Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SF Business Times: Cal football sets record for early season ticket sales

Cal said sales of football tickets are on pace to set a new record.  UC Berkeley said fans have renewed 1,791 season tickets for the 2007 season, surpassing the 1,197 renewed at this time last year.  Cal's season ticket sales have been on a steady climb. The Golden Bears sold 40,262 season tickets last season, up from 16,200 in 2002, Jeff Tedford's first year as coach.  In addition to season-ticket sales, the football team set a new record for attendance last season with an average of 64,318 fans per game.

Cal football is 43-20 under Tedford, who agreed to a four-year contract extension earlier this year. Tedford, who has transformed a once-weak team into a force in the Pacific-10 Conference, has said he would like Cal to update its facilities, including Memorial Stadium.   A lawsuit has halted planned construction on an ultra-modern gym near Memorial Stadium and plans to renovate 83-year-old Memorial Stadium. But Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said the school remains committed to the project and that the suit is a "temporary setback."



Fox Sports: 20 New Coordinators You'll Need to Know

Here is the link.


18. OC Jim Michalczik, Cal: The coordinator will be new in Berkeley for the third consecutive year, but the offensive results will remain the same as long as Jeff Tedford is on the sidelines. Michalczik, who has done a terrific job the last five years with Cal's offensive linemen, will add more organizational and administrative duties, but Tedford's fingerprints and influence will still be seen all over the playbook and weekly offensive gameplan. Promoting Michalczik fosters continuity on the staff, which isn't such a bad thing considering how potent the Bear offense has been in recent years.


Last Gig: Cal offensive line coach

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SF Chronicle: Tree-sitter charged with threat to officer

A leader of tree-sitters who oppose a proposed athletic training center next to UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium was charged Monday with two felony counts of threatening a police officer. Zachary Runningwolf Brown, 44, was arrested Friday after he threatened to shoot a campus police officer, said UC Assistant Police Chief Mitch Celaya.  Celaya said that Brown told the officer: "You're going to get yours. ... We're going to do what we have to do. ... We're going to shoot you (expletive)."

Brown supporter Terri Compost said Brown's remarks to the officer "may have been referring to karma or the Mayan calendar. 'You're going to get yours' can be interpreted a lot of ways. ... I think they're just messing with him because he's been outspoken about this poorly planned project."   Brown was also arrested Dec. 16 for trespassing. The former Berkeley mayoral candidate climbed into a redwood tree Dec. 2 to protest the plan to remove trees to build a $125 million training center.


Sunday, February 25, 2007


By Jerry McDonald

INDIANAPOLIS - The shooter said he was sorry. That's the kind of ``street cred'' Marshawn Lynch has in his hometown.  Not long after his car was fired upon during a drive-by shooting in front of Oakland Tech High in June, an unusual phone call was placed to the home of Delisa Lynch. ``The guy thought I was somebody I wasn't,'' Lynch said Saturday at the NFL combine. ``My mother received a phone call about 20 minutes after that and they apologized for what happened.''  Lynch, after leaving Cal following his junior season, is trying to build a similar level of respect from NFL teams looking for a running back in April's draft. So he's taking all questions and participating in every drill, hoping to clear up any issues with his background and character. While many of the players considered first-round material are avoiding drills here, making themselves available only for medical tests and team interviews, Lynch is eager to please. He'll participate in all the workouts and run the most important 40 yards of his life. Training at Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona since early January, Lynch measured in at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, five pounds below his playing weight at Cal.

``That's a real important thing for me,'' Lynch said. ``I'll go out there and run as hard as I can, as fast as I can.''  Lynch claims a best time of 4.36 seconds, and anything approaching that today and in a workout at Cal next month could land him in the top 15. As it stands, Lynch is widely seen as the second-best running back available, behind Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson. Peterson is considered the better runner, whereas Lynch is perhaps more versatile. ``I can run inside and out. I can get to the edge, catch the ball out of the backfield, line up at receiver, line up in the slot,'' Lynch said. ``And I can throw that 70-yard pass downfield.'' Even the most picky scout will have a tough time denying Lynch has a skill set and statistics beyond reproach. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry in college, played in a pro-style offense under Coach Jeff Tedford, is a good receiver out of the backfield and has good tackle-breaking strength. ``He doesn't have anywhere near the amount of carries of Adrian Peterson in his collegiate career, but what he does do is catch the ball,'' ESPN personnel analyst Mike Mayock said. ``He's a big back with some running ability.'' Considering the trend in the NFL toward two-back systems, Lynch's history of the occasional injury isn't as much of a concern. He could step in as either the lead or the second back and immediately contribute.

It would seem the biggest obstacle between Lynch and the upper half of the first round is his ability to break free from stereotypes as easily as he sheds a cornerback while running for a first down. ``He'll be a top-15 pick if he works out well and teams are satisfied with his character off the field,'' Mayock said. The shooting was a random act in broad daylight while Lynch was visiting his sister on her last day of high school. More recently, Lynch was investigated following allegations of sexual assault, but charges were never filed because of a lack of evidence. In both instances, Lynch appeared to have done nothing wrong, yet taken together, in the often paranoid, image-conscious NFL, cautious teams could take a pass -- and each pass means less cash on the first contract. During the interview process, both with prospective employers as well as the media, Lynch's philosophy was simple. ``The truth,'' Lynch said. ``Tell 'em the truth. It's probably not fair, but it's something they want to know and I have nothing to hide.''


Friday, February 23, 2007

Appleton Post Crescent: Many mock drafts have Lynch pegged for Green Bay

California running back won't mind Wisconsin as long as Mom comes along

By Dylan B. Tomlinson

INDIANAPOLIS – While working out in the desert, Marshawn Lynch is told daily that he will soon be playing on the frozen tundra.  Lynch, the University of California running back, has spent most of his off-season preparing for the NFL draft at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona.  Lynch said all of the players there pay close attention to the mock drafts, and who will go where in the first round. Whether it's Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, ESPN or any of the other countless mock drafts on the Internet, one thing remains almost a constant.  They almost all have Lynch going to the Green Bay Packers with the No. 16 pick. “Down at API where I was working out at, the guys come in and tell me, ‘Get ready to pack your ear muffs, your gloves and a big coat. You’re going to Green Bay,’ ” Lynch said. “That wouldn't bother me at all.” Running back is at the top of the list of needs that the Packers have to address this off-season. Ahman Green just turned 30 and becomes a free agent next week. Even if the Packers re-sign Green, they're going to need to bring in a player who could potentially split carries with him next season and then eventually take over as the regular starter.

While Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson is widely viewed as the best running back in the draft, Lynch said there’s no reason to think he isn't just as good, if not better.  “I think I stack up right there with him,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot of things I’m bringing to the table as far as catching the ball and lining up at receiver.”  There wasn’t much Lynch didn’t do while at Cal. He rushed for 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns and also caught 34 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns and would seem to be a perfect fit in Mike McCarthy’s offense.  If the Packers draft Lynch, it would reunite him with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was his teammate at Cal. Lynch said he looked up to Rodgers during his freshman season and would welcome the chance to play with him again. He and Rodgers also have the same agent, Mike Sullivan.  “We had a wonderful time at Cal together. I was a freshman when he was there,” Lynch said. “He kind of took me under his wing with things I kind of struggled with as far as pass problems. He kind of pushed me to work at that a little harder.”  Lynch met with the Packers informally Thursday night and was scheduled to meet with them again on Friday night.

The concerns about Lynch have very little to do with what he’s done on the field. He was recently accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, but was later exonerated on all charges.  “It’s something that happened,” Lynch said. “It was a mistake. I moved on from it. But all charges were dropped. I was innocent. People are still going to judge me how they want too. But I wasn’t charged with anything.”  Lynch said he doesn't think the incident will have any impact on where he’s drafted.  “I can just learn from it and keep moving. I was faced with adversity and felt it made me stronger,” Lynch said. “I learned a lesson from that and now I have to keep moving forward. I can't think about that. That’s in the past.”  Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the team spends a great deal of time researching the character of players. If the Packers decide that Lynch is the guy they want, it's a safe bet that Thompson and McCarthy will do their due diligence making sure they are comfortable with any character issues.

