Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UC Berkeley: Temporary Seismic Improvement Work at Memorial Stadium

Excavation for Student-Athlete High Performance Center Underway

BERKELEY - The University of California will implement temporary seismic improvements in California Memorial Stadium as design work for the comprehensive retrofit and modernization of the stadium continues. Construction and installation of the new, interim measures will begin in late April and will be completed prior to the 2009 football season.

In order to assure the life safety of fans and daily occupants, the project will add temporary steel interior braces on the north and south ends of the bowl, where the Hayward fault intersects the stadium. In addition, a temporary covered walkway will be built in the north tunnel as well as at one end of the south tunnel, and the existing scoreboard towers that rise above the stadium's rim will be braced and reinforced. While the impact on the game-day experience is expected to be minimal, Cal football fans and daily occupants will notice changes in the stadium and should be prepared to navigate the modified concourse walkways on the north and south ends.  San Francisco-based Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc., one of the nation's leading structural and earthquake engineering firms, was responsible for the project's design. The construction plans have also been reviewed and approved by the university's Seismic Review Committee.  According to campus officials, design work on the permanent retrofit and renovation project, known as "Stadium West," continues to advance towards completion. Current planning calls for "Stadium West" construction to begin in 2011.


Construction at the site of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center adjacent to Memorial Stadium is well underway, with the excavation and shoring process expected to last approximately four months.  Steam lines serving Memorial Stadium have already been moved, and the relocation of utilities, electrical and communications lines and domestic and fire water lines will be finished in mid-May.  The wall shoring, just outside the historic west wall of the stadium, will require the drilling of nearly 300 30-inch holes as much as 40 feet into the soil, followed by concrete back-fill into each hole with the insertion of steel I-beams into every third hole. Overall, nearly 70,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed in the excavation.  Construction crews are excavating in five-foot increments, starting at the south end of the stadium and working north. Once they reach the bottom, they will start installing utilities, as well as sewer, water and drainage lines before beginning work the foundation for the building.  The Student-Athlete High Performance Center, a 142,000 square-foot facility will provide locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for football and 12 of Cal's Olympic sports. It will also house a state-of-the-art training, applied sports science and medicine complex for year-round access by approximately 450 student-athletes and staff. The building is due to be finished in the fall of 2011.


Hopefully this link will take you to a slide show of progress.

Sports Illustrated: Injuries won't keep Cal speedster Best from Heisman-worthy season

By Cory McCartney


With Jahvid Best physically unable to participate in Cal's spring practices while rehabbing from foot and elbow surgeries, running backs coach Ron Gould thought up a solution to keep his star tailback sharp: visualization. "At the beginning, I didn't really understand it," Best said. Gould gave Best a script of each day's practice and asked the junior to mentally put himself through the same drills and snaps his teammates were performing. "I started doing it and I saw that it was helping me be mentally prepared," Best said, "so when I physically can go I'll be there mentally and physically." Even if he initially thought it was all mumbo-jumbo, Best has learned that when Gould talks, he's wise to listen. In 12 years in Berkeley, Gould, the running backs guru, has developed a laundry list of NFL draftees, tutoring the likes of J.J. Arrington, Adimchinobi Echemandu, Justin Forsett, Marshawn Lynch and Tarik Smith. When Gould discusses what separates his latest star pupil from the Bears' backs of the past, that track record gives his words a certain gravitas. "The one thing that stands out is exceptional quickness and speed," Gould said.

