Tuesday Tape Room: Cal's freshmen wide receivers compete without the rock
Tuesday Tape Room is Pac-12 Networks football analyst (and former USC assistant coach) Yogi Roth’s chance to break down tape in search of details worth focusing on — similar to what’s happening in team meetings throughout the conference today.
When coaches enter the film room after each game they hope to learn something about their team that they may have not known before. This past Saturday, the Cal Bears proved that they have the heart of champions.
With their backs against the wall at 1-4 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play, the Bears could have packed it up, turned on one another and let the season pass them by. But instead they did what Jeff Tedford and all coaches around the nation hope to see: they competed.
Freshmen wide receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper were particularly impressive. Wideout is traditionally known as a selfish position where players only care about their catches and stats. But the effort and sacrifice by these two freshmen stood out on film on multiple occasions. Both aided their team without making a highlight-worthy reception as Cal upset UCLA, 43-17, in Berkeley.
With UCLA leading 7-3, Cal lined up with Treggs (#1) in the slot and C.J. Anderson (#9) outside. While Anderson scores on this play, it is the aggressive route that Treggs runs that allows his teammate to remain open underneath. Treggs maintains his outside leverage and forces his defensive back off the ball and in the direction of his defensive teammate, which frees up Anderson:
Later in the second quarter, freshman Chris Harper (#6) lines up on the inside and Keenan Allen (#21) is in the slot position in a three wide receiver formation. Harper, similar to his classmate earlier, understands that he is not the primary target but he sacrifices himself in the red zone. His aggressive corner route allows for Allen to find the end zone. Allen maintains his leverage and by violently planting his left foot in the ground, he forces the UCLA defender to slightly hesitate.
Here's another example of a freshman's aggressive play. Early in the second half, Cal scored on a simple outside screen pass to the emerging Brendan Bigelow who then took it 32 yards to the house. While it was an accurate pass and an electric run, it was the block by Treggs that sprung Bigelow down the sideline. Many wideouts around the Pac-12 can make this block, but the majority of them would end up holding the defensive back and this play would get called back -- in particular, most freshmen.
Treggs and Harper proved that they are not selfish wideouts and are willing to put the team first. Their efforts paid off on Saturday night, as it looked as though Cal found its swagger on tape.