Friday, May 29, 2009

Dave's Hot Deals Website

Check out for the hottest deals that I can find on the Internet on cameras, camcorders and other cool tech gear.

Remember, if you are going to purchase something from Amazon, click through the following link and Dave gets a 4% kickback.  All proceeds go the Dave Michael Family Vacation fund, which motivates me to keep updating this blog!  CLICK HERE TO SHOP ON AMAZON.COM

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal, Tedford stockpiling Elite at QB

By Jonathan Okanes

College football programs typically aim to add one quarterback to their roster each year. Cal is making a habit of adding one top quarterback per year.  With the oral commitment earlier this week of Steamboat Springs, Colo., quarterback Austin Hinder, the Bears are on pace to have a gaggle of former prep All-America signal-callers in 2010. If they all remain at Cal, the Bears could have four players who were selected for the Elite 11 camp, an honor reserved for the best high school quarterbacks in the country.

"They are probably the only school that seems like every year they get an Elite 11 guy," recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said. "They definitely have the most guys." Kevin Riley, Brock Mansion and Allan Bridgford were Elite 11 selections in high school, and all three will have eligibility remaining in 2010. Hinder participated in the Elite 11 regional camp earlier this month at Cal and is ranked as the No. 2 quarterback nationally by  Hinder had a laundry list of major colleges from which to choose before picking Cal over UCLA and Notre Dame. The potential logjam at quarterback didn't turn him off. In fact, he said it was one of the reasons he wanted to come to Berkeley.

"That's the reason to go," said Hinder, who is the grandson of Cal Hall of Famer Jim Hanifan, who played for the Bears from 1952-54 and later coached in the NFL. "No matter where you go, you're going to have high-level competition at the Division I level. That wasn't really a big factor for me. You can learn from the other quarterbacks."

While Hinder may begin his career behind talented quarterbacks with more seniority, that doesn't necessarily mean he will have to wait a long time to get his shot. Cal coach Jeff Tedford demonstrated last year that while he values experience, it's not a guarantee for playing time. As a redshirt sophomore last season, Riley started nine games and fifth-year senior Nate Longshore started only four (Longshore also was an Elite 11 quarterback in high school).

Read the rest here.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Athlon Ranks Cal #11

California Ranked No. 11 In Athlon Sports Preseason Poll

Bryan Anger, Jahvid Best and Syd'Quan Thompson named preseason First-Team All-Americans.

BERKELEY - California is ranked No. 11 in the Athlon Sports preseason Top-25 poll the magazine is rolling out prior ahead of the 2009 college football season. The countdown will continue for the next 10 weekdays leading up to the on-sale date of the publication's preseason magazines on June 2. The publication has also predicted a second-place Pac-10 finish for the Golden Bears.  "The Bears boast one of the nation's best running back in Jahvid Best and they should be very good on defense once again," said Athlon Sports managing editor Mitch Light. "If the passing game emerges, Jeff Tedford's club could be in position to challenge USC for supremacy in the Pac-10."  Athlon also announced individual preseason honors for California players, tabbing Bryan Anger (So., P), Jahvid Best (Jr., RB) and Syd'Quan Thompson (Sr., CB) as first-team preseason All-Americans and a total of 11 Golden Bears on All-Pac-10 preseason teams.  Tyson Alualu (Sr., DE) joined Anger, Best and Thompson as First-Team All-Pac-10 picks with Thompson making the team as both a cornerback and punt returner. Best was also named Second-Team as a kick returner along with Mike Mohamed (Jr., LB) and Mike Tepper (Sr., OL).  Mark Boskovich (Jr., OL), Darian Hagan (Jr., CB), Cameron Jordan (Jr., DL), Darian Hagan, Kevin Riley (Jr., QB) and Mitchell Schwartz (So., OL) were Third-Team selections.

ESPN: Hinder's picking Cal starts QB carousel

By Greg Biggins


The commitment of quarterback Austin Hinder (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) to Cal could have an affect on a few other top signal callers out West as well as a few other Pac 10 programs in the running for an elite quarterback this year.  Hinder committing to the Bears was rumored to happen for months but is still a big pickup for Cal. Physically, Hinder has tremendous upside but will need time to develop and get stronger. Cal has several talented quarterbacks already on the roster, which will give Hinder ample time to fill out and mature as a quarterback. Bear head coach Jeff Tedford is known as one of the best quarterback coaches in the country and in Hinder, he's getting a player that is already solid mechanically but just needs some tweaking to fulfill his vast potential.

