Thursday, December 18, 2014

Aggies are suffering from WR withdrawal

September 29, 2010 |

Enterprise columnist

Much of the talk regarding the UC Davis football team during fall camp was about how it would deal with the loss of quarterback Greg Denham.

Denham, remember, would have been a senior and was set to enter his third year as the Aggies starting quarterback but left the team in June to pursue a career in the ministry.

Despite playing only two years, Denham already ranked in the top five in career completions, attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns, and would have ranked in the top two in each barring an injury during his senior year. He also held the second-best completion percentage and the lowest interception rate.

DenhamÕs early retirement certainly hurt, especially because it meant the Aggies were going to have to rely on either sophomore Austin Heyworth or redshirt freshman Randy Wright to take over the quarterbacking duties.

But Denham wasnÕt the biggest loss the Aggies had to deal with.

Actually, the most important pieces UCD had to replace were two players the team knew it was going to be without in 2010.

The two in question are wide receivers Chris Carter and Bakari Grant, who departed due to graduation.

The quarterback-receiver relationship is always a chicken-and-the-egg sort of thing. Is it the quarterback who makes the receivers look good or the other way around? Generally, itÕs a little bit of both.

Denham was obviously a quality quarterback, as the numbers he put up in two years prove. But Carter and Grant were no slouches themselves. In fact, they were two of the best pass-catchers the Aggie program has ever had.

Carter set records for most catches in a game and a career, and also has two of the top five marks for receptions in a season. Both are in the top 10 in career receiving yards, while Grant has the seventh-most catches and is tied for ninth in touchdown grabs.

Something has been off in the Aggie passing game in 2010 and both Wright Ñ who beat out Heyworth in fall camp to start at QB Ñ and his receivers are to blame. Things would definitely be better had Denham stuck around, but I think WrightÕs numbers would be more impressive if he was throwing to Grant and Carter.

IÕm not dismissing the ability of guys like Anthony Soto and Stephen Dunstan, but itÕs telling that two of the top three receiving leaders so far this year, both in catches and yards, are tight end Dean Rogers and running back Josh Reese. Carter, Grant and Sean Creadick Ñ the top receiver so far Ñ were DenhamÕs three favorite targets last year.

The bottom line is that Carter and Grant were NFL-caliber pass catchers. Carter might have been drafted had he not suffered a knee injury late in the 2009 season and surely would have joined Grant, who caught on with the 49ers, in an NFL training camp if he wasnÕt selected.

ItÕs hard enough to replace one receiver of that quality, let alone two of them at once, at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Wideouts like that might grow on trees for Pacific-10 schools, but they definitely donÕt for Great West teams.

Carter and Grant are good enough to turn slight overthrows Ñ which Wright has made plenty of so far this year Ñ into complete passes due to better route running and being quicker off the line of scrimmage, things that also help receivers get open more frequently. Better hands mean fewer drops and turning slightly off throws into receptions.

None of this means that if Denham had stayed, the Aggies would automatically be 2-2 or 3-1 this year. While the passing game may have a been a bit crisper, UCD also has other problems right now and could easily have been 1-3 at this point even with Denham at the helm.

Ñ Conor Tekautz covers UCD football for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this column at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Boston bombing suspect in court for first time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    State gets more rain, big mudslide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5



    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery



    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7





    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6


    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Holiday decorating contest winners light up our lives

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: LMG4 | Gallery

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7