After Visit Stills Sees Opportunity at Cal

With the opportunity to impress a number of the top high school athletes in the country Saturday, the Bears fell flat on their snouts. Luckily, for them though, guys like Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon wide receiver Kenny Stills see Cal's back-to-back no-shows differently than you might expect...

Kenny Stills (6-1, 175) watched the second half of Cal's 30-3 loss to No. 7 USC from inside the coach's office at Memorial Stadium.

The Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon receiver, dressed in just a t-shirt, wasn't ready for the chilly Northern California autumn night.

Ironically enough, the only thing colder than Stills was the Bears' offense. Maybe Cal should look into a dome.

With the opportunity to impress a number of the top high school athletes in the country Saturday, the Bears fell flat on their snouts. Luckily, for them though, guys like Stills see Cal's back-to-back no-shows differently than you might expect.

"Obviously it's a little sad to see [the Bears] get beat like that again two weeks in a row," Stills said. "But it just kind of shows me that there's an opportunity there. They need someone to come in and make plays."

In just four quarters Stills was able to grasp one of Cal's chief concerns on offense: the Bears' struggle in the passing game.

While wideouts like Marvin Jones, Verran Tucker and Jeremy Ross have all shown spurts of brilliance, Cal continues to lack the consistent big-play threat, something that Stills—with his sub 4.4 speed—could deliver.

"I definitely see an opportunity at receiver. It seemed like nobody wanted to step up," Stills said.

"I consider myself a playmaker and someone who's going to help a team compete."

It seems that that competitive aspect of the game—whether or not a team folds when it's down, for example—is what Stills looks for in a potential school.

That said, it wasn't the Bears' loss that the five-star wideout looked at, but how the players responded, both on the sideline and in the locker room.

"You've got to bring a swagger. If you're going to accept the way [you're playing], then when are you going to step up," Stills said. "Look at USC. During timeouts, they were dancing, trying to keep the momentum and aggression up. They're not just going to give you a quarter or two. They're going to continue to put it on you.

"I saw the seniors want to step up and take over. They're not going to give up on the season. But [the Bears] need some attitude. They need to bring in some boys to turn that around. I'm definitely excited about that."

While Stills likes the opportunities that Cal could provide for him on the field, the Bears' largest asset in the acquisition of the speedster could be a fellow member of the class of 2010.

Among some of the other big names in Berkeley Saturday, Stills spent a lot of time with his friend and Cal commit Davon Dunn.

And while he has let Stills feel out the recruiting process on his own, there's no doubt that the Dunn has made an impact.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He's one of those players that kind of flies under the radar, but he's a baller…someone who is going to produce big time at the next level," Stills said. "I want to be on a team with a guy like that.

"He's not riding my case about coming to Cal. He respects that I'm going make my own decision. But we have talked about sticking together. Sometimes we say things like, ‘If we were there,' and stuff, but he knows I've got to make the decision that is best for me."

And Stills has made it clear that the decision isn't going to be based solely on how a team performs over a two-week stretch.

Instead, it's how a team deals with adversity that may make the biggest impact.

"Having a family-based team is probably the most important thing for me," Stills said. "I haven't really been a part of a true family. My family has always been my team."

Luckily for the Bears, their remaining schedule appears at least slightly easier, after opening conference play against arguably the toughest two teams in the Pac-10.

That said, Stills was impressed by Cal's ambitious start to the 2009 season.

"I'm not trying to be No. 1 and smash on smaller conference schools. I'm trying to get better. I want a school where its out of conference schedule is going to push them in conference play," Stills said.

"It's actually kind of nice to see the Pac-10 flipped around right now. I know the Pac-10 is going to be tough."

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