What does Hinder's commitment mean for a couple of other signal callers out West? Cal was in the top five for arguably the top two quarterbacks in the region, Jake Heaps (Sammamish, Wash./ Skyline) and Jesse Scroggins (Lakewood, Calif.) and you can now expect both to scratch the Bears off their list.  For Heaps, he had a top five of BYU, Washington, Tennessee, LSU and the Bears. Many close to the situation feel BYU is the team to beat here and that opinion was echoed by a few players I talked with at the NIKE Camp at Stanford. As for Scroggins, he's still open but always listed Cal among his favorites along with schools like Tennessee, Florida, USC, Oklahoma, Washington and LSU. The Lakewood native said just last week that he planned to take an unofficial visit to Cal in the summer but look for that to be scratched now as well.  Scroggins plan is to commit late in the summer after taking a series of unofficial visits and without a clear leader at the moment, his recruitment will be one of the most interesting to watch this year. Hinder's commitment will also have a big impact on UCLA as the Colorado native was the only quarterback the Bruins had offered, outside of Heaps who had already scratched them off his list. It will be interesting to see what direction they now go in with Hinder off their board.

They could move on Scroggins, a player in their backyard and the top quarterback I've seen all spring. At this point however, it's likely too late as Scroggins said a week ago he's narrowed his focus to the schools that have offered and not interested in anyone else. The Bruins were recruiting Peter Thomas (El Cajon, Calif./Valhalla) for a while but have cooled on the San Diego signal caller and are no longer on him.  One name to watch could be Brett Nottingham (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista). Nottingham will camp with the Bruins in June and looked very good at the recent NIKE Camp at Stanford and the Elite 11 regional camp at Cal the same weekend. Nottingham has a college body right now, throws a great ball and is a very cerebral player as well. Boise State is the most recent school to offer and his stock is on the rise but if the Bruins were to offer, they would likely jump to the top of his list.

West Notes

• Cal is the most recent school to offer offensive lineman Alex Crosthwaite (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral). The offer from the Bears is No. 7 for Crosthwaite and Cal will be in this one until the very end.


Daily Gopher: A way too early look at the 2009 schedule: Week 3 - Cal

Here’s the link.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SF Examiner: Cal receives commit from top QB prospect for 2010

By Rob Calonge

One thing that Cal seems to do every year - recruit top talent at the quarterback position.  While many were wondering if Jake Heaps would be the next to call Berkeley home, few had considered that there might be another quarterback ready to do so. Austin Hinder, 6'4" 182 lbs., gave Jeff Tedford and the Bears his verbal commitment on Monday.  Hinder, from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, had visited unofficially last Thursday, competed in the Elite 11 QB Camp in Berkeley, camped at Stanford, and Nike Training Camp before choosing Cal as his college destination.

Hinder chose Cal over 14 other schools including: UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, Nebraska, and Pittsburgh.  He had recently narrowed his list of schools down to UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal, but he realized that he didn't want to wait any longer.  He told his hometown newspaper, "I just decided I wanted to get it over with.  Once I did, it was the way to go for me. It just was the day. I said ‘what am I waiting for? I need to get this done.’"  One reason Hinder had Cal in his sights could be due to family ties.  His grandfather, Jim Hanifan, was an All-American receiver for the Bears, leading the nation in receiving in 1954.  Hanifan was later an assistant with Cal before moving on to coach in the NFL and in 2006 was inducted into the Cal Bears Hall of Fame.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Daily Show's Rob Riggle: Marines in Berkeley

It's slow on the Cal football news front, so I'm posting this video from last year that provides an accurate look at the current protest movement in Berkeley.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Marines in Berkeley
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tedford on Twitter

Thanks to Rob Calogne of the SF Examiner for the heads up…Jeff Tedford is now twittering.  You can follow him here.

SF Examiner: Marsh decommits and Tedford tweets

By Rob Calogne

It's been a rough week for Cal football recruiting. First, they lost another recruiting battle with USC for the services of talented tailback Trajaun Briggs (try saying that fast five times). Then they lost out on wide receiver Tevin Carter to Washington. Now, the Bears have lost one of the players who had already committed to their 2010 class. Defensive tackle Cassius Marsh decommitted from Cal according to various sources today.  One of the top defensive tackles available for the 2010 class, it will be a huge blow if Cal is not able to get him to sign next year. This recruiting period will be completed at the end of May, at which point the 'quiet period' will start until August.  From August until near the end of November, Cal has 42 days to make one visit per recruit. Marsh cited interest in moving south by mentionin interest in LSU and Tennessee along with Big-12 powerhouse Oklahoma.

