After scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter against Maryland, Jahvid Best enjoyed much of the second half of last weekend's game from the sideline. Indeed, the Cal football team didn't need the talented tailback for much of its commanding win over the Terrapins. One week later, Best is slated to start as usual, but he might not be needed at all. If the Bears surge out to a similar start this Saturday at 2:30 p.m., when they host Eastern Washington at Memorial Stadium for the second of three non-conference duels this season, Best might find himself off the field again.
That's probably because Cal coach Jeff Tedford doesn't want to risk an injury to his Heisman candidate, who turned 10 carries into 137 yards in the team's season opener, in a game that should be a breeze for the No. 10 Bears. "It's a game we should win," quarterback Kevin Riley said. "It's just us trying to be as perfect as possible on the field." Against the Eagles, a Football Championship Subdivision team from the Big Sky conference, Best probably won't be the only player with a lighter load. Cal might have the luxury of utilizing many of the players on its depth chart throughout the game -- much like it did after building a comfortable margin last week. Wide receiver Alex Lagemann caught one pass for 23 yards in the third quarter against Maryland. Jeremy Ross reeled in a 24-yard catch minutes later. Shane Vereen, who took most of the second-half handoffs in lieu of Best, recorded 48 rushing yards on 10 carries.
The production from reserves was also noticeable on the Bears defense, which had six sacks and limited the Terrapins to 3.2 yards per rush. Usual suspect Tyson Alualu forced a fumble and assisted on three tackles, while sophomore Ernest Owusu emerged with four tackles and two momentous sacks.