Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Modesto Bee: Central Catholic lineman Galas switches commitment to Cal


Dominic Galas has gone from being a Beaver to a Golden Bear.  The 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound senior offensive lineman at Central Catholic High changed his non-binding commitment from Oregon State to Cal. Galas, who recently was named to the CalHiSports.com all-state football team, became a hot commodity following a strong performance in the CIF Division III State Championship Bowl Game in Carson.  That was when Cal offered Galas a scholarship. He's the No. 9-ranked center in the country, according to national recruiting Web site rivals.com.

Oregon State offered Galas a scholarship Nov. 9. He committed to the Beavers four days later.  "I was happy with Oregon State," Galas said. "They were the first school to offer me (a scholarship), and I liked the program. But when Cal offered, I wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision."  He visited Cal's campus Jan. 12. Four days later, Bears coach Jeff Tedford made a trip to Newman to watch Galas in a wrestling dual meet at Orestimba High. And last Friday, Galas told Tedford he was going to play for Cal.  "I grew up rooting for Cal and thinking I would someday play there," Galas said. "But even when I took the trip to Cal, I was still thinking Oregon State."

That changed when he set foot on campus.  "I looked around and I knew this was the place," Galas said. "I loved the school, loved the coaches. It's a second-to-none program." At Cal, Galas will learn behind incumbent center Alex Mack, voted the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10 as a junior.  Galas also becomes a legacy: His father, Tim, played on the line for Cal from 1979-82. The most difficult part of his decision was telling Oregon State's coaches he wouldn't be going to Corvallis.  “It was really tough telling them," Galas said. "I wish there was an easier way. But I feel going to Cal is the right decision. Once I saw the campus, everything just felt right. I'll be very happy at Cal."  Galas will sign his national letter of intent on Feb. 6, which is signing day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oakland Tribune: Top of the crop headed for USC

Monte Vista's McAllister voted top East Bay football prospect by college recruiters

By Mike Lefkow

Ever since he was a junior, perhaps before that, Monte Vista High star Drew McAllister was kind of expected to continue his football career at Cal.   He was a quarterback. His parents had gone there. His father, Ken, played football for the Bears under coach Mike White, lettering in 1976 and'77.  Cal coach Jeff Tedford's sons played football at Monte Vista.   But Drew McAllister had other plans. After narrowing his list of offers to five schools — Arizona, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington — the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder picked the Trojans.

McAllister stands tall as this year's top Cream of the Crop prospect. He didn't run away with the balloting, receiving six of 12 first-place votes from assistant coaches from the Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-10 and Western Athletic conferences who participated in the 26th annual survey. But McAllister won comfortably.

McAllister said USC and Cal both offered him at safety. Arizona, Oregon and Washington were willing to let him play quarterback.  McAllister explained that both of his parents are from Southern California and attended Cal, so he decided to reverse the process. "I have family down there," he said.   This marks the first time since De La Salle receiver Cameron Colvin picked Oregon in 2004 that Cal hasn't received an oral commitment from the East Bay's top prospect. Letter- of-intent day, the first day oral commits become binding, is Feb. 6.

While Cal apparently will make do without the Crop's top prospect, getting an oral commitment from Little should help Tedford sleep at night.   "He's a very good football player," a Big 12 recruiter said.  Little also is a very good student, sporting a 4.0 GPA, according to Castlemont coach James Barnes.  Little was recruited to Cal as a safety but could develop into a defensive end or tight end. The feeling among coaches surveyed for this year's Crop is that he probably doesn't have the speed to be a wide receiver in the Pac-10.

Even in a class that isn't as deep as usual, cutting to 20 was a chore. The toughest player to leave off was Oakland Tech's Myles Crawford-Harris.  "He has pretty good instincts, good ball skills, and he moves decently," a WAC coach said. "He is a good player."  Others hanging in until the final cut were Concord tight end Kevin Galindo, offensive lineman Blake Lebeau (James Logan) and Gabriel Hampton (Hercules), and San Ramon Valley linebacker Harmon Bruno.

Galindo is drawing   attention from several schools including Washington State, Lebeau has orally committed to Montana, Hampton has an offer from Southern University in Louisiana, and Bruno has been invited to walk on at Oregon.  

Read the entire article here.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wall Street Journal: The 247 pound Vegan

NFL star Tony Gonzalez is out to answer a question: Can a football player live entirely on plants?


The protein-rich bounty of the football training table is supposed to grow the biggest and strongest athletes in professional sports. Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Tony Gonzalez was afraid it was going to kill him. "It's the Catch-22," says Mr. Gonzalez, 31. "Am I going to be unhealthy and play football? Or be healthy and get out of the league?"

So last year, on the eve of the biggest season of his career, Mr. Gonzalez embarked on a diet resolution that smacked head-on with gridiron gospel as old as the leather helmet. He decided to try going vegan.  Living solely on plant food, a combination of nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains and the like, has long been the fringe diet of young rebels and aging nonconformists. Even the government recommends regular helpings of meat, fish and dairy. Vegans of late have gotten more hip with such best sellers as the brash "Skinny Bitch," and its more scholarly cousin, "The China Study." Both books argue vegans can live longer.  But could an all-star National Football League player, all 6-foot, 5-inches and 247 pounds of him, live on a vegan diet and still excel in one of the most punishing jobs in sports?

For Mr. Gonzalez, the stakes were high. He'd just signed a five-year contract, making him the game's highest-paid tight-end. Entering the 2007 season, his 11th in the NFL, he had a shot at breaking all-time NFL records for career receptions and touchdowns at his position. To do that, he needed top performances in every game. Mr. Gonzalez knew he was out on a limb. "I was like, 'I'm going to look like a fool if this doesn't work out,'" he says.

Mr. Gonzalez joined a handful of elite athletes who have put the vegan diet to the test, either for their health or because they oppose using animals as food. But he was the first pro-football superstar to try. And the first to fail.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Berkeley Daily Planet: Judge Affirms Order for Stadium Evidence

By Richard Brenneman

Lawyers challenging UC Berkeley’s plans for a gym next to Memorial Stadium must produce expert evidence to back their claim that the two buildings are really one.

