Friday, May 30, 2008

The New Yorker: Out on a Limb

(Credit to the Bear Insider chat board for this find)


by Dana Goodyear

Calum Wright did not go to Berkeley—that’s Berserkley, to those who remember the sixties—to be an activist. He is a law-and-order type, reared among conservatives in London, and a member of the crew team, whose tastes run to khakis and polo shirts. He likes the campus police. But, not long ago, Wright, using the latest in protest technology—Facebook—was moved to organize a rally at the base of a campus oak, near Sproul Plaza, the storied place of free-speech happenings and Joan Baez concerts. His cause: Students Against Hippies in Trees. The action: to shout down a former Berkeley student named Michael (Fresh) Schuck, who had taken up residence in the oak seventeen days earlier. The invitation, sent to some six hundred members of the SAHIT Facebook group, from “hippy hater no. 1,” read:

There will be a jolly gathering on this coming friday, providing that fresh is still up there, to stir as much shit as legally possible with the hippies on the ground and our jolly mate “fresh.” . . .

We will be the noisy fucks camping out next to those smelly ugly freeloading hippies.   Fresh, who is twenty-six, said he took “a purple khadi, homespun from India,” wrapped it around his head like Lawrence of Arabia, and went up the tree with the idea of drawing attention to a host of issues: the housing of Native American remains in a campus museum; the undemocratic method by which the regents of the University of California are selected; the university system’s ties to British Petroleum, Dow Chemical, and two nuclear laboratories; and, not least, the cause of some fellow non-students tree-sitting in a grove half a mile away, near the football stadium, where the university hopes to build a new athletic center. (The city of Berkeley, in conjunction with two local groups—the California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association—has sued to prevent the construction; the judge is expected to issue a ruling by mid-June.) The SAHIT’s position is easier to crystallize. As Wright put it, “Look, come down, you’re a joke.” Plus, he and his friends resent the enormous cost of containing the tree-sitters: more than three hundred thousand dollars in twenty-four-hour security guards and fencing.

On the day of the rally, Matthew Taylor, a fifth-year student in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, who is an avid supporter of the tree-sitters and is writing his thesis about the protest in the grove, arrived to see a crowd of SAHIT supporters gathering around Fresh’s tree. Some of his cohorts had gathered, too, for a counter-counter-demonstration. “I decided that I should try to formulate an intervention,” Taylor said. He prevailed upon about a hundred and fifty students, from both sides of the issue, to sit on the ground in a “dialogue circle.” Wright remained on his feet. When it was his turn to talk, he said, he told the counterprotesters, “What the tree-sitters were doing was completely the wrong way to do it. It was harassing, it was agitating. To be on a university campus when you’re not a member of the university speaking for the university—the whole idea seemed completely aggravating.” When Fresh saw the two groups come together for a talk, he inched down the tree to listen, eventually descending to the ground to surrender himself to the police. “I went up there to raise awareness,” he said. “The job had been done. It was time.” He was cited for trespassing, and booked at the campus station. He and Wright resolved their disagreement with an old-fashioned hug, and then became Facebook friends.

In the wake of Fresh’s arrest, Victoria Harrison, who has been the university’s police chief for eighteen years, sent an e-mail to the entire academic community. “Everyone who wears the UCPD uniform understands that policing here requires understanding, sensitivity, and tolerance if this campus is to remain a hospitable host for the free exchange of ideas and opinions,” she wrote. In response, she received several hundred e-mails, ranging from bafflement (“Personally I have never understood the idea of protesting via tree, but I know many of my classmates find it admirable”) to empathy (“I appreciate your dedication to our safety, and hope that you do not feel too antagonized on a campus whose heritage is somewhat based on questioning authority figures”) and possibly even complete misunderstanding (“I agree with you 100%. I hate those tree people or those crazy people who walk around in Sproul and lecture everyone on the harm of cell phones”), with many smiley-face emoticons. A practical-minded sports fan, who graduated with the class of 2008, began by thanking Harrison profusely, then wrote, “You can be sure that the student body will once again rise to the call of our beloved University. Not everyone is here to practice free speech and be a nuisance; most of us are here to obtain one of the finest educations in the world. Go Bears!”

