Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sporting News: Top 25 countdown: No. 12 California

Four consecutive bowl appearances under Jeff Tedford have changed the football equation at Cal: Fans no longer wonder if the Golden Bears will qualify for a bowl; now they wonder which one. With a solid core of returning starters and a schedule that brings most of their toughest opponents to Memorial Stadium, the Bears should easily stretch the bowl streak to five. A BCS bowl isn't out of the question.



Jim Michalczik takes over as coordinator, but make no mistake: This is Tedford's offense. The Bears deploy an impressive repertoire of plays out of their multiple pro set and rotate players often to keep execution sharp.


There's not much intrigue about the starters, most of whom return. Nate Longshore is a lock at quarterback after finishing second in the conference in passing efficiency and throwing for 3,021 yards. His decision- making has improved and Tedford believes his mobility will, too; Longshore trimmed 10-15 pounds off his Holiday Bowl weight of 240. Behind Longshore will be Kyle Reed, a strong and quick sophomore, or freshman Kevin Riley, who showed good presence and a quick learning curve as a redshirt last year. Sturdy Justin Forsett is expected to transition smoothly into Marshawn Lynch's tailback spot, having already run for 1,674 yards in three years as a backup. Two redshirt freshmen, James Montgomery and Tracy Slocum, are competing for Forsett's backup job. The Bears also return one of the nation's top receiving trios: DeSean Jackson, Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins. Sean Young and Daniel Lofton, son of former NFL star James Lofton, are the key backup receivers. Cal also returns versatile tight end Craig Stevens.


Cal toyed with the idea of moving allconference center Alex Mack to tackle, but that might be risky. Such a move would get talented redshirt freshman Chris Guarnero into the lineup, which might improve the unit overall. Spring competition was wide open but mostly because guard Noris Malele and tackle Mike Gibson were out with injuries. Whether Mack moves or not, the unit's success might depend more on health than anything else.



The Golden Bears run a standard 4-3 set and typically rely on their linebackers to make most of the stops.


Tackle Matt Malele is the only returning starter on the line, where the competition is wide open. Two redshirt freshmen, tackles Derrick Hill and Michael Costanzo, show promise and could find immediate roles. Cody Jones and Tyson Alualu, both of whom played frequently last year, are likely starters at the ends. Backup Rulon Davis has eye-opening athleticism but must continue to learn the game. Junior Phillip Mbakogu has the talent to make a difference but needs to stay healthy. Look for linebacker Zack Follett to move to the middle after alternating between the middle and weak side last year. Worrell Williams is the returning starter on the weak side but could move inside. Outside man Justin Moye will be pushed by Eddie Young.


The competition is stiff to replace cornerback Daymeion Hughes opposite Syd'Quan Thompson. Darian Hagan's athleticism makes him an early favorite ahead of Charles Amadi and Brandon Jones. Robert Peele, a highly regarded sophomore, can move over from rover if needed. Cal has three potential starters for two safety spots: Bernard Hicks, Brandon Hampton and Thomas DeCoud. One of them will have to sit at times, but that's a nice problem to have.


The big problem will be to get opponents to punt the ball to Jackson, who ran four kicks back for touchdowns last year. The Bears also bring back steady kicker Tom Schneider, who is on track to become Cal's alltime leading scorer, and punter Andrew Larson, who averaged 42.6 yards. The only open competition seems to be for kick return duties, a job that Forsett, Montgomery or Hawkins will handle if a newcomer doesn't emerge.


The most significant offseason move was a regents' decision to hand a lucrative extension to Tedford, who will make at least $1.8 million this season and as much as $4.2 million by 2011. The offensive staff changes should not threaten cohesion. Michalczik already has spent five years as the Bears' line coach, and Kevin Daft, who takes over as quarterbacks coach, worked with Longshore as a graduate assistant last season. Former San Jose State assistant Kenwick Thompson takes over for Bob Foster, who retired as linebackers coach.


SN PROJECTION: 3rd in Pac-10, 10-2, Holiday Bowl


Contra Costa Times: Transfer to Cal faces charges

By Jonathan Okanes

Cal wide receiver Nyan Boateng was arrested in Gainesville, Fla., last week and was charged with burglary residence, battery and criminal mischief.  According to Gainesville police Sgt. Chuck Reddick, Boateng attempted to enter the home of his former girlfriend early Thursday. When she refused to let him in, Boateng kicked in the door and entered anyway.  Boateng, a transfer from the University of Florida, is scheduled to sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules. He will be a junior in 2008 and have two years of eligibility remaining. "We are aware of the situation and continue to gather all of the facts and information," Bears coach Jeff Tedford said Monday. "Nyan has been suspended from all team activities until we have the opportunity to evaluate all of the information." Boateng was a football and basketball star at Lincoln High School-Brooklyn, N.Y., where he was a basketball teammate of the NBA's Sebastian Telfair. Boateng played one season at Florida, catching two passes for 44 yards as a true freshman. He missed the 2006 season because of an ankle injury.

Boateng worked out with Cal during the spring and looked like a potential star. With junior wide receiver DeSean Jackson possibly leaving for the NFL after this season, Boateng could be a perfect fit to fill in. The burglary charge is a felony while the other two are misdemeanors. A court date is pending.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Sacramento Bee: Trojans called all-time best: Other Pac-10 notes

Here is the link.




Cal is projected to finish second for the fourth successive season after earning a share of the conference title for the first time since 1975, followed by UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon State.


BEWARE OF THE BEARS: Cal returns seven starters on offense, though tailback Marshawn Lynch took his talents to the NFL.  Bears coach Jeff Tedford has always raved about the ability of Justin Forsett, who rushed for 626 yards in backup duty last fall and is now the primary ballcarrier. What's more, Tedford has a game breaker in receiver-returner DeSean Jackson (21 touchdowns in 24 career games) and defensive anchors in cornerback Syd Thompson and linebacker Worrell Williams.


Santa Clarita Signal: Nine locals will potentially suit up for NCAA football teams as true freshmen in 2007.

Here’s the link.

Shane Vereen (Valencia)

California Golden Bears

Shane Vereen is listed at running back, but it's hard to imagine he'll see much time there in 2007.  Ahead of him on the depth chart is probably the best returning backup in the country - Justin Forsett, who takes over for the Buffalo Bills' first round draft pick, Marshawn Lynch.  Forsett returns with the highest career yards-per-carry average amongst returning backs at 6.39. That's more than West Virginia's Steve Slaton, Boise State's Ian Johnson and Heisman hopeful Darren McFadden of Arkansas - who rank second, third and fourth amongst returning backs.

James Montgomery of Rancho Cordova, a 205-pound redshirt freshman, is listed as the No. 2 back following a strong spring.

Perennial high school All-American Jahvid Best, of Vallejo, will likely also be in the mix. The prize recruit for the Golden Bears, Best ran for 6,428 yards in his high school career, including 91 touchdowns. He tallied more than half of those scores his senior season (3,325 yards, 48 TDs).  Cal head coach Jeff Tedford hinted Thursday at Pac-10 Media Day in Los Angeles that both Best and Vereen are definitely in the mix heading into fall camp - but wouldn't rule out a redshirt season for either.  "I'm really anxious to see Shane and Jahvid at camp," Tedford said. "Both are physical guys who can contribute in some way."