That was the ruling Wednesday by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller, upholding a directive she issued in December.

Attorneys for the City of Berkeley and neighborhood and environmental groups challenging the university’s plans had contested the order, which had been supported by the university’s lawyers.  The litigation before the Hayward judge addresses the question of whether or not UC Regents acted legally when they adopted the environmental impact report for a range of stadium-area projects and approved funding for one of the projects, the Student Athlete High Performance Center (SAHPC). Challenging the regents are Stephan Volker, representing the California Oak Foundation and City Councilmember Dona Spring, Michael Lozeau for the Panoramic Hill Association, and Sacramento attorney Harriet Steiner for the City of Berkeley.

“We’re confident that the further evidence we will present in response to Judge Miller’s order will show that the SAHPC “is both an alteration of and an addition to California Memorial Stadium,” Volker said.  Lozeau agreed.  The issue is critical, because if Judge Miller finds the high-tech gym and office complex is a part of the stadium, then it would trigger cost limits imposed on additions and alterations to buildings within 50 feet of active earthquake faults.

The stadium itself sits directly over the Hayward Fault, deemed the Bay Area’s most threatening fissure by federal geologists, and the Alquist-Priolo Act limits additions and alterations to half the value of the existing building.  Just what the stadium’s value might be is another question altogether, with the university arguing for replacement value of a new stadium built to current building codes, while opponents say that current resale value should be the proper figure.

Judge Miller’s order sets a deadline of Feb. 22 for submission of the experts’ declarations, with responses due by March 3 and oral arguments set for March 7. A final ruling on the issue should come within 30 days.

“We welcome the opportunity to provide the court with this evidence,” said Dan Mogulof, executive director of UC Berkeley’s Office of Public Affairs.   “We are confident that engineering experts will confirm that in no way, shape or form is the Student Athlete High Performance Center an addition or alteration to California Memorial Stadium.”

Only Mogulof was willing to name an expert who would be presenting a statement. Among UC’s offering will be a declaration from Vice Chancellor Ed Denton.  Denton had fought the delay caused by the court action, stating that a year’s delay would cost $8 million to $10 million.  Asked about the additional delay caused by Miller’s decision to take more evidence after both sides had rested their cases, Mogulof said that “as frustrated as we are by the additional delay, we feel the benefits of providing the judge with additional evidence will far outweigh the costs.”

Meanwhile, in the grove of oaks and other trees which would fall to make way for the gym, a band of tree-sitters continues their vigil high in the branches in protest of the university’s plans. The tree-sit is now well into its fourteenth month, despite its encirclement by a ring of two fences erected by the university.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cal Athletics: Golden Bear Trio to Play In Senior Bowl on Saturday

DeCoud, Forsett and Hawkins Began Practice in Mobile on Monday

BERKELEY - A trio of California stars - running back Justin Forsett, defensive back Thomas DeCoud and wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins -- are among the 100 top senior NFL draft prospects participating in the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Alabama.

The California trio reported to Mobile this past weekend and had their first practice Monday afternoon. They are playing on the Under Armour Senior Bowl's North squad, which is being coached by Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff.   DeCoud, Forsett and Hawkins are three of six Golden Bears to earn invites to senior all-star games this postseason. Offensive tackle Mike Gibson and tight end Craig Stevens played in the 83rd East-West Shrine Game this past Saturday; and receiver Robert Jordan was the West MVP of the Cornerstone Hula Bowl two weeks ago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Coloradoan: Update on Shaun Carney

CARNEY ON THE MEND - Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney, who blew out his knee against California during the Armed Forces Bowl, still is in the healing process. Carney, playing in his last collegiate game, tore the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee and also suffered a dislocated kneecap. He has yet to have surgery but is getting to classes using crutches and a wheelchair.

San Francisco Examiner: Cal Won't Succeed Until Braun's Gone

(Not a lot of Cal football news lately, so I’m including this article on the basketball team).

Glenn Dickey

Coaching does make a difference. The Cal women’s basketball team, coached by Joanne Boyle, is first in the Pac-10 Conference with an 8-0 record (17-2 overall). Meanwhile, the men’s team, coached by Ben Braun, has sunk to ninth.  So at a recent boosters meeting, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was asked when she would hire a men’s coach who was the equivalent of Boyle.  Braun is reportedly still there because some alumni who donate heavily to the school’s athletic program support him. Can’t fault Barbour. These alums are important to the drive for improvements to Memorial Stadium. A successful football team brings in substantially more revenue than basketball.  The Bears’ decline has been accelerated by the improvement in conference coaching; coaches such as Ben Howland at UCLA, Herb Sendek at Arizona State and Tim Floyd at Southern Cal have significantly upgraded those programs.

The Bears are significantly outcoached in most games. One example: When coaches such as Howland, Sendek and Tony Bennett at Washington State call a timeout, their teams come back on the floor with a specific play which works. When Braun calls a timeout, his players come back on the floor looking confused.   Knowledgeable observers rate Braun as the ninth coach in the conference, mirroring his team’s status. Only Oregon State’s Jay John (who was fired on Monday) is worse — and only because he wasn’t able to recruit. When their talent has been equal, John outcoached Braun in games between the two teams.   The coaching difference is especially obvious when Cal plays UCLA. Howland’s team plays a ferocious, ballhawking defense for 40 minutes. The Bears play that way only in spurts.  In the Jan. 5 game at Berkeley, the Bears played tough defense for about 10 minutes early in the second half, making steals, batting away shots and passes and made a nice run to get back into the game.  Then, Braun switched to a zone defense! The Bruins knocked down a three and got back in control of the game.  Braun’s teams used to be known for a tight defense and sluggish offense. They’re running more this season, but they can still be shut down by good defensive teams like UCLA and Washington State because they don’t know how to penetrate inside and often wind up firing off-balance three-pointers.

Meanwhile, their defense has declined precipitously, yielding far too many offensive rebounds and three-pointers.  A big part of that is the failure of DeVon Hardin to advance much beyond his potential. Harden blocks shots but his poor defensive technique causes him to get in foul trouble early. He has no offensive game. It’s almost as if he’s never been coached.  Worst of all, Braun continues to point a finger of blame at his players, instead of taking personal responsibility. He spotlighted Hardin’s inconsistent play a couple of weeks ago. After the loss to Arizona on Saturday, Braun talked of a sequence when Jerome Randle had the ball stolen and then committed a foul on the other end.