That quickness and speed helped the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder turn his first high school touch into a 67-yard touchdown and later helped him win the California high school 100-meter title. That quickness and speed turned his Yale Blue and California Gold uniform into a shade of green last season when he rattled off 10 touchdowns of at least 20 yards and six of at least 60 yards. That quickness and speed make him one of the best bets to crack the returning Heisman Trophy finalists' quarterbacks' party. That quickness and speed make it fairly certain that, unlike last season, he'll be impossible to ignore in 2009. Chalk it up to East Coast bias, or the fact that Pac-10 teams aside from USC rarely make news unless they make it against the Trojans, but Best largely operated under the radar during his spectacular sophomore season. As a first-year starter, Best led the nation with 215.5 all-purpose yards per game, ran 194 times for 1,580 yards and 15 scores while averaging 8.1 yards per carry and even ran back a kick 54 yards for a TD. "He plays fast all the time," Gould said. "We always talk about in the film room how you want to play like the film is being sped up. I've been fortunate to watch him and actually see that come to fruition. When you look at the film you see his turnover is second to none." It wasn't until the end of the 2008 regular season, when Best ran for 311 yards and four TDs in two-and-a-third quarters against lowly Washington and then piled up 186 yards and two touchdowns in an Emerald Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.), that the nation seemed to notice. That attention deficit explains why Best didn't appear on the AP All-America teams as either a running back or an all-purpose player and why he finished behind Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers in the Pac-10 Player of the Year race despite running for 327 more yards and four more touchdowns. (Rodgers, however, did reach that one plateau for Pac-10 stardom by running for 186 yards and two TDs against USC, while Best managed just 30 yards against the Trojans.)

Not everything about Best's season escaped notice, of course. An infamous YouTube clip surfaced after Cal played Maryland, and we're not talking about the Benny Hill parody highlight reel. Best vomited after Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes' vicious (and legal) hit -- a lowlight made even lower considering the game was nationally televised. Two versions of the clip have combined for over 70,000 views, and he's had a hard time living down the hit and its aftermath. "If I haven't seen a friend in a while he'll come up and just mock me and act like he's throwing up," Best said. Best tends to shy away from watching himself spew green Gatorade and instead spends his viewing hours watching his "idol," Reggie Bush. Best often watches tape of the dynamic former USC Trojan and current New Orleans Saint to "watch what he does and try to get into his mind." The admiration is fitting, consider Best has been compared to Bush since he was a sophomore in high school for his ability to turn a sliver of daylight into six points. Former Cal star DeSean Jackson went so far as to nickname him "Little Bush."

But while he's open to drawing inspiration from Bush, Best isn't trying to live up to Bush's legacy. "I don't want to follow in anybody's foot steps, I want to make my own way," Best said. "But there are a lot of things that you can learn from other people that can help you get to where you want to be." Best, of course, wants to be on the same ground his idol walked when he won the Heisman in 2005. Best is open about his desire to win the stiff-armed trophy, but maintains that desire stems from a team, not individual, mindset. "It's obviously a goal of mine ... If I win that, it means I'm really helping my team," he said. It's that very approach which makes Gould gush. When Best arrived in Berkeley as a four-star prospect out of Salesian (Richmond, Calif.), Forsett was already entrenched as the featured back, so Best became a special teams maven, recording a team-high 12 tackles and recovering a fumble. "The one thing that stands alone is his humility and his work ethic," Gould said. "Those two things you couldn't ask for in a young man of his magnitude and his talent. Coming in he told me 'Anything I can do to help the team.' You don't find that many guys with the accolades that he received, the notoriety, [the] publicity. He's extremely unselfish."

If there's a knock on Best, though, it's his durability. As a freshman he suffered a hip injury that sidelined him for the last three games of the season. In '08 he missed a game with a dislocated elbow. He required two surgeries in an eight-day span in January, which kept him out this spring. He said he began running nearly two weeks ago and is "about 85 percent." He expects to be back to full health by the time preseason camp opens. "I know a lot of people say I'm not durable and things like that," Best said. "That's something I have to work on and actually pray on because sometimes it's not in your hands, just freak accidents happen. Sometimes you don't have control of it. I just have to put myself in position to not get hurt again." In an attempt to make it through the entire '09 campaign, Best has added bulk, putting on seven pounds (he played at 193 pounds last season) and working on his flexibility with a daily course of stretching. But don't expect to see Best carry the ball 400 times this season, not with fellow speedster and rising talent Shane Vereen, a redshirt sophomore who ran for 715 yards and four TDs in '08, in the backfield. Gould, for one, isn't worried about pinpointing a magic number of carries to keep Best healthy, but rather with simply finding ways to get the ball into his game-changer's hands. "It's our [job] to come up with creative ways to try and get him touches and that's what we try to do," Gould said. "I think in a lot of ways you get excited about having a kid of his magnitude and his talent and knowing he has the ability at times to take a game over." If there's one thing Gould knows, it's running backs, so when he talks, we'd all be wise to listen.


