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Spring practice preview: wide receivers

By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 at 9:59 pm in off-season stuff.

Perhaps no position will be more important this spring than wide receiver, where the Bears are trying to sift through a collection of players that includes just one that has ever caught a pass in a game (LaReylle Cunningham, 8 career receptions).

Despite his inexperience, redshirt freshman Michael Calvin appears to be etched in stone at one wide receiver spot. Calvin came to Cal as one of the top prep prospects in the country and didn’t disappoint in 2007, opening eyes on the scout team and setting himself up nicely to be a major contributor immediately in 2008. Calvin stood out as early as fall camp, where his potential to become a star was almost immediately evident. Calvin may not have the speed that the Bears’ recent crop of receivers had, but he’s a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, athletic player that catches everything.

Who plays alongside Calvin becomes a more murky question. Cal has listed sophomore Jeremy Ross as a starter opposite Calvin. Ross, who will be a redshirt sophomore, was a part-time player on special teams last season who obviously lacks experience. Ross didn’t come to Cal with headliner credentials but is an athletic specimen and the Bears seem high on his potential. A couple of days ago, the Bears held a special weightlifing session where players really tried to max out and possibly set some school records, and Ross reportedly squatted 525 pounds.

The x-factor in the receiving corps could be Nyan Boateng. Boateng has rejoined the team after being suspended for the fall semester because of his role in a domestic dispute in Florida. Boateng, who transferred to Cal from Florida, had to sit out last season anyway because of the NCAA transfer rule, but it would have been nice if Cal could have had him around to practice. In spite of that, the Bears really are counting on Boateng to be a contributor. Coach Jeff Tedford said Tuesday that Boateng is doing well and he was looking forward to watching him this spring (the legal charges against Boateng for the incident last summer in Florida were dropped).

“Nyan is doing fine,” Tedford said. “Nyan is a guy who we’re anxious to see how he responds in the spring time. He’s worked hard in the classroom and he’s worked hard in winter conditioning.”

Boateng may be behind the curve a little bit because he wasn’t around last year, but there’s no questioning his talent. He went to Florida as one of the nation’s top recruits. When he participated in spring practice for Cal last year, he sometimes looked like the most talented athlete on the field.

Cunningham should also be in the mix, although his status this spring is unclear because he recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. Tedford said Cunningham will at least miss the first week of the spring. The team breaks for 10 days after that because of spring break, and Tedford said Cunningham may return then, but wasn’t sure.

Tedford said it was almost a sure thing that at least one of the incoming wide receivers will have to make an immediate impact. Recognizing that is where they were hit the hardest by departures this year, Cal brought in five new pass-catchers as part of its 2008 recruiting class. None of them will be on campus until the fall.

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  • morencsarecoming

    DBear

    OK I will play along. Let’s say I didn’t go to any UC school. Let’s say I have no education at all. Can you still tell me why, how and what caused the greatest meltdown ever in college football history last year? And can you tell me what preseason poll ranks your team in the top 25? Who has won a Heisman at your school? When is the last time you have played in a BCS bowl game? A Rose Bowl game? Won outright the Pac 10? And while you are at it how embarassing is it when your crosstown rival beats you in football, men’s basketball (both games) and women’s basketball (3 games so far). However at least they have class not to rub it in your face. I remember the first time you guys beat Stanford after 7 straight losses. God it was the talk of your fan base until the next year.

  • CalAlum97

    morencsarecoming Says:
    OK I will play along. Let’s say I didn’t go to any UC school. Let’s say I have no education at all. Can you still tell me why, how and what caused the greatest meltdown ever in college football history last year? And can you tell me what preseason poll ranks your team in the top 25? Who has won a Heisman at your school?
    ______________________________

    I guess my answer to that would be that, in the end, it’s just football. If you want to be proud of the fact that you have no education and support a corrupt college football team, more power to you. In the end, however, we educated Cal folk will be able to read, write, and perform mathematics at the highest levels…we’ll have good paying jobs, nice homes to come home to at night, a loving spouse, kids, grandkids, friends, nice vacations, make a difference in our communities, become good citizens, and generally live a great life. You, on the other hand, will still be here 20 years from now, uneducated, drooling, cheering on the Trojenz, trolling Cal forums, nobody to love you, no friends, no family, no home, no job, and still living in your mother’s basement. Hmmm, sounds appealing doesn’t it Amy?
    GO TROJENZ! GO IGNORANCE and ILLITERACY!

  • Steve in Concord

    Re: Amy the troll. Don’t
    trolls live under bridges, terrorizing little children and animals?

  • buddhabear

    Amy, there is help available for your obsession. It seems like Cal has somehow caused you more anguish than John Elway felt after The Play.

    Let it go, find that inner peace, that happy place… imagine unicorns, fairies, and afternoons spent working out and drinking organic lama milk with pete carroll.

  • morencsarecoming

    CalAlum97

    It is a well known but “dirty secret” that your HC went to the administration and asked for lesser standards of admittance for the football players. A 2.7 was now acceptable. Then those players were funneled into the “gimmee” programs. Few if any are in engineering, pre-med, life sciences, etc. This was a lesson learned from his days at Oregon. I read this material posted on two independent networks – one by a Stanford fan and one by a UCLA fan. If it is not true then I stand corrected.

  • CBKWit

    The greatest meltdown in college football history? It wasn’t even the greatest meltdown last year. That would go to Louisville.

    Stanford beating usc, however, was the biggest upset in college football history, judged by an objective metric (the point spread, which I believe was 41.5). The Amy metric of “Cal is the worst at ____ (fill in the blank)” is not so objective.

    Stanford has by far the toughest admission standards in the conference. Next comes a tie with cal/ucla. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the numbers: http://goldenblogs.blogsome.com/2007/06/21/academic-standards-no-excuse-for-poor-athletics/

    Are you actually going to respond this time, or are you still a complete coward?

  • Randy Parent

    Jonathan,

    It would be great if you would delete these off-topic flamer posts. When I read the comments for your column, I want to read just that — comments on the topic in your column.

    Thanks for your work. I enjoy reading it and look forward to the next column.

    Randy

  • Morencsarecoming

    It is well known that I am a coward. It is also well known that I produce false “facts” in my attempts to discredit anything Cal related. This is due to my extreme inferiority complex and spite for the same institution that denied me access to superior education.

    ps Pete Carroll looks the other way.

  • Jan K. Oski

    All Hail, CBKWIT! Everyone else hits the moron hard, but CBKWIT knocks her out!

    GO YOU BEARS!

  • Morencsarecoming

    I guess my answer to that would be that, in the end, it’s just football. If you want to be proud of the fact that you have no education and support a corrupt college football team, more power to you. In the end, however, we educated Cal folk will be able to read, write, and perform mathematics at the highest levels…we’ll have good paying jobs, nice homes to come home to at night, a loving spouse, kids, grandkids, friends, nice vacations, make a difference in our communities, become good citizens, and generally live a great life. You, on the other hand, will still be here 20 years from now, uneducated, drooling, cheering on the Trojenz, trolling Cal forums, nobody to love you, no friends, no family, no home, no job, and still living in your mother’s basement. Hmmm, sounds appealing doesn’t it Amy?

    ——————

    My dad owns a big property development company. I don’t have to even go to a grammar school to be 10x richer than you are. I am set for life. You? Not so much.

  • CBKWit

    Still a coward, eh Amy? Next time give us your mom’s opinion on Cal football, we’re all dying to know.

    But you probably won’t respond, because you are a complete coward.