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CFF Sell Series - Taking aim at Nate Marchese's favourite player in 2023
@CFFNate is in the line of fire today...
‘Cause we’re villains and our caliber is “bring it”
- Camp Lo, Music Group
I’m bringing back the series everyone loves to hate, and putting my villain hat back on today as I take aim at one of the hottest up-and-coming RBs in college football. If you’ve ever listened to the esteemed CFF analyst Nate Marchese speak (usually at length) about his thoughts on new Cal OC Jake Spavital and star RB Jaydn Ott, you can appreciate the humour in the title. Like Marchese, I am all the way out on Ott for 2023, and I don’t think I will be investing in him for CFF this upcoming season.
You might be wondering why that is the case, given that Ott had a fantastic freshman season last year, and reports this offseason are positive. Well today is your lucky day, because I’m going to explain myself in the proceeding sections.
Coaching & System
The reason I (and apparently Marchese) are out on Ott has nothing to do with the player himself. Unfortunately, he finds himself in a tough spot. New OC Jake Spavital is the bane to every CFF manager’s existence when it comes to distributing volume. He spent the last four seasons at Texas State (2019-2022). His RB1 never carried the ball more than 172 (2022) times and that was much higher than his next closest RB1 at 128 (2021). His lead rushers in 20’ and 19’ carried the ball around 100 times each season.
I can almost stop this article right here, right now. To his credit, Spav did have a 1000-yard rusher in 2017 while with WVU—Justin Crawford rushed for 1061 yards and 7 TDs on 190 carries. The RB2 that year rushed 125 times for 596 yards and 7 scores also. Neither was used as a passer to great effect. The season after that (2018), Spav’s RB1 rushed 145 times (I just threw up in my mouth…).
Now it’s likely he brings that bogus ‘share the load’ mentality to NorCal, where we can only hope that the Silicon Valley technocrats will teach him a lesson or two about the benefits of monopolies and centralizing power into one man’s hands.
Until then we’re left on the outside hoping that old boy Spav figures it out sooner rather than later—that is, giving the RB 20+ touches a game is more important than actually trying to win games if you’re Cal. You’re not going to win anything significant anyway. Might as well give yourself some ammo to recruit the next stud at RB and make your life easier, and then move on to the next job as an ‘ace recruiter and elite developer of the RB position’. But hey, that’s just me.
The RBs coach, named after the great Greek philosopher—Aristotle Thompson has spent the last three seasons with Cal in the same position. He’s part of the problem as far as I’m concerned, as the Golden Bears have been notoriously generous when it comes to sharing the volume in the backfield. His first full season with the Bears he had two different runners carry the rock 100+ times. Even in Ott’s breakout season last year, he only carried the pig 170 times.
Head coach Justin Wilcox’s background is defence, so it’s not worth diving into his track record at the RB position. He’s been with Cal since 2017, and has overseen this backfield regress into a committee year after year. It wasn’t always that way—once upon a time there was hope. In his first two seasons, the Bears had Patrick Laird carry the rock 191 (2017) and 223 (2018) times, and then Christopher Brooks followed that up with 208 carries the following season (2019).
RB Jaydn Ott — 6’0, 200
Ott is a rising sophomore out of Chino, California; in his freshman season, he broke out to the tune of 897 yards and 8 TDs on 170 carries (19.5 FPG in 1-ppr). His receiving work was exceptional—Ott caught 46 passes (58 targets) for 321 yards and 3 TDs. The overall volume was pretty good from 2022, 216 touches ain’t half bad, and nearly 1200 total yards and 11 TDs is very good.
The reality of the matter is — as I said at the top — this has nothing to do with Ott himself. If he sees 216 touches again he’ll likely be a strong asset. My skepticism is on the volume end of the equation.
To keep things balanced, I will include this excerpt from a Cal beat report that was extremely positive about Ott (shocker):
Ott picked right up this Spring where he left off from the Fall. He was a big play waiting to happen all Spring, regularly breaking off chunk runs. If anything, he looked stronger and more explosive with his body tightened up and with some noticeable upper body muscle having been added. Ott’s got an innate patience as a runner, which he can get away with because his acceleration is truly elite.
When Jaydn hits his second gear, he simply leaves defenders grasping for air. Despite carrying roughly 200 lbs, he consistently breaks tackles, getting real yardage after contact.
The one thing we didn’t see this Spring was his Ott being utilized much as a receiver. That was almost certainly by design to keep defenses guessing as Spavital will look to deploy Ott in myriad ways this Fall. Hard to imagine Jaydn doesn’t establish himself as one of the nation’s elite backs in 2023
There’s a lot of good stuff in there but actually nothing that refutes the stance that he’s going to be the opposite of a volume pig this fall—and I don’t care who you are, if you’re not getting the requisite volume you’re not going to be elite in CFF. There is that little nugget about Spav finding a “myriad” of ways to use Ott this fall, that’s generally a strong quote for touches; given Spav’s track record I don’t think I will buy it, though.
An indicator to me about how this offence is going to run is the fact that veteran RB Byron Cardwell transferred to this school despite having Ott pop off throughout 2022. Ditto for Justin Williams-Thomas by way of Tennessee. Thomas was a former four star recruit and ultimately flipped his commitment from cross-state rival Stanford to the Golden Bears (those peeps in Palo Alto are a bunch of nerds anyway, am I right Golden Bears?). Oh and throw in another veteran in former Purdue RB King Doerue for good measure. Three veteran RBs transfer in after Ott has the season he had? Yea, this is going to be a committee…
So obviously the title was tongue-and-cheek; but how fun would it be if there was legitimately a beef between two content creators in CFF? Marchese can be Tupac and I can play Biggie, or vice versa, I don’t really care, as long as the numbers keep going up, feel me?
Anyways, let this be an open challenge and invitation for Marchese to clap back if he thinks he’s man enough to challenge the Pig lord.
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