“That was a poor decision,” he said. “Jerome is human and I know he’d like to have that one back, but it’s hard to put this on one person.”  But, of course, he did.  As the crowds continue to dwindle at Haas Pavilion, it’s hard to escape the reality of what’s happening. But until the alums with deep pockets acknowledge that reality, the necessary change won’t be made.


Daily Cal: Judge's Request May Delay Stadium Case


The final ruling in the lawsuits over the proposed development near Memorial Stadium may be delayed until mid-March, hinging on whether a judge deems additional expert evidence is required.   On Dec. 10, Judge Barbara Miller found that the proposed athletic center could be subject to the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act of 1972, which bans construction near active earthquake faults.  To help determine if the proposed athletic center is a separate structure from Memorial Stadium, Miller requested that the plaintiffs and defendants submit expert architectural evidence.  Shortly after Miller issued her December order, the Panoramic Hill Association and California Oak Foundation, two of the three plaintiffs in the case, asked the judge to reconsider her request, claiming she was violating precedent set by the California Supreme Court.

Plaintiffs argue that information considered by the judge in the case can only be the administrative record that was submitted to and considered by the UC Board of Regents when it approved the plan last December.  They contend that that record did not have enough information and the regents were therefore unable to make an adequately informed decision.  Any additional expert evidence would not be part of that record.  If it is a separate structure, as campus officials claim, the act would not apply because the proposed center would be more than 50 feet away from the fault.  Plaintiffs say the proposed center is not a separate structure and will be in violation of the act.  Campus officials say Miller’s request to submit further evidence would only make their case stronger.

“We knew we needed to have a separate building, said Dan Mogulof, the campus’s executive director of public affairs. We asked our architects to design a separate building.”  Miller is expected to rule on the plaintiffs’ request in the coming days. If she decides not to request further information, a final ruling in the case could be expected by mid-February.  Mike Kelly, a board member of the Panoramic Hill Association, said his group has already made contact with an architect to develop the evidence, but would not specify who had been contacted.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

San Jose Mercury: DeSean Jackson turns pro: Bad news for Cal, or good riddance?

By Jon Wilner

Here is the link (check out the comments by San Jose Mercury readers)

I can’t imagine many Cal fans are losing sleep over DeSean Jackson turning pro. Despite what he said about it being a difficult decision, everyone expected Jackson to leave school. It’s hardly a surprise.  And his lack of production/lingering injury/Big Game absence/attitude issues were major turnoffs to Old and Young Blues and to Cal football staffers.  But is his departure good for Cal? I don’t think we’ll know that until next fall, when we have a better sense for Cal’s quarterback situation.

Jackson considers himself a special player, a first-rate playmaker, and because of that he wants to make big plays. When he does make big plays, all is well. When he doesn’t make big plays, all is not well. He gets frustrated, or sulks, or does something to get suspended for the start of the Armed Forces Bowl.  That’s why I don’t think we can judge the impact of his departure until next fall.  If Nate Longshore/Kevin Riley/Brock Mansion look good, then we can assume Jackson would have been in position to make plays, be happy and help Cal win.  If the quarterbacks struggle, then we can assume there would have been minimal production from Jackson and resulting frustration.

Now, there’s one gaping hole in my theory:

To thrive, quarterbacks need quality receivers. And without Jackson and seniors Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins, Cal’s starting quarterback might not have much to work with.  In other words, Longshore/Riley/Mansion might look bad because of the WR situation, which could lead to the erroneous conclusion that Jackson’s departure was a good thing.  Basically, I don’t think there is a right answer to the question, Is Jackson’s departure good (bad) for Cal?  But I do know that without him, there won’t be any proven wideouts for Longshore/Riley/Mansion.  And when faced with the choices of having 1) no Jackson and no proven wideouts or 2) Jackson and potential attitude issues … well, there have to be HUGE attitude issues to make 1) the best option.

Bottom line: Winning makes everyone feel good, but to win, you need playmakers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SF Chronicle: Jackson Leaving Cal For NFL

Rusty Simmons
DeSean Jackson, an All-America receiver and returner, will forgo his final season of college eligibility at Cal and enter the 2008 NFL draft, he announced Tuesday via teleconference.  Jackson's on-field flare for the dramatic spilled over off it.  He waited until the deadline to announce a decision that most expected all along. Three years ago, he held both USC and Cal hats before choosing the Bears in a televised signing day announcement.  As of late Monday, Jackson's father, Bill, hadn't seen his son all day and wouldn't hazard a guess on his decision. Even Jackson's brother, Byron, said he never could get his brother to broach the subject in a series of video interviews.

Still, the decision appeared obvious to outsiders. Jackson, a 6-foot, 172-pounder who runs the 40-yard dash in sub-4.3 seconds, is expected to be picked in the first round of the draft. Scouts Inc. lists him as the nation's No. 11 overall prospect, and ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Jackson as the top junior receiver in the country.

Jackson ranks third all-time at Cal in receiving yards (2,423) and receiving touchdowns (22) and sixth in receptions (162). He has 28 touchdowns in 36 games, including a school- and conference-record six punt returns for scores, and he has 52 career plays of 20 yards or more - 23 percent of his 226 touches.  One of the country's most dynamic players, Jackson leaves a series of indelible images in his wake.

He scored on his first two collegiate touches, a 31-yard reception and a 49-yard punt return. Last season, he added a school- and conference- record with a highlight reel, 95-yard punt return touchdown against Arizona. This year, he added video-game-like moves to his repertoire, shaking a series of would-be tacklers on a 77-yard punt return against Tennessee and embarrassing Oregon with a stop-and-go move for his second touchdown catch of the day.

Jackson emerged in the national spotlight at Long Beach Poly High, where he was a Parade All-American, the MVP of the U.S. Army All-America Bowl and rated as a five-star prospect by every recruiting Web site.

