Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SF Chronicle: Cal Must Contain Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers

John Crumpacker

A fellow named Quizz is going to put Cal's defense to the test on Saturday at Oregon State.  Jacquizz Rodgers, the Beavers' dynamic running back, can make defenses look silly with his start-and-stop moves and quickness. The junior has rushed for 621 yards and 10 touchdowns this season to go with 15 receptions for 128 yards and two scores.  "He's a guy that keeps you awake at night," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. Tedford, who has been known to sleep in his office, was asked if game-planning for Rodgers really causes him to lose sleep.

"Well, Clancy is, I'm sure," said Tedford, referring to defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. "They have plenty of other things that keep me up at night. I have a lot of confidence in our defense. Except for those two games (Nevada, USC), they did an excellent job."  Rodgers is only 5-foot-7 but that works to his advantage because he can be difficult to spot behind his offensive line. When he does make contact with a defender, he packs a lot of power in his 191 pounds. He also has the ability to make tacklers miss, and can outrun them, as well.

"The challenge that he brings is really everything," Tedford said. "He catches the ball well out of the backfield, he blocks, he's so strong. If he jumps sideways on you, you've got to get on that or he'll be gone. You can't arm tackle him. You can never go to sleep on him."

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Critics of Cal's Coaching Show Ignorance is Bliss

Glenn Dickey

Will the resounding Cal win over Arizona State on Saturday shut up some of the “win-or-else” supporters? One can only hope.  Jeff Tedford is the most successful Cal coach since Andy Smith in the 1920s, and those of us who have been around Cal football for a long time appreciate him. But the last couple of years, Tedford and his assistants have been under fire from the know-nothings.

Last year, it was defensive coordinator Bob Gregory who was slammed for what the know-nothings­ thought was too passive of a defensive scheme. Gregory, who is well respected by his peers, had coached a more aggressive defense the year before — when he had Zach Follett coming off the edge. When you blitz, if you don’t get the quarterback, there’s a lot of one-on-one coverage in the secondary. Without Follett, that’s what Gregory feared.

New coordinator Clancy Pendergast put in some aggressive defensive schemes. One of the leaders of the know-nothings e-mailed me the week after the UCLA game saying that proved they were right the year before. I pointed out that the strong defensive efforts had mostly come against weak offensive teams at home and that the schemes had been no help when the Nevada Wolfpack ran up 51 points on the Bears.

Read the rest here.

SF Chronicle: Brock Mansion is Cal's QB 2

John Crumpacker

Junior Brock Mansion has moved ahead of sophomore Beau Sweeney as Cal's backup quarterback, a potentially significant development for next season, when the starting job will be up for grabs among as many as five candidates.  With 12 minutes left in Saturday's game against Arizona State and the Bears leading 50-10, it was Mansion, not Sweeney, who replaced Kevin Riley.  Mansion is "focused and he's always involved in game-planning," coach Jeff Tedford said. "He understands the offense just fine. The game situation afforded us (the opportunity) to get somebody in, and he played the whole fourth quarter. Brock is an unbelievable team player. He epitomizes a team guy. He always has a great attitude and works hard."

Mansion, who lost ground to Sweeney in training camp, practiced well enough during the first half of the season to persuade Tedford to go with him as Riley's backup.

Link to rest of story.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

USC Routs Cal 48 to 14

Riley goes 15/29 for 191 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ESPN: What to Watch in the Pac-10: Week 7



Riley vs. the Trojans secondary: USC has struggled on defense as a whole this year, but it is much worse against the pass -- see a young secondary that tackles poorly -- than against the run -- see a talented, if thin, front-seven. Last week, Cal's senior QB Kevin Riley had a forgettable game passing, but he's going to have to throw well to win at USC. The Trojans rank 116th in the nation in passing defense (287.5 yards per game), so that is a weakness Riley must attack. While Riley has been inconsistent throughout his career, he also has posted plenty of efficient performances. He'll need one of those for the Bears to win.

Kendricks' Fierce Tackle Was One for the Textbooks

John Crumpacker

Good team man that he is, Mike Mohamed didn't sound at all jealous when talking about the textbook hit Mychal Kendricks delivered to the midsection of UCLA running back Derrick Coleman.  Excited, yes; jealous, no.  "Coach (Clancy) Pendergast, on that particular play, stopped the tape and said, 'That is probably the best form tackle I've ever seen,' " Mohamed said. "It was awesome. It was a clinic-type tackle."  Indeed, any defensive player watching Kendricks' perfect form tackle would have cause to be at least a little envious of this example of preparation and technique intersecting with opportunity.

