IN-DEPTH: Legs Race

As soon as Cal receivers got back to work this week, the Bears took a vote: Who's jaw-dropping catch was jaw-droppingiest? Find out who won, who voted how and more as we take an in-depth look at the outside threats with which Cal will attack the Trojans.

BERKELEY -- When the California wide receivers got into their first meeting of the week, it was, a always, time for film study. But, coach Rob Likens had something special in mind. The outside receivers were shown film of both Maurice Harris's one-handed grab against Portland State in Week Two and Kenny Lawler's fingertip grab last week against Arizona, and then, they voted.

While Harris's catch was given special consideration given that he caught the ball with the same arm that had seen a separated shoulder during practice that week – and then he landed on that same arm – it was Lawler's that won out. Harris, BearTerritory was told, voted for Lawler.

"I had to vote for Maurice," said sophomore Bryce Treggs. "He had a bad shoulder that week, and for him to just reach up and get that one with the bad shoulder and come and down and land on that bad shoulder, and hold onto the ball, that was great."

Treggs, though, did give an edge to Lawler in one category: "I think Kenny had the better celebration, because Kenny got up, he was really excited, and I was really excited for him that he got his first three touchdowns all in one game. It was a good experience for all of us."

Treggs may have voted for Harris, but this week, he's cozying up to Lawler and picking his brain for tips. Lawler – out of Pomona (Calif.) Upland – faced off against the cornerback Treggs will match up against on Saturday when the Bears welcome USC into Memorial Stadium -- Josh Shaw.

Shaw has played much of the year at safety, but will move down to square off with Treggs on Saturday.

"On my side, they actually have a safety that just started playing corner, so he's a little bit new to bumping on the coverage," Treggs said. "He's more comfortable at being off, and I think that'll be an interesting match-up, because he just moved down from safety and he's not really familiar with playing corner. I don't really know how he's going to play because he just moved from safety. He's been a safety his whole life."

What else are Likens and the receivers expecting from the Trojans secondary?

"Well, I just saw that they made that move a week ago – the guy was playing safety most of the year and now he's playing corner, and they've got another guy – No. 4 (Torin Harris) – he may come in; I don't know what they're going to do," Likens says. "I don't know whether they benched somebody or somebody's injured, but they felt like they needed to make the move.

"Last week, Arizona, they were 95 percent quarters team, and they went quarters two plays against us, so with our offense, it's so different, that you try to get your best guess how they're going to line up, but really, you've got to wait until the game and then just kind of adjust from there."

USC doesn't press much, but they do run man coverage, which head coach Sonny Dykes said could prove problematic for quarterback Jared Goff.

"What happens, a lot of times, is, when you play against man teams and you've seen a lot of zone teams, to your quarterback, everybody looks covered," Dykes says. "When you play against zone teams, guys can settle in zones and you see some grass and separation, and then when you transition to playing a team that plays a little bit more man coverage, there's a defender that's always there, so, as a result, guys look more covered, and I think sometimes, your quarterback's a little bit inclined to hold on to the football, and that plays into their hand, because they're a very good team, so I think that's the strength of their defense."

It will be up to receivers like Treggs and Chris Harper to shake that coverage and get free for Goff. For Harper, that means playing both inside and outside, at the very least.

"Coach [Tony] Franklin is coaching him in the other positions, and I've still got him on the outside. We're moving him around, just doing everything we can to get him the ball," Likens says. "We feel like, if you just line up at one place – we don't motion and all that stuff -- you can come up with game plans to take one guy away, and we don't want that to happen.

"I think, with the ball in his hands, he's the best playmaker on our team. I don't think that's up for debate. He's pretty special with the ball in his hands."

As for Treggs – who is more than aware that he hasn't had a 100-yard game since the second week of the season – both Dykes and Likens know that they need to utilize all their weapons, particularly down field.

"We've just got to get the ball to him more," Likens says. "We've just got to force it to him more, or tell the quarterback to look at him, I don't know. We know that. We know we've got to get him the ball more."

Another potential game-changer? Lawler. The redshirt freshman was in rare form on Tuesday, catching everything thrown his way – and some balls that weren't. Likens spoke of Lawler's day in hushed tones reserved for a cramped end of a dugout bench during a no-hitter.

"Just trying to be quiet about it," Likens smiled, "because he looked awfully good today." Top Stories