“In general, you look at any player you bring in - whether it be a free agent, a draft choice, a rookie free agent, a trade - you try to take into consideration the character and makeup of the individual,” Thompson said. "We think it's very, very important for the chemistry of the Green Bay Packers in specific terms that they have to be the kind of player that's going to fit in our locker room, get along with the way life is in Green Bay.”  If there are concerns about Lynch's character, it should be noted that he plans to bring his mother with him wherever he goes. Lynch has "Mama's Boy" tattooed across his back and said the first thing he does after signing his rookie contract is to buy his mother a house.  “She’s just my superwoman,” Lynch said. “She’s coming with me no matter where I go. If it’s Green Bay, then that’s where we’re going.”



Thursday, February 22, 2007


University of California, Berkeley Assistant Police Chief Mitch Celaya said police today removed signs, tables, tents, tarps and other items at an oak grove where activists have been protesting for 82 days but no arrests were made.  However, one person was arrested on Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of illegal lodging and resisting arrest, Celaya said.  A group of about eight activists have camped in the trees, which are near the university's football stadium, since Dec. 2 to protest the university's plans to build a new sports training center and other facilities in the area.  The activists' supporters gather in the area below the trees.  A judge has issued a preliminary injunction which prevents the university from going forward on its development plans until a hearing is held on the merits of lawsuits filed against the university by four plaintiffs, including the city of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation and a neighborhood group.

The hearing was not expected to occur until early this summertime.  Celaya said university police went to the oak grove at 8:30 a.m. today to tell the activists and their supporters that they planned to remove various items because the university believes they are trespassing.  He said police, who were accompanied by maintenance workers, returned at 12:45 p.m. and spent about 90 minutes removing the items.  Celaya said at least one of the tables that was removed by police today had been stolen from the university's International House, which is located near the oak grove.  Celaya said this is the second time that university police have removed items from the oak grove area. The first time was on Jan. 12.  Celaya said police want to arrest the activists who are in the trees but don't want to risk the safety of the protesters or officers by going up into the trees.  Celaya said the activists and their supporters don't have permission to be in the area and university officials believe "enough is enough" and it's time to clear the area.

He said officers arrest the activists if they spot them on the ground.  Celaya said that was the case with Richard Marrion, a 33-year-old non-student activist who was arrested about 12:50 p.m. Wednesday.  Marrion, who is free on his own recognizance, was scheduled for arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court today.  Celaya said there's an order excluding Marrion from the UC-Berkeley campus for allegedly violating the university's property rights.  Doug Buckwald, a supporter of the tree activists, said police took "all of the things we are using to express our point and try to further our cause," including informational material.  Buckwald said the protesters didn't intervene or attempt any direct action while their belongings were taken away.  He said the university's stay-away order against Marrion and other activist "is part of a strategy to keep people away from the site so the number of tree-sitters diminishes."  But Buckwald said he doesn't think the strategy is working because the number of tree-sitters increased from six earlier this week to eight today.  He said the tree activists "are committed to staying there until the university changes its plans."


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

East Bay Express: Give Cal Plan the Ax

Retrofitting Memorial Stadium for a quake will be a futile waste of countless millions.

By Chris Thompson 

Take a half-dozen granola-and-sandals activists, give them surnames like "Runningwolf" and "Butterfly," stick 'em in a few trees, and sic the University of California on them, and you've got the makings of a perfect Berkeley story. And so the national press has waggled after the latest town-gown controversy, in which university officials want to build a $120 million athletic training center to boost their newly bemuscled football program, and crunchy eco-acolytes (and even a curmudgeonly ex-mayor or two) have put their bodies on the line to stop them. Last month, the city successfully snagged an interim injunction against proceeding with the construction, which would have done away with a smallish oak grove and apparently struck at the heart of a key part of what made this town the "third most sustainable city," according to the eco-wonks at It also would have highlighted UC's imperial arrogance, made dozens of squirrels homeless, contributed to global warming via the sweat of middle linebackers; you know the drill. But as usual, the most important element of the story — the true folly of the university's plan — went unnoticed.

The issue isn't really the training center, which could be located in any number of different areas in or around campus. It's the California Memorial Stadium itself, which is the heart of the sports complex university officials want to reinvigorate. The stadium is an 84-year-old seismic deathtrap, built right on top of the Hayward fault, and the western half of it is slowly moving north, ripping at the foundations. Officials need to build the training center so they can move their jocks and coaches out of the stadium before a massive quake hits and buries them beneath a pile of rubble that used to be bleacher seats. Fine and good; since they work there five days a week, getting them out of the complex would surely save their lives. But then Cal administrators want to do something truly stupid: spend a fortune retrofitting the stadium itself.

No one truly knows just how much that would cost. UC Berkeley spokeswoman Marie Felde claims that Cal's engineers haven't even done the math yet. "They're not that far into the design process," she said. "Nobody wants to guess." But according to Craig Comartin, a structural engineer who has studied the schematics for UC Berkeley, the project would probably cost in the order of "tens of millions." For Cisco de Vries, a spokesman for Mayor Tom Bates, the university's very refusal to finish designing the retrofit and related projects is exactly the sort of irresponsible and arrogant planning that prompted the lawsuit in the first place. "Until there's some understanding of what it will take for the stadium to be safe, how can we be making decisions involving hundreds of millions of dollars?" he said. "That's a big part of our concern. The mayor says we want them to figure out at the very least what they're going to do with the stadium first."

But this much we know: The university's stated objective is to save the lives of the approximately 73,000 fans who could be caught attending the Big Game when the Big One hits.   Take a closer look at those odds. Seismologists claim that in any given year there's a 1 percent chance of a major quake along the Hayward fault. Cal plays between six and eight games a year at the stadium, and once the training facilities and administrative offices are relocated, these games are the only times a significant number of lives will be at risk. In other words, the university is about to spend tens of millions of dollars to prepare for a disaster that has a one-in-25,000 chance of happening.

But where would we play football, you ask? Where would we watch Jeff Tedford's Bears crush Stanford's spirits for a generation? Funny you should ask. University planners don't just want to retrofit the stadium; they want to beef up its concession outlets and slap on some new lights, luxury boxes, and press offices. There just happens to be a facility that already boasts all of these amenities, and its owners — you and me — will be desperate for new tenants very shortly. It's called McAfee Coliseum, and now that the Oakland A's are planning to split for Fremont, Saturdays just happen to be free. With one lease agreement — and given Oakland's pathetic history of giving away the store, Cal officials can count on that agreement being very lucrative indeed — the university could have a massive football complex, complete with luxury boxes and garlic fries, for a fraction of what it would cost to modernize Memorial Stadium. And here's the bonus round: It's not sitting on a fault.

According to UC Berkeley's Felde, such a scheme won't fit in with the university's long-term plans. "When the campus looked at how to revitalize the southeast quadrant of campus, one of the main points was that the goal was to integrate the athletic experience with the student experience to a greater level than it is now," she says. And the fact that the stadium is across the street from the academic centers of campus is very important."