With the graduation of fellow receivers Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins, Cal will be looking to fill a trio of productive slots. Freshman Michael Calvin sparkled on the scout team, redshirt freshman Jeremy Ross is considered a hard-to-find mix of size and speed and junior LaReylle Cunningham may have the best hands on the team.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Berkeley Daily Planet: Court Hears Arguments UC Suit

By Richard Brenneman

The courtroom battle over UC Berkeley’s stadium area projects has taken a new twist—arguments over whether or not a judge should gather critical new evidence.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled this afternoon (Friday) in a Hayward courtroom. The focus of the furor is the contention by plaintiffs challenging the university’s Memorial Stadium-area projects that the new high-tech gym planned along the stadium’s western wall is attached to the landmarked sports venue rather than a separate structure.

While the City of Berkeley, Panoramic Hill Association, the California Oak Foundation and other plaintiffs contend the buildings are attached, they don’t want Judge Barbara J. Miller to collect expert evidence on the issue. If the buildings are attached, the $125 million gym project would fall under the provisions of the Alquist-Priolo Act that limit additions or renovations of buildings within 50 feet of active earthquake faults.

Since the stadium itself sits directly atop the main trace of the Hayward Fault, a finding that the gym is attached to the stadium would sharply restrict the university’s plans—which include, in addition to the four-story gym and office complex, major renovations of the stadium itself.

Judge Miller issued an order Dec. 10, two months after attorneys made their final arguments, calling on both sides to present written declarations from experts addressing the question.  That triggered a flood of letters and briefs, with the plaintiffs opposing any move to introduce new evidence after both sides had rested their respective cases.

In a Dec. 26 letter to the judge, San Francisco attorney Charles R. Olson, the university’s outside counsel, argued that the state Evidence Code gives the court “discretion to accept extra-record evidence.”  Michael Lozeau, the attorney for the Panoramic Hill Association, said that the real issue before the court is not whether the structures are connected—though the plaintiffs contend that is, indeed, the case.  The real issue, he said, is the fact that UC Board of Regents failed to consider the issue when approving the project more than a year ago.  Construction of the gym was originally set to begin a year ago, but the lawsuit stalled the university’s plans. The planned cutting of a grove of Coastal Live Oaks led to an ongoing protest by tree-sitters which has now lasted more than 400 days.

SF Chronicle: Braun says Bears need more fight

(It’s slow today, so I’m including info on Cal’s basketball team, which apparently is still in rebuilding mode with new coach Ben Braun)

Rusty Simmons

Cal coach Ben Braun couldn't get a sequence of images out of his head, so he shared the haunting scenes from the Bears' 70-58 loss to UCLA on Saturday with his players.  "We rolled that film back 20 times," Braun said.  The video was a string of events from the first half's final four minutes, during which two Cal players looked on from the three-point line as UCLA grabbed four consecutive offensive rebounds and Kevin Love scored with a put-back.

Here is the link.



Contra Costa Times: Lupoi promoted to coach D-line

By Jonathan Okanes

Tosh Lupoi may seem a little young to be a defensive line coach at a major Division I program. But he doesn't seem quite as inexperienced when you consider he's spent over a quarter of his life as part of the Cal program.   Lupoi, 26, was promoted to defensive line coach earlier in the week when Ken Delgado left for Louisville. Lupoi, a De La Salle High School graduate, has been around Memorial Stadium since beginning his playing career in 2000.

"Even though it's an awesome position to be in at a young age, I've been around here for a while," said Lupoi, whose father, John, coached kickers and linebackers at Cal during the early 1970s. "It really seems comfortable because I've been here so long. So even though I don't have the position coaching experience, I'm not an outsider."

Lupoi wrapped up a six-year career at Cal in 2005 that was marred by a laundry list of injuries. He suffered through broken feet, broken hands, broken ribs and a torn-up knee that resulted in his being granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. After his playing days ended, he immediately became a graduate assistant coach, a position he held for the past two seasons.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

2008 Summary of Criminal Activity of Tree Sitters

January 2, 2004: Bradford Goshorn and Eric Goshorn served with a court order regarding Oak Grove protest site and excluded from campus for 7 days, Oak Grove.

January 4, 2008: Warrant sought for Reign McLeod for assault with a deadly weapon and 2 counts of violation of a court order.

January 6, 2008: Skyler Cable and Anthony Calderon cited for possession of marijuana at Memorial Stadium.

January 7, 2008: Suspects wanted for violation of court order.

The Redding Record: O'Callaghan, Rodgers aim to give back

By John Ryan

Ryan O'Callaghan wants to bring the Pac-10 to the north state.


He wants to give back. He wants to provide Redding athletes an opportunity to take their game to the next level -- and have their education paid for in the process.  The Redding native and right tackle for the New England Patriots struck a deal with former Cal teammate Aaron Rodgers this week.  O'Callaghan and Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers' backup QB and Pleasant Valley High grad, formed a nonprofit group to help aspiring college football players land scholarships.  Details are still in the works, but O'Callaghan wants a football clinic in Redding sometime this summer, likely early July.

Read the article here.

Cal's Greatest Quarterbacks

Signed photo of Kapp, Morton, Larson and Bartkowski available here.

Contra Costa Times: Cal's top lineman stays put

After weighing NFL, center Mack decides to return for senior season

By Jonathan Okanes

Cal center Alex Mack figured the best-case scenario is that he could go late in the first round or early in the second round of the NFL draft. He decided the best way to reach that best-case scenario is to return to Berkeley for his senior season.

Mack, a two-time All-Pac-10 first-team selection and finalist for the Rimington Award given to the nation's top center, said Tuesday he is coming back to Cal because he still wants to be a college student and there is more left to do, both personally and as a team.

"The NFL will always be there," Mack said. "I only have one more year to play college football. I got a lot of information that sounded really good. But I know I can improve my stock. One more year can make a big difference where I go, and another year of college football will be a fun experience for me."  Mack entered his name to be reviewed by NFL personnel evaluators and said he received a lot of positive feedback. That caused him to "flip-flop back and forth a little bit." Mack said he thought long and hard about both options but decided he'd be happier returning to the Bears.

Read the entire article here.

