Could Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones become the Pac-12’s best receiving duo?
“I think he and I can definitely be one of the top tandems in the nation,” Jones said Sunday.
It’s easy to make these sorts of predictions after the second day of fall training camp at Witter Rugby Field. Every team is undefeated, and hope springs eternal — even for a Cal team that many don’t expect to have an explosive offense.
Wide receiver is one of the Bears’ stronger areas, but outside of their starting duo, they have no proven commodities. Freshman Kaelin Clay, reputed to be the fastest player on the team, was on crutches after injuring his knee on Saturday; he will undergo an MRI on Monday.
“We got two other guys in Coleman Edmond and Michael Calvin who maybe underachieved a little bit these last couple of years,” wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau said. “I gotta get more out of them. I gotta get more production, somehow, some way.”
Calvin and Edmond both have potential, but neither has produced. The former has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but has the prototypical frame of a No. 1 wideout, while the latter is a former track runner who has a 42-inch vertical. Both seniors were listed as backups to Allen and Jones on the post-spring two-deep, but projections that early are placeholders more than anything.
“I told my guys, ‘We have 13 receivers here. I’m looking for the best six,” Kiesau said. “Right now, I’m not really at a point where I can judge on a depth chart.”
After spending the last five years in Colorado, Kiesau has returned for a second go-round as Cal’s wide receivers coach.
“It feels like I never left,” he said. “I can step right in and get back to work.”
It helps that he’ll be working with head coach Jeff Tedford and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik, both of whom were around for his original stint from 2002-05. In 2003, his receivers snagged a school-record 278 receptions, with Geoff McArthur as the country’s second-leading pass catcher. Kiesau now also serves as the passing game coordinator, but what that exactly means isn’t clearly defined.
“Titles are always tricky,” he said, adding that Tedford has not yet delineated playcalling duties for the fall. “We’ve got five guys on the offensive staff … We all kind of intertwine and work together.”
—Senior Ryan Davis was listed as a starting outside linebacker after spring practices. The former JUCO transfer, who has recorded four tackles last season and played mostly on special teams, is trying to fend off freshman Cecil Whiteside for the weakside spot. Redshirt freshman David Wilkerson is expected to start on the opposite side.
—Left tackle Mitchell Schwartz sat out practice for the second straight day with an injured hamstring. He appears to be day-to-day.
“He’s a veteran,” Tedford said of Schwartz, who has started all 38 possible games during his career. “He kind of knows when he’s ready.”
—Senior Giorgio Tavecchio looks like he’ll be taking field goals and kickoffs again this season. Tedford emphasized Sunday that the Tavecchio had the starting placekicker job, but said that kickoffs had not yet been decided.