Cal DL dwarfs Stanford players at Sr. Bowl

January 27, 2011, 12:12 am
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Jan. 26, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comMOBILE, Ala. -- Stanford dominated the Bay Area college football scene, but it was a player from Cal who turned heads at the Senior Bowl practices this week.RELATED: Pac-10 Standings
From the moment Cal defensive lineman Cameron Jordan stepped on stage to be weighed and measured, he was among the most talked-about players among NFL coaches, executives and scouts.While many of the top seniors in the nation disappointed onlookers Monday with smaller-than-advertised physiques during the official weigh-in, Jordan passed the eyeball test and firmly lived up to his listed measurements.
Listed his senior season at Cal as 6-foot-4, 283 pounds, Jordan was -- in fact -- 6-4 and one-eighth inches, 287 pounds.
"It's my real height," Jordan said. "And my hair is low, so I know that's my true height."At his size, Jordan is capable of playing defensive end in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Scouts talked about his power at the point of attack, as well as his ability to explode off the line of scrimmage as a pass-rusher.He is almost certain to be the first and only player from a Bay Area school to be chosen April 28, when the NFL conducts the first round of the draft.Jordan's father is Steve Jordan, a six-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end for the Minnesota Vikings during his 13-year career. His son never played tight end, preferring to hit rather than be hit, he said.Cameron Jordan certainly did a lot of hitting throughout his Cal career. He recorded 5.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss as a senior. During the week at the Senior Bowl, Jordan was regarded as one of the three best players, along with Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller and Baylor 337-pound nose tackle Phillip Taylor.The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. (PT), and televised on the NFL Network.
Stanford fullbacklinebacker Owen Marecic (6-0, 246) did not have to decide which side of the ball to play during the week of Senior Bowl practices. That decision was made for him."I was invited here as a fullback," Marecic said. "I don't have a preference. I'm very happy to be here in whatever I can do to help out the team and improve my football skills."Marecic is regarded as the top fullback in the draft class -- a distinction that is likely to see him drafted in the middle rounds. He is seen as a solid player who will be expected to be a core special-teams player from the outset of his NFL career.With his background in the West Coast system, Marecic is likely to hold special value for select teams. It would not be a surprise if the 49ers target him with a mid-round pick to join coach Jim Harbaugh in the NFL. Marecic said he would relish an opportunity to play again for his Stanford coach."He's very energetic and very intense, and in a way that inspires you to exceed your own expectations and your own abilities, in some cases," Marecic said of Harbaugh. "It made him a great coach and it's the reason the Stanford program really turned around and all the success we've had at that rested on his shoulders."That personality that makes him so unique and such a great coach can apply to any level." There is no denying the Stanford system was beneficial to prepare offensive players for the professional game. But nose tackle Sione Fua (6-1 34, 307) took advantage of the defensive scheme to get him ready for the next level, too.RELATED: 49ers hire Fangio as defensive coordinator
When longtime NFL assistant Vic Fangio installed the 3-4 defense at Stanford before last season, players such as Fua spent hours studying Baltimore Ravens game film. So the week of work with the Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff at the Senior Bowl was a seamless transition."The big thing in going from coach Fangio's defense to here, the scheme we're running at the Senior Bowl is similar to what we did," Fua said. "Just the terminology is different. It's stuff I've run already but with different names and maybe little tweaks in the technique. It's easy for me to pick up. I know what I'm doing and I've done it before."Fangio spent one season at Stanford and moved with Harbaugh to the NFL earlier this month. Fangio was hired as the 49ers' new defensive coordinator. Fua played in a 4-3 scheme with Stanford before Fangio's arrival, so he is should be adept at whatever defense he is asked to play in the NFL."Two years ago, the defense was more of a read-and-react defense, and the linemen were asked to tie up blockers for the linebackers," Fua said. "Whereas, this year with coach Fangio, we were penetrating and try to get in the backfield, trying to knock those linemen back and close the running lanes."In speaking with scouts, Fua is projected as a fifth-round pick. He does a nice job of stuffing the run but has not shown much pass-rush capabilities. Niners running back Frank Gore, who sustained a hairline fracture of his right hip on Nov. 29, had a recent MRI that revealed the fracture has healed, according to a source at the Senior Bowl. Gore is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and should be cleared to begin running in two weeks. The injury did not require surgery. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said Gore is "feeling great."What's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.