"It got everybody excited," said Pendergast, Cal's defensive coordinator who spent the previous 15 seasons in the NFL. "It brought some energy on the field when it happened."  UCLA had a 2nd-and-4 from its 35-yard line in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium when Kendricks quickly came up from his outside-linebacker spot and planted his facemask in Coleman's chest while staying low and keeping his legs churning.

Link to rest of article.

ESPN: Cal's Shane Vereen Ready for his Close-Up

Ted Miller

The Man has been holding California running back Shane Vereen down. And by "The Man," I mean the media. There's a reason that Vereen is the best running back folks outside the West Coast haven't heard of. There's a reason a back who can go yard or run with power or catch passes doesn't get more publicity.   Folks, these are tough times. Everyone is worried about jobs -- getting one, keeping one. And Vereen, a media studies major, is eyeballing a job at ESPN. After talking to the articulate junior for only a few minutes, there is one obvious reaction for any media member: Yikes.   "I've always wanted to be a sports analyst," he said. "One of my favorite shows is SportsCenter. I like PTI. I grew up watching Stuart Scott. It's been a big dream of mine to be able to argue about sports."

(Note to boss: Vereen wants to be on TV. He has no interest in taking over the Pac-10 blog. So no need to contact him. Really. Please.).   Vereen is presently second in the Pac-10 and 13th in the nation with 115.4 yards per game. He's tied with Oregon's LaMichael James for the Pac-10 lead in touchdowns with 10 (eight rushing, two receiving). He and the Bears visit USC on Saturday in a critical matchup for both teams. The winner figures to set a trajectory into the top-half of the Pac-10. The loser likely takes a turn to the bottom-half.

Link to rest of article.

Daily Cal: Trojan War


If the NCAA allowed the use of instant replay in 2002, then coach Jeff Tedford probably wouldn't be winless at the Coliseum.  Instead, the Trojans orchestrated an 18-point comeback to nip the Bears, 30-28, in one of the most controversial games in Cal football history.  The Bears roared out to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter and a half, but with a five minutes remaining in the second quarter, USC quarterback Carson Palmer threw a pass to wide receiver Kareem Kelly in the endzone. As Kelly fell, the ball also slipped out of his grasp. He hit the ground with nothing in his hands. The play, nonetheless, was called a touchdown.  It was also the difference in the game.  The Bears ultimately could not stop the offensive onslaught of the victorious Trojans, but the game reinvigorated a long-comatose rivalry between the two teams.


For those who were there that dusky evening at Memorial Stadium, the sight of a football sailing through the uprights into the sunset sky will live on forever.  So will that feeling.  The Bears' triple-overtime victory over No. 3 USC was like a scene scripted for a movie.  There was the redemption angle: kicker Tyler Frederickson had two field goals blocked before nailing the game-winning 38-yarder. There was the feel-good angle: future star Aaron Rodgers quarterbacked until the third quarter, when the selfless, team-first fan favorite Reggie Robertson was put in. He threw the Bears' final touchdown.  And then there was the birth of a rivalry. Cal's win was the first over the Trojans at home in years and, though the Bears haven't won since, they've played every game tough, regardless of ranking. Because you never know when you'll recapture that feeling.

Link to rest of story

Daily Cal: Cal's Defense Surging as USC Looms

Jack Wang

There are 109 players on the Cal football team's roster. Not a single one knows what it feels like to beat USC.  For a number of seniors, their last chance kicks off this Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at the L.A. Coliseum. The rest of the squad will try and make sure it happens.  "Everyone, once in their college career, deserves to beat 'SC," junior linebacker Mychal Kendricks said.  Kendricks is currently the Pac-10's leader in sacks with four, and he's part of a defense that has been resurgent under coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

Five games into 2010, the unit has more than lived up to its billing. It's currently the top defense in the conference and seventh in the nation.  If you ask players, most will say they saw it coming.  "Yeah, you have to have high expectations," Kendricks said. "I feel like if you don't have high expectations, what are you doing out there playing?