Ben Longshore (Canyon)

Utah State Aggies

Canyon High's former pro-style quarterback Ben Longshore will attempt to become the third Longshore brother to start for a Division I football program this fall, and the second to do so for a Utah institution. Longshore, who has brothers who have played for both Cal and BYU, will attempt to walk-on at quarterback for the Utah State Aggies.

He'll have a host of talent ahead of him when he arrives, including senior Leon Jackson III - the likely starter for the Aggies - JC transfer Sean Setzer, sophomore Jase McCormick and senior Mike Affleck. One signal caller he won't have to beat out is sophomore Riley Nelson, who left for a two-year LDS Church Mission and won't return until 2009. Nelson started the final seven games for Utah State in 2007.

Daily Cal: USC - Leader of the PAC

Trojans Named Consensus Pick to Win Their Sixth Straight Pac-10 Title

BY Ryan Gorcey

LOS ANGELES—It came as no surprise that when the conference’s annual media rankings were passed out at Thursday’s Pac-10 Media Day, USC was ranked first. It’s been that way for the past five years now. For the fourth consecutive year, the Cal football team was ranked second. Again, no surprise there. And it is also no surprise that, even though the Bears shared the conference crown with the Trojans in 2006, it was the Men of Troy who garnered the lion’s share of the attention.

Despite the fact that last season, junior Bears quarterback Nate Longshore passed for 3,021 yards, 24 touchdowns and a 60.2 completion percentage, numbers very close to USC’s senior quarterback John David Booty (3,374, 29 and 61.7), only one coach other than Cal’s Jeff Tedford mentioned Longshore’s name, whereas almost every other coach gushed about Booty and the revamped Trojans offense.   “I think they should be in that league I was so successful in,” said new Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson, referring to his unsuccessful stints as an NFL head coach for the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

“USC’s not only the best team in the country, but maybe the best team in the history of college football,” Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh said of USC’s 2007 squad.  While the new Cardinal head coach’s praise may be a bit overstated, there is no denying the fact that in many preseason polls, the Trojans are the top team in the country. USC is projected to be so good that it garnered only the third unanimous No. 1 conference ranking in the 46-year history of the media poll. The other two teams? The 2004 and 2005 Trojans which featured Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White.  Despite the previous season’s shared conference crown, the Bears will once again play second fiddle to USC, despite returning the 3,000-yard passer Longshore and the nation’s top-rated wideout in Heisman Trophy-candidate DeSean Jackson.  “This is the first time we’ve had a returning quarterback who’s played the previous season in our five years (with the team),” Tedford said. “Nate is a student of the game, he has experience now in really all environments. Starting out last year at Tennessee is really as tough a look as you’re going to get and I think he’s very comfortable with the offense.”

Booty, Longshore’s opponent in Cal’s Nov. 10 clash with the Trojans at Memorial Stadium, will, like the Bears’ junior gunslinger, be in his second year guiding his team’s offense.

“A year ago, John David was recovering from back surgery and really was unable to put together an off-season where he could really feel confident about his physical makeup,” USC head coach Pete Carroll said. “But now coming out of last season, he’s really had a seamless off-season, he’s in the best shape of his life and he’s the fastest and strongest that he’s ever been.”  Booty for his part was not so quick to overlook Cal, especially since USC will be playing in Berkeley in 2007.  “It’s a loud place to play when it’s packed,” said Booty of Memorial Stadium. “You’ve got people up on the hills and all around up there. It’s really a great environment, a lot of fun. We did lose there a few years back and the place went crazy, but we were able to get out of there with a win two years ago and most of our starters have been there and played there before and know what to expect.”

Coming in third behind the Trojans and the Bears is UCLA, which, though it lost the Emerald Bowl to Florida State, is coming off of a 13-9 win over rival USC in the regular season finale, the first time in eight years that the Bruins have defeated the Trojans.  “John David Booty hasn’t even looked at me yet,” UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis said at the post-press conference luncheon. “We’re definitely in their heads.”  The Bruins return one of the nation’s strongest defenses from last season, including 10 starters. Among those is Davis, who was ranked fourth in the NCAA in sacks per game (0.96) last season.  Despite the strength of UCLA’s defense (last year, they tied for first in the nation in rush defense and were second in total defense) and their 10 returning starters on offense, the Bruins will have a tough road to travel this season if they wants to stay in the top tier of the conference. UCLA’s non-conference schedule includes BYU, Notre Dame and Utah, who went a combined 29-10 last season.  “We have this motto on the wall in our team room that says, ‘You don’t have to be the best team in the country, you just have to be the best team every time that you play,’ and that’s how we approach it,” Davis said. “We’re going to study, we’re going to do our work on the field in practice and off the field in the film room and we’re going to prepare ourselves and try to win every game we play.”  The fourth team picked in the poll, Arizona State, has a slightly easier schedule ahead of it. With new coach Erickson at the helm, the Sun Devils will play eight home games at Sun Devil Stadium, including a Thanksgiving night tilt against the Trojans.  Erickson returns to the Pac-10 for the first time since 2002, the last of his four seasons at Oregon State. He coached in the NFL for six years and is a two-time national champion in the collegiate ranks, guiding Miami to titles in 1989 and 1991. Erickson was named the 1988 Pac-10 Coach of the Year with Washington State and in 2000 with the Beavers.

“The thing that’s changed a little bit since I’ve been at Oregon State is that everyone is even,” Erickson said. “Anybody can beat you, and that’s just how it is. You’d better be able and be ready to play every week, or else you’re going to get your rear end beaten.”  Rounding out the top five is Oregon State, which went 10-4 last season, including a victory at Reser Stadium over the Trojans that ended their 27-game Pac-10 winning streak.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yahoo! Sports: Tedford never stops extending Cal offense

LOS ANGELES – Jeff Tedford's playbook keeps growing.  Some coaches live by the adage that if you add a play to the playbook, you throw one away. Not Tedford. He's a packrat – as if he needs more ways to beat opposing defenses.  "We never throw any plays out," Tedford said. "That's my fault."  Tedford is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game. He has sent a long list of quarterbacks to the NFL. More recently, he has helped produce some outstanding running backs as well.  Tedford has led Cal to final rankings in the AP poll for three consecutive seasons, the first such streak for the Bears since 1947-51. At Pac-10 Media Day, Cal was picked to finish second in the conference for the fourth consecutive year. Twice, Cal has lived up to that or better. Last year, The Bears finished with a share of the Pac-10 title with USC.  Tedford has turned around a program that was 1-10 before his arrival in 2002, but he's not entirely satisfied. His goal is to shed that "shared" label on the Pac-10 title and reach Cal's first Rose Bowl since the 1958 season.  "We've accomplished that we're going to be competitive on a yearly basis for a conference title," Tedford said. "Our goal when we got here was to compete for a conference title and at a national level. We've done that to a certain extent, but we need to break through and win it outright."  Cal enters 2007 in the same position it has occupied since Tedford arrived, chasing USC for the conference title. The Bears return 14 starters, including perhaps the best offensive playmaker in the Pac-10 - DeSean Jackson. Cal also as the luxury of a veteran quarterback and offensive line.