Well, it works for UCLA, whose stadium, the Rose Bowl, is located all the way in Pasadena. And moving Cal's games to the Coliseum wouldn't jeopardize Tedford's contract, which reportedly stipulates that the training center — and only the training center — be built. Felde claims the retrofit would be financed solely by alumni contributions and ticket sales, but make no mistake: Sooner or later you'll pay for this. When the Big One does strike, public money will be used to repair the stadium, and in the meantime, the redirection of ticket revenue would only increase the athletic department's multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

More than ten years ago, Oakland and Alameda County officials signed one of the worst sports deals in history to get the Raiders back, and it cost them millions and the departure of their baseball team. UC Berkeley planners have a chance to shake off the delusion that costly stadium construction projects are the only way to save their football program, and avoid the catastrophic mistakes made by their neighbor to the south. They just have to tell their alumni that beer tastes just as good in Mount Davis.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SF Chronicle: UC Berkeley Tree-Sitters Say Site Is Burial Ground

(BCN) BERKELEY Tree-sitting protesters who oppose a massive, $125 million development project in the area of the University of California, Berkeley football stadium said Tuesday that the area is a burial ground for indigenous tribes. Protesters say one of the issues developers are required to address in obtaining approval is the possible presence of archeological sites.  They say that Native American community leaders have uncovered paperwork that indicates that the oak grove where tree-sitters have perched since Dec. 2 is a burial ground.  Zachary Running Wolf, a tree sit-in organizer, and others will hold a news conference at the oak grove at 5 p.m. Tuesday to announce unexamined archaeological sites in the area next to Memorial Stadium.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller issued a preliminary injunction on Jan. 29 that halted the university's plans to build an athletic training center and six other facilities near the stadium for a total of 451,000 square feet of new construction.  In addition to a new training facility, the university wants to build a four-story underground parking lot with more than 900 spaces as well as new facilities for its law and business schools.  A hearing on the merits of lawsuits filed against the university by the California Oak Foundation, which represents the tree protesters, the city of Berkeley and a neighborhood group is expected to be held this summer. Tree protesters say the land to which the university claims ownership is the ancestral land of a now-extinct tribe and is surrounded by land belonging to another tribe, the Ohlone tribe.

Protesters say that according to papers that were recently uncovered, burial sites under the adjacent Memorial stadium were destroyed and removed when the stadium was built.


Sporting News: Matt Hayes answers reader questions

Q:  This (the stadium renovation) is a very complex project at California and there is a lot of red tape the university has to go through to get this done. Jeff Tedford is well aware of this and has never mentioned any disgust in regards to this publicly. I have no doubt that if it was solely up to the administration we would be in the construction phase already. The major factor in the delays is the ongoing lawsuit the university is facing. While things get sorted out legally, nothing can be done. I hardly count this as "delaying".


Los Angeles


A:  Two things: 1.) the Cal administration has known for more than two years of Tedford's ultimatum (new facilities or I'm gone), and 2.) the university has understood that the Hayward Fault has run under the stadium (an all of East Bay) since time began. Of course someone, or some people, or some group (see: city council) was going to have issues with the facilities plan. It's a given at any university on any campus. Here's a hint: plan ahead for it.  Sure enough, the Berkley City Council filed suit in November 2006 to stop the facility upgrades, and a court approved it last month. Let's not be naive and think the Cal administration didn't know this was coming. It's all about what's important. And if keeping a football coach isn't high on the list of priorities, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that. But don't strut and state you're doing everything you can when, in reality, you're not.   Tedford is a college guy and Cal is the perfect fit for him. I hope it gets done. But this thing is a long way from playing out, and that's not a good sign for Cal's chances to hold onto Tedford.

Here’s the link.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Memorial Stadium Update from Sandy Barbour

(This came to Alumni via email)


Dear Friend of Cal Athletics:


I want to ensure you that despite a recent ruling granting a preliminary injunction against the entirety of the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects, including the proposed Student-Athlete High Performance Center, we remain completely committed to the project. We fully believe it is only a matter of time before our state-of-the-art facility is completed adjacent to historic Memorial Stadium.


We consider Judge Barbara Miller's decision to postpone work on the project until a summer trial only a temporary setback and that we will succeed on the merits of the case. The suits brought by the City of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association are only serving to delay building a center that will improve the life safety and everyday conditions for the hundreds of Golden Bear student-athletes, coaches and staff who use Memorial Stadium on a daily basis.


The court, which had only a few days to review a large set of complex issues, had concerns about the project's conformity with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and APZA (Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Act). Compliance with these two state statutes has been at the forefront of our planning process from the very beginning. With our team of expert geologists and engineers, we believe we have fully complied with the law and will prevail when the court case is heard.


Last week, after a short hearing in Superior Court, Judge Miller finalized the Preliminary Injunction prohibiting us from “taking any further action to implement the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects including … the Student Athlete High Performance Center, if such action would result in change or alteration to the  physical environment.” This ruling does allow us to continue the essential design, planning, soils testing, contracting and bidding elements of the High Performance Center and preserves the University's authority to manage and operate the site as it has done for decades.


The High Performance Center was designed with a budget of $125 million, and we have raised nearly $100 million so far. Over the ensuing months, we will continue our planning and fundraising for the High Performance Center so that when we do get the go-ahead, we will be ready to move forward as soon as possible. Once we are able to break ground, we anticipate construction lasting 20-24 months.


We cannot let the plaintiffs' actions or the preliminary injunction slow down our momentum for this important first phase of the Memorial Stadium renovation. However, with construction costs in the Bay Area constantly rising, the delay means an increased cost to the project, although it is hard to give an exact figure at this time.


We are currently developing a new Web site for the stadium project that will contain press releases, frequently asked questions, renderings, video statements from UC staff, and updates on fundraising and naming opportunities. This site will be accessible through, and we expect to have it completed by the end of the month.


If you have any questions concerning the Student-Athlete High Performance Center, please contact the Athletic Development office at (510) 642-2427 or via email at


Go Bears!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Daily Cal: Locals Join Protesters in Treetop Sit-In

BY Cristina Bautista

Dozens of UC Berkeley students, faculty members and Berkeley residents took to the oak trees near Memorial Stadium yesterday in a 24-hour protest of proposed university developments that may require the removal of the trees. Beginning at 9 a.m., the event encouraged community members to join the protesters who have been living in the trees since Dec. 2 with the aim of preventing the removal of the oak grove proposed in campus plans for a high-performance student athletic center.

“The community has spoken and (the university) needs to listen,” said tree dweller Zachary RunningWolf, a former Berkeley mayoral candidate.  The city of Berkeley, neighborhood group Panoramic Hill Association and the California Oak Foundation have all filed suits against the campus project.  Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller issued a temporary injunction Jan. 29 preventing the university from making any physical changes to the grove until the lawsuits are resolved.  Organizers said the court ruling was a temporary victory, and yesterday’s protest was still necessary to make sure the oaks could remain in the area permanently.  “The trees are not safe yet,” said Doug Buckwald, spokesperson for the protest group Save the Oaks at the Stadium. “Until (the university’s) plans change, we must stay here and protect the trees.”

More than 35 community members have sat in the trees since December, and some participants in yesterday’s event said they were heading into trees not only to save the oaks, but to protest what they considered UC Berkeley’s encroachment on the city.  “Is our town going to be Berkeley or is it going to be UC Berkeley?” said Berkeley resident Phoebe Anne Sorgen, who climbed into the trees yesterday. “This issue is a symbol of that.”  Several students also participated in the event and said that support for the oak protesters did not mean that they lacked school spirit.  “I’m not against Cal football,” said freshman Christina Oatfield, an environmental science major who participated in yesterday’s protest. “I just think that there are so many opportunities for compromise.”

NBC11: Berkeley Tree-Sitters Invite Public To Participate

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Activists trying to save old oak trees on the UC Berkeley campus will get more community support Thursday. A 24-hour community tree sit-in kicked off Thursday morning. Organizers said students, faculty, alumni and citizens will take part in the sit-in.  The Save The Memorial Oaks Coalition is trying to stop UC Berkeley from cutting down the trees to build a sports complex. Last month, a judge ordered an injunction preventing the trees from being cut down until a full hearing is held. The university said it will not back down.

Note from editor: If you plan on joining the festivities, it’s recommended that you bring plenty of spare change, as the dirt bags, er, protesters, will definitely be hitting you up for change to finance their various addictions.

