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Cal Practice Day 2: Golden Bears Believe They Will Create an Explosive Offense

Changes everywhere, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sees big-play potential.

There is a lot of newness to the Cal offense. New quarterback, changes on the offensive line, mostly new receivers.

From that equation, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is hoping the Bears can unveil one more thing that’s new: Explosiveness.

Cal has been striving for that quality in its offense for several seasons, and although some progress was made last fall, more is needed.

Purdue transfer Jack Plummer leads the competition to replace Chase Garbers at quarterback, although redshirt freshman Kai Millner is putting up a fight.

At wideout, redshirt freshmen J. Michael Sturdivant and Mavin Anderson provide much-needed speed, joining top returnee Jeremiah Hunter, who averaged more than 18 yards per catch in 2021.

Musgrave is excited about the potential.

“Explosive plays correlate to winning,” he said after Saturday’s second fall practice. “So the more chunk plays we can create the less third downs we’ve got to convert.

“We’re looking for explosive plays and our guys have the ability to really light up when they have the ball in their hands.”

On the wideouts, Musgrave added, “They’ve worked hard these first two days. J. Mike and Jeremiah, those guys are making plays day-in and day-out. Mavin Anderson’s working hard. Tommy Christakos made a couple plays today. So there’s some new blood there at receiver.”

Another potential big-play talent is freshman running back Jaydn Ott, who arrived in time for spring ball and has been split out at receiver at times during the first two days of practice.

“He’s really made a great first impression on everybody that’s crossed his path,” Musgrave said.

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Millner, who came to Cal in the same class with Sturdivant and Anderson, says of the receiver corps, “There’s just no ceiling for that group. Guys are getting more comfortable, they’re getting relaxed and they’re able to just go out and play, and that’s dangerous. It’s going to be exciting.”

He called the receivers “as fast as lightning . . . they can go up and get the ball. J. Mike’s out of this world athletic. Mavin is so smooth and fast. They’re guys who are going to do big things for Cal football.”

Plummer and Millner split reps during spring ball, with Plummer emerging as the tentative No. 1.

His experience and ability to quickly pick up a new offense have impressed Musgrave.

“I’ve been very surprised because he’s just so bright. Really sharp. Had no idea how football-smart he was. So we’re thankful for that,” Musgrave says in the video above.

Plummer is now comfortable with his new teammates, but said he tried to gain their confidence step by step last spring.

“I just wanted to show everyone I was here and I could play,” he says in the video above. “I didn’t want to come in and be a loud mouth, come in and talk when it’s other people’s team. You don’t want to step on anyone’s shoes.”

Musgrave is encouraged as well by Millner, who doesn’t back off after making a mistake.

“He’s taken some leaps and he took some steps today, too,” Musgrave said. “I like Kai because when he does make a mistake, we can coach him had and direct and he takes coaching and he takes that lesson going forward.”

Cover photo of Cal quarterback Jack Plummer by Al Sermeno, KLC fotos

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo