Someone asked me which Bear was the most important. I thought it was an interesting question. Certainly, there is no mistaking the fact that a quarterback has to run the entire show and without a capable guy, it could be a disaster.
Cal’s easy win over ASU was an illustration. Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter was horrible. He was interesting to watch during the game because he throws with an almost sidearm motion at times and he isn’t the most athletic guy in the world. Carpenter got the much easier schedule last season than previous starter Sam Keller faced, so I wonder if Sun Devils fans are a bit worried now that Dirk Koetter’s first decision (to start Keller) was better than his strange change of mind a couple days later.
Certainly, it would be hard to argue that Longshore means the most to Cal at this point.
But, I might argue that one guy is very close to him. Is it Marshawn Lynch? Probably not.
Lynch is the marquee player, probably the best player and the guy who is going to make millions in the NFL. He is a monster talent and deserves Heisman consideration. That being said, I don’t know that Cal’s fortunes would be that much different this season if they had Justin Forsett or Marcus O’Keith as the main tailback. Teams prepare for coach Tedford’s system and any of those three guys would make huge yards.
I probably would go with DeSean Jackson as the most important Bear after Longshore. This guy is coming into his own and teams simply can’t deal with his abilities. Any team that faces Cal from here on out will have to game plan to stop Jackson, even more so than Lynch.
Jackson has seven touchdowns already and he is getting better. That’s scary for opponents. It’s almost impossible to cover him one-on-one and that means cheating a safety over who might be better used to concentrate on tackling Lynch or guarding one of Cal’s other speedy wide receivers.
With someone to get him the ball in Longshore, Jackson’s talents should continue to be on display. He puts two moves on a corner and it’s over. Or he simply can outrun most corners that he faces. Teams will have to play back off him, and that opens up possibilities in terms of throwing the ball in the flat.
It will be interesting to see how Oregon State deals with Jackson. In the past, Oregon State has been very aggressive up on the line of scrimmage in covering Cal’s wide receivers. But if a cornerback doesn’t get his hands on Jackson right away, it’s over.
With Lynch as a threat, and the Beavers having so much trouble stopping the run against Boise State, Jackson should have opportunties to break the game open. It will be interesting to watch.