Bear Insider: Campus Police Take Dim View of Tree-Sitters

 By Chris Avery

The Bear Insider met Assistant Chief Celaya of the campus police department at their headquarters on the ground floor of Sproul Hall Friday mid-afternoon. The meeting occurred after the court hearing on Thursday that discussed injunction language, but before the court ruling was released Friday evening.   I described to him the events in court on Thursday, including the discussions about fencing as a procedure campus police might want to use when enforcing law on campus. Chief Celaya had not heard about the hearing yet from his administration, but certainly agreed with the general proposition that the police force needed to be free to carry out their responsibilities as they see fit.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fox Sports: Cal Team Report

The beat goes on for Cal. Coach Jeff Tedford pulled in his fifth consecutive top 20 recruiting class, which puts him in great position to continue as the second-best program in the Pac-10, looking up at USC.  Tedford signed 26 players, including eight from southern California. While he continues to do well in that fertile part of the state, it's interesting to see that the Bears, perhaps cashing in on their reputation of excellence, went more national this year.  Cal signed players from Brooklyn, Chicago, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii -- basically covering all corners of the U.S. map. "We're going to be a little bit more proactive with recruiting out of the state," Tedford said. "We're not going to saturate the United States. We're still going to make sure that we saturate California and the western United States with our resources. There are certain areas where we've made some inroads and we're going to continue to go to those places.  "We have a lot of guys in the summer who visit us from out of state on unofficial visits, which gets the recruiting process going. In the last three years, I have seen our out-of-state recruiting really grow."

Read the entire article here.

San Jose Mercury: Tedford Signs Kapp

College signings: Los Gatos senior Will Kapp will follow in his father's Joe's footsteps and attend Cal. Will Kapp said football coach Jeff Tedford offered him a spot on the team as a recruited walk-on. Kapp wants to play strong safety and hopes to earn a scholarship in the next few years.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Oakland Tribune: Late-night switch boosts Bears

Tedford wakes up to good news when Tennessee prep commits to Cal

BERKELEY — Cal football coach Jeff Tedford woke up Wednesday morning expecting to announce a strong recruiting class of 24 players. By the time he got to Memorial Stadium for a news conference to discuss national letter-of-intent day, the class had grown to 26 players and gotten even stronger.  Defensive back Chris Conte of Los Angeles and defensive end Ernest Owusu of Nashville, Tenn., each signed with the Bears, something Tedford wasn't sure was going to happen when he went to bed Tuesday night. It ended up giving Cal the 12th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to ranked the Bears incoming crop at No.21.  "We're real excited about our class," Tedford said. "We've addressed a lot of our needs. We have a lot of size and strength up front and a lot of speed and skill with our skill positions."  The Bears have one player that ranks in the top 100 by Salesian running back Jahvid Best at No.94. But their class includes 12 four-star players and eight high school All-Americans. gave Cal's class five four-star recruits and 18 three-star players.

Along with Best, the 9th-best running back in the country according to, the class is highlighted by Matt Summers-Gavin of St. Ignatius-San Francisco, the No.14-rated offensive guard by The offensive line is the anchor of the class, with five offensive linemen signing with Cal on Wednesday. The Bears also added high school All-American Sam DeMartinis of Sherman Oaks and top-20 offensive line prospects Justin Cheadle of Bakersfield and Mitchell Schwartz of Pacific Palisades.  "I'm very pleased with our offensive line class," Tedford said.  "They are guys who are very physical and guys who are athletic. They're not big guys who can't move. They have size, and they're very athletic."  Adding Owusu completed an important four-player class of defensive ends, filling a pass-rushing need. Cal signed Cameron Jordan from Chandler, Ariz., and Scott Smith of Honolulu, both of whom were recruited by several Pac-10 schools.  Tedford said he woke up at 3:40 a.m. Wednesday to send a text message to Owusu, who picked Cal over Stanford, Washington, Vanderbilt and North Carolina.

"He's an East Coast guy, so I had to get on him early," Tedford said. "He was on the bubble. We had no idea last night which way he was leaning. So this morning we were very, very pleased."  Conte is considered a top-75 safety by both and He initially committed to Cal last summer but switched to UCLA last month. However, Conte had another change of heart and informed Tedford on Wednesday morning he was indeed coming to Berkeley.  "We were kind of going back and forth with it, and I think he was struggling a little bit with his decision," Tedford said.  "I felt like this was going to happen, but I just wasn't absolutely sure. I'm just really proud of Chris to follow through with what he told us he was going to follow through with." The Bears also signed All-American Brock Mansion, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from Dallas. Mansion is one of 10 out-of-state players that signed with Cal. In the previous five years combined, Tedford signed 12 players that weren't from California.  "We're going to be a little bit more proactive out of state," Tedford said. "We're not going to saturate the United States.  "We're still going to make sure we saturate California and the western United States with our resources. But there are certain areas where we've made some inroads, and we're going to continue to go to those places. In the last three years especially, I've seen our out-of-state recruiting really grow."




Friday, February 09, 2007

AP: Potential Recruiting Violation by USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California is looking into whether it may have violated NCAA recruiting rules while pursuing highly rated recruit Joe McKnight, a university official said.  McKnight signed a national letter of intent with USC on Wednesday and made comments during a news conference that seemed to suggest communications involving former Trojan Reggie Bush, who is now with the New Orleans Saints.  Former players are forbidden from telephoning prospective recruits, their relatives or guardians.  "We're aware of it, and we are looking into it," sports information director Tim Tessalone told The Associated Press late Thursday.  The university's action was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on its Web site late Thursday.  USC coach Pete Carroll denied any call took place, and McKnight's high school football coach said the recruit misspoke during the news conference. The star running back has been living with his high school coach, J.T. Curtis.  "It never happened," Carroll told the Times.


During the Wednesday news conference, McKnight said Carroll set up a conference call so he and Curtis could talk to Bush and ease concerns USC might face sanctions. The NCAA and the Pac-10 Conference are investigating whether Bush or his family received "improper benefits" from agents while he was playing for USC. Regarding McKnight, Mike Matthews, associate commissioner of compliance for the Pac- 10, said boosters are not supposed to be involved in the recruiting process but could not comment without knowing specifics. NCAA spokeswoman Crissy Schluep also said she could not comment without knowing more. Curtis told the Times on Thursday that he spoke to Carroll during McKnight's recruitment, but not on a conference call with McKnight or Bush. He also said McKnight told him "Coach Carroll was talking to Reggie on the speakerphone and Joe was able to listen and hear Reggie Bush's side of the story," the newspaper reported.  


After being informed of Carroll's denial Thursday night, Curtis called McKnight and later said the recruit never heard Bush on a speakerphone.  "He said when they came in his house, the discussion was brought up about probation and that's when the conversation came up that they had talked to Reggie, but Joe was not there," Curtis said. "He said, 'I was not on the speakerphone. I never called him and he never called me. I want to make it clear I never spoke to Reggie and he never spoke to me. I just messed it up. I shouldn't have said it that way (at the news conference)."'  Curtis said McKnight may have been overwhelmed by the attention and scrutiny that accompanied his announcement.