Minneapolis Star Tribune: 2009 Gophers Football: Post-Spring Schedule Breakdown

By “Doogie” Wolfson



Sept. 19, host California - "The Bears defense, dare we say it, in a conference lorded over by USC, might actually end up as the Pac-10’s best unit."

ESPN's Ted Miller

Pack a lunch! The Golden Bears have a chance to be really good. They will have a new signal-caller - either Kevin Riley or Brock Mansion. But they won't have a new tailback. Jahvid Best is the leading rusher in the country among returning players. He did have offseason foot and elbow surgeries. They return 17 starters (7 off., 8 def., 2 special teams). If this team has a weakness, it very well could be its receiving corp.

Final Verdict: LOSS (2-1)

Santa Clarita Signal: Longshore bound for Miami

By Cary Osborne

It appears that Canyon graduate Nate Longshore does have a destination.  According to various media reports, including one from the San Francisco Chronicle, the former Cal quarterback will try out for the Miami Dolphins at their rookie training camp. A message to Longshore was not returned, but a family source confirmed that he is flying to Miami today.

Longshore played in all 13 games in 2008 for Cal, throwing for 1,051 yards with 10 touchdowns to four interceptions. But his career took its share of turns. The 6-foot-5-inch, 233 pound quarterback earned the starting quarterback job in 2005 as a redshirt freshman, but injured his ankle in his debut.

Nonetheless, he bounced back in 2006 to throw for 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns. Longshore was named co-MVP of the 2006 Holiday Bowl and came into the 2007 season rated by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper as the nation’s No. 3 junior quarterback. Injury and inconsistency in 2007 opened the door for backup quarterback Kevin Riley, who ended up splitting time with Longshore in 2008. Yet Longshore was given the start in his final game, a 24-17 Cal victory over Miami in the Emerald Bowl Dec. 27. Longshore was 10-of-21 for 121 yards and a touchdown in the game. He did not get drafted in this past weekend’s NFL Draft.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SF Chronicle: QBs Progress But No Decision

By Rusty Simmons

Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion each came away from Saturday's scrimmage thinking he had done enough to be considered Cal's starting quarterback, but they'll have to wait until August to see who's right.  "There's been no change," said coach Jeff Tedford, who maintained that he'll wait until training camp to choose among Riley, Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney. "They'll all three get a lot of opportunities, and we'll see once we get to camp if someone separates himself." It's unfair to say there has been no change, because all three made discernible strides during 14 spring practices.  Riley, who feels he's been in a quarterback controversy his entire Cal career, no longer looks over his shoulder to see if he's about to be pulled. He's become a consistent leader on offense and has produced in scrimmages, including a 7-for-11, 72-yard effort in Saturday's finale.  "Every scrimmage and during practice, I've run the offense, I've run the huddle and I've done what coach was telling me to do to win the job last year," Riley said.

Link to rest of article.

Marin Independent Journal: Cal Draft Update


“Four undrafted Cal players signed free-agent deals: Defensive end Rulon Davis (Denver), fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou (Chicago), long snapper Nick Sundberg (Carolina) and Felder. A fifth Cal player, quarterback Nate Longshore, will try out for the Dolphins at a minicamp that begins Friday.”

SF Examiner: All but one of the undrafted Cal Bears have an NFL destination

By Rob Calonge

Six former Golden Bears found themselves in a unique situation following the 2009 NFL Draft.  Instead of selling themselves to teams, like they'd done leading up to this past weekend, some of those teams were trying to sell the players on their organizations. All but one of the undrafted Cal players have already signed with NFL teams.  The lone holdout is fielding interest from at least three teams at the time of this writing. While speaking with Tony Fleming, agent for Worrell Williams, he told me that three teams that utilize the 3-4 defense have shown interest in signing the inside linebacker.