Read the entire article here.

LA Daily News: Ex-Canyon standout Longshore could help Cal's Jackson to Heisman

Here’s the link.


Many college football experts see Cal junior wideout DeSean Jackson as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but his campaign could hinge on the play of former Canyon High of Canyon Country quarterback Nate Longshore.  "Nate is a great quarterback," said Jackson, who caught 59 passes for 1,060 yards last season. "We expect great things from him."  One thing Jackson really admires about Longshore, who threw for 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Golden Bears in 2006, is his leadership ability.  "He is very controlling in the huddle," Jackson said. "It's great to have a guy like him just take over. He does everything the right way."  Longshore also has the backing of head coach Jeff Tedford, who has tutored NFL quarterbacks such as Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Joey Harrington and former Hart High of Newhall standout Kyle Boller, all of whom went on to become first-round draft picks.  "I have a lot of confidence in Nate," Tedford said. "He's like having another coach on the field. He's a great leader. He's very smart and tough and he has great ability."


ESPN: Teams just outside top 25 include big names, underachieving programs

Here is the link.

“Some of the programs ranked on the fringe of the top 25 have just begun reaching their potential. California (35) was one of the sport's worst programs before coach Jeff Tedford arrived. The Bears won 12 games in the five seasons before Tedford was hired, including a woeful 1-10 mark in 2001. Tedford has won 43 games in five seasons at Cal, and he has positioned the Bears as the Pac-10's second most consistent program behind Southern Cal.”

SF Chronicle: PAC-10 Media Day

Here’s the link.


Cal versus SEC: Cal, which opens preseason camp Aug. 5, has a chance to gain some respect for the Pac-10 vis-a-vis the SEC when the Bears host Tennessee on Sept. 1 in their season-opener. But, said Cal coach Jeff Tedford, "We're not going to go into that game with a chip on our shoulder because of what coach Miles says. That's not going to be motivation for us."

News for Jackson: Because of a new NCAA rule, Cal wide receiver and All-American punt returner DeSean Jackson probably will return kickoffs as well as punts this season, although that's news to Jackson.  "We haven't told him yet," Tedford said Thursday.

Jackson had said he did not expect or want to return kickoffs, because, at 170 pounds, his body may be vulnerable to the high-speed collisions that occur on kickoffs. Moments later, though, Tedford said the rule change that requires teams to kick off from their 30-yard line instead of the 35 creates more chances for big plays on kickoff returns. That seems to have convinced Tedford to have Jackson return kickoffs, too.


Other highlights from the article:


·         Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said this USC team "may be the best team in the history of college football."

·         LSU coach Les Miles said that the gap between USC and the rest of the Pac-10 is vast.  Earlier this summer, Miles belittled USC's schedule and the Pac-10 in general, saying in a speech reported by a radio station on its web site that he would love to play USC in the national title game and that the Southeastern Conference offered stiffer competition than the Pac-10. He said sarcastically USC will play some "knock-down, drag-outs with UCLA and Washington, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford - some real juggernauts."  Carroll said Thursday, "Our toughest games (in 2006) by far were in the conference." The Trojans beat Notre Dame, Arkansas, Michigan and Nebraska in their nonconference games.

·         Preseason Pac-10 poll

Votes total

1. USC 390

2. Cal 323

3. UCLA 305

4. Arizona State 242

5. Oregon State 237

6. Oregon 226

7. Arizona 162

8. Washington State 115

9. Washington 98

10. Stanford 47



AP: Bills' Rookie Lynch inks 19 Million Dollar Deal, Ready to Grab No. 1 RB

From signing ... to starting?

Running back Marshawn Lynch, the Buffalo Bills first-round draft pick, agreed to a five-year contract worth nearly $19 million late Thursday evening, the player's agent told The Associated Press.  "Marshawn's ecstatic and looking forward to helping the Bills," Doug Hendrickson said. "All along, Marshawn told us he wanted to be in camp on time and instructed us to get the deal done."  Drafted 12th overall out of California, Lynch will earn $10.285 million in guaranteed money including bonuses, with the entire contract worth $18.935 million. Lynch was traveling to join the Bills at their training camp site in suburban Rochester and was expected to be at practice Friday. He missed the Bills first two practices which were held Thursday.

The Bills were not immediately available for comment. Buffalo drafted Lynch to replace former starter Willis McGahee, who was traded to Baltimore in March.  Lynch was the second running back selected in the draft, behind Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, who was taken No. 7 by Minnesota. Lynch finished with 3,230 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns, while adding 600 yards receiving and six TDs in 35 games spread over three years at California.  The Bills particularly like Lynch's versatility as a receiver, an added dimension that fits offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild's scheme and something McGahee struggled with.  Lynch, who played quarterback in high school, even showed off a strong arm in college, completing three passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 218 pounds, Lynch was the PAC-10 offensive player of the year last season and considered to have explosive speed and power to run inside. Earlier on Thursday, Bills coach Dick Jauron expressed hope that Lynch wouldn't miss too much more practice time.

"It's always an issue. You don't want him to miss any time or any practices or any meetings. But we also know it's kind of part of the game today," Jauron said. "I know we're making every effort and I know they are, too. Hopefully, he'll be in, but I wish he hadn't missed even one (day)."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tucson Citizen: The Battle for No. 2 in the Pac-10

Here’s the link.

Thursday's annual Pac-10 media day in Los Angeles is our kickoff event for the college football season. We're not sure if we're fully stretched yet, but we're tackling 10 preseason questions for the Pac-10:

Q: We know USC is going to win this thing, so who finishes second?

A: What we would really like is a combination of Cal's offense and UCLA's defense - that would be a team to challenge the Trojans. Alas . . .

As it is, we'll stick with the Bears. Quarterback Nate Longshore, a year's experience in tow, won't be as jittery in big games. The receivers are among the best in the country. Justin Forsett and others will make up for the loss of first-round running back Marshawn Lynch.

The defense is more experienced than the five returning starters suggest.

The Bruins have more experience, but the tiebreaker here is Cal coach Jeff Tedford.

Q: Will USC coach Pete Carroll rip LSU's Les Miles, who recently disparaged the Pac-10 by derisively calling UCLA and Cal, among others, "some real juggernauts" and saying the Trojans had an easier path to the national title than did his team?

A: Not likely. Carroll already has taken the high road, telling the L.A. Daily News, "He's really taking a shot at all the other schools we play.

"Maybe the comments should come from the coaches at the other schools, including Charlie (Weis) at Notre Dame."

Q: So how about it, UA coach Mike Stoops? What do you think of Miles' comments?

A: "It is pretty ignorant for the way people perceive our conference," Stoops said.

"I would say outside the Southeastern Conference we probably have the second-hardest conference from top to bottom. Offensively, it is the No. 1 conference in the country. The offense skill, the quarterback skill and the play-calling is the best combination.

"Obviously, you look to the defensive talent in the Southeastern Conference; it is pretty unique. But this conference can hold its own against anybody."

Q: What is the biggest non-conference game?