Although he's decommitted from Cal, he's still in love with coming to Berkeley for his college playing days.  It was that being committed to Cal was making it difficult for him to evaluate other schools - probably because they weren't interested in recruiting him while he was wearing a Bears tag.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SF Examiner: Cal pass defense requires good pass rush

By Rob Calonge

Nearly every national pre-preseason poll I've seen has the Golden Bears sitting amongst the top 25 teams in FBS football for 2009. Many of these rankings are careful to point out, as they should, that their lists are nowhere near accurate when new recruits still haven't practiced with their new teams.  Too many things can happen from now until the beginning of the season to even consider making a top 25 list, yet those lists continue to be rolled out.

Cal's ranking tends to focus on Jahvid Best and Jeff Tedford - two good reasons to like the Bears in 2009.  While I'm not denying the importance of those two guys, I disagree with how critical they are to the Bears' success.

My top two?  Well, I'm sort of cheating.

1) Defensive line

2) Offensive line

I realize that I'm really talking about a top eight players, but I'm sincere in my belief in the importance they have on the team.  It doesn't matter how good Best is, the only running back I've ever seen that succeeded without an offensive line was Barry Sanders.  Best is fortunate to have a good line and the Bears are fortunate that they have a stable of backs ready to fill in if he's not available - another reason that lessens the importance of Best on the grand scale of things.

It's expected that Cal's offense will once again have quick-strike capabilities.  With players like Best and Shane Vereen capable of taking it to the house on any given play and the expected improvement of the passing game, Cal will most likely be putting more pressure on their pass defense.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fox Sports: Iraq veteran trying to earn a job with Broncos

There are many Broncos players who, after their freshman season of college ball, began to realize the NFL was not just possible, but probable.  Others may have been focusing on earning a promotion from backup to starter. Some may have been dealing with other issues, such as grades and girls. Rulon Davis went off to fight in the Iraq war.  Fight for his country, a far cry from the sports world, where Davis is currently competing, as an undrafted 25-year-old free-agent defensive end, for a spot on the Broncos' roster.  Adapt and overcome.  It's an inspirational edict U.S. Marines frequently say to each other. Yes, Davis witnessed death. Soldiers he considered friends were killed.

"Unfortunately, yes," he said. "They're the real heroes. Not me. People think, 'Wow, you did all this.' But I don't think it's that big of a deal because I didn't have to sacrifice my life, like some of these other guys. Really, the honor is on them."  Heroes come in many forms. Broncos defensive backs Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins are often considered heroes.

Davis has been considered a football hero, too, having started the past two years at the University of California. That was part of his new life, after his four-year commitment to the Marines and six-month tour in Iraq in 2004.  "That's serious. Marines are tough people, man," said Broncos rookie tight end Richard Quinn Jr. "My dad was one."  And Davis' football stardom at Cal would come after his motorcycle flipped on a Los Angeles freeway interchange and left him crawling, too late, in an attempted escape from under a rolling semi. Pain is weakness leaving the body.  Davis, 6-feet-5 and 281 pounds, didn't play much high school football in Covina, Calif. So upon graduation he joined the Marine Corps reserves. He first got the idea after spending his eighth- and ninth-grade years at the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas.

"I fell in love with the corps," he said. "The structure, the discipline, the leadership traits. The routine of things. Organization. It was my thing. I liked it a lot. I wanted to live my life as a Marine."  He went through the Marines' rigorous training program, then served one weekend a month in the Marine reserves when he decided to also play football at Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif.  He had 16 1/2 sacks as a freshman. Davis still loved the Marines, but now he also loved playing football. And Pac-10 schools scouted him, and offered a scholarship. The Marines would make one more call, however, to go to Iraq.   "I wanted to get back as soon as I possibly could to start playing football again," Davis said. "But I had to do my job. I signed the contract, and I like to honor my commitment."  Davis does not give specifics of his tour of duty. When asked, he politely asked to change the subject. Civilians who have never served can only understand they will never understand.  "It's tough," he said. "I think about it all the time."