Fleming told me that they may know where Williams is heading by Tuesday.  Williams finished his Cal career with 36 starts and 246 tackles that ranks as 11th all-time.  In 2008, he had 64 tackles (25 solo), five tackles-for-loss, and one sack. Will Ta'ufo'ou was signed by the Chicago Bears.  One of the Bears' unsung heroes over the last two years, he helped pave the way for two 1,500-plus yard rushers during his career.  An ultimate team player, he'll be expected to bring his toughness to the NFL on special teams.

Link to rest of article.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cal Draft Results

First Round

21st Overall:  Alex Mack to the Cleveland Browns

Seventh Round

235th Overall: Zach Follett to the Detroit Lions

248 Overall:  Cameron Morrah to the Seattle Seahawks


Not selected:  Worrell Williams, Anthony Felder, Rulon Davis and Nate Longshore.

Contra Costa Times: Tedford pushes Cal QB decision ahead to the fall

By Jonathan Okanes


Cal coach Jeff Tedford named his depth chart at quarterback Saturday without really naming his depth chart at quarterback.  When asked what the pecking order will look like when the team begins fall camp in August, Tedford said it will be Kevin Riley, followed by Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. But he prefaced that by saying it's the same depth chart the Bears had when spring practice began. Tedford has maintained all along that the quarterback spot is open, but Saturday marked the first time he put some kind of order to it. Still, his rather anticlimactic declaration was already plain to see to anyone who watched Riley take the overwhelming majority of the first-team reps this spring. "I thought overall it was a good spring," Riley said after completing 7 of 12 passes for 74 yards as the Bears wrapped up spring practice with their final scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. "There were things I wanted to work on. I worked on them and got better at them. It's not great, but I improved through spring." Riley had a solid spring while Mansion ended strong after some early struggles. Sweeney, a freshman, was impressively proficient for such an inexperienced player. "All three will get a lot of opportunities, and once we get to camp we'll see if one of them can separate (himself)," said Tedford, who added the depth chart was based strictly on experience.

Mansion wrapped up a terrific final week of spring practice by completing 9 of 11 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He started the scrimmage by leading the second-team offense on a 70-yard scoring drive against the second-team defense, going 5-for-5 on the drive for 75 yards. He culminated the possession with a 1-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Alex Lagemann.  Mansion struggled with his accuracy during the first two weeks of spring but seemed to find a comfort zone during the final few practices. He said the key to the turnaround was putting in extra time after practice, something he had been doing but stopped because of arm soreness. "I got back doing what I used to do, throwing about 40 more balls after practice," Mansion said. "It got me a little more consistent." With questions at quarterback, wide receiver and along the offensive line, there were many more questions this spring on offense than defense. The defense seemed to figure out its issues at linebacker early on by plugging Mychal Kendricks and Devin Bishop into vacant roles.

But linebacker still will be in play in the fall with the arrival of three junior college transfers. And Saturday, converted safety Chris Little made his case to get a closer look with a dominant performance. He recorded eight tackles, three sacks and another tackle for loss. He also applied a hit on Sweeney that resulted in an interception by D.J. Campbell, who returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Little, a freshman, played safety on the scout team in the fall but was converted to linebacker for spring practice. "I think he has a chance to be very good," Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. "I don't think he's quite ready yet, but I think he has a chance to be a very good football player for us. He's played outside linebacker for only two weeks now. He has a chance to play (this season). I think it all comes down to how he develops over the summer and camp."

Notes: Lagemann was Cal's leading receiver with five catches for 72 yards. ... The Bears rushed for only 62 yards on 25 carries. ... Wide receiver Jeremy Ross caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Sweeney. ... Safety Sean Cattouse intercepted Mansion in the end zone during a hurry-up drill. ... Injured running back Jahvid Best, who missed the spring recovering from foot surgery, has started running and said he expects to be 100 percent by the time the team begins summer workouts.