A: USC at Nebraska on Sept. 15, with the Cornhuskers eager to announce they're back among the nation's elite, is a must-watch game.

But given all the to-do over this SEC vs. Pac-10 stuff, conference fans must be united in cheering for Cal to beat visiting Tennessee on Sept. 1.

If the Vols win - they handled the Bears 35-18 last season in Knoxville - perhaps Les Miles was all-too right, dadgum it.

Q: Who has the toughest schedule?

A: Wouldn't want to be Washington. The Huskies open at Syracuse (that's nowhere near as scary as it once was, but still . . . it's a long way) and then return home to face America's darlings, Boise State, and then big, bad Ohio State.

A road trip to UCLA immediately follows. Then Washington plays USC, at Arizona State, and back home for rival Oregon.

The Huskies could be thoroughly exhausted - and winless - by the time they play host to Arizona on Oct. 27.

Q: Which team had the biggest offseason makeover, other than Arizona with its new spread offense?

A: Oregon . . . and by makeover, we don't mean more new uniforms for the Ducks. Coach Mike Bellotti brought in offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, a spread offense guru from New Hampshire, to re-tool the attack around senior quarterback Dennis Dixon.

The rest of the conversion, Bellotti hopes, is mental. Toughness, toughness, toughness. Did the Ducks find it after losing their final four games last season?

Q: Who is the league's top newcomer?

A: Well, the league's most anticipated newcomer is probably Joe McKnight, a supposed Reggie Bush clone who was swept out of Louisiana in another superb USC recruiting class.

Oh yeah, that USC class includes defensive end and physical freak Everson Griffen. He definitely could be the league's top newcomer.

But if you define newcomer to include redshirt freshmen, then nobody carries a bigger burden than Washington quarterback Jake Locker. Coach Tyrone Willingham didn't even bother to pretend about any competition in the spring, simply giving Locker the reins.

It'll be up to Locker to lead Washington out of the darkness of only four Pac-10 victories in the past three seasons.

Q: What are the odds of senior quarterback John David Booty winning the fourth Heisman Trophy for the Trojans in the past six years?

A: They're at 5-1 according to one on-line gambling site, about what is expected when you're a returning starting quarterback for the No. 1 team in the country. Simply put, he's in a great place to win a popularity contest.

Seriously, though. It's debatable whether Booty is even among the top five draft-eligible players on his own team.

And the best player in the league is Cal receiver/returner DeSean Jackson, who, if only he wore USC's cardinal and gold, would be everybody's top Heisman candidate from the West.

Q: Could this be Pete Carroll's best USC team?

A: Have to see how the crowded running back position shakes out and who steps up at receiver.

The Trojans won't be as explosive as the Leinart-Bush-White offense of 2005, averaging 49 points per game, but the defense should be in line with the stingy 2004 outfit, which allowed an average of 13 points.

That, ultimately, will be more important.

Not counting one defensive end spot (which could be held by Griffen) and one cornerback spot, the Trojans appear to have nine starting defenders who are potential first-round picks in 2008 or 2009.

So, yes, it could be. The proof will be in road games at Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Cal and Arizona State.

Q: Which coach is on the hot seat?

A: UCLA's Karl Dorrell. The goodwill from last season's upset of USC faded less than a month later when the worst Florida State team in about 25 years sucker-punched the Bruins in a 44-27 win the Emerald Bowl. UCLA's best Pac-10 finish in Dorrell's four seasons is third in 2005. Not nearly good enough. Crosstown rival USC has gone first, first, first and first during that time.

The Bruins should be starting as many as 18 seniors this season. If not now for UCLA, when?

And if not now, why not, Karl?

Pac-10: Coach and Player Quotes

CALIFORNIA Head Coach Jeff Tedford

General Remarks: "We are very excited about the upcoming season and to report to camp on the fifth of August. The players' commitment has been great through the summer. We have a lot of experience and I feel that the investment has been made to compete for a championship. We have great leadership, DeSean [Jackson] being one of them and a big part of what we do. Having to replace Daymeion Hughes and Marshawn Lynch, both Players of the Year, will be a challenge. We feel Justin Forsett can move right in and take over and we'll have some young guys competing at corner. We had a rough game at Tennessee last year, and we need redemption. It's not about revenge, we just need to focus on ourselves. This Conference is very balanced so we have to bring our "A" game. I have great confidence in our players and our staff to be prepared each and every week."


On Nate Longshore: "Nate is a student of the game. Starting out last year at Tennessee was about as tough of a look as he's gonna get. But having Nate at quarterback is like having another coach on our field. I'm excited to see how he comes into the season."


On the Conference having two BCS teams: "Well we'll find out. Any given year we are worthy of it, but it depends on how we play. We have to stay healthy and be productive each and every week. You have got to bring your "A" game. We also knock each other off a lot in this Conference. There are so many quality teams, quality coaches and talent. But we have the potential to have two BCS teams every year."



General Remarks:"All summer we've been at Cal working out, one-on-ones, seven-on-sevens, team drills, etc. We have a solid group of receivers and we are all trying to get each other ready for the season. Nate [Longshore] and I have been working all summer on our timing. We are just working to get on the same page."


On coach Tedford as a play caller: "I honestly don't think too much has changed, he has always been calling some plays. I'm just going to stay used to what he does. He will do it the right way and I'll just be in the right position for us to win games."


Here is the link.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tennessee's Achilles' Heel: Their Kicking Game

Special attention needed

Vols facing slew of tough questions on both sides of the boot

By Drew Edwards

If there’s one rule change that’s intriguing for the Tennessee football team, it’s moving kickoffs back 5 yards. Sure the NCAA’s latest attempt at speeding up the game might help the Vols boost a kick return game that was third-worst in the nation and dead-last in the SEC at 16.1 yards a game. But there’s also a sticky matter of covering opponents’ returns. And then there’s the extra wear on junior Britton Colquitt’s right leg. With the departure of kicker James Wilhoit and the slow development of redshirt freshman Daniel Lincoln, Colquitt enters fall camp as Tennessee’s place kicker, punter and kickoff specialist. If it seems like a long time since the Vols have asked a player to do both, it has been.

According to UT’s media guide, the Vols haven’t used one player to placekick and punt for the majority of a season since the two-platoon days of the early 1960s.

Read the rest of the story here.

WVLT: Video of Vols Players Talking about Summer "Voluntary" Workouts

Team strength has been the theme this off season for the Football Vols.   The guys have worked diligently under the tutelage of Strength & Conditioning Coach Johnny Long all summer long, on their own accord, as we got to witness earlier Thursday inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex on campus.  Here is the link to the video.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Daily Cal: Jackson Might Be First Heisman Wide Receiver In 16 Years

The One to Watch

BY Gerald Nicdao

Daily Cal Staff Writer

Walking through the bowels of Memorial Stadium, on his way towards an interview with CSTV.com, Cal wide receiver DeSean Jackson was holding a cup with the unmistakable face of Colonel Sanders imprinted on it.  Yes, the same Colonel Sanders who is the iconic face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Even a Heisman Trophy candidate needs to eat his KFC.  “I try to eat as good as possible,” Jackson says with a smile. “I’m a skinny dude so I need to eat some better diets. But I need my potatoes and chicken just so I can gain some weight.”   But what the versatile junior starling of the Bears football team eats doesn’t matter too much. It’s what he’s done on the field that has led to the preseason hype.  Last year, Jackson broke Pac-10 and school records with his four punt returns for touchdowns. He also led Cal in receiving and catches the last two years.   Those are all the reasons why Jackson has been rated as the No. 1 wide receiver in the country by The Sporting News and Rivals.com heading into the 2007 campaign and why he’s gaining attention for the Heisman Trophy.

