Golden Bear Game-Breakers

When the game is on the line all teams need a player that is just a notch or two above everyone else on the field. This type of player might make two or three electrifying plays in a game. When a game-breaker is not making the highlight reel, he is turning nothing into something. Three-yard losses become three-yard gains. After observing recent practices, we noticed a few possible game-breakers…

Think back to last season when DeSean Jackson ran a return for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers in the season opener. I doubt there were five players in college football that could have made that play. Players with elite skills have the ability to elevate their team to victories over above average teams.

After watching recent practices, we continued to watch players who look like they will be able to make plays for the Bears this season. One player seemed to have a different gear than everyone else on the field and that was Jahvid Best.

A few times, it looked like a routine five or six-yard gain was about to happen and Best on a few occasions would just blow by defenders. He should be difficult to bring down in the open field and he has the ability to give the offense many big plays in the running and passing game.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones continues to look very solid. Jones uses his 6-foot-2 body very well when he blocks. Jones has good hands and holds onto the ball when he draws contact.

Receiver Nyan Boateng makes a lot of catches in traffic and when he is in space with a defensive back, he has the ability to pick up extra yards. On one occasion, Boateng was encouraging a teammate to stay in the game after dropping a pass. That was good to see, because there will be a number of times in a game when things will not go right for the Bears and they will have to fight through it until they can make something positive happen.

Sean Young continues to make the routine plays all the time. That sounds like it is easy, but most players do not make routine plays 100% of the time. It is the difference of having key passes dropped and third downs not converted.

The Bears' secondary should make a lot of plays this season. Syd'Quan Thompson could be Cal's defensive game-breaker. He makes the occasional interception, and he has deflected a ton of passes in practice. Darian Hagan looks like he has the ability to be a good corner also. During Saturday's practice, Hagan returned an interception for a touchdown. It was one of many plays made in camp this year. As well, cornerback Chris Conte has a knack for always being around the ball. This unit should be one of the strengths of the team.

The quarterback situation continues to look good, because both Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore have the ability to play well in games. Having either quarterback develop into a game-breaker would automatically make the Bears a very dangerous team.

Riley throws a number of tight spirals and is very accurate with his passes. He also puts a few balls in the right place when receivers are completely covered by the defensive back. Longshore throws a number of perfect deep balls. Both players continue to push each other to perform in practice, but one player needs to emerge as the leader of this football team.

Offensively, the Bears look like a solid team. The quarterback and running back position should be good this season and better than most of the opponent's players at the same positions. Usually if the quarterback play is solid then the team should win a lot of games. The receivers should perform better than most people think. Nonetheless, a game-breaker or two could be the difference between a seven and 10-win season.


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