"At the press conference, it seemed like he got 1,000 questions in five minutes," Curtis said. "If you saw what was going on it would be easier to understand."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Daily Cal: Tedford Happy With 2007 Class

BY Matt Kawahara

Chalk 2007 up as another solid recruiting year for coach Jeff Tedford and the Cal football team.  Despite the absence of a five-star recruit, the Bears’ recruiting class is ranked No. 12 in the nation by Eight All-America signees highlight a 26–member group that includes 14 offensive players, 11 defensive players and one specialist.  “The 2007 recruiting class, we feel, is a huge success,” Tedford said. “We have a lot of size and strength up front, and a lot of speed and skill at our skill positions.”  Although Cal will return a plethora of offensive weapons in 2007, including quarterback Nate Longshore and wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the team’s most impressive additions may have come on the offensive side of the ball.  The Bears netted five freshman offensive linemen, including All-America signees Matt Summers-Gavin—ranked No. 11 among linemen in the country—and Sam DeMartinis to compensate for the loss of seniors Erik Robertson and Andrew Cameron.  “I’m very pleased with our offensive line class,” Tedford said. “They’re very physical and athletic. They finish their blocks and play snap-to-whistle.”  The Bears also signed two of the more promising tailbacks in the nation in Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, and 6–foot–5 quarterback Brock Mansion, dangerous with his speed as well as his arm.  “Best is very elusive, very fast. When he gets in the open field he has tremendous speed,” Tedford said. “Vereen is very used to catching the football, and has excellent hands.”

Best rushed for 3,325 yards as a senior at Salesian High. Vereen boasts impressive lower body strength and impressive cutback ability.  In addition, Cal bolstered a defense that lost several standouts, including tackle Brandon Mebane and cornerback Daymeion Hughes.  The Bears signed four freshman defensive ends, each of whom has a legitimate shot at a spot on a defensive line that tallied 10.5 sacks last year.  “These guys are four great athletes that can provide some very strong pass rush abilities,” Tedford said. “We’re hoping that one or two of them can play a vital role in what we’re doing.”  D.J. Holt, an All-America signee, and four-star prospect Alex Cook head a solid group of four incoming linebackers.  D.J. Campbell, Sean Cattouse and Chris Conte make up a group of defensive back recruits that feature size as well as athleticism.  The Bears also landed Bryan Anger, listed as the No. 5 punter in the nation by  “We’re going to open it up for competition for everybody,” Tedford said. “Everyone gets an equal chance from day one to show what they can do.”

Oakland Tribune: Recruits have Bears ready to run

BERKELEY — Jeff Tedford's Cal football program is so well-established and strategically stocked by year that the true impact of a particular recruiting class isn't often felt for a season or two.  For instance, even though Michael Calvin was part of a 26-recruit haul on signing day, it wouldn't figure that a player like the San Lorenzo High wide receiver would be counted on to step in right away, although he'll certainly get a chance to show what he's got.  After all, the Bears not only will return their top three wideouts in 2007 — DeSean Jackson, Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins — but also quality backups Sam DeSa and Noah Smith.  What's more, Cal also has a transfer from the University of Florida, Nyan Boateng, who is already enrolled and will be eligible to play next season as a junior.  So while Tedford promises open competition for all newcomers against established players, it's logical some will go into the pipeline as redshirts, where they can be brought along while maintaining their full four years of eligibility. That won't be true at every spot, though.  The real position of intrigue next year, at least on offense, will be at tailback, where Cal must fill the large void left by Marshawn Lynch's early declaration for the NFL draft.

A true freshman might get the opportunity to play quite a bit, just as Lynch did behind J.J. Arrington.  Senior Justin Forsett is the lone experienced holdover, and even he has yet to shoulder the load over a full season as the featured back. With Forsett at 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, it remains to be seen if he can be a20-carry workhorse as Lynch was. Maybe, but the more likely scenario is that untested young players will augment the running attack behind him.  In addition to Wednesday's prep All-American signees, Salesian High's Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen of Valencia, two redshirt freshmen, James Montgomery and Tracy Slocum of Fresno, are in a deep mix.  Best and Vereen are smallish speedsters, Montgomery and Slocum are bigger backs perhaps more suited to replacing Lynch's inside running.  Beyond the one reasonably proven commodity, Forsett, Tedford doesn't discount any potential development in the backfield.  "Obviously, if Marshawn were still here, we'd probably be able to redshirt both those guys (Best and Vereen)," the coach said.

But without Lynch, Tedford noted, one or both true freshmen could be significant contributors right away.  "We'll just have to see how that unfolds," Tedford said.  On a videotape featuring all of Cal's recruits, Best and Vereen showed different skills, even though they enter the program at exactly the same size: 5-10, 185.  Best, who was ANG Newspapers regional Offensive Player of the Year, is an exceedingly fleet runner with exceptional vision who darts through holes and explodes past defenders in the open field.

Vereen is also very quick but seems to excel more as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.  Of Best, Tedford said, "You can't teach speed, and he has plenty of it. You can see him do things physically that are going to translate to whatever level he plays.  "He has great balance, great lateral movement, and again, great speed. I don't care what level you play at, the speed that he runs with is something that's pretty special."  It could be, though, that Vereen's talents will better fit the needs of next year's team. His film footage showed him to be a remarkable receiving talent out of the backfield, which could really add a dimension to a club with so many wideout threats.  "Vereen was put at receiver quite a bit, caught a lot of screens and had quite a few yards receiving," Tedford said. "So he is really used to catching the football and very natural. He has excellent hands."  Suffice it to say that while the backfield may be young and inexperienced behind Forsett, it isn't thin.  Tedford is very high on Montgomery and Slocum as well, who signed with Cal last year with prep accolades similar to Best and Vereen. It should be some kind of competition. As long as Tedford is in Berkeley, the Bears won't be caught short on offensive talent at any position. Cal signed five impressive-looking offensive linemen in this year's crop — two tight ends, a bruiser of a fullback and yet another quarterback, Texas product Brock Mansion, who will get in line behind Nate Longshore, Kyle Reed and last year's redshirt freshman prize Chris Riley.  If Forsett can step into the starter's role and get support from a couple of the young backs, Cal should be able to offset the loss of Lynch without too much difficulty. The drama will be seeing which ones come to the fore.

SF Chronicle: Cal comes up strong


Recruiting class gets high ratings from observers

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Two years ago, receiver/return specialist DeSean Jackson provided the letter-of-intent-day drama by appearing on cable TV that evening, sitting at a table with caps from Cal and USC and choosing to wear the blue and gold one.  This year, coach Jeff Tedford was the mastermind of the signing-day surprises. He announced Wednesday a solid 25-player class that includes a standout defensive back who had reportedly de-committed from Cal three weeks ago and a sought-after defensive end who was a late arrival to the recruiting radar.  When adding Florida-transfer Nyan Boateng, a 6-foot-2 receiver who will be eligible in 2008, the class grows to 26 players and climbs as high as a national top-10 ranking, according to some Web sites.  "I'm very excited today. It's been a great day for Cal football," Tedford said. "The 2007 recruiting class, we feel like, is a huge success."  The trends of the group are players with sprinter speed and top-notch linemen. The surprises of signing day provided one of each.

Chris Conte, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound defensive back from Loyola High in Los Angeles, told on Jan. 20 that he had withdrawn his summer commitment to Cal and decided instead to attend UCLA. Somehow, between then and now, he decided to go with his original gut feeling and bring his tenacious pursuit and speed to Berkeley.  "We found out (he was signing with us) for sure officially this morning," Tedford said. "We were going back and forth, and I think he was struggling a little bit with his decision."  Ernest Owusu, a 6-5, 250-pound defensive end, enjoyed a meteoric rise on recruiting radars after a year at The Hun Preparatory School in Princeton, N.J. As he added 35 pounds, he also added interest from colleges, going from a couple of Division II offers out of high school to more than 20 from Division I-A schools this season.  The list includes eight All-Americans, 12 others who were all-regional selections and 13 players rated in the top 100 in California by There are 13 offensive players, 11 defensive players and a punter.  "All of these players have earned a lot of personal awards and recognition," Tedford said. "They have had great high school careers. We are looking forward to them bringing the same success that they have had on the field, as well as in the classroom, to our program."  The class is ranked No. 12 in the nation by, marking the fifth straight year that Cal has had a top-20 recruiting class, according to the site. The Bears' past classes, however, are an indication that grading recruits is an inexact science.  The 2005 group included four five-star players who have had varying degrees of success: Jackson is the Pac-10's most dynamic player; Desmond Bishop led the conference in tackles; Lavelle Hawkins has showed glimpses and Joe Ayoob never lived up to the billing.  Two years earlier, Daymeion Hughes, who is expected to be a first-day NFL draft pick, graded out as a three-star prospect, and J.J. Arrington, who is already in the NFL, was deemed a two-star running back.


