Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daily Cal: Bears Name Marshall Offensive Line Coach

By Andrew Kim

After weeks of speculation following former offensive line coach Jim Michalczik's departure to Washington, the Cal football team filled a gaping hole in its staff with another big name.  Coach Jeff Tedford introduced Steve Marshall, formerly with the Cleveland Browns, as the Bears' new offensive line coach today.  "Steve really understands the fundamentals and techniques of superior offensive line play," Tedford said in a statement. "He brings experience and expertise to the position, and he has coached a lot of quality offensive linemen. It is great to have him on board and we are fired up about the future of our offensive line. I think he's going to fit in very well with our program."  Marshall, 52, has been a bit of a journeyman in his coaching career, having been with 10 different college programs as well as two NFL teams, the Houston Texans and the Browns.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SF Examiner: Could Bears Land Jerry Rice's Son?

By Rob Calonge

It wasn't until he joined the Oakland Raiders for the 2001 season that the term began being used.  Tim Brown was being interviewed and explained why they called Jerry Rice 'The GOAT."  On a squad of older NFL players, it was an odd term for a player that wasn't much older than his fellow receivers.  Brown explained that GOAT stood for 'Greatest Of All Time'.  Undeniably, Rice is the greatest wide receiver of all time and arguably the greatest football player who has ever lived.

Link to rest of article, with video.

Monday, January 26, 2009

SF Examiner: Recruitment news

Devon Kennard announced that he's chosen USC over Cal and Texas. In other recruiting news, reported by the Examiner:

Cal getting props on their recruiting

Craig Haubert of's Scouts INC. had good things to say about Cal's recruiting class on Friday. He especially likes Cal commit, Steve Williams, the corner out of Dallas, Texas. Haubert says the following about Cal's class:

The Golden Bears are proving that recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. Cal's recruiting got off to a slow start, but it is putting together a strong class that currently sits within the top 25.

Originally, we had wondered why the Bears were so slow to recruit their 2009 class. What started as a walk, has increased to a quick sprint to the finish for Jeff Tedford and company. Now we must wait to see how it all pans out. According to Haubert, Bears Backers have little to worry about.

Don't be surprised if...The Golden Bears, who currently rank 25th in the nation and third in conference, end up higher in the final recruiting class rankings and second in the conference behind USC.

No Evidence of Burial Ground at Cal Athletic Center Site

According to this article in the Daily Cal, no evidence of human remains or Indian artifacts have been found at the site of the new student athletic center, confirming what most of us already new…the protestors were simply making up reasons not to build the center.  After his humiliating defeat by the University, Zachary Running Wolf has been up to his old antics, trying to “protect” dying Acacia trees at People’s Park.

Tedford Spotting

According to this article, “Cal football coach Jeff Tedford sat courtside and received a loud standing ovation during a timeout just before halftime” at the Cal-Oregon men’s basketball game on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SF Examiner: California Golden Bears' Mack and Follett having 'senior' moments this week

By Rob Calonge

Cal has two representatives from their 9-4 2008 squad that are attending the Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week.  Center Alex Mack and linebacker/defensive end Zack Follett are displaying their football wares this week in front of hundreds of NFL personell and scouts in the hopes that they will increase their value for the 2009 NFL Draft.


Link to rest of story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Daily Cal: Cal Tight End Morrah Declares for 2009 NFL Draft

Cal football tight end Cameron Morrah has decided to forgo his senior year with the Bears and declare for the NFL Draft.  Morrah set a Cal single-season record for tight ends in 2008 with eight receiving touchdowns and was second on the team with 27 catches. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior started all 13 games for the Bears last season.  With the decision, Morrah becomes the third Cal player in the last three years to declare early for the draft, following Marshawn Lynch in 2007 and DeSean Jackson in 2008.  "We work with NFL candidates to educate them on their prospects for the draft as well as the benefits for staying in college," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "I don't necessarily agree with the decision, but I am supportive of Cameron and hope that he is successful at the next level."

Daily Cal: Cal Avoided Late-Season Collapse, Repeat of 2007 With Three-Game Win Streak

By Matt Kawahara


Three weeks ago, the Cal football team rang in the new year by ensuring that coach Jeff Tedford will be around for at least seven more years.  It was announced on Jan. 1 that Tedford, heralded as the savior of Bears football since arriving in 2001, had agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season. The move seemed to reinforce the fact that the athletics department believes Tedford-who took a one-win team to seven victories in his first season-still has the magic to lift the Bears to higher heights after leading them to a nine-win season and a win in the Emerald Bowl in 2008.  "It's not easy to win nine games," Tedford said after the bowl game, flanked by three of his seniors. "That's an accomplishment for this team. I know we'll continue to come back and work hard through next season, but for these guys to go out with nine wins is something they can really be proud of."  Cal's 24-17 win over Miami on Dec. 27 typified its formula for success throughout the season-a potent rushing game combined with an inspired defensive effort. Sophomore tailback Jahvid Best rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns against the Hurricanes, while senior linebacker Zack Follett forced a late fumble that led to the game-winning touchdown.  After the game, Best deflected a question about his possible Heisman candidacy next season and instead projected that the Bears will contend for the national title.

