WHAT WE KNOW: That the Bears have a good starting point with their returning starting wide receivers. Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen should be one of the best tandems in the Pac-12. Jones has been a consistent threat the past couple years, albeit not spectacular. He doesn’t have the kind of explosiveness that keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night but has good hands and knows how to go up and get it. Allen clearly showed immense potential last season, although his best games were against subpar competition. Still, when he was healthy, he was very productive for a true freshman. With his first spring practice under his belt, Allen should be able to do even more this fall. Cal should feel very comfortable with its tight end depth, with starter Anthony Miller and backup Spencer Ladner returning. Jarrett Sparks, Jacob Wark and Spencer Hagan all provide depth. Ladner needs to prove he can stay healthy this fall. Sparks didn’t practice this spring because of an injury so his status will be monitored. And Hagan opened some eyes with a good spring after converting from wide receiver. He was supposed to have spent the summer bulking up his frame, so we’ll see how his body has changed this fall.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: What the WR depth will look like after Jones and Allen. Senior Michael Calvin had a pretty good spring, but all the reports last summer was how strong he looked during the offseason but he still didn’t produce. This is Calvin’s last chance; he doesn’t appear to have ever mentally recovered from his ACL injury in 2008. This training camp will be the most important three weeks of his career. Redshirt freshman Kaelin Clay showed promise during the spring and is Cal’s fastest player. As good as Jones and Allen are, they can’t stretch the field like Clay has the potential to do. How good is incoming freshman Maurice Harris (Allen’s cousin)? Since the depth behind the two starters is unsettled, he may have a chance to get in the rotation immediately. And what about Coleman Edmond? He may be in the mix as a kick returner, but can he produce as a receiver?
IN SUMMATION: Jeff Tedford says the wide receiver position group is one of the strongest on the team. There’s no question you can say that when it comes to the starters. But there are questions about depth. Maybe Clay will become the home run threat the Bears need. Maybe Calvin will finally become a consistent producer. Maybe Edmond can contribute. It sure would have been nice for Cal to have Tevin Carter still on the team entering this fall. He would have given the Bears another potential player who could develop. Again, Cal should feel good about the tight ends. But the Bears and their re-united offensive staff now have to find a way to get them more involved in the offense.