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Plummer Primed For Successful Season After Portal Transfer

April 26, 2022
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One of three key transfer portal additions in the offseason, 6-5/215 redshirt junior quarterback Jack Plummer finds himself in a strong position in his battle to take over as starting QB for departed 4-year starter Chase Garbers at Cal.

The fifth-year QB from Gilbert, Arizona earned honorable mention All-USA Arizona honors as a 2017 senior, completing 195-of-335 passes (58.2%) for 2861 yards and 35 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while also rushing for 404 yards and eight additional touchdowns.

“Out of high school, my top two were Purdue and South Carolina,” said Plummer. “The Purdue connection started from my defensive coordinator in high school who played at Louisville with the Brohm’s (former Louisville and current head coach and OC Jeff and Brian Brohm). He slid them my film and they were recruiting me the hardest. I thought it was a good fit playing for a head coach and offensive coordinator who both played quarterback in the NFL.”

Plummer started 13 games in his time at Purdue, completing 319-of-492 passes (64.8%) for 3405 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a 136.35 quarterback rating. He started last season well, playing in nine games, including starts in each of the first four and helped Purdue to a 3-1 record, completing 87-of-127 passes (68.5%) for 864 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions for a 143.84 quarterback rating playing for a team that finished 9-4 overall and defeated Tennessee in the Transperfect Music City Bowl. But as good as Plummer was, senior Aiden O’Connell was arguably better, completing nearly 72% of his passes for 28 TDs and an impressive 158.74 QBR after he took over for Plummer.

“The guy behind me was a good player and we’d been competing for a couple years straight so they knew they had a viable guy,” said Plummer. “it ultimately came down to them going with the hot hand when he got the chance and he took over. I like to joke that I’ve got to be the only quarterback who threw seven touchdowns and no picks to get benched.”

After the season, Plummer quickly made the decision to transfer. With a degree already in hand and NFL aspirations on the horizon, Plummer was looking for the right situation to put himself in the best possible position for the 2023 or 2024 NFL draft. With a redshirt season in 2018 and 2020 not counting towards player eligibility, Plummer has two years of remaining eligibility should he choose to use them.

The Bears presented an opportunity to play Power-5 football and compete for an open QB slot so even though the program wasn't initially on his radar, the opportunity to make the move to Cal made the most sense to him.

“I didn’t know a lot about Cal, honestly,” said Plummer. “My thought process about the portal was opportunity and being able to compete at a high level. I already have my degree and the certificates are nice but Cal was a great opportunity for me.”

The young receiving and tight end corps Plummer’s been throwing to so far this spring has been more than impressive, with their size, speed and hands.

“Oh yeah,” Said Plummer with a smile. “That was also one of the selling points. They said, ‘This is the best time to play quarterback at Cal because we’ve got the best wide receivers here we’ve had in a number of years.’ I didn’t know if that was just a pitch to get me to come here but I quickly saw they weren’t lying about that. They’re really good and they’re young, so a lot of them haven’t played a lot yet so it will be exciting.”

Perhaps the on-field leader of the receiving corps has been redshirt soph receiver Jeremiah Hunter.

“Jeremiah’s just a ballplayer,” said Plummer. “Him and Monroe (Young), being the oldest guy are probably the leaders in the room.” Young was on the other end of a Plummer TD pass in Saturday’s scrimmage -a perfectly-timed pass the senior receiver caught in stride over the coverage. “That one felt good,” said Plummer.

“JMike’s got some legit speed. He can go up and catch it, too. If you throw it up in the air, he’s going to go up and get it. He’ll be a good one to get it to on all those, slants, go’s and deep end cuts.

“Mavin’s one of those guys you just want to throw it to him and see what he can do. He’s actually one of the smartest receivers I’ve ever been around. We play Cahoot -where you put your name in and questions show up and you press a button on your phone and compete against each other with speed and accuracy. He’s always first. He’s got some good speed, too. You saw that reverse last week (65 yards) that he took to the house. He’s very quick out of his breaks, too.

“Tommy’s done a better job staying healthy from what I understand. He’s able to run more routes than just a fade. Obviously, he’s really good at that but he’s made some good catches on the sidelines running out routes and he’s really good at running deep digs. He gets out of those very well. He’s a guy I like throwing the ball to. Strong hands. He’ll go and get it.

“Mason (Starling) has been battling an injury but he's a big target.

“Justin’s been out a bit so I’ve been getting used to throwing to him. But he’s one of those guys who’s quick so he could be good for some of those reverses and slants.”

Running back Jadyn Ott has proven to be a potent weapon in the passing game, too, showing his skills when he lined up wide against a linebacker and hauled in a 30-yard TD reception on a fade in the end zone last week.

“That’s something we talk about, where it’s like, ‘Hey, if we’ve got a guy who’s got a mismatch out there, we’ve got to exploit that.’”

Plummer has been impressive thus far, completing a wide array of passes at all levels, with good velocity and accuracy, including heavily utilizing the center third of the field on slants, crossing routes, curls, go routes and more. And perhaps most impressively, he only has one interception throughout spring ball.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job protecting the ball,” said Plummer. “The defense has made a couple good plays, too. Like yesterday (with the interception), Coach Musgrave was like, ‘We’re going to live with that. We’re not going to go out here being scared to play quarterback. If they get us, they get us.’”