SF Chronicle: Mack staying in school

Cal center will wait year to enter NFL draft

Rusty Simmons

Junior center Alex Mack announced Tuesday that he will return to Cal, disregarding the NFL woos of a promised first-day pick.  "I kind of flip-flopped back and forth a little bit," Mack said "I thought long and hard about both options and what would be right for me, and it came down to coming back to Cal would be the best decision."

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Mack as the best junior center in the nation, and Todd McShay, the director of college football scouting for Scout Inc., mentions Mack as one of three examples of the perfect pass-blocker.  Mack more than held his own when he went head-to-head with USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who McShay projects as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Ellis had 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and six pass deflections this season. Against Mack, Ellis had zeroes in those three categories.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

SF Chronicle: Cal's Staff Gets a Shuffle

Tedford names new coaches

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Cal coach Jeff Tedford said during each of the season's final six weeks that the offseason would include a re-evaluation of every part of the program.  He didn't waste any time putting his promise into action.  Tedford announced a major overhaul to the coaching staff on Sunday, including the hiring of 49ers quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti as the Bears' quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator.  "The main reason for all of the realignment of the coaching staff is so that I can be more efficient with my head-coaching duties," Tedford said. "I can spend more time with a lot of things that weren't possible as the play-caller and with being so involved with the offense. ...

"Things weren't neglected. I always tried to keep my finger on the pulse of everything, but it's hard to do it all."  Along with Cignetti, Bay Area native Al Simmons was hired as defensive backs coach, quarterbacks coach Kevin Daft was moved to take charge of the receivers and graduate assistant Tosh Lupoi was promoted to defensive line coach.   Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Jim Michalczik got a title change to assistant head coach/assistant offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, defensive line coach Ken Delgado accepted a position at another school and receivers coach Dan Ferrigno and defensive backs coach R. Todd Littlejohn are no longer with the program.

It's still unclear if the Ferrigno and Littlejohn decisions were mutual.  "What difference does that make?" Tedford asked. "I don't know if that matters. I'd like to leave it at that."  Cal's mess of a season courts that type of confusion. The Bears went from 5-0 and No. 2 in the nation to an irrelevant team that lost six of seven and was forced to claw back from 21 points against a mid-major team to finish with a winning record.

The biggest win of the season was a 31-24 decision at Oregon on Sept. 29, but that victory also foreshadowed the ensuing freefall. Quarterback Nate Longshore sprained his ankle, missed the Oregon State loss the next week and threw one fourth-quarter touchdown to eight interceptions the rest of the way. He was replaced in Cal's 42-36 comeback win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl by redshirt freshman Kevin Riley, who was supposed to take a couple of series but instead snatched MVP honors.  "I feel confident that we have a stable of strong quarterbacks that we feel confident in," Tedford said. "Competition is good and healthy. As with all of the positions, it's nice to know that we have some (competition) there." Cignetti takes charge of an offense that sputtered in the second half of the season and found its way only when the backup created a quarterback controversy in the bowl game. "What you do is go into spring ball and you coach and demand that your players prepare to perform," said Cignetti, who says he is excited about returning to college football. "What it really comes down to is performance, but you treat them all the same."


Cignetti, 42, brings 19 years of coaching experience from the NFL (49ers, New Orleans and Kansas City) to the college ranks. His time (2002-05) at Fresno State, along with recent conversations, is what impressed Tedford, a Fresno State graduate.

During his four years in Fresno, Cignetti's offense twice finished among the nation's top 10 in scoring and third-down conversions. In 2004, the Bulldogs averaged 52.8 points a game during the final six games and became only the sixth team in a Division I-A history to score 50 or more points in four consecutive games.

"He brings a lot of energy," said Tedford, who has backed away from play-calling. "You're going to see a guy who loves football and is fired up. ... Not only is he knowledgeable, but he loves ball." There was a rumor that started in Internet chat rooms and made it into print that former Fresno State quarterback and current 49ers backup Trent Dilfer was in the running for Cal's offensive-coordinator job.

"I don't where that came from," Tedford said. "Trent is a very good friend and we talk football all the time, but ... as far as Trent doing this, I don't know where that came from." The coaching changes were essentially the first phase of the re-evaluation process that follows a topsy-turvy season. Tedford said evaluation of offensive and defensive schemes, recruiting and day-to-day operations remain. He also said he doesn't expect anything out of the norm as far as player turnover.

"What are the fine lines between winning and losing?" Tedford asked. "It's such a fine line between a 10-win and a seven-win season. What are the things that will make us better and put us over the top?  "It was a learning experience for us this year to not be on the winning side of some of those games. We need to take a strong look at that."   The coming month might not establish tangible changes in schematics, recruiting or day-to-day operations, but by Jan. 15, receiver DeSean Jackson and center Alex Mack have to announce whether or not they'll be early entries into the NFL draft.

"I've spoken with them," Tedford said. "I'm supportive of what they want to do. I'm trying to do my best to inform them on the process and the pros and cons of both sides.  "They'll sit down with their families. I don't think either of them has made up (his) mind, but in the next week, they will."  Then there's Longshore, who went from being one of the country's best junior quarterback to an afterthought on New Year's Eve. He has the option of declaring for the draft, going on a Mormon mission or coming back to Berkeley and competing for a starting job. "I talked with him after the bowl game in the locker room and congratulated him on the win," Tedford said. "I'm going to be on the phone to players after the holiday break. I'll talk to him in a couple of days."

Mercury News: Cal's Tedford hires offensive coordinator


Cal Coach Jeff Tedford gave up his role as play-caller Sunday, hiring Frank Cignetti as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.   Cignetti spent last season as the 49ers' quarterbacks coach and has 19 years of experience at the college and professional level. Offensive-line coach Jim Michalczik had the title of offensive coordinator last season, but Tedford called the plays.

Tedford also announced the hiring of Al Simmons as defensive-backs coach and the promotion of Tosh Lupoi from graduate assistant to defensive-line coach. Kevin Daft switches from quarterbacks coach to wide-receivers coach.  "The main reason for all this realignment of the staff is so I can be more efficient with my head-coaching duties - spend more time with a lot of things," Tedford said. "Right now as the play-caller, I kind of get so involved with the offense. I want to be able to have a chance to do some things with the defensive players and special teams."