Brought up right

America can only imagine how most 20-something men start their day, but Davis begins by making his bed. His father, Lorenzo, served a four-year commitment in the Marines from 1971-75. If Semper Fidelis didn't run through Rulon's blood the day he was born in San Diego, the Latin expression meaning "Always Faithful" was ingrained while he attended the Marine Military Academy in Texas.  Lorenzo didn't push the military school upon his son but said his son knew right from wrong before he went off to military school.  "It wasn't my decision; it was his decision," Lorenzo said. "We talked about it for about three months. It was hard letting him go; he was only 13 years old. But I felt if a young man wants to get out in the world, this was a great way to do it. And this would teach him some character traits he might not learn if he stayed at home." Davis said long after football, he will keep his hair short, his face shaven. He will take a jog each day.  Once a Marine, always a Marine.  In another sense, the Marines are always with Davis, in the way he acts, the way he carries himself.  "The way he speaks, he's very correct, proper," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "He treats everybody with a great deal of respect. He listens, asks good questions. Sits up in his chair, always attentive, those types of things. You can tell he was brought up the right way."  

Davis returned from the war safely, only to endure a near-death experience a few months later while riding his motorcycle. He was exiting off one busy L.A. highway onto another when the car behind him tapped his bike. The collision sped him uncontrollably forward into the rear bumper of a midsized truck in front. The bike flipped, and Davis flew.  Airborne, Davis landed beneath an adjacent semi. Fortunately, Davis was wearing his helmet, which was dented in the front. But there was still the matter of this semi.  "I knew I was about to die if I didn't move," Davis said.  He tried to crawl out of the way, but the semi continued to roll, right over his calves.  Davis suffered some internal tissue damage and spent a month in and out of a hospital because of swelling. And while his return to his sophomore football season at Mount San Antonio was out, he did not have any broken bones.  

Major-college football is a competitive business. Before Davis had completely healed, he had pledged his allegiance to the Cal Bears, who didn't forget about his 16 ½ sacks before he left for Iraq, and before the motorcycle accident.

3-4 looks familiar

Davis voluntarily enlisted in the Marines, but he thought he would be drafted — into the NFL. It didn't happen. San Francisco, Jacksonville and the New York Giants all communicated their interest in the days leading up to the draft. But after the draft ended, Davis chose the Broncos instead because they are converting to a 3-4 defense.  "I don't even care about that anymore," Davis said of not getting drafted. "I'm happy I'm with this team. I'm trying to make this team right now and that's where my focus is."  Turns out, Cal is one of the few major-college programs to play a 3-4. And Davis became the only pure "5-technique" defensive end the Broncos took last week, either in the draft or as a free agent. Maybe he isn't such an underdog to make the Broncos after all. Not with his experience as a 3-4 end. Not with all he's been through. The challenge of going from undrafted free agent to a 53-man roster? Puh-leze.  "Nothing's came easy in my life as you can see," Davis said. "I've had to work for everything. Hard work is not something that's unfamiliar to me."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

SF Examiner: Cal football recruiting in full swing

By Rob Calonge

This week and next, Golden Bears football players will be taking their finals.  With over two months to go before camp starts, most of the focus will be on recruiting for 2010. Right now the coaching staff is on the recruiting trail, making their case to potential recruits and most likely doing some scouting while they're at it. If the Bears continue the pace that they've begun for the 2010 class, it wouldn't be surprising if another commitment was announced in the next few weeks.  As it stands right now, offensive line coach Steve Marshall, and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi are tied with two commits apiece. The top recruit on Cal's list is, of course, a quarterback.  Five-star quarterback Jake Heaps has whittled his list from over 20 schools down to five, of which Cal is one of them.  Cal is competing with reported front-runner BYU, LSU, Tennessee, and fellow Pac-10 rival, Washington.

Marshall may take an early lead on Lupoi.  Four-star offensive tackle Erik Kohler is reported to be very high on Cal and UCLA.  Another four-star offensive tackle Chris Ward also is reported to have both Cal and UCLA as his top two teams as well.

Link to rest of article.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Spring Top 25

Tony Barnhart


23—California (9-4, 22): RB Jahvid Best is the nation’s leading returning rusher. Seven starters are back on defense.

Seattle Times: Pac-10 Spring Football Report Card

By Bud Withers


Cal excerpt:


The big story — Bears went about remaking themselves at QB and linebacker, seemingly the only impediments to a challenge of USC in the fall.