SF Chronicle: Last chance until camp for quarterbacks

Rusty Simmons


Kevin Riley spiked the ball in disgust after consecutive errant snaps prohibited him from attempting a pass. Brock Mansion stayed after practice for about 30 minutes to get in more throws. Beau Sweeney disregarded his body, lowering his shoulder to take on a linebacker. This week - the final of Cal's spring slate - each of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting gig have shown awareness that time to make an impression is waning. Their last chance until August's training camp comes today, when the Bears have their third scrimmage of the spring. "They've all done a nice job of improving and learning from mistakes," said coach Jeff Tedford, who maintains that he won't choose a starter until training camp. In the first two scrimmages, Riley, the junior incumbent, has produced the best numbers, going 16-for-28 for 188 yards. Mansion, a sophomore, is 6-for-20 for 101 yards, and Sweeney, a redshirt freshman, is 11-for-19 for 116 yards.

"They've all made strides, and Brock has been really sharp the last few days," Tedford said. Sweeney "has still got a way to go in (comprehending the offense), but he'll get better and better and better. You can really see him thinking a lot, but it'll start coming quicker and quicker."

EYEING JORDAN: By many accounts, defensive end Cameron Jordan is on the verge of stardom. Left tackle Mike Tepper and defensive end Tyson Alualu jumped at the chance to talk about the 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior, and defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said he has a chance to be "special." "Opponents are going to have to know where Cameron Jordan is on the field," Gregory said.

BRIEFLY: Gregory said defensive back Chris Conte will miss the scrimmage because of a concussion. ... Cornerback Darian Hagan, who has been limited to one practice a week to focus on academics, will play, according to Gregory. ... Since the scrimmage coincides with Cal Day, a campus-wide event that will limit parking, university officials are encouraging spectators to use mass transit.

New York Times: The Impact - Center Alex Mack


California center Alex Mack was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st pick in the N.F.L. draft. Here’s a look at how the Bears will be affected by his absence.

What They Lose

An all-American according to, Mack is as much a model citizen as a dominant model player. Winner of the Draddy Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete, Mack also helped the Bears rush for 2,421 yards. They surrendered a respectable 25 sacks on the season.

What’s Next

Starting next to Mack last season was Chris Guarnero, a sophomore who had won the starting left guard job in fall practices. But a toe injury three games into the season sidelined him for most of the year, and he was forced to watch and take notes as Mack emerged as one of the country’s most dominant centers.

The Bears are now hoping that all the watching and waiting has paid off, and Guarnero will be called on to fill the gap left by Mack in the Bears’ offensive line. He was a highly touted recruit coming out of Denver, and has impressed coaches since arriving in 2006, when he earned the scout team player of the year while redshirting his freshman season. Guarnero and the offensive line have had a decent spring, but surrendered six sacks in the final scrimmage of the spring sessions, not something that Coach Jeff Tedford was particularly pleased with.

The Bears hope that the line can find its groove come fall because it will have to provide for one of the nation’s best running backs, Jahvid Best. Best sat out the spring workouts after elbow and foot surgery in January, but expects to be ready by the fall.

SF Examiner: Alex Mack selected by Cleveland

By Rob Calonge

Coming into today, it was difficult to find a mock draft that had Alex Mack listed as the top center in the 2009 NFL Draft. Bear Backers were convinced that he was the best center and apparently, the Cleveland Browns also felt the same way. With the Cleveland Browns fourth opportunity to take a pick in the first round, they finally stood pat and selected Mack with the 21st pick in the NFL Draft.  The Browns, originally slotted with the fifth pick of the draft, traded down three times.  The trades netted them several veterans and five more draft picks in this year's draft.

Maybe the biggest sign of respect for the pick of Mack was that every television draft scout approved.  Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, and the rest of their panelists had nothing but good things to say about the former Cal Bear. Mack's selection makes him only the eigth center taken in the first round since 1988.  It's exactly what he wanted.  While telling me that he liked fellow Pac-10 center Max Unger and saying that he wished him luck, he made sure to also state that he wanted to be the first center taken in the draft. Cleveland showed signs of interest as late as this last week.  Mack was flown out to Cleveland and apparently that last meeting was what formed the Browns' draft plans.  They must like what Mack says he brings to the table:

Link to rest of story.

