under scholarship, meaning Allen has a chance to start for the Bears.
Another freshman looking to make noise for the Bears is Carter, who was also a track star. At 6'3", like Allen, he provides excellent size and if he gets in open space he could be tough to be brought down.
With his track speed, he could also be a factor on special teams as well as a return man.
Calvin is one of the more experienced receivers on the Bears roster. He'd make a good possession receiver for the Bears if he could stay healthy. At 6'2" 206 pounds, Calvin has the size to be a good target for Riley.
In his injury plagued Bear career he's caught nine passes for 112 years, and has not scored a touchdown.
The Bears have another freshman Clay coming in who could be used on screens, in the backfield, or as a deep threat. He doesn't provide much height at 5'9", but he saw time at running back in high school and wide receiver, so he could provide the core with some speed.
Edmond is junior college transfer from Pierce College. According to Calbears.com, he helped lead his team to their first conference title since 1989. He was used in the return game as well.
So, another receiver that could spend time returning kicks for the Bears. At 6'1", he provides some height as well and with his junior college experience may find his way as a solid third option for the Bears.
A redshirt freshman, Spencer Hagan could find his way into the mix as a receiver. With him redshirting he has experience in the Bears offensive philosophy and more importantly he could cause matchup problems for any corner being that he's 6'4".
There's also Krebs who transferred from Oregon State. He has yet to appear in a Pac-10 game, redshirting his freshman year and tearing his ACL in his second season with the Beavers.
Lagemann showed last year that he could be a huge value to the team. He appeared in six games in 2009 and caught 12 passes for 150 yards. He showed in his short time that he could develop a rapport with Riley.
He became instrumental in some third down situations last year and, if he improves, he could be starting opposite to Marvin Jones or at least be on the field when the Bears have three wide receivers in.
Montgomery is another speed guy for the Bears. According to ESPN, Montgomery "possesses terrific lateral agility and balance in the open field." However, Montgomery might be redshirted his freshman year.
The only senior receiver on the team is Jeremy Ross. He is also one of the favorites to start opposite of Jones because of his experience. In 2009 he caught 22 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown he also returned nine punts for 192 yards and a touchdown.
Jeff Tedford's son, Quinn, is also on the Bears roster. A sophomore, he redshirted his freshman year and appeared in one game against Eastern Washington, but has not caught a pass in his career. It's likely Tedford will find most of his playing time on special teams.
There's a lot of youth on the Bears roster at the wide receiver position especially since Jones and Ross are the two most experienced receivers the Bears have. For the 2010 season Jones and Ross will have to step up.
Also, some of the freshman will need to become involved in the offense for the Bears to have any chance of being amongst the top teams in the Pac-10.
For the depth chart for the Bears here's how it will look:
The rest of the receivers will be used on the scout team or redshirted.
For 2010 the Bears may have a very interesting season especially with the wide receivers and if Riley can get into a rhythm with one of the receivers be it an experienced one or one of the incoming freshman the Bears just might be able to be one of the surprising teams in the Pac-10.
If the youth catches up to the Bears it could be an interesting season for the Bears. Either way some of the freshman receivers with their size could be fun to watch regardless of how the season turns out.
Here's a look at highlights of the most likely two starting receivers for the Bears:
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