Best of show — WR Marvin Jones, a sophomore, looks like the best wideout on hand, and LB Mike Mohamed, who played a lot last year, should be fine.

Missing you — RB Jahvid Best, who could make a run at the Heisman Trophy, sat out rehabbing after minor foot and elbow surgery. NG Derrick Hill missed time with some recurring knee issues. WR Verran Tucker spent time working on academics.

Of interest — Chris Guarnero looked solid at center as the replacement for all-star Alex Mack. Steve Marshall, 52, came from the Cleveland Browns to replace OL coach Jim Michalczik, and head coach Jeff Tedford added ex-Oregon and Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who will call plays.

The X factor — After a two-year, unsettled competition with Nate Longshore, Kevin Riley has the nod at least for now at QB against Brock Mansion. But he completed only 51 percent last year, and the Cal passing game has to step up to a championship level.

On tap — Bears should know where they stand early, with a conference opener at Oregon on Sept. 26 and against USC the next week in Berkeley.

Outlook entering fall — Lindy's preseason magazine pegs Cal 12th, and the Bears could have an even bigger year than that if Riley plays at a high level. The defense could be the equal of USC's.

SF Examiner: Jeff Tedford: QB competition will be 'highly competitive'

By Rob Calonge

I caught Tedford on Comcast SportsNet's Chronicle Live show Wednesday night. The show had Greg Papa, Joe Morgan, and Rusty Simmons on the panel grilling Tedford about the Cal football program and what to expect this coming season.  For the most part, if you've been keeping up with the Bears, there wasn't anything earth-shattering about the interview.

At this stage of the year, it's difficult to take everything that a coach says about his team at face value.  Whether he's telling you everything you want to hear, sending a message to his players, or sticking with the company line, it's difficult to know that you are getting a true 'inside' story. The one telling part of the interview was concerning the quarterback competition.  Ideally, Kevin Riley is ready to take control of the offense and play on the level worthy of national stardom.  With USC looking to start the season with an inexperienced quarterback, Tedford is given a rare opportunity to do the same without it becoming a major disadvantage when the two teams play October 3rd.

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: USC continues to get their players the old-fashioned way: They pay for them

By Rob Calonge

Once again, USC is under investigation for a recruiting violation that should lead to heavy sanctions.  The key word is 'should.'  Does it really surprise anyone that USC is once again being reported to have crossed the line? While it's unfair to point out that this is the school of O.J. Simpson, it is fair to point out that it is the school of Reggie Bush, Winston Justice, and Matt Leinart.  They are just three USC players that have been a part of scandal while at the university.


SF Examiner: Is Nnamdi Asomugha catching Tony Gonzalez as best former Cal football player?

By Rob Calonge

In the history of Cal football, no former football player has ever gone on to great enough success in the NFL to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  According to Cal History, that would mean that no player since the program's start in 1886. Wow! That's all about to change within the next 10 years or so, depending on when Tony Gonzalez retires.  Upon retirement, a player must wait five years before being eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Cal has done a great job over the last 10 years by producing solid pro players.  The NFL is littered with former Bears on offensive and defensive lines as well as special teams and specialty positions.  Even so, there is only one former Bear that is 99.9% guaranteed to reach football immortality - Gonzalez. Here's a list of the accomplishments that Gonzalez has achieved in his 12 seasons as a pro:


SF Examiner: Golden Bears need improvement in...return game?

By Rob Calonge

Since the end of the 2007 season, the biggest concern for Bear Backers concerning Cal football has been who the signal caller is going to be.  Some Bear Backers would correct me, saying that it's been since Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.  While the passing game is a problem in Berkeley, one might want to look at the quarterback play as a symptom of the misgivings of the entire offense, rather than the field general of that group. When you rank 61st in sacks allowed and your three of your top pass catchers aren't even receivers, there's definitely more to it than the differences between Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley.  Besides, Longshore won't be around to blame anymore.