“He had a great year statistically last season in terms of punt returns and the amount of yardage that he had,” says Dan Ferrigno, the Bears’ wide recievers coach. “Those were some pretty impressive stats when you compare them nationally. That’s why he’s being considered.”  But what does Jackson think about all the hype?  “It’s good. It keeps me working hard,” he says.  And of course the hype is just one aspect of being in contention for the Heisman. Nowadays, a college football player needs some preseason publicity to start his campaign off in the right direction, and in Jackson’s case, that includes a Web site: www.the1towatch.com.  “You have to get the guy’s name out there, so that people can start talking about him,” Ferrigno says. “It seems now that it has started earlier than it ever has. It’s really hard to win any type of award if you haven’t been mentioned at this point.”  Even with all the Heisman hype, Jackson says that his focus, as well as his team’s focus, is on the Bears’ season-opening rematch with Tennessee, which will be on Sept. 1 at Memorial Stadium.  In last year’s game, the Volunteers handed Cal a 35-18 defeat in Knoxville, Tenn.  “Coming into camp, everyone has to work hard so we can get Tennessee,” says Jackson. “That’s our big focus right now.

“It’s given us a lot to think about since last season. It was a frustrating loss. I’ve just been trying to work hard while getting ready for camp just to get that nasty taste out of my mouth from Tennessee.”   Jackson also knows of the importance of playing well against Volunteers in his hopes for gaining attention for the Heisman.  Last year’s Heisman contender for the Cal, running back Marshawn Lynch, had a relatively quiet game, rushing for 76 yards and catching five passes for 22 yards. More importantly, though, Lynch was held out of the endzone.  “That is a big game for me,” says Jackson. “Everyone is going to be watching. All the voters will be watching. But I’m going to try to be a team player and hopefully we can come out on top.”  History seems to be against Jackson, as only two wide receivers have ever won the Heisman. Former Oakland Raiders wideout Tim Brown snagged the trophy for Notre Dame in 1987 and Desmond Howard—who was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXI—won the award for Michigan in 1991.   Also, as a receiver, Jackson is at the mercy of his quarterback’s passes. That’s why Jackson says he thinks that it’s critical that he’s able to do something when returning punts.

“You have to bring something different,” says Jackson. “I’m a receiver, but I also do punt returns. I have to try to take as many punt returns as I can to the endzone and score as many touchdowns as I can.”  It’s not that hard to see that Jackson has found inspiration in Howard winning the Heisman.  Standing at six feet tall and weighing just 172 pounds, Jackson is just as small as Howard was when he won the Heisman. Howard himself was a mere 5-foot-10 and weighed 170 back in 1991.  “Desmond Howard was definitely my idol growing up, watching him play at Michigan and doing the Heisman pose,” says Jackson. “He was a little guy just like me when he won the Heisman. It gives me hope that I can go out there and win it too.”  And like Howard, Jackson has the ability to find the end zone. In his first two years at Cal, Jackson has scored 21 touchdowns.

“The thing about DeSean is that he can create and make plays anytime he touches the ball, which is why he’s so exciting,” says Ferrigno.  Along with his lack of size and his position, another obstacle standing in Jackson’s way is Cal’s history as a program. No player in the Bears’ history has taken home the Heisman.  “To do something different that no other Cal player has ever done before, to get that award would be really special to me,” says Jackson.  But even more special, for Jackson, would be to help his team win a championship, whether it be a conference crown or the national title.  And if that happens, then maybe Jackson will get consideration for quite possibly the most coveted award in college football.  “What I’m focused on right now is winning a championship for my team,” says Jackson. “Then maybe I would have the opportunity to win the Heisman. It would be great if I could do both.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Seattle Post Intelligencer: Pac-10 polling

Huskies Football

Byron Davenport

One of the things we sports writers covering the Pac-10 do in anticipation of the Pac-10 Media Day, which is July 26 in Los Angeles, is fill out a pre-season poll. The polls are compiled by conference officials and the "official pre-season media poll" is released at media day.   I filed my poll on July 3, but here it is for your consumption.

1. USC

2. California

3. Oregon State

4. Oregon


6. Arizona State

7. Arizona

8. Washington

9. Washington State

10. Stanford

I'll go down the list of my picks:

1.) USC -- Not only will USC garner probably all of the No. 1 votes in the Pac-10, the Trojans will also get a lot of No. 1 votes in the national polls, as well. They return 10 starters to a defense that has the makings of a legendary unit. Coach Pete Carroll returns a solid quarterback in John David Booty, a deep stable of running backs and a ferocious left tackle. The talent level is high and expectations are higher.

2.) California -- I don't see Cal dropping off much, especially with quarterback Nate Longshore back and the conference's best crop of wide receivers. The defense could have some question marks, but Jeff Tedford has recruited well the last couple of seasons and the Bears don't appear to be going anywhere. Their return game could be downright frightening.

3.) Oregon State -- Coach Mike Riley's "aw-shucks" attitude is endearing, but let's face it -- this guy is tough as nails. His '06 team started slowly, but ended up pulling off the upset of the season (a 33-31 win over USC) and his go-for-two call led to a 39-38 Sun Bowl win over Missouri. The Beavers are on a roll, winning eight of their last nine games in '06 and returning the Pac-10's most powerful and experienced offensive line. Tailback Yvenson Bernard is the real deal, as is wide receiver Sammie Stroughter. The first three games should give Sean Canfield or Lyle Moevao -- or both -- a chance to settle before the heart of the schedule.

4.) Oregon -- I know I'm writing to an anti-Duck audience here and you're probably thinking, "Oregon over UCLA?" But, yes, that's what I think. UCLA will have an experienced quarterback and returns nearly all its starters -- 10 on O, 10 on D -- but, save for an upset over USC last year, the Bruins haven't played particularly inspired football for Karl Dorrell or his revolving door of assistants. Oregon, while inconsistent last year, has an improved defensive line, an experienced quarterback and a brutish (though fragile) running back in Jonathan Stewart. Home games against Cal, USC and Oregon State bode well for the Ducks.

5.) UCLA -- If this team stays healthy and cohesive, it should do better than I have it ranked, but I've never seen a team completely avoid injuries and I don't think 21 assistant coaches in five seasons is good. The defense could be spectacular. The starters are special, but there isn't much depth. The Bruins have to get strong play from quarterback Ben Olson and need some more explosiveness from the backfield to prove me wrong.

6.) Arizona State -- The Sun Devils have underachieved of late but new coach Dennis Erickson should take care of that. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter didn't have a strong sophomore campaign, but he has an experienced offensive line that will help him, especially since his receiving corps is untested. The defense will be the concern - the linebackers and secondary didn't appear to be complete at the end of spring.