Oakland Tribune: Judge's ruling could alter Cal's grand athletic plan

Carl Steward

One major obstacle remains to Cal's grand athletic designs for the future: getting the proposed $125 million student-athlete high performance center off the ground and out of the trees.   It's in the hands of a single individual, and a decision could come any day. Alameda County Superior Court judge Barbara Miller has until June 18 to render a decision on a lawsuit filed last year against Cal to stop the training center project.  "We're anxious for a favorable ruling," football coach Jeff Tedford said. "Hopefully, we can finally begin construction very soon on this facility, one not only our football program desperately needs, but our entire athletic department." While virtually all of the money necessary to build the training complex has been raised, the project has been delayed for a year and half. With a favorable ruling, Cal hopes to begin construction immediately to make up time on its renovation schedule and also avoid rising construction costs.

Cal has fought a long public-relations battle with a group of tree-sitters who have been living in an oak grove near Memorial Stadium that will be razed to build the training center. The university won an injunction to have the tree-sitters removed, but lawsuits were filed in October by the City of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation, the Panoramic Hill Association and a group called Save Tightwad Hill. Miller ordered a halt to construction plans, the suits were consolidated and the case was deliberated in March.  Cal has been holding its collective breath ever since because an unfavorable ruling could have far-reaching effects, possibly forcing Tedford to leave Cal due to severely unfavorable competitive facilities and training conditions. In turn, Tedford's departure and a decline of fortune in the football program could have stark ramifications for the athletic program as a whole. Cal officials would rather not dwell on a possible adverse ruling. "We feel very good about the case that we've made," Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "Of course, anytime you put a decision in one person's hands, you never know. But I feel very good about what we'll hear from the judge, and we'll have the go-ahead to move forward with this."

The training center is the first phase of an ambitious plan to upgrade athletic facilities that are regarded as the worst in the Pac-10 Conference and among the worst in the nation. It will not only house the football team but 12 other sports teams. The second phase of the project is the $175 million renovation of the west side of Memorial Stadium. If the university gets the go-ahead in the next couple of weeks, it hopes to have both projects completed by 2012, one following the other. A longer-range plan to renovate the east side of the stadium and add another spectator deck has been deferred.

The City of Berkeley filed its portion of the lawsuit based on the fact that construction of the athletic center to the seismically fragile Memorial Stadium is unsafe because of the potential for a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault, which runs adjacent to the stadium that was constructed in 1923. Seismic studies taken and presented in court on Cal's behalf generally dispell the city's claims.

"I have a hard time understanding the logic of the City of Berkeley in pursuing the suit because it's specious," said Bill Ausfahl, a retired Clorox executive and Cal alum who originally was named volunteer chairman of the Memorial Stadium fundraising effort by athletic director John Kasser. "We started this campaign in 2000 and thought it would take just a few years. Now we're eight years later, and we're still waiting, with the need for these upgraded facilities more dire than ever."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

San Jose Mercury: Tedford Says the Problem Last Year Wasn't "so much" with Desean, but his Family

Note from blogger: I apologize for not updating the blog in several days.  I have nerve impingement in my cervical spine, travelling through my shoulder blade, down my left hand and into my fingers, making them numb.  I found the following article in the San Jose Mercury, which tends to shed some light (finally) on what happened last season.


By John Ryan

DeSean Makes It Clear: 'I'm no T.O."

It's always better to explain who you are than who you aren't, so DeSean Jackson is already starting from behind with Eagles fans.  The former Cal receiver told the Philadelphia Daily News he doesn't want to be known for the Terrell Owens-like behavior of "talking about your teammates." Nor does he want to be the next Freddie Mitchell, who, Jackson has heard, "talked his way out of the league."

Cal Coach Jeff Tedford told the Daily News the problem last year wasn't so much with Jackson as it was with his family.   "With outside opinions and outside advice always eating at DeSean, he was in a very tough spot," Tedford said. "He's trying to be a team guy, trying to fit in and play his role, but dealing with outside information always eating at him, and not always positive."  To which Jackson's dad, Bill, bristles. Of course, Bill also said, "DeSean has not had a quarterback since he played Pop Warner football. He didn't have a real quarterback at Long Beach Poly or at Cal."  Ah, this shouldn't be a problem. Nothing ever gets blown out of proportion in Philly.







Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marin Independent Journal: Montgomery, Tedford come to Marin to discuss newly joined forces


FOR THOSE FANS who may still be in disbelief or denial, Mike Montgomery gave visual confirmation in Marin on Monday that he is indeed a good fit and comfortable coaching men's basketball at Cal.  Montgomery, wearing a white Cal polo shirt, came to the Holiday Inn Express in Mill Valley to stay smart and speak to a standing-room only crowd of close to 200 at a Cal Alumni Club of Marin luncheon. But upon arriving in a hallway, the former Stanford coach did something to Cal football coach Jeff Tedford that no one on the Farm could ever have imagined.  He gave Tedford a big ol' bear hug.  OK, Monty was in a playful mood, joking that he was underdressed compared to Tedford, who wore a blue blazer to the event. But it was also a sign that Cal has created a great union. The meeting in Marin brought together Montgomery, Tedford and athletic director Sandy Balbour in the same room, the three most significant faces and forces in Cal's quest for national recognition and respectability.

Take that, Stanford. It would be like 49ers fans watching Bill Walsh coach the Raiders.  Tedford stole the Bay Area's college football spotlight from the Cardinal seven years ago when he quickly turned around a woeful program and made it a consistent winner, on the brink of wrestling control of the Pac-10 from Pete Carroll and USC.  Bears fans are hoping Montgomery can make such an immediate impact on Cal's men's basketball program, which was saddled with assorted injuries and a reputation for underachieving with Ben Braun as its coach.

So, it was encouraging to see Tedford and Montgomery in the same place on Monday because they would like to get together more often in the near future. They can share coaching secrets and share the responsibility of fueling Cal's athletic fundraising efforts against all odds and tree sitters.  "He's much more big-time than I am," Tedford said. "I'm still kind of a youngster. He's has a lot of years under his belt. He brings tremendous credibility to our program. I'm interested and excited to spend time with him and pick his brain and his coaching techniques."  Montgomery wants a brainstorming session with Tedford as well. But the Bears basketball coach has been busy signing his first Cal recruit - 19-year-old 6-foot-3 point guard Jorge Gutierrez from Findley Prep near Las Vegas - while losing sleep over trying to retain team star Ryan Anderson while he decides if he wants to enter the NBA draft.  Mostly, Montgomery has been camped out in his office inside the Haas Pavilion while Tedford has been conducting spring football practice at Memorial Stadium.  "I haven't been to the football stadium," Montgomery said. "I need my staff to go with me up there to sit down and ask 'What do you guys sell? What is the thing you've done to make you feel like you've made it successful? ... What are the problems? What's your main thrust in terms of getting kids to come here?'"

At Stanford, Montgomery had a smaller pool of high school players to recruit from because of that school's higher and stricter academic standards. At Cal, Montgomery will take over a program with lower expectations. At the age of 61, he aims to build the Cal program the same way he built Stanford's when he started there at the age of 41.  If Tedford can turn Cal's football fortunes around, why can't Montgomery, who is wiser and has a better working knowledge of the Pac-10, do the same in basketball? They could be the most dynamic duo in Berkeley since "war" and "protests" in the '70s.  "What's going to help is success," Montgomery said. "Jeff winning in football has to be huge because football generally is the bell cow. It's the one (program) that drives the engine. It's more visible. It's easier. It's once a week. It's Saturday and the sun's out. It's a campus thing. Hopefully, we can chip in. I'm sure there are people who would really love to compete at the highlight level in basketball at Cal (nationally). It's obviously not easy and that's what our challenge is."

That and convincing skeptics that Montgomery's motives are sincere and not driven by money or vindication. Whereas he rented a condominium when he coached the Golden State Warriors for two seasons, Montgomery has bought a home in the East Bay to establish roots. Once settled, he can extend himself to move the Cal program up among the elite in the Pac-10. "I need to get my arms around the whole thing," Montgomery said. "It really won't happen until we get on the practice floor." At least Montgomery made impression on Monday in Marin. He got his arms around Tedford and got under the skin of Stanford with this cheer in front of a sold out Cal crowd. Said Monty, "This is something I'm working on it but haven't perfected it yet É Go Bears!"  Go Bears hug.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ESPN: 3 Things I Can't Wait to See This Fall in the Pac-10



2. The way California ended the 2007 season -- the Bears went from 5-0 and No. 2 in the country to 7-6 and No. 7 in the Pac-10 -- was one of the most monumental collapses in recent college football history. Much of the Bears' late problems could be attributed to the poor health of quarterback Nate Longshore. He missed most of the spring with a pectoral injury and might have a tough time holding off Kevin Riley during preseason camp.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Merced Sun Star: Feud Between Fresno State's Pat Hill and Jeff Tedford?