One area that the Bears have been concerned with is the kicking game.  Well, at least part of the kicking game.  Bryan Anger looks to be a game-changing punter who will be able to reverse field position with a mighty foot.  Field goals continue to be made with the consistency that Bear Backers have grown accustomed to. However, kickoffs have been an issue recently.  When teams routinely average 20-plus yards per kick return, getting the ball into the end zone on the kick becomes a priority.  After the spring practices, it's beginning to look as though the Bears will be improved in this area.  Punt returns don't seem to be a problem either.  The Bears ranked 24th in the nation behind shifty return man Syd'Quan Thompson.  Thompson ranked 21st in the FBS while averaging 12.3 yards-per-return.  So if it isn't punting, punt returns, kickoffs, or field goals, then what part of the return game needs to be improved?

Link to rest of story.

Friday, May 08, 2009

SF Examiner: Both Shane Vereen and Jahvid Best working on different goals right now

By Rob Calonge

During the season and any offseason football-related activity, it's obvious that Cal's top tailbacks are in sync with their objectives.  Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen are both highly talented players that can step up their games when asked to and take a backseat when it's required. Whatever it takes for the team to win.

While both men compete with each other for playing time and the biggest play of the day, their personal competition isn't carried out with any negative impact. Right now, each of them are working for different goals.  Best is working on getting healthy after undergoing two surgeries at the end of the season and Vereen is working on getting faster after the shot of a pistol.

Best, due to foot and elbow surgeries, missed spring camp.  He began running in the middle of April and has stated that he's about 85 percent ready to compete again.

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: Longshore and Williams still hoping for a shot at the NFL

By Rob Calone

Due to a sore back and a couple of aching wrists, I've been noticeably absent this week.  And for that, I apologize.  I'm back and will be pounding the keyboard at a furious pace for the foreseeable future.  I thought that I'd start off by catching up with some of the things going on with the NFL hopefuls from Cal.

You may or may not have seen Jonathan Okanes' update on Nate Longshore.  For those of you that didn't, Longshore didn't get a contract with the Dolphins over the weekend.

I spoke with Longshore's agent, Erik Berkhardt, by phone and he told me the same thing that he told Okanes: They're hopeful that the Dolphins will bring Longshore back during the summer for a shot at being the fourth quarterback on the roster.

Sources at the Dolphins mini-camp reported that Longshore was erratic on his throws and had trouble with accuracy.  Hopefully, for Longshore, the Dolphins brass chalks that up to 'rookie jitters'.  As of now, I'm not hearing of a better situation than Miami for the former Cal QB.

Link to rest of story.

ESPN: Cal Spring Wrap Up

By Ted Miler




Spring Answers


On the run: California will again be one of the best rushing teams in the Pac-10 next fall with tailback tandem Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, who combined for nearly 2,300 yards last year, even though two starting offensive linemen are gone, including All-American center and first-round NFL draft pick Alex Mack. All five of the linemen topping the depth chart after spring practices have previously started games, with mammoth 6-foot-6, 335-pound sophomore tackle Mitchell Schwartz stepping in for Mack as the designated star. Best, the conference's top Heisman Trophy candidate sat out spring practices recovering from foot and elbow surgery, but he's expected to be full-go well before fall practices begin.


2. Is this the Pac-10's best secondary? While USC's secondary should be exceptional in 2009, Cal's might be every bit the Trojans' match. All four starters are back from a crew that ranked sixth in pass efficiency defense last year and intercepted 24 passes (third in the nation). Moreover, the depth is strong with youngsters pushing for playing time.


3. Bears up front: This could be an exceptional defensive line. Few teams in the country will have a better pair of defensive ends than senior Tyson Alualu and junior Cameron Jordan, and nose tackle Derrick Hill is no stiff either. Further, the play of the backups this spring suggested this crew could go six or seven deep.


Fall questions


1. QB still undecided: The post-spring depth chart featured two "Ors" between junior Kevin Riley, sophomore Brock Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney, though the general belief is Riley finished spring ahead of the other two. While it may be Riley's job to lose, those "Ors" mean coach Jeff Tedford doesn't want him to feel secure just yet.


2. Replacing the big three: The spring question on defense was obvious: How will the Bears replace linebackers Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams, the anchors of their successful transition to a 3-4 defense in 2008? After the linebacking corps -- Mychal Kendricks, Devin Bishop, Mike Mohamed and Eddie Young -- turned in a strong springs, that question lost some urgency. Still, how well those linebackers perform when the games begin likely will determine if this is a great or merely good defense.