7.) Arizona -- The offensive line still isn't very good and the receivers are unproven. Quarterback Willie Tuitama should see improvement with the hiring of former Texas Tech assistant Sonny Dykes. Dykes's spread offense could pay dividends and Arizona's defense is quite good. If the offense finds an even keel, Arizona could do better, but a tough road schedule doesn't seem to go in their favor (games at Cal, Oregon State, USC, Washington and ASU.)

8.) Washington -- I know you want your Huskies ranked higher, but with the strength of schedule, a freshman quarterback who will have ups and downs and the fact the Huskies haven't experienced that program-boosting win yet, I have to put them at No. 8. While UW continues to improve under Tyrone Willingham, the depth and overall speed just isn't there yet. It's getting better, but, this season, the Huskies' worst enemy is a very strong conference and a brutal schedule.

9.) Washington State -- What to make of the Cougs? Quarterback Alex Brink is superb and, if he is on, coach Bill Doba's team will be right in the thick of things. The running back spot isn't shored up. The center of the line is ample, but Doba has to replace both tackles. The kicking game is sub-par and the secondary poor. The schedule isn't in WSU's favor, either with games at Wisconsin, USC, Arizona, Oregon, Cal and UW.

10.) Stanford -- I recently read the Mercury News' Jon Wilner pontificating whether this will be the first year one team received the last-place vote in every poll. New coach Jim Harbaugh just doesn't have much to work with in Palo Alto. The offensive line is a huge concern and the secondary isn't much better.

Monday, July 16, 2007

SF Chronicle: Jackson gets boost for Heisman

Web site is part of PR blitz on behalf of junior wide receiver

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

For the second consecutive season, the Cal athletic department has started a Heisman Trophy campaign for a standout junior, launching a Web site devoted to receiver/returner DeSean Jackson this week.   The beautifully designed site (the1towatch.com) features flash animation for the introduction and promises to be updated with video highlights, player profiles and photo galleries. As running back Marshawn Lynch learned last season, however, compiling individual statistics and team wins tends to speak louder to Heisman voters than even the best of Web sites.   In 2004, Cal officials were hesitant to wage Heisman promotions for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tailback J.J. Arrington. The matter was complicated by having multiple logical candidates, but this season, Jackson is clearly the No. 1 guy.  He is rated the No. 1 receiver in the nation by the Sporting News and rivals.com, and is on several preseason All-America first-team lists. Jackson has 21 touchdowns in 24 games in his college career, and has been Cal's leading receiver among a talented trio for the past two seasons. He also led the nation in punt-return average and punt-return touchdowns as a sophomore.

Also, Jackson and linebacker Zack Follett were listed among the nation's elite players for two of college football's most prestigious awards last week.  Jackson is one of 65 on the "watch list" for the Maxwell Award, which is given to the nation's most outstanding player, and Follett is among those listed as a candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive player.  In two seasons, Follett has been regarded for his big-play ability and garnered Pac-10 honors despite not being a starter. He recorded 62 tackles with a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss last season. He also tied for the team-lead with 5.5 sacks and led the conference with four forced fumbles.  


Get the ticket: Tickets will become available to the public Sunday by going to calbears.com or calling (800) 462-3277. Cal's allotment of tickets for the Big Game at Stanford have been sold out, but season-ticket plans and other home- and road-game tickets are still available.


Briefly: Trevor Guyton, the fourth-rated prospect in Washington and the No. 1 defensive tackle in the state, announced this week that he has committed to Cal. He benches 360 pounds and squats 510, and as a junior at Redmond High, he had 80 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. Guyton joins Spencer Ladner, a tight end from the Pembroke High (Kansas City, Mo.), and Tyler Rigsbee, a tackle from Pleasant Valley High-Chico, as the third four-star player among the eight Cal has gotten to commit early. ... Lynch is the front man of a high school football camp, starting at 9 a.m. today at Oakland Tech. ... Follett is also on the watch list for the Lott Trophy, which was won by former Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes last season and recognizes athletic performance as well as personal character. ... Offensive lineman Alex Mack is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy (top center), the Lombardi Award (top lineman) and the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman).


Cal's preseason rankings

No. 9 -- ESPN.com


No. 11 -- Athlon Sports


No. 11 -- Street & Smith's


No. 12 -- The Sporting News


No. 12 -- Lindy's


No. 15 -- Rivals.com


No. 16 -- CBS Sportsline


No. 18 -- College Football News


No. 19 -- Nationalchamps.net


No. 20 -- Sports Illustrated

Monday, July 09, 2007

ESPN: 2007 California Golden Bear Preview

Here is the link. 




Tedford talking about Longshore:  "He needs to shed weight and improve his mobility. He was pushing 240 at the end of last season. He is a big person. He has to watch it. Trent Dilfer was the same way. If Trent did squats, he would blow up to 250 pounds. Nate is the same way. I want to keep him in the 225 to 230 range."


Running Backs: The top spot on list belongs to Cal senior Justin Forsett (5-8, 186), who in 36 career games has rushed for 1,674 yards on 262 carries, or 6.39 per carry. Slaton is at 6.34 with Johnson and McFadden each at 6.0. Last season, Forestt was arguably the nation's top reserve running back; running for 626 yards and four touchdowns on 119 carries (5.3 ypc). He also caught 12 balls for 116 yards and a score.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:  Last season, Arizona State didn't have a single wide receiver catch more than 20 passes.  And then there is Cal, with its returning trio of wideouts having combined for 151 receptions for 2,336 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2006.  Although he's the lone underclassman of the three, junior DeSean Jackson (6-0, 166) is the No. 1 threat to opposing defenses. In fact, Jackson -- a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a sophomore behind 59 catches for 1,060 yards (18.0 ypc) and nine touchdowns -- could emerge as not only an All-American this season but a Heisman Trophy candidate. And that's just based on his receiving skills, never mind that he was a consensus All-American punt returner in 2006 after taking back four for touchdowns.


Offensive Line:  This is the only concern in what should be among the most potent offenses in the country. And it's a minor concern at that.  The projected starting five are actually stronger than last year's group despite losing two starters, including tackle Andrew Cameron. The issue is depth; two of the probably start-ing five missed the spring with injuries and there appears a noticeable drop-off between the No. 1s and No. 2s on the depth chart.


Kickers:  After a shaky sophomore campaign, senior Tom Schneider (6-1, 191) was nothing short of stellar in 2006. He should rank among the top-10 kickers in the land this fall.


Defensive Line:  No unit on either side of the football was as decimated by personnel loss as Cal's defensive line.   The Bears, who registered 26 sacks and forced 30 turnovers last season, return just one of four starters up front, that being senior tackle Matt Malele (6-3, 297). Mostly a run stuffer, Malele had 11 tackles last season, but that's misleading; he often took the brunt of the blocking up front and did a superb job clogging the running lanes. This allowed for the likes of departed linemen Brandon Mebane, Nu'u Tafisi and the linebackers to run free and make plays.