The Bears (7-6) lost six of their final seven games before beating Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. Tedford said he was going to evaluate everything about the program.  "It wasn't that I was neglecting anything," he said. "I always try to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on. It's hard to do it all. I don't have any regrets about anything this year as far as that is concerned. I just feel like I could probably be more efficient."

Tedford said he and Cignetti have a lot in common in terms of football philosophy. They also share a common former job - each was the offensive coordinator at Fresno State, Tedford's alma mater.  "The bottom line is my wife and I missed college football," Cignetti said. "We missed the passion and the spirit of the college game, and also the opportunity to help student-athletes develop their life skills."

Shaun Carney Update

This site has gotten numerous hits in regard to Shaun Carney’s condition. (Carney is the quarterback for the Air Force Academy who was injured in the Armed Forces Bowl).  I just got off the phone with the Air Force Academy’s Athletic Office.  Carney is currently being treated for “pain and swelling” for a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament).  The cadets are returning from leave this week, and an MRI will then be performed.  Once the swelling goes down surgery will be scheduled.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Joe Ayoob: QB in Arena Football League 2

The blog “The Raw Feed” reports that the Central Valley Coyotes were “assigned” quarterback Joe Ayoob.

The Coyotes, who led the af2 in scoring offense in 2007, “added depth to the quarterback position recently, with the assigning of former Cal and City College of San Francisco signal caller Joe Ayoob. Ayoob was a JUCO All-American at City College of San Francisco in 2004 and led the Rams to a California State title in that season. In limited action throughout his two seasons at Cal, Ayoob threw for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns.”

“I coached against Joe when CCSF so I know how good he is,” said Coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. “He is just the kind of QB that can carry on the tradition at the QB spot we’ve had the last few years.”


Ayoob last saw action on Thanksgiving, when he threw two touchdowns and three interceptions against his nieces and nephews at his family’s annual Thanksgiving day football game.  No word on where Justin Vedder and J Torchio are now playing.


Contra Costa Times: With coaches staying, QBs are on hot seat

Eric Gilmore

Losing or underachieving football teams often choose one of the two paths after examining the wreckage of a rough season.

1) Fire the coach.

2) Choose a new starting quarterback.

The 49ers, Raiders, Cal and Stanford all struggled this season but bypassed option No. 1.

The 49ers' Mike Nolan, the Raiders' Lane Kiffin, Cal's Jeff Tedford and Stanford's Jim Harbaugh all survived, and of the four, only Nolan was in real jeopardy of a pink slip.  So that brings us to option No. 2 and this question: What are the odds that at least three and maybe all four of those teams will have new starting quarterbacks next season?  Let's just say they're almost as good as the odds that A's general manager Billy Beane will make another trade in his lifetime.

You don't need to call the football psychic hotline to predict a quarterback change for the Raiders. Kiffin has already anointed JaMarcus Russell as his starter for 2008.  So that's one down. Let's turn to the other three teams and guesstimate the chance each of them has of making a quarterback switch:

CAL: 90 percent

Incumbent starter Nate Longshore will try to hold off up-and-coming Kevin Riley. But after Riley's near flawless performance at the Armed Forces Bowl, this is really his job to lose.  Riley came off the bench with Cal trailing Air Force 21-0 and led the Bears to a 42-36 win, earning MVP honors. He flirted with perfection. He completed 16 of 19 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He ran for a score.

Even before the game, Cal coach Jeff Tedford had said the quarterback job would be wide open at spring practice.  Not that it probably matters to Tedford, but he might have a fan revolt if Riley isn't the starter Aug. 30 when the Bears open the 2008 season at home against Michigan State.

Plenty of Old Blues are furious at Tedford for not making the switch at quarterback months ago when Longshore was hobbling on a sore ankle and Cal's promising season was going down the drain.  Loyalty and consistency are laudable, to a point. But in this case, Tedford needed to make a bold move and switch quarterbacks. He surely realizes that now.  Longshore has the edge in experience. He has a big arm. And he led the Bears to five straight wins to open the season before being injured. So you have to give him a puncher's chance of winning this fight.  But Riley has an equally strong and maybe even more accurate arm. He's also a much more mobile quarterback than Longshore. And in his brief action this season, he proved to be a confident, charismatic leader.

Read the entire article here.

AP: Cal hires new OC as part of staff shakeup

Jeff Tedford wants to concentrate on being a head coach next season, so he's changing the structure of California's coaching staff to give him more time to be in charge.   Tedford shuffled his assistants Sunday, most notably hiring Frank Cignetti as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He also hired Al Simmons as defensive backs coach, reassigned three assistants and announced the departure of three others, including respected defensive line coach Ken Delgado.

Tedford clearly has rethought every aspect of his program after his most disappointing season in six otherwise successful years with the Golden Bears. Cal finished 7-6 with a victory in last week's Armed Forces Bowl, a dismal end to a season that began with a 5-0 start and a No. 2 national ranking.

"It wasn't that I neglected anything," Tedford said. "I try to keep my finger on the pulse of everything going on, but it's hard to do it all. ... It's a good time to look at everything we do and make sure it's fresh for the players, and upbeat."

Read the entire article here.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Contra Costa Times:Two football assistants out at Cal


Cal football coach Jeff Tedford promised to evaluate every aspect of his program following a disappointing 7-6 season, and it appears he isn't wasting much time making some changes.   Tedford is believed to have fired wide receivers coach Dan Ferrigno and defensive backs coach R. Todd Littlejohn. A source said the moves weren't official yet, but Ferrigno confirmed Friday he was departing.  "I'd just like to pursue some other things. I'll leave it at that," he said.

Ferrigno, 54, has over 30 years of coaching experience. He's been on Cal's staff on three separate occasions -- 1980-81, 1996-99 and the past two seasons. Littlejohn, 42, joined the Bears last season and also has coached at UCLA, Syracuse and San Jose State.  Cal went 6-6 during the regular season after starting the year 5-0 and moving up to No. 2 in the national rankings. The Bears had to beat Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl to avoid Tedford's first losing season in six years at Cal.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Video of Shaun Carney's Knee Injury

Warning: this is pretty gruesome. Sad way for a great quarterback to go out.

