Cal junior wide receiver Keenan Allen, caught 98 passes in 2011, is expected to be healthy after undergoing surgery on his right ankle in March following a pickup basketball injury:
Q. Have you dunked a basketball lately?
A. Oh no, no basketball for me. It’s strictly football. I can go out there and play H-O-R-S-E. I feel pretty good. If I had a game Saturday, I could play. I don’t know how long it would hold up because it doesn’t have all its full capacity and flexibility yet. I’ve still got a long time (before the opener).”
Q. The Pac-12 may have the best wideouts in the country, including Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at USC and Marquess Wilson at Washington State. Tell me why you are better than any of them and how you’re better than you were a year ago:
A. I feel like I bring a lot of things to the table, being able to catch the ball, being able to run after the catch, go deep, run a screen. Being able to make a quarterback play, throw the ball if the team needs me to. I have a lot of versatility on the field. Those guys, you’re used to seeing them at wide receiver or punt return. I like to go out there and be versatile.
Q. There has been a buzz since last spring that the eligibility of your half-brother, senior quarterback Zach Maynard, is in jeopardy because of academics. How is he coping with that talk and who do you expect to be under center on Sept. 1 when you guys open the new Memorial Stadium against Nevada?
A. I definitely expect Zach to be under center on Sept. 1. Being with Zach my whole life, I know he’s good under pressure. He’s always struggled, always been in hard times, he’s always under pressure. I have the utmost confidence in him. I know he’s going to come out there and do great things. He’s going to take care of the academic stuff and he’s going to be ready to play football. He’s actually doing pretty good. He’s taking care of his academics. I have no doubts.
Q. After two home games, you guys are on the road for a pair of high-profile road games — at Ohio State and at USC on back-to-back weekends. Tell me what kind of performance will you expect from yourself on those Saturdays and how important those games will be to Cal’s season?
A. I take the motto that big-time players show up in big-time games. I’m going to come out there and give it my 100 percent for four quarter. They definitely excite me, but I think all games excite me. Every time I go out there I feel like it’s my turn to shine. I’ve got to impress somebody so I just go out there with that mindset. As far as the team, playing Ohio State and USC back-to-back, that’s going to show our character. It’s definitely going to develop a path for this season.