Linebackers:  Cal graduated one of the elite linebackers in program history in Desmond Bishop, and while this unit could be solid, there's little depth. "We need to keep healthy at linebacker, the depth dwindles pretty quickly," Gregory said.  The lone returning starter is junior Worrell Williams (6-2, 256) at the Will or weak side. He finished 2006 with 51 tackles and an interception and is considered one of the top athletes pound for pound on the team.


Defensive Backs:  While the secondary returns three-of-four starters, it's by no means a strength entering the season, especially considering that the lone departure was Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Daymeion Hughes.  "Obviously you feel a bit more comfortable with a veteran at corner than young guys," Gregory said.  The Bears need sophomore Syd'Quan Thompson (5-11, 178) to play at another level this season, although after a rough debut at Tennessee, considering teams were throwing to his side early and often to avoid Hughes, he wasn't bad. His vitals included 60 tackles and an interception, but he showed improvement and confidence on almost a weekly basis.


Punters:  JUCO transfer Andrew Larson (6-2, 190) had a solid first season at Berkeley, averaging 42.6 yards per punt and earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors. But his greatest asset isn't the strength of his leg, it's hang time. Opponents returned just 19-of-49 punts for a paltry 132 yards.


Special Teams: Before flooding this section with numbers upon numbers about DeSean Jackson's ability to return punts, let's start off with just one statistic.  Jackson has returned just shy of 20 percent of his career punt returns for touchdowns. Wow. The official numbers include five touchdowns in 26 returns (19.2 percent). A Pac-10 record four of those scores came last season, as Jackson averaged a school-record 18.2 yards per return.



When Tedford's run at Cal ends, whether it's in 2008 or 2028, there's a real chance that last season will be looked upon -- not only him but Cal fans -- as their Moby Dick, the one that got away.   Not that there's anything remotely wrong with double-digit wins highlighted by a dominating Holiday Bowl performance against Texas A&M, but with USC reloading every season, 2006 could've been Cal's best chance to win the Pac-10 outright and play in the Rose Bowl. That said, this offense is every bit the equal of USC's, and at least on paper, Cal should score more points than the Trojans. And the special teams units of the Bears might be ranked tops in the nation. So why aren't the Bears favored over USC, which is expected to be a near-unanimous preseason No. 1?

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Coach rode MSU connections to a career at Cal



No matter where Jim Michalczik has wound up as a college football coach, a Montana State connection helped him to get there. Michalczik (pronounced Ma-hall-check) started out as a graduate assistant at the University of Miami (Fla.) in 1990, working with the defensive line. Dennis Erickson, a former MSU All-American, was the head coach. Miami's defensive coordinator was Sonny Lubick, a former MSU assistant and head coach.  Cliff Hysell, who'd been Lubick's defensive coordinator at MSU, hired Michalczik in 1992 as MSU's offensive line coach. Michalczik left Bozeman in 1999 to join Erickson's staff at Oregon State.   Jeff Tedford hired him to coach the University of California's offensive line in 2002. Next season, he also will serve as the Golden Bears' offensive coordinator. The Montana State tie in Berkeley isn't quite as obvious, but it's still there: Tedford played and later coached at Fresno State under Jim Sweeney, a former MSU assistant and head coach.  "It's amazing how that's happened," Michalczik said. "I owe a lot to Montana State, in more ways than one."

Michalczik is grateful because he says he's living his dream. He says some of his best influences growing up in Port Angeles, Wash., were the men who coached him, so he decided early on that he wanted to coach. He expected he'd have to teach to do that, but it hasn't worked out that way.  Michalczik played football and basketball in high school. He hoped to continue his football career at the University of Washington, which had offered his best friend, Scott Jones, a scholarship. But the Huskies didn't recruit him, so he accepted a scholarship from Washington State.  "I had a chip on my shoulder for quite a while," he said.

Michalczik started as a junior and a senior on WSU's offensive line, and he earned All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-America honors after his senior season. He played on the 1988 WSU squad that defeated Houston, 24-22, in the Aloha Bowl. He signed as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals, but was cut during training camp.  Erickson was Michalczik's head coach at WSU in 1988, and the two had talked several times about the player's interest in coaching. A year after Erickson moved to Miami, he hired Michalczik, who was then just starting out as a teacher, as a graduate assistant. Michalczik worked under Lubick.  Because graduate coaching positions turn over every two years, Michalczik began to look for a full-time job as an assistant coach. He got it at MSU, where Hysell had just been hired as head coach.  "I needed a job, Cliff needed someone, and I had good references and connections," Michalczik recalled.  "Those seasons at Montana State were a very formative experience," he continued. "When you're a young coach, you think you've got all the answers. You learn real quick that you don't. Cliff was awesome for a young coach. He kept you on your toes, made sure you did things the right way. I still use stuff I learned at Montana State every day."

Erickson, meanwhile, left Miami to coach the NFL's Seattle Seahawks for four seasons. He was fired in 1999 and immediately returned to college coaching, this time at Oregon State. One of the first coaches he hired was Michalczik. In 1999, the Beavers had their first winning season in 29 years. A year later, they won a share of the Pac-10 title and clobbered Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.  "I was very happy at Oregon State," he said. "I figured with Coach Erickson there, I was set."  But Michalczik had gotten to know Tedford, then the offensive coordinator at the University of Oregon, because they'd see each other while recruiting. Their paths crossed again, fortuitously this time, the day Cal hired Tedford as head coach: Michalczik was headed out of town on a recruiting trip; Tedford was headed to Berkeley with his family for his introductory press conference.  "We just started talking," Michalczik said. "He didn't think I'd be interested in leaving Oregon State, and I hadn't thought about it. Coach Erickson had always been so good to me, but I'd always wanted to work with Jeff. I knew we could do something special."  Michalczik's offensive lines have contributed mightily to the Golden Bears' success under Tedford. Cal's offense is one of five teams to rank in the top 25 in scoring offense the past five seasons, during which it has averaged more than 350 yards a game. Five of Michalczik's linemen have earned first-team all-conference honors.

After the 2006 season, Tedford asked Michalczik to take on the additional duties of offensive coordinator, and he readily agreed.   "As a position coach, you have to take care of your responsibilities," he said. "But I felt more comfortable with my stuff, so it was a smooth transition. Our offense is not a lot different than what we did at Montana State, but Jeff does a great job of putting it all together. We always had a physical running game under Cliff (Hysell), and we complemented it with the pass. We always wanted to be a physical Montana team. It's the same thing at Cal."  Michalczik's MSU connections don't end with football. He met his wife, Jennifer Streatfield, when she was an assistant volleyball coach with the Bobcats. They celebrate their 10th anniversary this month, and they have two sons: Max, 8, and Chase, 5.  Here's another coincidence: Jennifer was eight months pregnant with Max when Michalczik moved from MSU to Oregon State; she was eight months pregnant with Chase when he joined Tedford's staff.   Though he says he's thought occasionally about seeking a head coaching position, Michalczik said he is content to remain at Cal. The opportunity to be an offensive coordinator offers plenty of new challenges, he says.  "A lot of coaches move around a lot, but I have never been one of those guys," he said. "If you're working with good people and doing the right things, you don't have to go anywhere else. I want to help us be as good a team as we can be."