San Jose Mercury: Cal's Group Ranked 12th in Nation


The Bears finished with their fifth consecutive top-20 class. It featured a pair of highly rated local players, offensive linemen Matt Summers-Gavin of St. Ignatius and running back Jahvid Best of Salesian High in Richmond.  Tedford called Best ``very elusive.'' Best was named a Parade All-American after rushing for 3,325 yards and scoring 48 touchdowns as a senior. ``He can cut on a dime,'' Tedford said. ``But when he gets in the open field, he has tremendous speed and can run away from people.''

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 Owusu Comments On Cal Commitment

By Jim McGill

In a recruiting season that saw most of Cal’s defensive line commits come into focus late in the season, the trend continued with the Bears’ final addition to their class today.

6-4/250 Hun Prep School (Princeton, NJ) defensive end Ernest Owusu was propelled onto the recruiting radars of multiple programs across the nation this year after making the call to spend a year in prep school to get further shored up academically and physically for the upcoming challenges of playing Division 1 football.  Read the article here.

Bear Insider: Conte Talks About Return To Cal

By Jim McGill

Every recruiting season has its share of twists and turns and the 2007 Cal recruiting class is no exception. One of the more interesting examples came to light earlier today as the Bears wrapped up a successful campaign with a flourish. Here is the link.

AP: Cal seeks speed in recruiting class

BERKELEY, Calif. - California coach Jeff Tedford sought speed and size in recruiting his next class of players.  Tedford believed he got what he was looking for in the 26-player class revealed Wednesday. Rating services pegged Cal as the third-best class in the Pac-10 behind Southern California and Oregon. "You can't teach speed," Tedford said in reference to Parade All-American running back Jahvid Best, out of nearby Richmond. "And he's got plenty of it. "He is very elusive and very fast. He can cut on a dime, but when he gets in the open field, he has tremendous speed and can run away from people. You can see him do things physically that is going to translate to whatever level he plays."

Best was the star recruit for Cal. A track star as well, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Best rushed for 3,325 yards and scored 48 times as a senior. ESPN Insider rated him as the fastest back in the state of California.  Best is a candidate to back up Justin Forsett, who is taking over for Marshawn Lynch, who left early for the NFL.  Cal also landed running back Shane Vereen, the most heavily recruited player ever out of Valencia High School. Redshirts James Montgomery and Tracy Slocum could factor in the running back equation, forcing one of the newcomers to sit out as a freshman. But Best may have too much talent to not be used right away. Tedford's decision to go with the national flow of taller defensive backs and wide receivers paid off. Nyan Boateng, a 6-2 wide receiver and transfer from national champion Florida, was included among the 26 recruits. Also reeled in were a pair of 6-3 receivers, Michael Calvin out of San Lorenzo and Alex Lagemann from Saratoga.

Chris Conte, a 6-3 defensive back, was a late addition after originally choosing UCLA. Sean Cattouse of Chicago is another 6-3 defensive back. Tedford, a developer of quarterbacks, induced Brock Mansion to gravitate west from Texas. Mansion threw for 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior for Episcopal School of Dallas.  "He has great size (6-5, 225 pounds), great speed and a very good arm," Tedford said. "We're really excited about him. ... We have more guys from out of state than we've ever had. We're going to be a little bit more proactive with recruiting out of the state."  Of the 26 recruits, 10 are from out of state.


Contra Costa Times: Cal makes a nationwide impression on signing day

By Jonathan Okanes


BERKELEY - Cal football coach Jeff Tedford woke up Wednesday morning expecting to announce a strong recruiting class of 24 players. By the time he got to Memorial Stadium for a news conference to discuss national letter of intent day, the class had grown to 26 players and gotten even stronger.  Defensive back Chris Conte of Los Angeles and defensive end Ernest Owusu of Nashville, Tenn., signed with the Bears, something Tedford wasn't sure would happen when he went to bed Tuesday night. Those additions gave Cal the 12th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to ranked the Bears incoming crop at No. 21. "We're real excited about our class," Tedford said. "We've addressed a lot of our needs. We have a lot of size and strength up front and a lot of speed and skill with our skill positions."

The Bears have just one player ranked in the top 100 by -- Salesian running back Jahvid Best at No. 94. But their class includes 12 four-star players and eight high school All-Americans. gave Cal's class five four-star recruits and 18 three-star players.  Along with Best, the ninth-best running back in the country according to, the class is highlighted by Matt Summers-Gavin of St. Ignatius-San Francisco, the No. 14-rated offensive guard by The offensive line is the anchor of the class, with five offensive linemen signing with Cal on Wednesday. The Bears also added high school All-American Sam DeMartinis of Sherman Oaks and top-20 offensive line prospects Justin Cheadle of Bakersfield and Mitchell Schwartz of Pacific Palisades.

"I'm very pleased with our offensive line class," Tedford said. "They are guys who are very physical, and guys who are athletic. They're not big guys who can't move. They have size and they're very athletic." Adding Owusu completed an important four-player class of defensive ends, filling a pass-rushing need for the future. Cal signed Cameron Jordan from Chandler, Ariz. and Scott Smith of Honolulu, both of whom were recruited by several Pac-10 schools. Tedford said he woke up at 3:40 a.m. Wednesday to send a text message to Owusu, who picked Cal over Stanford, Washington, Vanderbilt and North Carolina.  "He's an East Coast guy, so I had to get on him early," Tedford said. "He was on the bubble. We had no idea last night which way he was leaning. So this morning we were very, very pleased."  Conte is considered a top-75 safety by both and He initially orally committed to Cal last summer but switched to UCLA last month. However, Conte had another change of heart and informed Tedford on Wednesday morning he was indeed coming to Berkeley. "We were kind of going back and forth with it and I think he was struggling a little bit with his decision," Tedford said.

"I felt like this was going to happen, but I just wasn't absolutely sure. I'm just really proud of Chris to follow through with what he told us he was going to follow through with."

The Bears also signed All-American Brock Mansion, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from Dallas. Mansion is one of 10 out-of-state players who signed with Cal. In the previous five years combined, Tedford signed 12 players from outside California.  "We're going to be a little bit more proactive out of state," Tedford said. "We're not going to saturate the United States. We're still going to make sure we saturate California and the western United States with our resources. But there are certain areas where we've made some inroads, and we're going to continue to go to those places. In the last three years especially, I've seen our out-of-state recruiting really grow."



Incoming Cal class greater than sum

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Cal football coach Jeff Tedford is expected to announce today an incoming class of 23 recruits that makes a statement much louder than the buzz surrounding any one name on the list.  "Jeff Tedford and his staff have firmly established themselves as great recruiters," Rivals national recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree said. "When you talk about the top classes each and every year, Cal now has to at least be in the conversation."   Crabtree estimates that when commitments are made official on national-letter-of-intent day, Rivals will rank the Bears' class in the top 25 for the fourth consecutive season despite the absence of a five-star recruit. Instead of making a splash with one big name, Cal's recruiting class is solid from top to bottom, fills needs and includes a bevy of linemen, who are difficult to grade.  According to, Cal is No. 15 in overall points, trailing only No. 5 USC and No. 8 Oregon in the Pac-10.

