WHAT WENT RIGHT: Marvin Jones developed into a legitimate Pac-10 receiver in his sophomore season. He may have the best hands of any wideout in the Pac-10. His 43 receptions may not seem like a ton, but considering the team leader last year had just 29 (Nyan Boateng), it was a step in the right direction. Jeremy Ross showed improvement over last year and had 22 catches for 344 yards. Verran Tucker was inconsistent but made some big catches. Alex Lagemann showed some potential in limited action and could become more of a factor next year. Anthony Miller excelled at tight end with 26 catches for 357 yards and looks like he could develop into an All-Pac-10 tight end someday.
WHAT WENT WRONG: This group of receivers failed to consistently make big plays down the field. Most catches were possession-type receptions where the play ended right after the catch. Rarely did you see a receiver make a catch and then make a play in terms of yards after the reception. The Poinsettia Bowl demonstrated the receivers’ struggles to consistently get open. DBs were consistently right on the receivers, even on completed passes. Even Jones, who has great hands, doesn’t have breakaway speed that really stretches the field.
IN SUMMATION: Jones is really the only reliable receiver currently on the roster. Cal has gone to a bigger type of receiver in recent years and that may have hurt the team in terms of making big plays in the passing game. This group of receivers is nowhere near the explosive bunch from a few years ago when DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan were flying around the field.
MOVING FORWARD: Either the current group of receivers will have to improve their route running or ability to put pressure on the defense or some of the younger players, including the incoming freshman, may get a look. Jeremy Ross seems to be the one receiver with the most potential to get separation off defensive backs. He just needs to do it more consistently. The good news is the Bears seem to have found another quality pass-catching tight end in Miller.