Here is the link.


Steve Cameron: Hill says, 'We're always recruiting Merced'

FRESNO -- Let's get right to the squabble.  Is there some sort of problem between Merced High and Fresno State?  If not, then why aren't the Bulldogs recruiting any Merced football players -- particularly those three seniors-to-be who are getting scholarship offers from all over the country?  The athletes are Bernard Bolden, Nathan Mayfield and Kenny Cooper. Full-ride deals for one or more have come from Cal, Arizona, Washington State, Arizona, San Diego State, Colorado and Nebraska. Colorado, Washington State and Arizona have made offers to the full trio.  Without running down the complete list here, it's enough to say that Bolden has offers from seven schools, Mayfield five and Cooper four. And that none of the offers -- to anyone -- has come from Fresno State. So what's up? Well, Pat Hill will tell you -- quite forcefully, in fact -- that nothing's amiss at all, and in fact, he and his staff intend to check out Merced players as they always do.


"We heard earlier that Fresno State was going to have a coach come by, but then it was cancelled," said Merced High coach Rob Scheidt -- who finds himself in the middle of some strange rumors in this relationship.  "It's kind of odd, because they're so close to us and yet it feels like they don't pay much attention. Sometimes they don't return calls, and yet I'd like to think I still have a decent relationship with coach Hill.  "The simple truth, though, is that we've had quite a few decent athletes over the past few years and Fresno State hasn't seriously recruited any of them."  EVEN WENDELL Mathis wasn't offered a scholarship out of high school, at least not by the Dogs.  "UCLA was the only place," Scheidt said. "It was strange because Pat Hill spent almost an entire game we attended telling me that Wendell should attend Fresno State -- and then they didn't offer him. "He only got to Fresno as a transfer when it didn't work out at UCLA."

Last year, Fresno State remained on the sidelines as several big schools battled it out for receiver Jarrett Sparks. And so far this year, Hill and his staff have been quiet as all these offers have been tossed at three Merced players. In the interest of full disclosure, there is a rumor about why all this is happening.

The short version is that Hill, a stubborn guy by his own admission, has fallen out with Cal coach Jeff Tedford -- former Fresno State player and Hill assistant.  SCHEIDT LAUGHED hearing that story and suggested that some parts probably were true.  From there, you see Scheidt become close to Tedford, taking his team to Cal's camp every summer and even adopting a chunk of the Cal offense. So the story around town is that Scheidt has become persona non grata with Hill -- because of his close association with Tedford. See, that tale comes with the added suspicion that perhaps Scheidt is pushing his most talented players towards Cal.

And if you follow those bread crumbs, Hill theoretically would be showing his displeasure by ignoring possible Merced recruits.  That's what you hear on the street and at the games. "I know there maybe have been some issues between coach Tedford and coach Hill," Scheidt said, "but I certainly hope I'm not part of it.

"We try to get information and tapes out on our kids to all the schools that are interested -- including Fresno State. Personally, I hope they'll come and visit our players." HILL CLAIMS that they have, and they will. Oh, and that the entire story about a problem with Tedford or Scheidt is utter bunk. "First of all, we've always recruited Merced High and all the schools around there," Hill said. "Until this year, when they changed the rules to keep the head coaches on campus during spring, I've been to Merced personally every year since I took the job at Fresno State. "We look at all the players in the area ever year. At Merced last year, I spent a lot of time working to see about eligibility issues with Dion Bland -- because we wanted to get him. "There was talk because we didn't really go after (Jarrett) Sparks, but we didn't need a big receiver. We already had four or five big wideouts. That was simply about need. He's a good football player, but not so fantastic that we thought we should ignore our needs to fight it out for him.

"There is no problem at all with Rob Scheidt. He's done a great job at Merced, and when he was mentioned for Clovis West, I thought it would be a good fit. "And I don't know where or how people get these stories about different people -- like Jeff (Tedford). We've been friends a long time. "We have one issue, which is that I wish he'd schedule us because right now I think we could beat Cal -- but he won't play us. But we still get along fine. We talk on the phone, and we've visited each other. "That story about Jeff and Rob Scheidt is just crazy."


Revised ESPN Pres-Season Top 25

Here’s the link.