San Jose Mercury: The Best Pac-10 Football Coaches of the Past 20 Years

(Sorry for the delay in posting this…my computer suffered a catastrophic failure (read: corrupted RAID) while syncing, for the first time, with my iPhone last week.)


Here is the link.


10. Larry Smith, USC


9.  Dick Tomey, Arizona


8. Dennis Erickson, Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State


7. Bruce Snyder, Cal and Arizona State: One of the true “program builders” the league has seen in the past quarter century. Snyder took a last-place Cal team and turned it into a 10-game winner, and then he revived ASU, taking the Sun Devils to the brink of the national title. Sure, he got some help from the Berkeley admissions department (Russell White), but give him credit for signing a quarterback from Idaho who was passed over by the big schools (Jake Plummer).


6. Tyrone Willingham, Stanford and Washington


5. Mike Price, Washington State


4. Jeff Tedford, Cal: Tedford’s performance in Berkeley has been terrific; his timing has been awful — coinciding with USC’s return to dominance. No question, Tedford has made ample use of JC transfers at the flagship school of the UC system. But evidence suggests he has kept the JuCos in the classroom and out of trouble (for the most part). And his performance on the field and on the recruiting trail has been tremendous. Three years after Cal was 1-10 under Tom Holmoe, Tedford went 10-2.


3. Don James, Washington


2. Mike Bellotti, Oregon


1. Pete Carroll, U$C

Sporting News: Top 40 Pac-10 players

A quick look reaffirms what we all already know: USC is loaded. Especially on defense. Six Trojan defenders made my Top 20 on this list, which is based on potential and past production. But Cal may be explosive enough to beat USC, thanks to what could be the nation's best pass-catch duo: Nate Longshore to DeSean Jackson.


1. John David Booty, QB, USC

2. Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

3. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal

4. Keith Rivers, LB, USC

5. Nate Longshore, QB, Cal

6. Bruce Davis, DE, UCLA

7. Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC

8. Sam Baker, OT, USC

9. Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

10. Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

11. Shannon Tevaga, G, UCLA

12. Louis Holmes, DE, Arizona

13. Derrick Doggett, LB, Oregon State

14. Taylor Mays, S, USC

15. Alex Mack, C, Cal

16. Sammie Stroughter, WR, Oregon State

17. Chris Horton, S, UCLA

18. Brian Cushing, LB, USC

19. Craig Stevens, TE, Cal

20. Terrell Thomas, CB, USC

21. Yvenson Bernard, RB, Oregon State

22. Spencer Larsen, LB, Arizona

23. Michael Marquardt, DT, Arizona State

24. Chris Markey, RB, UCLA

25. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

26. Zack Follett, LB, Cal

27. Alexis Serna, K, Oregon State

28. Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State

29. Michael Bumpus, WR, Washington State

30. Trey Brown, CB, UCLA

31. Ryan Torian, RB, Arizona State

32. Mike Gibson, OT, Cal

33. Jarius Byrd, CB, Oregon

34. Ekom Udofia, DT, Stanford

35. Brandon Rodd, OT, Arizona State

36. Patrick Turner, WR, USC

37. Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona

38. Josh Barrett, S, Arizona State

39. Jaison Williams, WR, Oregon

40. Alex Brink, QB, Washington State


Monday, July 02, 2007

SF Chronicle: University offers to scale back renovation plan

But shrinking parking garage, seismic test fail to sway city

Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer

UC Berkeley officials offered Friday to scale back controversial plans to renovate the area around Memorial Stadium in hopes of avoiding a looming court date with the City of Berkeley, neighbors and oak tree activists.  Mayor Tom Bates immediately balked at the concessions, saying they didn't go far enough.   The university also offered to halve the size of the proposed 911-space parking garage next to the stadium. The garage would still be built under Maxwell Family Field but would contain about 500 spaces, the same number that would be lost when smaller parking lots in the area are razed as part of development plans.

The city, California Oak Foundation and Panoramic Hill neighbors filed separate lawsuits in December to block UC's plans to retrofit the 84-year-old stadium and build a $125 million sports training center and parking garage. The plaintiffs argue that more development on the site would endanger public safety because the stadium straddles the Hayward Fault.   The tree advocates, who include about a half-dozen protesters roosting in the trees next to the stadium, are suing to save the few dozen trees that would be removed to make way for the training center. As part of the new offering, the university said it would plant one mature tree for every one that is chopped down, along with two new young trees.  Attorneys for the California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association were not available for comment Friday on the university's latest proposals. The case is scheduled to be tried in Alameda County Superior Court on Sept. 19.  "There are far greater uses for the city's, university's and taxpayers' time and money than on this litigation," Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said Friday. "We're very confident, based on seismic testing and all the other information, that we will prevail at trial. But we prefer not to do that."

Delays due to the lawsuits will cost the university at least $4 million, said Assistant Athletic Director Bob Milano.  To address seismic issues related to the project, UC recently paid for another round of trenching and boring around the stadium and concluded that the training center would not be on any traces of the fault, officials said.

But the city isn't biting. Bates said 500 parking spaces next to the stadium is about 450 too many. The university is already building a 1,000-space garage a few blocks away, at College Avenue and Channing Way, he noted.  "I'd be OK with 50 spots next to the stadium for coaches and a few others," he said. "The rest of them can get physical exercise like the rest of us."  The city is particularly interested in parking and traffic as it strives to comply with Measure G, a voter mandate to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Bates said he'd also like to see the athletic training center moved elsewhere and the stadium retrofitted before any other projects are undertaken.  The city wasn't swayed by the university's latest seismic tests, either. After the results were released in late May, City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque called them "defective analysis."  "We do not find the second report any more persuasive (than the first) but will not comment further," she said.   As a concession to the neighbors who live on Panoramic Hill behind the stadium, the university is spending $75,000 on landscaping for Piedmont Avenue and $25,000 on a feasibility study to build a second road to Panoramic Hill, which is nearly impossible to access during home football games due to closed roads. The city is matching the funds.

SF Chronicle: UC Berkeley to scale back Memorial Stadium plans

Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer

UC Berkeley officials said today they would scale back development plans for Memorial Stadium to avoid a looming court date with the city of Berkeley, stadium neighbors and oak-tree advocates.   Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said the university would reduce the size of the proposed parking garage so that there would be no more spaces than are currently in the area. UC also would plant one fully grown tree and two younger trees for each one that would be chopped down to make way for a new, $125 million athletic training facility.

The city, however, isn't biting. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates called the proposed settlement "off the wall," saying that 500 parking spaces is still too many, and the training center should be moved elsewhere. "I'd be OK with 50 spots next to the stadium for coaches and a few others," he said. "The rest of them can get physical excerise like the rest of us." He added that while the city is open to negotiations, the staff intends to take the matter to court. The case is scheduled to be tried in Alameda County Superior Court on Sept. 19.

In December, the city, California Oak Foundation and Panoramic Hill neighborhood association filed separate lawsuits against UC over development plans around Memorial Stadium. The plaintiffs argue that further development in the area would endanger public safety because the 84-year-old stadium straddles the Hayward Fault.