One of the most impressive elements of this spring’s successful passing game between Plummer and redshirt frosh QB Kai Millner in their battle for the starting nod is the exceptional timing on display on quick-cutting throws across the middle and outs, particularly with the exceptional speed of many of the young receivers. Often such timing takes years to perfect but it’s seemingly come together from day one this spring.

“They’ve done a good job in the meeting room timing up the wide receiver’s steps with their yards as well as implementing the quarterback’s drop into that, so it’s to where if the quarterback takes a three and a hitch, maybe the receiver’s running a 7-step route so that means he’ll get to 14 yards and we know the spot where they’ll be. Then it’s just seeing it and ripping it.

“We did some work in the offseason, going out on our own two times a week. Sometimes we were running full speed and sometimes we weren’t. I think it’s a testament to how well we’ve done in spring, just trusting each other.”

Plummer also appreciates the tight end corps he’s working with, particularly big soph TE Jermaine Terry.

“He’s a big tight end,” said Plummer. “As a blocker, if you look at him, you go, ‘Yeah, I want that guy to play tight end for me.’ He’s done a really good job. He loves football, competing and working out, and coming into the office for extra stuff. It’s paid off for him. He’s done a good job of from what I understand, becoming more natural at catching, whereas before, maybe he wasn’t before I got here. But he’s a big target and a great guy to throw to. Hands have been solid. Blocking -he’s a big guy.

“Keleki’s been hurt most of the time I’ve been here. He’s a guy they’re going to want to get the ball to in mismatches against the linebacker. I think if you get him and JT into the game at the same time, you can get the defense into more of a base personnel and exploit some mismatches that way.

“We’ve got some good backs, too. Damien’s a bit of a bruiser and has some moves. We’re really five deep there.”

Plummer’s played behind somewhat of a mix and match line, with starting guard Ben Coleman at tackle, guard Matt Cindric back at center after playing some there as a frosh, tackle Brayden Rohme who has a few starts under his belt along with new starting guards redshirt frosh Bastian Swinney and redshirt soph Everett Johnson. He’s been occasionally under pressure with the first unit but especially so when taking reps behind the second unit.

All spring, regardless of the rush or protection, Plummer’s kept his eyes downfield and has completed a high percentage of his passes through the first 12 sessions.

“I think I’ve played a lot of football, to a point where that stuff shouldn’t bother me,” said Plummer. “I should just go out there and play. I should have the instincts and feel it. And the game has slowed down a ton for me, going into my fifth season of college compared to my first year where everything was flying everywhere, so fast. So now it’s all slowed down for me and I’m seeing guys rotate and blitz without freezing me or catching me off-guard.”

One unique element Plummer’s transfer brings to the Bears was Plummer’s experience playing at Notre Dame in front of a sellout crowd, a 27-13 loss where Plummer went 23-for-36 for 187 yards and one TD and no interceptions in the loss. The game was tight at 17-13 in the fourth quarter before the Irish scored the final 10 points.

“I played there last year,” said Plummer. “It’s a great environment and a great team usually.

“There’s no reason we can’t compete and go out there and win every single game we play. Why would you show up to a game if you think you’re not going to win? It’s a mentality thing, especially with the young guys. You have to get them believing. I’ve played on teams where we beat the #2 team in the country because we felt like, ‘Hey, we’re going to win this game.’ That’s the mentality. I’ve also played top ten teams where the attitude in the locker room is, ‘Well, I don’t know if we can win.’ At the end of the day, you just have to go out there and compete and not worry if their jersey says Notre Dame.

“It’s going to be a great environment. We already know that. We’ve got to get past that and just do what we can do. We have talent. There’s no reason why we can’t get it done.”

Overall, Plummer is bullish on his new team’s prospects this season.

“I think the sky’s the limit with this team,” said Plummer. “We’ve got the pieces. We just need to put it together and get it done. And our defense -I hate to say it because we compete against them- but they're looking good. Even at corner where we don’t have a lot of guys, they’re there. Our guys may be going up and getting it with their size and speed but they’re there. There’s not been a lot of busted coverages, especially in team period. They make it tough.”

Tomorrow will mark session 13 in spring ball, with three left to go, culminating in Saturday’s Spring Showcase.

Are you ready for some football?

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Discussion from...

Plummer Primed For Successful Season After Portal Transfer

4,032 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 22 days ago by Cal_79
UrsineMaximus
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Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
calumnus
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UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.


2018, Bowers, Garbers and McIlwain?
Rushinbear
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UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
Plummer seems to have expressed an understanding of how the position can work really well that I don't recall having heard from any other qb in recent memory. Maybe, others simply have not expressed their way of thinking about it, but this guy seems to have it and says it clearly. In words of one syllable (my interp): Memo To WRs - Be there when you're supposed to because the ball will be there. Catch it. Run like hell.