1.    Ohio State

2.    Georgia

3.    Oklahoma

4.    USC

5.    Florida

6.    Missouri

7.    Clemson

8.    Texas

9.    West Virginia

10. Auburn

11. Texas Tech

12. LSU

13. ASU

14. BYU

15. Tennessee

16. Illinois

17. Kansas

18. Wisconsin

19. Pittsburgh

20. Virginia Tech

21. Fresno State

22. Wake Forest

23. Oregon

24. Michigan State

25. Penn State

Death at Top Dog

(Amazingly, it wasn’t from the kielbasa)


Man shot dead near UC Berkeley

Oakland Tribune

BERKELEY — Two men were shot, one fatally, late Tuesday near the popular Top Dog eatery on Durant Avenue and Bowditch Street, about a block from the UC Berkeley campus, police said.  The victim was identified as Maceo Smith, 33, of Berkeley, the father of three boys, said his father, who was at the crime scene but refused to give his name. Although the shooting happened just a block from the campus, police said Smith was not a student there.

Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the victim and the shooter had an argument before the shooting. The victim staggered to the multi-unit apartment building parking lot east of the Top Dog and collapsed, police said. Further details were not released late Tuesday.  Police said the second victim, a relative of the man who died, drove himself to Highland Hospital in Oakland. His condition was not life-threatening.  The suspect was still at-large Tuesday evening.   Tuesday's shooting was the second slaying in the past 10 days near the UC Berkeley campus.

Tuesday's shooting happened about 4 p.m. in an area that is heavily travelled by residents and students.

Marty Keith, a former UC Berkeley student who lives in the Cal rowing team house at 2316 Bowditch St., said he heard a quick succession of gunshots from his home. He looked out the window and saw the victim stagger across Bowditch Street and down Durant Avenue into the parking lot.  He said he saw blood on the victim's back as the man opened a door of a blue Honda and collapsed inside. Keith said he and at least two other men rushed to his aid and opened the door of the car.  He said the man was still breathing at that point.  Keith said he pulled the victim out of the car and "that was it." Berkeley paramedics arrived on the scene and tried to revive the victim for about 30 minutes, said Keith, who was still visibly shaken.  "We live right here. The bullets could have entered our room," he said.  The victim's father said he didn't know why his son was at the Berkeley location where he was shot.  With family and friends arriving on the scene and embracing one another, the father said he wanted to view his dead son, who was covered with a white sheet.  "If it was your child who got shot, you at least would want to see him," the father said. One woman who appeared to be a family member yelled, "Is this Oakland or is this Berkeley?" referring to the high homicide rate in the neighboring city. Oakland has had 50 killings so far this year. Tuesday's shooting was the fifth homicide in Berkeley this year.  About a dozen family members and friends of the victim gathered at the scene and grew visibly agitated at Berkeley police because they said investigators refused to immediately provide the family with details.  As detectives collected evidence, police cordoned off Durant, east of Bowditch to Telegraph Avenue, and the block between Durant Avenue and Channing Way.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Contra Costa Times: College coaching salaries getting ridiculous

By Daniel Borenstein

UC Berkeley football coach Jeff Tedford had a good year in 2007 — a very good year.  Sure, the Bears finished the regular season with a dismal 6-6 record and an invitation to the insignificant Armed Forces Bowl, where they barely beat Air Force, 42-36. But Tedford collected as much money in that one year as many of us will earn in a lifetime — $2.8 million. It was the first installment of his seven-year, $17.5 million contract renewal. As UC struggles to maintain academic programs, as proposed state cutbacks portend increased student fees and smaller classes, it's time to rein in wild spending by athletic programs at the state's public universities.  UC officials will tell you that Tedford's success before last year brought in more money and that Tedford's compensation comes from athletic department revenues and private fundraising — that no state or general campus funds are used. Indeed, season ticket sales have more than doubled during Tedford's reign.  But, as last season showed, a coach, no matter how well-paid, cannot guarantee victory. Success on the field and at the box office can be ephemeral. Moreover, that should not be the mission of the university. Turning out well-educated adults who will be the future leaders of our state and nation should be the real game plan. Yet, the university continues to subsidize intercollegiate sports at Cal, last year by $6.4 million. If  athletic departments can afford such rich salaries, perhaps it's time to eliminate the subsidy, or even reverse the flow and use some of the sports profits to offset the cost of badly needed programs elsewhere on campus. The subsidy, for example, could pay for roughly 45 full-time Cal instructors. With UCLA negotiating a contract with its new football coach, Rick Neuheisel, and Cal bargaining with its new basketball coach, Mike Montgomery, UC regents should step back and question soaring coach salaries. On the 10-campus system's "Annual Report on Executive Compensation," four top earners stick out:

Karl Dorrell, former UCLA football coach, $961,687.