"High expectations are what it's all about. You gotta set the bar high for yourself and your team. So, when I said that's the type of defense we expected, I really meant that."  This weekend, the Bears will be tasked with stopping the Trojans' explosive offense. While USC may not be the unstoppable juggernaut it once was, it still boasts the nation's 13th-ranked attack - behind only top-ranked Oregon in the Pac-10.

Link to rest of story.

AP: How Cal's Jeff Tedford Got Lane Kiffin's Football Coaching Career Started

Going into his senior year at Fresno State in 1997, quarterback Lane Kiffin, it was apparent, wasn't going to get any playing time. So offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford made him an offer to do something he was probably going to be better at anyway.  "I said, 'Why don't you just start as a (graduate assistant) right now?' because you knew he was going to coach," Tedford said. "So he did. He spent long hours. Even as a student, he spent long hours in my office with me at night watching tape. He would always give suggestions."  Now, Tedford has the task of finding a way to stop Kiffin's USC Trojans, who host Cal on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Tedford said he always knew Kiffin would become a coach, not surprising because Kiffin is part of a large football family. Most notable is his father, Monte, a longtime respected defensive guru, now USC's defensive coordinator.

Link to rest of story.

Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck takes out USC Linebacker Shareece Wright

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oakland Tribune: Tedford Unhappy with Riley's Performance

Monte Poole

Jeff Tedford entered the postgame news conference and made no attempt to conceal his mixed emotions.  The Cal coach was pleased with his running game, especially junior Shane Vereen (151 yards on 25 carries), and delighted with the Golden Bears' defense, which set the tone for the 35-7 trouncing of UCLA on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.  Eventually, though, Tedford zeroed in on the pass offense and lit into it about as fiercely as he ever has.

"We need to throw the ball better," he said dryly.  Tedford said this, in a variety of ways, no fewer than four times. Each time, his eyes would narrow and his jaw would tighten ever so slightly. As much he accepted this victory, he could not hide his discontent with the aspect of football he enjoys more than any other.

Link to rest of article.

Friday, October 01, 2010

LA Times: Should Cal Fire Tedford?

Chris Dufresne posted the following question and answer in his mailbag column (link):

Q: Any chance that Jeff Tedford might be fired at the end of the season? I'm really tired of visits to the Emerald Bowl and I figure the money saved could be used to restore the recently cut baseball and rugby teams at Cal.

Pedro Cardenas Jr.

A: Only if enough clear-headed fans such as yourself band together, storm the Berkeley administration gates, and demand the departure of one of the most successful coaches in school history.  How about a protest? You guys are good at those. Go climb in a tree and not come down until Cal finds a better coach than Tedford, who took over a program that had one victory in 2001.

Here's the backdrop to the win:

Cal's game at hapless Rutgers that year was postponed because of 9/11. The Bears were 0-10 when it came to replay the game. Rutgers, limping home at 2-8, wanted to cancel the game, you know, to save Cal some money for its baseball program.  No way Cal was going to pass up its only chance of victory that year. The Bears flew across the country and prevailed, 20-10.

Tedford was hired the next year and has since gone 69-37, with eight straight winning seasons, seven consecutive bowl appearances and a 7-1 record against Stanford.  It is true Cal under Tedford has been perplexing at times — that wipeout loss at Nevada this year the most recent example.  But given the school's culture, politics, budget restraints and idiosyncrasies, finding a better coach than Tedford at this point might be impossible.  I might, though, suggest pink-slipping a few fans.

SF Chronicle: Conte Settles in at Strong Safety for Cal

John Crumpacker


After playing what might have been the best game of his Cal football career, safety Chris Conte is on a roll. Literally.

There he was, slowly rolling along the length of the artificial turf field of Memorial Stadium the other day, the plastic playing surface even hotter than normal on a 90-degree afternoon.  It was postpractice punishment for being late at the start, a fact Conte disputed by saying, "Coach (Jeff) Tedford didn't like seeing us (defensive backs) coming down the stairs late. I personally don't think I was late. I made it onto the field before the first horn."  Upon completion of the punitive 100-yard roll, Conte was drenched in sweat, making it easier for those annoying black rubber granules embedded in the turf to stick to his skin. Not a pretty sight, especially for Conte.

Link to rest of article.