For that to happen, Cal will have to start by avoiding the kind of non-conference slip-up in 2009 that it experienced against Maryland in week three.   After defeating Michigan State to open the season and then running rampant over Washington State, the Bears travelled cross-country to face the Terrapins. What they encountered was an early kickoff, brutally humid weather and a pesky Maryland offense that put up 35 points-the highest total allowed by the Cal defense all season.

The loss knocked the Bears from their newly acquired spot in the top 25. Two straight wins lifted Cal back to No. 25, but a loss at Arizona dropped the Bears out of the rankings again. They didn't climb back in for the rest of the year.  Consecutive road losses to USC and Oregon State, moreover, erased the possibility of a 10-win season.  But faced with an impending second-half collapse for the second year in a row, Cal rallied instead. Bolstered by a strong corps of senior leaders, the Bears went on to take the Axe back from Stanford in convincing fashion and finish the season with three straight victories.  "These seniors have done a good job leading this team," Follett said after the Emerald Bowl. "To bounce back from what we had to go through last year and go through what these coaches put us through, to make sure we didn't have a season like that, these seniors, I take my hat off to them."

Cal won nine games in spite of inconsistent play from its quarterbacks. Senior Nate Longshore and sophomore Kevin Riley entered the fall battling for the starting job and, although Riley was named the starter for the opener, Longshore also played against the Spartans.  It was just the beginning of a season-long struggle in which neither gained a significant enough upper hand to take over the starting position for good.  The one consistent thing that came out of the Bears' offense was Best, who dismissed notions that he couldn't be an every-down back by overcoming a freak dislocated elbow in week four and carrying 194 times for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Shane Vereen, meanwhile, emerged as a reliable second option, carrying 142 times for 715 yards and four scores.  The Bears' second-best offensive threat turned out to be its defense.  New defensive backs coach Al Simmons inherited a secondary that had just 10 interceptions in 2007 and turned them into a unit of ball hawks. Cal finished the regular season with 23 interceptions-the third-highest total in the nation-and 32 turnovers overall, which the Bears turned into 118 points-29.5 percent of their total scoring output.  As it turned out, none of those turnovers were bigger than the last one of Follett's career.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Longshore Preparing for NFL Draft


According to Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star, Nate Longshore is currently at Competitive Edge Sports, a training facility situated outside Atlanta, preparing himself for the upcoming NFL draft.  He’s there with Willie Tuitama (Arizona), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Chase Holbrook (New Mexico State) and Rhett Bomar (Oklahoma State).


Per the article:

The six quarterbacks have a grueling schedule. They throw passes each morning before heading to the Competitive Edge facility for workouts. That's followed by running for 90 minutes, lifting weights for 90 minutes every afternoon, and often staying late to work on their mechanics. Wednesdays bring the dreaded water workouts in the morning, and 7-on-7 drills in the afternoon.


ESPN's Final Pac-10 Power Rankings for 2008


4. California: The Bears were up-and-down much of the season, but they showed a resiliency that surely was re-assuring to their fans after 2007's implosion. A bowl victory, a final 9-4 record and a No. 25 ranking in the coaches' poll in what looked like a rebuilding year is a solid finish. The quarterback carousel was the biggest issue, with neither Nate Longshore nor Kevin Riley establishing himself as the starter. Both, in fact, seemed to regress amid the uncertainty. But running back Jahvid Best broke out to win the conference rushing title and establish himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2009, when the Bears should be in the conference championship mix.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cal Ranked 12th in Preseason Poll

Here’s the link to the site.


12. California

The Buzz: Jahvid Best may go into the 2009 season as the nation's best running back. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to settle on a quarterback and the linebacking corps must be rebuilt.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Final Rankings for the California Golden Bears 2008 Football Season

Cal was ranked 25th on the USA Today Poll, 26th in the AP Poll, 20th in the Sporting News’ Legends Poll, and 24th in the Sporting News Poll.

ESPN: Early Prediction for 2009 Top 25

Here’s the link.

