Cal's football team may have been inconsistent in 2009, but there was one element about the season that was pretty regular — opponents usually started possessions with good field position. The Bears had severe shortcomings on kick and punt coverage, and special teams/tight ends coach Pete Alamar took the fall Monday as he was not asked back for the 2010 season. Alamar had been in charge of Cal's special teams and tight ends since 2003, but special teams coverage had suffered in recent years. With the rest of the bowl season still remaining, the Bears are ninth in the Pac-10 in kick coverage and 48th in the nation. They are 99th in punt coverage. Last year, Cal ranked 102nd in punt coverage and 51st in kickoff coverage.
The Bears also have struggled to find a consistent place-kicker in recent years. After former Lou Groza candidate Tom Schneider suffered a season-ending injury before the 2007 season began, the Bears have cycled through Jordan Kay, David Seawright, Giorgio Tavecchio and Vince D'Amato, and all have been inconsistent. There have been good elements about Cal's special teams as well. Punter Bryan Anger, punt returner Syd'Quan Thompson and kick returner Jahvid Best all have appeared among national leaders, and Best was an All-Pac-10 first-team special teams pick as a freshman. The Bears also blocked three kicks that were returned for touchdowns in 2008.
Alamar also has produced quality tight ends in recent years, as Craig Stevens and Cameron Morrah were NFL draft picks. Cal coach Jeff Tedford said a national search for a replacement will begin immediately.