3. Who will receive? Strong springs from sophomores Marvin Jones and Alex Lagemann mean the receiving corps, which returned intact, will be highly competitive for playing time. The post-spring depth chart list seven names and all seven are in the running for significant action, but it's unlikely more than four or five will see many passes.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cal Athletics: Three National Telecasts Announced For 2009 Cal Football


Golden Bears to open upcoming season versus Maryland on ESPN2, while games versus USC and at Oregon to be televised by ABC.

BERKELEY - At least three California football games have been selected for broadcast on ABC or ESPN2 for the 2009 season, starting with the Golden Bears' season-opener against Maryland on Sept. 5, the Pacific-10 Conference announced.  The Cal-Maryland contest will kick off at 7 p.m. from Memorial Stadium and will be shown nationally on ESPN2. In addition, Cal's Sept. 26 game at Oregon will start at 12:30 p.m. and will be shown on ABC, while the USC at Cal matchup on Oct. 3 will start at 5 p.m. and also air on ABC.

Game times and television information for other Cal contests will be released when available. Preseason selections for games airing on FSN or Versus will be announced in early June, while additional games have the potential to be picked up by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 through the 12- and six-day selection process. Over the past two seasons, every Golden Bear football game has been televised live, and a total of 73 games have been on TV during Jeff Tedford's first seven years as head coach.  Although Cal has had numerous games start at 5 p.m. in Memorial Stadium the last several years, the Maryland contest will be the first to kick off at 7 p.m. in Berkeley since the Bears defeated Washington State, 20-17, on Nov. 3, 2007.


NBC Dallas: Dallas Christian Lineman Commits to Cal


(This article came out today, but it was announced late last month)

After winning a TAPPS state championship as a junior, Dallas Christian offensive tackle Chris Adcock has orally committed to play football at the University of California, as was reported by The Dallas Morning News. The first day a Class of 2010 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 3, 2010. The incoming senior stands 6 foot 3 inches and weighs 295 pounds, and is expected to move to center once he gets to college. With perfect size for a center, Adcock is obviously a smart kid, the type that most colleges look for when they find their centers, especially if they're going to make a point to move someone to the position. Adcock can do it all. He plays tackle for Dallas Christian, is listed as a guard by and is expected to play center for coach Jeff Tedford and Cal.

Adcock had some other offers, but Cal was definitely the most big-time one being one of the top programs in the Pac-10, which is arguably one of the best conferences in the country.

He also had offers from Kansas State, Rice and San Diego State. He had interest from Kansas, Texas A&M, TCU and SMU.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal lineman Mike Tepper's journey from the edge and back

By Jonathan Okanes

Mike Tepper had had enough. He'd had enough of the nightmares, enough of the withdrawals, enough of his parents' contentious divorce, enough of being away from football.

Mike Tepper had had enough of life. On an October afternoon in 2005, Tepper sat in the coaches' office at UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, attempting to finish writing a paper that was due the next day. It was a lost cause. He walked out into the stadium, climbed to the top row of bleachers on the west side and looked out at the picturesque view of the San Francisco Bay. Tepper felt like jumping over the edge. He felt worthless, helpless and confused.

He needed help. Tepper called his girlfriend, whom he knew was in the middle of her calculus class, to ask her to come to the stadium immediately. She hardly ever answered her cell phone in class. Tepper told himself he might jump if she didn't answer. This time, she did. A few minutes later, she was sprinting up the steps of the bleachers to Tepper. She found him shaking and emotional, and immediately brought him back to her nearby sorority house. What could have been the end of Mike Tepper's life became the beginning of his resurrection. It marked the start of a healing process from ailments both mental and physical that could be traced back to a harrowing incident four months earlier.

Link to rest of story.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sun Sentinel: Dolphins rookie camp wrap - Final day


“Tryout QB Nate Longshore has a very strong arm, but he doesn't seem very accurate. The Dolphins need a practice squad quarterback, but I suspect they might wait till the first round of camp cuts to poach a draftee from another team.”

Saturday, May 02, 2009

SF Examiner: Believe the hype - Jahvid Best is key for Bears in 2009

By Rob Calonge

Before I begin, let me just say that I don't subscribe to the theory that one player can make or break a football team's season.  My opinion is that if your team tanks due to an injury by your star player, then you weren't that good to begin with.  In other words, this isn't basketball we're talking about. There's no denying that when you lose a starter, on offense or defense, that you'll see a drop off in talent with their respective replacement.  Common sense dictates that those depth charts you're always wondering about aren't created to practice writing player's names. Sometimes, a player gets injured and his substitute turns out to be the better option.  That doesn't happen very often, which is why it's such big news when it does happen. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been talking to former Cal Bears who are now heading to the NFL.  When talking about the Bears chances in 2009, I kept hearing how Jahvid Best is the key to the Bears' season.