20. California Bears

The Bears overcame inconsistent quarterback play to finish 9-4 in 2008. Even though senior Nate Longshore is moving on, Kevin Riley won't automatically inherit the QB job. Coach Jeff Tedford will give current redshirt freshman Brock Mansion an opportunity to win the job. The Bears will rely heavily on running back Jahvid Best, and must replace center Alex Mack and guard Noris Malele. The linebacker corps will be gutted, with outside linebacker Zack Follett and both inside linebackers moving on.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Early Jump on '09 Predictions

By Tony Barnhart



22. California (9-4): Embattled QB Nate Longshore is gone, but that might be addition by subtraction. Cal will rely on one of the strongest running games in the country, led by Jahvid Best.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rulon Davis Prepares for the NFL Draft

Check out Rulon Davis’ website, which highlights his career at Cal and his preparation for the draft.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Bears' Tepper gets good news

By Jonathan Okanes


Cal received a big boost to its inexperienced 2009 offensive line Wednesday when tackle Mike Tepper was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.  Tepper was projected to be the Bears' starting left tackle last season but never fully recovered from pectoral muscle surgery and sat out the entire year. It was the second time he's missed a season because of injury. In 2005, Tepper sat out the year with a broken leg he suffered when he got hit by a car trying to protect a female companion.  "Personally, this is a chance to end my Cal career the right way, both academically and athletically," Tepper said. "This opportunity means a lot to me, and I'm happy to play with these guys one last time."

It is unclear if Tepper will play left tackle next season. Mitchell Schwartz replaced him this past season and acquitted himself nicely. The Bears may keep Schwartz on the left side and move Tepper back to right tackle, where Chet Teofilo and Donovan Edwards shared the duties in 2008. Tepper started at right tackle in 2007. The addition of Tepper will infuse some experience into a line that figures to have three players coming off their first year as starters and another who spent 2008 as a backup. Tepper, who has played in 26 games for Cal, was projected as a late-round NFL draft pick heading into this past season.  Tepper withdrew from school last fall while rehabbing from surgery and is scheduled to finish up his bachelor's degree.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal's Tedford is a keeper


Maybe you missed it — Cal quietly gave Jeff Tedford a two-year contract extension, announcing it New Year's Day while a lot of people were still sleeping off New Year's Eve.  The job offer(s) which likely triggered the extension never went public, a remarkable thing considering the cache of a smartly played, anonymously sourced rumor.  According to reports, the deal does not include a raise. If this isn't unprecedented it certainly runs contrary to the SOP regarding the care and feeding of big-time college football coaches.  It happened so quickly, the locals never even had time to work through the seven stages of We Might Lose Our Coach. With all the fanfare of a guy stopping at the ATM to pull out a quick $40 for the weekend, it was announced as a done deal.  It was so matter-of-fact that Tedford finally may have established himself as that rarest of coaching breeds — the nester. He's been working on us for years, rolling his eyes every time his name was attached to a head coaching vacancy. He has insisted he likes it here, that his family likes it here, that he was willing to outwait the tree sitters for the program upgrade a student high-performance center would represent, that he could see himself retiring from the first head coaching job he ever had.

In doing so, of course, he sounded like every other highly regarded coach who professed his love for his current job even as he was negotiating the terms of his next one. It's nobody's fault, really. We're a skeptical lot to begin with, and Tedford's chosen profession is one in which Nick Saban is the rule almost without exception. Now, however, we pretty much have to consider the possibility that Tedford means what he says. That's snap judgment No. 1.

Snap judgment No. 1A: If this doesn't signal a transition in Tedford's career arc, it at least spotlights it. He has built a program — now that program is building a legacy. Should Tedford fulfill the terms of his contract as it is currently written, he'll coach through the 2015 season. And if he does that, he'll establish a body of work unparalleled at Cal. He's already bearing down on school standards. His seven seasons as coach (football, James Schaefer fans, not rugby) rank fifth — Pappy Waldorf, Stub Allison and Andy Smith hold the record with 10. He's fourth in games coached (89; the record is 103), and wins (59; the record is 74). His .663 winning percentage is third among Cal coaches with 20 games or more. Of the 10 bowl wins in Cal history, Tedford has accounted for half.

There are holes on the resume, to be sure. He has yet to win an outright Pac-10 championship. Then there's the Rose Bowl thing. But if he hasn't delivered Old Blues and their clinical obsession to Pasadena, he's at least revived the notion as a possibility.  Even bigger than that, he has resolved a monstrous, long-standing parochial "what if?" — as in, what if Cal ever combined its considerable resources with a good football coach who stuck around. What would happen then? Steve Mariucci referred to the program as a sleeping giant when he took the head coaching position in 1996. He was right then, he was right when he left for the 49ers after one season at Cal, and he was right until the moment Tedford showed up in 2002.