Cal's group includes 20 high school players and three junior-college transfers, and is especially strong at running back, linebacker and along the offensive line. By position, the class has five linebackers, four offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, two running backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends, two defensive backs, a quarterback and a punter.  Under NCAA rules, coaches are prohibited from talking about their recruiting classes until they have the signed letters in hand.  "They've done a great job of filling in with a lot of depth and solid guys who will grow into good players," Student Sports director of football Brian Stumpf said.  The only national top-100 player on the list is Salesian-Richmond running back Jahvid Best, who was named to the Parade All-America squad, and he is joined by Valencia back Shane Vereen.  "I'd be surprised if there's a better running back class in the nation," Crabtree said.  The duo will get plenty of push up front from four-star recruits Matt Summers-Gavin, a guard from St. Ignatius who chose Cal over Notre Dame, and tackle Sam DeMartinis from Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks. Crabtree is also impressed with three-star guys Todd Huber (Palos Verdes Peninsula-Rolling Hills) and Mitchell Schwartz (Charter-Pacific Palisades). "I saw (Huber) just kill people at the Nike Camp," Crabtree said.

Similar praise was tossed toward linebacker Alex Cook, a top-30 junior college player out of Blinn College in Texas. The deep linebacker corps also includes four-star recruits D.J. Holt from Carmelite-Crespi and CCSF's Devin Bishop, the brother of the Pac-10's leading tackler Desmond Bishop.  "That's how deep the group is: You forget about Holt, who will probably be a guy USC wished it would have offered a couple years down the line," Crabtree said.  Among the eight out-of-staters are three from Hawaii.  "That's definitely abnormal," said Stumpf, who lettered at Cal in 1997 and 1999. "When I was there, we maybe had one guy on the team from New Jersey or something, but Cal is building a program that is being seen more nationally."  Most of the recruits are expected to redshirt. "Other than the JC guys, I don't see a lot of immediate impact," Crabtree said. "Maybe Best. He's too good not to find the field."


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sporting News: Can football beat the environment in Berkeley?

A flock of environmentalists perched in oak trees. Four lawsuits. A $125 million plan. A top-flight coach. A four-year contract. One humdinger of a geologic nightmare.  This is a story that could emanate only from California.  It has long been known that Memorial Stadium, the gorgeous home of the Cal Bears, is a potential disaster. The stadium sits atop the Hayward Fault, an ever-shifting danger spot that could kill thousands if an earthquake struck. It is agreed that something must be done to make the place safer. But what?

The university's plan was to first move athletic department employees into a safer state-of-the-art training center on the stadium's west side. Ground was to be broken on that project this spring. Later, the university would retrofit Memorial Stadium and make it earthquake-safe.  But nothing is that easy in the Golden State. Last Monday, a judge granted an injunction after three groups, including the city of Berkeley, filed suit. That stopped construction until the issues are settled in a trial. Still another group sued because the plan would damage the view from their property. And a band of tree-hugging activists is protesting Cal's plan to clear 26 oak trees as part of the project.  Hard to imagine that at Nebraska or Michigan.  Lost in the legal shuffle is the status of coach Jeff Tedford, who is 43-20 in five years at Cal and repeatedly has turned down higher-profile jobs. Tedford has pressed for an upgrade in facilities. Three weeks ago, he agreed to a contract extension through 2013, but the deal has not yet been signed. The legal wrangling likely means Tedford, if he doesn't just give up and go elsewhere, won't get his new facility until at least 2010 -- or longer if Cal loses at trial.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Interview With Tree Sitter Zachary "RunningWolf"

Daily Cal: Tedford Picks Final Coaching Staff for 2007 Season

Dunbar Replaced by Former Assistants Michalczik and Daft

After a season that saw the Cal football team lead the Pac-10 in scoring, head coach Jeff Tedford stayed in-house to fill the team’s coaching vacancies on offense.  Tedford completed his coaching staff Thursday, promoting coach Jim Michalczik to offensive coordinator and former graduate assistant coach Kevin Daft to quarterbacks coach. The spots opened up after last season’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Mike Dunbar, took the same position at Minnesota on Jan. 24.  Tedford said he considered outside candidates before deciding on Michalczik and Daft.

“After evaluating our situation, it felt like the best transition and the way we were going to continue to improve was to keep continuity on the staff,” Tedford said. “Now we can move forward, we can evaluate what we’ve done and look to get better, instead of bringing an outsider in to teach them the path.”  The Bears implemented elements of the spread offense last season and averaged 415.6 yards and 32.8 points a game. Michalczik said he will further discuss with Tedford how much play-calling each will handle next season, but both coaches said spreading the field will continue to be part of the game plan.  “There are certain things (with the spread) that we all understand here (that) we will want to continue to use to match our personal and our opponent so we have a wide variety of offense,” Tedford said.  Michalczik spent the past five years as offensive line coach, a position he will continue to occupy. Before coming to Cal, Michalczik coached at Miami, Montana State and Oregon State.  “I’m fired up, obviously,” Michalczik said. “I appreciate coach Tedford having the confidence in me, and I’m looking forward to the future.”  Added Tedford: “He’s very knowledgeable about our offense and has played an integral part in all our game-planning. He’s very respected by our players and coaching staff.”  Although tailback Marshawn Lynch has made himself eligible for the NFL Draft in late April, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and quarterback Nate Longshore will both return for their junior seasons.

Longshore’s development will be overseen by Daft, who becomes the quarterbacks coach after three seasons as the graduate assistant on offense. Draft will also work with Kyle Reed and Kevin Riley, both highly-touted recruits at quarterback.  On Jan. 17, Cal named former San Jose State defensive tackles coach Kenwick Thompson as the new linebackers coach, replacing Bob Foster, who retired after the season.

Thursday, February 01, 2007 Thousands Sign Petition Supporting Cal

By Chris Avery

Almost 6,000 people have signed a petition in support of the Cal athletic training center project. Many have added thoughtful comments about the project and their support of it. This article provides a random sample of their comments.

Read the entire article here.

Daily Cal: Athletics Officials Concerned About Recruitment Remain Optimistic on Stadium Overhaul Prospects

BY Stephen Chen

The preliminary injunction blocking the construction of the $125 million athletic training center and other facilities near Memorial Stadium may not only affect current Cal athletes, but potential recruits as well, campus officials said.   Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1923, has one of the smallest and oldest training facilities in the Pac-10. Though it currently accommodates more than 300 athletes, size constraints force some teams to divide players into separate groups for weightlifting.  Football coach Jeff Tedford, who on Jan. 16 agreed, in principle, to a four-year contract extension that campus officials hope to finalize in the coming weeks, can earn bonuses if he stays until the athletic center is built and the stadium renovations are finished.  “I know the project is of a high priority to (Tedford), but it’s a high priority for all of us and primarily around the life-safety of the student athletes,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Nathan Brostrom.  Tedford is out of town on a recruiting trip and could not be reached for comment, but has often stressed the importance of having competitive facilities to help recruit high-caliber athletes.

The University of Southern California, considered to have some of the best facilities in the conference, recently opened a 255,000-square-foot arena. The Len Casanova Center at the University of Oregon contains a state-of-the-art weight room and offices for all coaches and athletic department officials.  McClymonds High football coach Alonzo Carter, who has sent over 40 players to Division I schools including current Cal players Derrick Hill, David Gray and Kyle Reed, said he sees the importance of having competitive facilities for recruiting.  “One of Coach Tedford’s visions was to have the stadium (renovated),” Carter said. “I think it’s unfortunate because he’s been working hard with less, and one of the attractions with kids is the facilities.”  Along with football, the proposed training center would house 12 other Cal men’s and women’s sports teams.  “I don’t see the ruling as being a terrible setback. I see it being a hurdle that you more than likely have to face any time you do a project of this magnitude,” men’s soccer coach Kevin Grimes said. “Our recruiting is very good, and it’s very successful with what we’re doing currently.”  Todd Huber, a current high school senior who has verbally committed to play football for the Bears in the fall, cited other factors that influenced his decision.  “I always had a real big interest in Cal, and it came down to the coaches and I really liked the area,” Huber said.