When I asked Rulon Davis what the Bears' strength would be, it was surprising to hear a defensive player say, "Jahvid Best."  He went on to say that he thought that Best would carry the team next season.

Link to rest of story.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Jahvid Best Video Highlights

Sports Illustrated Ranks Cal 20th

Here’s a link to Sports Illustrated’s 2009 Pre Season Top 25.

USC is 4th; Oregon is 8th; Oregon State is 18th.

20th: Cal Golden Bears

2008 Record: 9-4

Returning Starters: 13 (6 offense, 7 defense) 

 Key returnees: QB Kevin Riley, RB Jahvid Best, DE Cameron Jordan, CB Syd'Quan Thompson.

Spring star: QB Brock Mansion. The sophomore from Dallas closed spring practice strong, but he still remains locked in a competition with junior Riley and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney for the starting job. Coach Jeff Tedford will pick a winner during preseason camp.

Spring recap: The Bears' Best player missed spring practice after foot and elbow surgeries in January, but the nation's top returning rusher should be ready for camp. Senior Chris Guarnero, healthy after an injury-shortened 2008, should replace Alex Mack at center. Meanwhile, Mychal Kendricks and Devin Bishop should fill the vacant linebacker spots. 

SF Examiner: Anthony Felder is anxious to start NFL career

By Rob Calonge

At 6'2" and 235 lbs., some might call Anthony Felder a little small for a linebacker at the NFL level.  That, coupled with his tough luck this offseason, may have been enough for teams to shy away from him in the 2009 NFL Draft. Those teams may come to find that they made a very big mistake. As a senior at Cal, Felder totaled a team-high 93 tackles (37 solo), 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and half a sack for the 26th ranked defense in the country.  All the while playing in a 3-4 scheme that he had picked up for the first time in his college career.

Coming into the 2008 season, he, along with Zack Follett, and Worrell Williams were the reason that many called Cal's linebacking corps second only to USC. I talked with Felder, prior to his trek to the San Diego Chargers' rookie mini-camp on Thursday, and there wasn't a hint of remorse or uncertainty.  In fact, he's ready to show the Chargers just how fortunate they are to get him without having to use a draft pick

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: Paving the way is all the glory Will Ta'ufo'ou needs

By Rob Calonge

Will Ta'ufo'ou starts his transition from being a Golden Bear to being a Chicago Bear at this weekend's rookie mini-camp.  He's not just going there to participate.  For Ta'ufo'ou, this is only the beginning of "a new adventure" in which the final destination is a starting fullback position in the NFL.  When I spoke with him by phone, he was very clear that he intends to not only compete for a spot on the 53-man roster, but that the main reason he chose the Chicago Bears over nine other NFL teams was due to it being his best opportunity to start.

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: Nothing finer in Carolina than Nick Sundberg as long snapper

By Rob Calonge

He leaves the Golden Bears with 52 consecutive starts under his belt, but even some of the die-hard Bear Backers have trouble remembering his name. That's just the way Nick Sundberg likes it. If he gets his name called by an announcer during a game, that means that he hasn't accomplished his one and only goal - perfection. For a long snapper, there's only one statistic that matters.  You won't find the statistic in the box score and even though Sundberg's job enables points on the board, he'll never see himself credited with any.  You may not see the stat, but he and his coaches know.  That stat is what's called 'stat accuracy' and if it's listed, then it's due to an error being credited to him.

In fact, the only time that he was credited with a stat in his entire Cal career, was when he wasn't perfect on the season.  His junior year, he was listed with a 99.2% accuracy (128 out of 129 snaps), but his 100% rating each of his other three years as a Bear are nowhere to be found.

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: Worrell Williams will be at 49ers mini-camp

By Rob Calonge

Just a quick update to where Worrell Williams is going this weekend for his first NFL mini-camp.  I just got off the phone with his agent Tony Fleming and he told me that Williams will be at 49ers mini-camp on a 'tryout' basis.  Apparently, San Francisco wants to get a long look at him before committing with a contract.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were also interested in Williams, but he chose to accept the invitation to compete in the Bay Area.

Link to rest of story.