The program isn't sleeping anymore. Its highly regarded coach has it annually competitive pretty much to the extent that resources and institutional philosophy permit. He's got the full support of donors and the administration. He runs a relatively clean machine, and by all appearances he has dropped anchor.  What does that kind of thing get a fellow at Cal? Well, Waldorf won 103 games, and he's got a statue on campus. Smith won 97 games, and is immortalized by the Andy Smith bench on the Cal sideline at Memorial Stadium. The team's annual most inspirational award is named for Allison (102 wins).  Jeff Tedford Field at the New Memorial Stadium? There have been longer shots at Cal. We've been watching one the past seven years.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal football coach agrees to contract through 2015 season


By Jonathan Okanes

Jeff Tedford wasn't looking to make more money. What he was looking for was to hear a desirable message, and to have his message heard as well.  That was sufficiently accomplished with the two-year contract extension Tedford agreed to Thursday. The deal will keep Cal's football coach in Berkeley through the 2015 season. Tedford won't receive an increase in base compensation with the new package, just the stability he desired, because "when other opportunities come, I want to feel comfortable and not have to entertain thoughts of any other opportunities."

Tedford, 47, didn't comment on any specific offers he might have received, but it appears negotiations for an extension were prompted by overtures elsewhere.  "The good news, bad news for us — mostly good — is that Jeff has been really successful and is a highly sought-after coach," Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said. "There are always going to be opportunities for Jeff because of his success. We know that's going to happen. It would be crazy for us to sit back and wait for that to happen."

This is the third extension Tedford has received since signing his original contract with Cal before the 2002 season. Tedford has long been rumored to be a desirable candidate for college and NFL jobs.  But Tedford stressed Thursday that he has no desire to coach anywhere but Cal, that his desire for an extension simply was for stability's sake. He said he also saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to Cal, a commitment that was further bolstered when the Student-Athlete High-Performance Center project finally got going last fall.

"We are here for the long haul," Tedford said. "We're not interested in going someplace else."  Tedford's base salary remains $225,000, and his talent fee still stands at $1,575,000 annually. Next Thursday, Tedford will receive a $1 million bonus for his continual employment at Cal through the 2008 season. Various incentives can push Tedford's income even higher. Barbour said some of the incentives have been tweaked, most significantly the addition of a bonus based on the team's graduation rate. Bonuses remain in place if the Bears reach benchmarks such as a Pacific-10 Conference title or berths in Bowl Championship Series games. "We want Jeff to be our football coach for a long, long time," Barbour said. "The fact that we have continued to agree with regularity to contract extensions that keep Jeff at Cal and keep our program going in the right direction is exciting for our university, for our community and for our football players — past, current or future."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

San Francisco Examiner: Tedford extends contract to 2015

By Rob Calonge


lSo much for my break.  I guess if I was going to stop taking time off from the Examiner, this is probably the best reason to do it.  Cal head football coach Jeff Tedford is going to be a Bear for at least another six years.  Happy 2009 Bear Backers!  Tedford has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the blue and gold through 2015.  In Tedford's seven years, he's created a program that is a national powerhouse.  During that time, he's taken a program that was one of the whipping boy's of the Pac-10 and turned it around to where even an Emerald Bowl victory has some disappointment.  Tedford's record during that time is 59-30 with a 5-1 record in bowl games.  Those 59 wins are the most in a seven year span in over 80 years of Cal football.


“On behalf of our entire University community, I want to congratulate Coach Tedford on the outstanding job that he has done with our football team, achieving both on-field and academic success.  Under Coach Tedford, the football program now provides a reliable and robust financial underpinning for the entire Cal Athletics Department, helping to support 14 women's and 13 men's intercollegiate teams.”

- Chancellor Robert Birgeneau


He's not kidding about that either.  Since Tedford has joined Cal, donations to Cal's annual fund has risen from $4.7 million to $10.4 million, ticket proceeds from $3.6 million to $11.2 million, television revenue has tripled, and sponsorship and marketing revenue has also seen similar increases.


“Not only does this extension reaffirm my dedication to Cal, but it demonstrates the long-term commitment the Athletic Department and University of California have to our program.  I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish and am excited for our players, staff and fans about the direction of the program, especially with construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center now underway.”

- Tedford


Cal supporters can thank whatever higher power they subscribe to for that.  Tedford's work has enabled Cal to raise in excess of $100 million for that new High Performance Center and launch the $500 million Building Champions campaign that will include the renovation of Memorial Stadium and the Endowment Seating Program (ESP) to ensure of the financial future of the Cal Athletics.


“Jeff Tedford's leadership of our football program has placed us among the nation's finest in combining on-field success with academic and community excellence.  He truly represents `Athletics Done Right.' The Cal football program has become an integral part of the comprehensive excellence of the Berkeley campus. I'm pleased that we've agreed to this mutual long-term commitment.”

- Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour


While they're at it, how about extending Sandy's contract as well?  For those of you that may have trouble swallowing the amount of money that Tedford will be receiving (at least $2 million per year - terms not yet disclosed), know that of all of the players that Tedford has coached, he has an 89% graduation rating.  That is no easy figure to accomplish when running a top-ranked college football program.  Not only is he very good at recruiting and getting these guys ready for the field, but he's also good at getting them through the struggles of academics at a top-flight university.