Ben Braun, former Cal men's basketball coach, $1,077,500.

Ben Howland, UCLA men's basketball coach, $1,411,054.

Tedford, the Cal football coach, $2,831,654.

Those salaries — which do not include pensions, health insurance and other standard benefits — each surpass the annual salary and benefits of Mark Yudof, the incoming president of the entire UC system. As reported here last month, Yudof's total compensation of $924,642 will make him the highest-paid leader of a public university in the nation. That's appropriate for a world-class education system.  But the university should avoid the boundless financial race that's professionalizing the country's college sports. According to a USA Today survey, the average earnings of the 120 major-college football coaches reached $1 million last year. At least a dozen made $2 million or more. Tedford's contract makes Cal a top-tier payer.

Under his seven-year renewal, his annual salary is $225,000. But he also is guaranteed $1.575 million each year as a "talent fee" — what the university describes as a payout "based on standard participation in outside events representing UCB." Last year, he also received a $1 million "signing bonus." Adding in a $25,000 bonus for the team's bowl game appearance and a discretionary bonus of $6,654 from the athletic director brings the total to the $2,831,654.  That doesn't include his membership in the Blackhawk Country Club ($7,080 annually), two "courtesy vehicles" ($14,750), the cost of his pension contribution (about $36,000 annually), his life and health insurance, 30 free tickets and five parking passes for every home game, and travel expenses for his wife. Sure, the signing bonus was a one-time deal. But to keep Tedford around — as if that money wasn't enough — the university will pay him a "retention bonus" that works out to $500,000 a year.

Cal also laced Tedford's contract with bonuses: For each year the team reaches the Rose, Orange, Sugar or Fiesta bowl, or the National Championship game, Tedford will receive an additional $50,000 that year and $100,000 every subsequent year of his contract. Winning the national championship would boost Tedford's income by $150,000 that year; being named coach of the year, $100,000; winning the Pac-10 championship, $75,000; and winning nine games in a season, $25,000. On top of that, if his players keep their grades up, Tedford would be eligible for an additional $25,000.

The most interesting provisions in his contract would boost his income by $250,000 if he's still coach when the university opens its controversial new training facility at Memorial Stadium and another $250,000 if he's there when the team plays its first home game after completion of planned stadium renovations. That's right, he'll get a bonus when his team gets new quarters — the sports equivalent of getting a raise when your company gives you a new office.

Little wonder that Americans think that spending on college sports is out of control. A 2006 survey by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics found that most Americans believe college sports have become too commercialized, that coaches are overpaid and, most significantly, that money earned by athletic departments should be redistributed to benefit the whole school. The commission's 2007 survey of university faculty nationwide found that they feel that football and basketball coaches' salaries are excessive and that the financial needs of athletics get higher priority than academic needs. Nationwide, university officials are outbidding each other to win what Cornell University economist Robert Frank calls a costly "positional arms race." At a time when universities are struggling for financial survival, they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year in an attempt to better each other on the football field and the basketball court. But, as Frank notes, no matter how much they spend, no matter how high they bid up coaches' salaries, only 25 teams will make the top football ranking and only four teams will reach college basketball's Final Four. The rest will just be left with fatter payrolls.  It's a costly competition that's draining money that could be better spent on education. But it won't end until schools have the courage to say no.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Youtube Video: Kevin Riley and Nyan Boateng

Video Interview with DeSean Jackson

You can see the interview on the Eagles’ website here.  Choose “One on One: WR/PR Jackson”

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

DeSean in an Eagle's Uniform

Seems like only yesterday he was making the Oregon secondary look like scared little girls…


Monday, May 05, 2008

Fox Sports: Pac-10 Roundup

Here’s the link.