Between this and his performance on the practice field, I think we've got something here. My hopes for this season just went up. 9 wins, now.
heartofthebear
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Rushinbear said:

UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
Plummer seems to have expressed an understanding of how the position can work really well that I don't recall having heard from any other qb in recent memory. Maybe, others simply have not expressed their way of thinking about it, but this guy seems to have it and says it clearly. In words of one syllable (my interp): Memo To WRs - Be there when you're supposed to because the ball will be there. Catch it. Run like hell.

Between this and his performance on the practice field, I think we've got something here. My hopes for this season just went up. 9 wins, now.
The little I've seen of Plummer at Cal is that he puts the ball in a position for receivers to have YAC. And I think he is better than Garbers in that respect. But I'll see more on Saturday and make a post on it then.
HearstMining
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heartofthebear said:

Rushinbear said:

UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
Plummer seems to have expressed an understanding of how the position can work really well that I don't recall having heard from any other qb in recent memory. Maybe, others simply have not expressed their way of thinking about it, but this guy seems to have it and says it clearly. In words of one syllable (my interp): Memo To WRs - Be there when you're supposed to because the ball will be there. Catch it. Run like hell.

Between this and his performance on the practice field, I think we've got something here. My hopes for this season just went up. 9 wins, now.
The little I've seen of Plummer at Cal is that he puts the ball in a position for receivers to have YAC. And I think he is better than Garbers in that respect. But I'll see more on Saturday and make a post on it then.
I'm looking forward to your observations. So far, we've only heard snippets regarding spring practice on this board. Yeah, I know, the argument is to join the premium site.
WalterSobchak
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The final "scrimmage" on Sat will be televised on P12 network so you don't need to be in Berkeley to watch. Also, there's a good amount of timely and free camp info, much of which is pretty detailed, in the daily youtube videos Cal posts. Much of the talk is fast and in shorthand (and sometimes there is too much chatter in the background), but the more you watch the more you can glean. MB really has been doing an excellent job taking the lead in many if not all of those with knowledgeable, thoughtful, insightful questions. You can see the reputation he has with the players and coaches. They know he's informed and have a high level of trust and comfort with him. He's even tried to elicit some insights into more delicate areas like the Sirmon situation. He's a huge asset to us fans and most of what he does is available for free. So thanks MB, your work is definitely noticed and appreciated. There are also free stories on TOSs, in addition to the occasional ones here. Between the 3 main sites, it's pretty decent free coverage. There is no single location for all of the information for free. What you pay for in the articles is curation and convenience.
YamhillBear
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Enjoyed the article overall, but particulary his in-depth assessment of our receivers. And of course it makes sense: who better to analyze receivers than a guy who depends on the receivers' abilities...
mbBear
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heartofthebear said:

Rushinbear said:

UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
Plummer seems to have expressed an understanding of how the position can work really well that I don't recall having heard from any other qb in recent memory. Maybe, others simply have not expressed their way of thinking about it, but this guy seems to have it and says it clearly. In words of one syllable (my interp): Memo To WRs - Be there when you're supposed to because the ball will be there. Catch it. Run like hell.

Between this and his performance on the practice field, I think we've got something here. My hopes for this season just went up. 9 wins, now.
The little I've seen of Plummer at Cal is that he puts the ball in a position for receivers to have YAC. And I think he is better than Garbers in that respect. But I'll see more on Saturday and make a post on it then.
I think all the video aside, the X factor is going to be is Plummer more prepared because of the level competition he has been through.
Rushinbear
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mbBear said:

heartofthebear said:

Rushinbear said:

UrsineMaximus said:

Finally we have a competitive battle at the QB position, first time in years. It would be great to go into the season with 2 viable QBs. Competition isn't over and who knows Kai might win the starting spot.
Plummer seems to have expressed an understanding of how the position can work really well that I don't recall having heard from any other qb in recent memory. Maybe, others simply have not expressed their way of thinking about it, but this guy seems to have it and says it clearly. In words of one syllable (my interp): Memo To WRs - Be there when you're supposed to because the ball will be there. Catch it. Run like hell.

Between this and his performance on the practice field, I think we've got something here. My hopes for this season just went up. 9 wins, now.
The little I've seen of Plummer at Cal is that he puts the ball in a position for receivers to have YAC. And I think he is better than Garbers in that respect. But I'll see more on Saturday and make a post on it then.
I think all the video aside, the X factor is going to be is Plummer more prepared because of the level competition he has been through.
And, his arm.
heartofthebear
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I don't think we are going to have a drop off at QB this season.
I think Plummer is a better QB (better arm) than Garbers was but Garbers is probably the better athlete, meaning running etc.
The issue is the timing with his receivers.
He will be busy during the off-season throwing to the receivers and getting the timing down.
Plummer has a quick release and the ball jumps off his arm with velocity.
He can get it anywhere on the field when he wants it there.
The question is, will the receivers be there and will they be ready?
That's my take so far from 4/16.
However, on that day I was focusing mostly on the defense.
On Saturday I will be focusing on the offense, especially the OL, back up QB Millner and the TEs.
Cal_79
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The most impressive comment, from my perspective, was about using the middle third of the field. This would be a major step forward in the running of an effective offense.
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