Details on the Air Force Quarterback's Injuries

Note from blogger: It took some digging, but I finally found an article discussing what appeared to be a gruesome injury to Air Force Academy Quarterback Shaun Carney.  The lower leg appeared to have bent at a 45 degree angle.  Once he was assisted from the field, television cameras initially showed him simply lying on a stretcher watching the game, but he soon was covered in blankets surround by medical personnel, in such pain that he was biting a towel.  Here’s the article.


Falcons fall in aftermath of fallen leader's injury

By Woody Paige

The Denver Post

Shaun Carney's career was finished with 3:04 left in the third quarter.  And Air Force's season was finished.

Carney was carried away slowly from the sideline on a stretcher in the fourth quarter. A few minutes later, Air Force walked out of Amon Carter Stadium slowly, saddened by the loss of a game, but more so over the loss of their fallen leader.  "Shaun is hurting," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.  Initially, the announcement was that Carney had sustained a sprained right knee. I'm no doctor, but I play one in the press box, and my diagnosis was the injury was much more serious.  "He has a torn ACL," the coach said.

There are no more games to play for the future officer, who completed his first solo flight in July.  The Falcons' field general commanded the same respect from his men as did Gen. Robert E. Lee. The Quarterback's favorite book is "Leading With The Heart." He does.  Carney is the only quarterback in academy history to start his first game as a freshman and every game as a sophomore, junior and senior. He is the Falcons' all-time leader in total yardage.  The most prominent member of Cadet Squadron 2 scored the first touchdown of the Armed Forces Bowl and threw for the second. The 22-year-old, high-flying Carney had run for 108 yards and passed for 68 when Air Force, ahead 24-21, was confronted with third down at the California 1-yard line. As usual, in tough, tight times, Air Force went to the option. Carney could keep, or he could toss. He chose to keep. He was slammed, and his right leg was bent horribly in an unnatural direction.

Carney went down at the 1 and slammed his fist on the turf.  He was done, and though Air Force kicked a field goal to go up 27-21, the Falcons soon came undone. By the end of the third quarter, the Falcons trailed, and they were behind 42-30 before scoring a late touchdown.  In a span of 23 hours I watched two of the state's schools both lose by six points in bowl games. This was more difficult for Air Force than Sunday night's defeat was for Colorado at the hands of Alabama. The Buffs came back from a 27-0, second-quarter deficit. The Falcons gave up a 21-0 advantage.  Air Force's option confused and confounded Cal early and often. The Bears were bared on the Falcons' first three possessions, but settled down in the second quarter and cut the lead to seven by halftime.  As one of the CU players was saying a few hours earlier in Shreveport, La.: "Bowls always seem to be very weird in the beginning. You don't know which team is going to come out in overdrive."  Before 40,905 — a majority representing the United States Air Force — on the campus of TCU (a team the Falcons beat in overtime this season), the Zoomies were driving over Cal even when the Bears were driving back.  Then Carney's wicked injury silenced the masses, stunned the Falcons. He was helped up and to the bench by two trainers, then lay prone, covered by blankets, on two equipment bins. Teammates filed by.  Shea Smith replaced Carney, but he couldn't really. He had appeared in an understudy's role in six games in two years, but had never thrown a college pass in anger. He completed four on New Year's Eve and guided the Falcons to the one late touchdown. Smith does get a head start on starting next season.

Carney had been concerned before this season that despite his gawky numbers the past three years, he didn't own the victories of his worthy predecessors — Marty Louthan, Dee Dowis, Bart Weiss, Blane Morgan. The Falcons had won just five, four and five games — without a bowl.  However, under the new coach, Calhoun, and an offense that featured more passing — Carney's forte — he joined his predecessors with nine victories and an invitation to play in the appropriately named Armed Forces Bowl. He was on the way Monday to directing Air Force to its most triumphant season since 1998. He was on his way to being the MVP of the bowl.  It shouldn't have to end this way for Carney.  But, still, he had flown into the Wild Blue Here and Yonder.  Shaun Carney is the right stuff our military is made of.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Daily Cal: No Doubt About It: Riley's Ready for Starting Role

BY Gerald Nicdao

I’m not going to call this a controversy. To me it’s almost set in stone. Almost.  But what redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Riley did for the Cal football team against Air Force was almost perfect.  How close to perfect was he? Riley had nine drives where he took snaps from under center. Of those nine drives, the Bears scored six touchdowns.  Riley attempted 19 passes on the day. He only missed on three of them and one of those misses was on a Hail Mary attempt that hit wideout Lavelle Hawkins on the shoulder.  Riley finished the day with 269 yards passing and three touchdowns. He was on fire. He was having fun. And he definitely at least has put his name into the hat regarding who coach Jeff Tedford calls on next season to be his signal caller.  “He definitely put himself, if he’s not the front-runner, in the mix,” senior wideout Robert Jordan said. “He’s the man right now. He’s the MVP. It’s going to be a bright future for the Bears.”

For Riley, leading Monday’s come-from-behind win may have had an air of redemption. After all, he was the quarterback who was taking the snaps in Cal’s first loss of the year. He was that guy who did not throw the ball away in the waning seconds of the Bears' loss to Oregon State that prevented Cal from securing the No. 1 spot in the country.  But Monday, Riley got his revenge. Nothing will be able to get that loss against the Beavers back, but he took a huge step toward proving that he belongs as the quarterback of team that was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country this year.

“I just kept my head up after the Oregon State game,” Riley said. “The team had trust in me. Everyone was backing me up when I went in and they said to do your thing.”  Sure, Riley did have some advantages over starter Nate Longshore. Riley was able to play with the usual wide receiver rotation as DeSean Jackson and Jordan were both suspended in the first quarter.  Longshore did have an efficient outing, throwing only three incompletions—one of them a drop that would have given the Bears a first down in the red zone.  But what Riley did was show some moxie. Seven of his passes went for over 15 yards, including three that went over 30. He hooked up with Jordan for a 31-yarder and 52-yard completion and threw a 40-yard bomb to Jackson in the end zone.  On that 31-yard completion to Jordan, Riley threaded the ball in between three Air Force defenders to find his receiver.  There was no way that Riley was going to come out of the game. Tedford wanted to give Riley at least one series on Monday. But after watching Riley perform, there was no chance that Tedford was going to replace him.  “We said at the end of the first quarter we were going to play Kevin a little bit,” Tedford said. “We felt he had the hot hand and had a pretty good feel, so we left him in.”