Nate Long-Shot? ... While Jeff Tedford continues to stress that incumbent Nate Longshore is his quarterback, a pec injury that curtailed his spring hasn't helped in his fight to hold off Kevin Riley. Riley moves better than Longshore and was flawless in his last game, a comeback win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. Don't buy Tedford's smokescreen. Riley is closing the gap on Longshore all the time and might be ready to surpass him in August.


Hip Replacement ... When likely starting RB James Montgomery suddenly left the program in March, it created a quandary for the Bears, who also lost Justin Forsett to graduation. The program's top back, Jahvid Best, would be the no-brainer successor if he wasn't recovering from a serious hip injury. Best has pulled a surprise of his own, taking part in non-contact drills, when he wasn't expected back until the summer. Sophomore Tracy Slocum picked up some of the slack in April, running hard and earning a spot in the backfield rotation.


Anger Management ... One of the defense's best weapons this fall will be the booming leg of redshirt freshman P Bryan Anger, who takes over for Andrew Larson. Anger put on an aerial show throughout March and April, regularly hammering out punts of more than 50 yards, while hanging the ball in the air for an eternity.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

San Jose Mercury: Jon Wilner's Early Top Ten List

Here’s the link.


The first question posed to Cal Coach Jeff Tedford following the final spring practice was open-ended: What did you learn about your team?  Tedford's answer cut right to the No. 1 issue facing the Bears.  "I learned that I'm very happy with the team chemistry," he said, "the way we're working together, the attitude, the focus, the camaraderie."  That's code for: The chemistry wasn't very good last season but has improved dramatically.

When the losses piled up in '07, so did the frustration in the locker room.   It wouldn't be fair to blame receiver DeSean Jackson for all the problems (although he certainly had a selfish streak). There were also communication breakdowns and leadership issues.  That's why Tedford removed himself from the time-consuming task of calling the plays and is taking more of a managerial role. He wants to sniff out and solve any communication issues before they metastasize.

• The Bears aren't exactly broadcasting this, but they're switching the base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Coordinator Bob Gregory said as much last weekend, and it's a smart move for these reasons:

1. Cal's personnel is better suited for the 3-4 because of a bevy of experienced, talented linebackers.

2. The alignment puts the Bears' best playmaker, outside linebacker Zack Follett, in position to cause the most havoc - as an edge rusher.

3. It's easier to recruit to a 3-4 because there are more linebackers available than defensive tackles (more players weigh 220 pounds than 280).

4. Cal should have a tactical advantage because nobody in the Pac-10 uses the 3-4 as a base defense.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Oregon Register Guard: Avoiding Spring Breaks

Here’s the link.


Kevin Riley continues to push Nate Longshore at quarterback, after unseating the veteran last fall. This spring, Longshore was redeeming himself until he pulled a pectoral muscle and missed the final three weeks of drills.  Cal coach Jeff Tedford said the job remains open entering the fall. The offense was without electric tailback Jahvid Best for contact drills because of a hip injury. But he impressed onlookers in non-contact drills and is reportedly on track to be 100 percent in August.

On defense, coordinator Bob Gregory moved to a 3-4 this spring, taking advantage of a deep linebacker corps led by Zack Follett and Worrell Williams. It’s a look uncommon to the Pac-10, though Oregon runs it enough that the UO offense should be prepared when the Ducks travel to Cal on Nov. 1.

Pac-10 Conference: Overview of Pac-10 2008

Here’s the link.



Offense: California returns just five starters to the offensive unit and has some questions to answer for 2008. A quarterback battle is expected to be waged by incumbent starter Nate Longshore and mobile sophomore Kevin Riley, who led the Bears to victory in the Armed Forces Bowl with a dynamic performance. Whoever lines up under center will be looking at an inexperienced group of receivers as the Bears do not return a wideout who had double digits in receptions last year. A replacement also must be found for 1,500-yard rusher TB Justin Forsett. If soph TB Jahvid Best is recovered from a hip injury he will provide an explosive force both running the ball and returning kicks. Three starters return along the offensive line led by first-team All-America C Alex Mack.

Defense: Seven starters return on defense led by a trio of senior linebackers that should be the strength of the unit. OLBs Zack Follett and Anthony Felder and MLB Worrell Williams are veteran performers and all potential honors candidates who will key the defense. DE Tyson Alualu is a force on the defensive line and CB Syd'Quan Thompson and ROV Bernard Hicks return in the secondary.

The Schedule: Cal gets seven home games and has nice balance in the schedule in never having more than two road or home games in a row.