Oakland Tribune: 49ers Should Look at Tedford


DATELINE: On shaky ground. Let's put 26 (the 49ers' offensive ranking last season) and 2.6 (the size of the earthquake required to topple Cal's Memorial Stadium) together and see where it gets us ...  

-Given the endless delays that now appear inevitable in the creation of Jeff Tedford's dream in Strawberry Canyon, shouldn't the 49ers be greasing the wheels for the Cal coach to be Norv Turner's replacement as offensive coordinator?  

-And if Tedford's long-term (short-term?) employment is no longer a sure thing, shouldn't Cal at least find out if Steve Mariucci would like to be a short-list candidate should his old gig come open again?

Fresno Bee: Giordano made it to NFL his way

By Matt James / The Fresno Bee02/01/07 05:10:21



That much confidence and understatement shouldn't fit into one body. Matt Giordano is Don King on the inside and Mr. Ah Shucks on the outside. With such conflicting forces, the guy should have tornadoes circling him.  This week in Miami, reporters asked Giordano how he and Indianapolis Colts are going to stop Bears returner Devin Hester, and here is a good time to pause and contemplate the fact that akid from Fresno is The Guy, Mr. Special Teams, the one suddenly deemed the head honcho in charge of stopping the most unstoppable return man in the NFL.  This Sunday. In the Super Bowl.  "It's been unreal," he says.

He can only blame himself. Giordano is the one who ran down New England kick returner Ellis Hobbs from across the field in the AFC Championship and saved a touchdown. The Patriots scored five plays later, but Giordano can't do everything.  "God gave me the speed and the strength to chase him down," he shrugs.  Sure, but there was also the fact that in sixth grade, Giordano had a disappointing track and field season — who knew a 12-year-old's sports season could be disappointing? — and so he took the plastic base off a swimming pool basketball hoop, filled it with sand and rocks, tied a rope to it and his waist, and proceeded to drag it around his parents' 21/2 -acre lot. Every day.

"I thought he was crazy," says his mother, Janet Giordano.  After two years, he had worn it out, and so he and his dad, Vic, built another sled out of pipe and weights. Maybe God makes fast, but Giordano made himself faster. "That's when it clicked, that hard work really does pay off," Giordano says.  Truth is, for all his downplaying, Giordano is Muhammad Ali at his core, thinks he can run down pretty much anyone in the NFL, though he did not tell anyone in the never-ending line of reporters that he would like to catch Hester. The Bears rookie did set the NFL record for most return touchdowns in a season and had one called back in the playoffs against Seattle.  "No. No I did not," Giordano says. "But I would like to do that."  Colts coach Tony Dungy, on the other hand, would probably not like Giordano chasing Hester from behind. At least not in the Super Bowl. Maybe next preseason, but not now. Ready for another great Giordano line? "I sometimes watch my diet," he says.

What he means is, he hasn't eaten anything within field-goal distance of unhealthy since last summer at an In-N-Out Burger in Fresno. In high school, his dad used to make these giant Italian dinners with pasta and sauces, but his son would say no thanks and boil a piece of poultry until the house stunk and it had the fat-content and general consistency of a rubber chicken.  He ate so many plain cans of tuna, the preacher who performed Giordano's wedding last March, "Pastor Fred," pulled out a Chicken of the Sea can in the middle of the ceremony and used it as an analogy. At the Mountain View Community Church in Fresno, where Giordano originally met Laura Enns of Clovis, Pastor Fred Leonard said the new couple should be as committed to their vows as Giordano had been to his diet all these years. Giordano's mom actually did research to see if eating that much tuna was bad for a person. His parents, like they always have, just sit back and watch in amazement. After Giordano didn't play much on the freshman team at Buchanan High, he went to the coaches and asked what he needed to do to be a starter. The kid would have been 110 pounds carrying a set of encyclopedias. They'd have laughed him out of the office if he hadn't been gritting his teeth.

After high school, he didn't get a single scholarship offer and the Giordanos figured that was it for football. But Giordano went to Fresno City College, where he was a lunch-pail kind of player. Literally. He brought a lunch every day, forced down protein to gain weight. In a game at Ratcliffe Stadium, Giordano ran down a returner from the other side of the field who had a 30-yard head start. He dragged him down at the goal line and even though it was a touchdown, Fresno City coach Tony Caviglia swears the tape of that play made Cal coach Jeff Tedford offer Giordano a scholarship when no one else did. "I don't remember that specific play," says Tedford, "but there's no question that when we watched him on tape we thought he would help us.

"He's a mentally, physically tough guy." So tough, in fact, that in a game at Southern Mississippi, Giordano's helmet was pulled around and his chin-strap nearly ripped his lip off his face. The doctor sewed him up with 40 stitches, doing the procedure in a dark gym, and Giordano could feel the whole thing. The deadening injection kept bleeding right out of his dangling bottom lip. They found one of his bottom teeth on the field and put it back in. It would be the one now turning brown. At an NFL tryout, Giordano tore his pec doing the bench press, then ran the 40-yard dash anyway, with one arm hanging to the side. "Yeah," says Fresno State coach Pat Hill, "we probably should have made him an offer." Of course his parents thought football was over after college, too, but it wasn't. He said he was going to the NFL and even his own agent warned them he might not get drafted. The Colts took him in the fourth round, so early his mom wasn't even watching TV when it came across. Her husband had to call from the other side of the house. "WHO took him in the fourth round?!" she yelled. You would think for an undersized, overlooked guy, just making the NFL would be enough, making the Super Bowl would be enough, but it never is. "He is bound and determined to be on this Colts defense," his mother says. "I don't know how he's going to get on this defense. But I will never say he can't. Not ever again."

Contra Costa Times: Cal stays in house for offensive coordinator

Tedford promotes line coach Michalczik to assume duties

By Jonathan Okanes

Cal football coach Jeff Tedford decided to go with continuity in hiring an offensive coordinator. Tedford announced Thursday that he's promoted offensive line coach Jim Michalczik to offensive coordinator. Michalczik replaces Mike Dunbar, who left the Bears after one season to take the same job at Minnesota.  Michalczik had been the offensive line coach for the first five seasons of Tedford's leadership at Cal.  "It's a great fit," Tedford said. "He's a guy who's been here from Day One. We've been through a lot together. To continue to have continuity on the staff and have a guy who is well-respected by the players and the coaching staff, it was a pretty natural fit."

Tedford was intrigued by Dunbar's knowledge of the spread offense, but he still retained much of his own offensive philosophy. The Bears incorporated some aspects of the spread offense, but Michalczik roots with Tedford's style may make him a better fit as offensive coordinator.  "We're always in the process of looking and finding new schemes," Tedford said. "Jim knows every game plan we've had the last five years. There are certain parts of the spread we still like, but it's great to know (Michalczik) has been here every year. We don't have to backtrack and teach someone new coming in."  Michalczik inherits an offense that has built quite a reputation under Tedford. The Bears are one of just five teams that have ranked in the top 25 in scoring nationally over the past five seasons. Cal returns seven starters to its offense next season, including explosive receiver DeSean Jackson and quarterback Nate Longshore. But the Bears will have to replace star running back Marshawn Lynch and offensive linemen Erik Robertson and Andrew Cameron. "I'm looking forward to spring ball to see what we can do, and how much we can get better," Michalczik said. "We're losing a few good players so we'll have to get some guys to step up. But we have some good players in spots, too. I'm really excited about the opportunity that Jeff is giving me."

Michalczik also will continue in his role as offensive line coach. Tedford also promoted Kevin Daft to quarterbacks coach. Daft had been a graduate assistant the past three seasons. Under last year's structure, Dunbar also was the quarterbacks coach. Tedford said he will remain heavily involved in game planning for the offense. Play-calling duties will be sorted out during the spring and summer. "Nothing is changing as far as how we game plan," Tedford said. "We always game plan all together, and that won't change. Jim will have more responsibility as far as organizationally and taking care of the day-to-day operations of how the offensive staff works."