Even Riley couldn’t pin all the success on himself. After the game, while he was receiving his MVP award, his teammates were cheering him on—hootin’ and hollerin’, as they say here in Texas.  But it was those same teammates that Riley pinpointed as the reason for his great performance.  “The team played well and that’s the reason why I played well,” Riley said. “I had all the time in the world to throw. The receivers were open and they made all the catches. It was a whole team effort.”  And that’s the type of guy that you want to lead your football team. It isn't just that he said the right things, but that his teammates were around him, supporting him.  There’s no controversy, at least not yet. Let’s just call it a friendly competition between Riley and Longshore.  But Riley, after this performance today, has got to have the inside track for that starting spot next year.  If he can do what he did against Air Force in spring ball and in fall camp, then we all know who should be the starter next year. Is there any doubt in your mind?

Contra Costa Times: Cal set for some major reflection

Tedford wishes he had given Riley and other backups more action

By Jonathan Okanes

It was just one narrow win over a midmajor opponent, but there were elements of Cal's victory over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl that provided hope.   But coach Jeff Tedford said no matter what would have happened in Monday's game, the program was ready to go through some major reflection this offseason.   "I think it will give us a good feeling going into the offseason, but win or lose today it's going to be a very tough spring because we're evaluating everything we are doing," he said after the Bears' 42-36 win over the Falcons. "We're really going to get after it pretty good this spring."   The emergence of Kevin Riley, success with a 3-4 defensive alignment and the play of some younger players on defense were some of the encouraging developments during the Bears' win. But the bottom line is Cal dramatically fell below expectations this season, and the way it did is what really should give Tedford pause.

Turnovers, penalties and untimely mistakes were the culprits in almost every Cal loss. Tedford likely will start his offseason evaluation by looking in the mirror and determining what he could have done to stem the tide when the losses started piling up.   The famous air mattress in Tedford's office got some extra work this season as he put ineven more time than usual trying to solve the mystery of his team's slide. The lack of sleep was evident as he coughed his way through the final six weeks of the season.  Tedford was reluctant most of the season to make major changes because he felt his body of work at Cal spoke for itself. He seems to have backed off that now, realizing that something was amiss during the season's final two months, and it's time to figure out what it was.

Certainly, Tedford will evaluate his personnel and schemes, but some of the reflection likely will focus on intangibles such as leadership style, coaching structure and practice culture.   He started as soon as Monday's game ended, second-guessing his decision not to give Riley and other second-stringers more playing time earlier in the season.  "Maybe through the season we should have done that more at a lot of positions, not just the quarterback position. If there is one thing, looking back on it — give a tackle a series or two in a game just to create some depth."  Tedford entered the 2007 season at peace with his quarterback play. Nate Longshore was a returning starter who had emerged as one of the best at his position in the Pac-10. But Longshore fell below expectations, and couldn't get back on the field after Riley took over against Air Force. Tedford acknowledged afterward there will be an open competition for the position, starting in the spring.  Riley downplayed his performance Monday when asked if he sent a message for 2008, preferring to focus on the team's accomplishment.   "I think so, but I think our team made a statement too, just coming back and winning," he said. "I just thought about it as winning the bowl game. I'm going to play as hard as I can, and hopefully I'll get that spot."

Whoever plays quarterback is going to have to introduce himself to new wide receivers. Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan are seniors, and there's a good chance junior DeSean Jackson will leave for the NFL draft. If Jackson goes, LaReylle Cunningham will be the only returning receiver who has caught a pass in a game. He has eight career receptions in three years. Freshman Michael Calvin,  who redshirted the season, should step into the starting lineup immediately. Jeremy Ross also could be ready to contribute. Nyan Boateng is a potential wild card — he's a megatalented transfer from Florida, but his status is up in the air after running into legal trouble last summer.  The Bears also have to replace tailback Justin Forsett, who just completed one of the best seasons in school history. Forsett amassed 1,546 rushing yards — the second-best ever mark at Cal — and tied the school standard with 15 rushing touchdowns. Luckily for the Bears, they have a slew of talented young backs, with Jahvid Best and James Montgomery the favorites to become the No.1 guy.

The Bears also have to replace the left side of their offensive line — left tackle Mike Gibson and left guard Brian De La Puente are leaving — but have quality depth. Tight end Craig Stevens also is departing after a disappointing senior season, but Cameron Morrah is ready to take over.

Cal doesn't lose much on defense, but coordinator Bob Gregory will have to find a way to improve his unit's effectiveness. Gregory's teams usually are among the Pac-10's best in scoring defense, but fell to sixth this year (26.0 ppg). The most significant loss is at free safety, where leading tackler Thomas DeCoud will take his talents to the NFL. Look for Brett Johnson or freshman D.J. Campbell to fill the void.

The Bears have most of their top linebackers coming back — Zack Follett, Anthony Felder, Worrell Williams, Michael Mohamed and Eddie Young — with redshirts D.J. Holt and Devin Bishop ready to contribute. Gregory may increase his use of the 3-4 to get more of his most talented group on the field.

Syd'Quan Thompson is back at one corner, but for the second year in a row there will be a battle for the other side. Brandon Hampton is gone, and freshman Chris Conte, who started three games this year, is the leading candidate to take his place. He could be pushed by Darian Hagan, who disappointed this season.

Cal loses Matt Malele and John Allen on the defensive line, and will need its younger down linemen to make more of an impact. Rulon Davis can be a force when healthy, and should start on the end along with Tyson Alualu or Cameron Jordan. Derrick Hill should be a mainstay inside, but the Bears will need to find someone to play alongside him.

Jordan Kay was inconsistent as an emergency replacement for Tom Schneider at kicker, and the Bears will need him to improve his range and accuracy next season. Bryan Anger will take over for Andrew Larson as punter.