SF Examiner: Cal gets offensive - two linemen commit

By Rob Calonge

The Golden Bears continue rolling out the red carpet for the 2010 recruiting class.  After receiving verbals from four top-tiered defensive players and securing two gray shirts, the Bears have now landed not one, but two offensive linemen in the class. The two linemen brings Cal's 2010 class to six, not including the gray shirt players. As I reported on Tuesday, April 21, Cal extended Chris Adcock his first scholarship offer. It didn't take long for the 6'3" 301 lbs. offensive guard to make up his mind.  Adcock, from Mesquite, Texas, has committed to the Bears for 2010, stating that the school is, "Just an overall great fit and great opportunity." Moving to California isn't a problem for the soon-to-be high school senior.  His mom is from Merced and his father played at U.C. Davis after coming from Vacaville.

Link to rest of story

Daily Cal: Shane Vereen Has Split Time This Spring Between The Football Field and the Track

By Andrew Kim


Jahvid Best is the one that gets the Heisman hype. The rising junior is the one that "everyone in the country knows about," according to Cal quarterback Kevin Riley. So why exactly is Best jealous of fellow Bears tailback Shane Vereen? "My track career is over," says Best. "I'm done with it."  Vereen's, meanwhile, is about to hit a different slope.  The rising redshirt sophomore has been splitting time with the Cal track and football teams, but with the conclusion of spring practices, Vereen will now be spending more of his time running in circles rather than north-and-south.  Vereen said that he plans on participating in the 4x100-meter relay and possibly the 100-meter dash. His goal is to run in the 10.4-10.5 seconds range in the latter-"It's a little late in the season," says Vereen, insinuating that his goals would be higher had he had more time to prepare.

"It's gonna be pretty good for this university," says Best. "I feel like he can score points for the track team, so it's gonna be pretty good ... I wish I could do it, too."   Vereen will return to football at the end of track's Pac-10 season, according to the tailback. So far, coaches on all fronts have been keen on not overworking the Bears' all-utility back.  "They're doing a great job helping me manage it, so that I'm not overworking myself," says Vereen. "That was one thing coach (Jeff) Tedford said to make sure I don't overwork myself. So as long as I can take care of my body, take care of treatments and stuff like that, I should be good."  Vereen was a standout track performer at Valencia High in Valencia, Calif., recording the fastest 100-yard dash time of any junior in Southern California during the 2006 track and field season, so there isn't much of a novelty for him in switching sports in the middle of the year.  Still, the track and football teams are unavoidably distinct-starting from the teammates.  "The biggest thing I think with football and track is that in football, there are so many more (guys), so you get a lot more characters, a lot more goofing around and stuff like that," says Vereen. "But track is a smaller group, so everything's a little bit different. Both of them are good."  He then added about being the new guy: "I knew a couple of the guys on the track team, just going to school with them. So there was a little bit of that new-guy thing, but I met everyone, and I'm not really the new guy anymore."

But as much as Vereen fits the bill as a runner, at this point in his career he's unmistakably a football player running track. He said that he'll return to Memorial Stadium to lift weights and study film individually as time permits.  Having sent off the seniors to graduation and the NFL Draft, Vereen also noted that his need to emerge as a leader on the football team has become more apparent. But entering his third year and second season at Cal, Vereen didn't seem too burdened by the veteran tag.  "It feels a lot different," Vereen says of the spring atmosphere. "Just the whole (running backs coach Ron Gould's) talk about being mature, the maturity level and being mentally tough, it grows with you as you go through years and days of practice. It grows and you start to develop, and the longer you've been out here, the more you know and the better you're prepared."  Tedford mentioned at the start of spring practices that he plans on using Vereen in a similar role to the one that he filled last year-a back that does a little bit of everything. Vereen rushed for 715 yards while catching 27 balls in 2007.  The tailback doesn't seem to have a problem preparing for such a role, either.  "I work hard at all positions," says Vereen. "I'm trying to learn the offense as a whole. That way, no matter where the game plan puts me, I'll be OK.

"The biggest thing for me (in the spring) was to improve in all aspects of the game. Going out every day in practice, trying to get a little better, trying to improve a little more in my pass protection, in my running the ball, in my catching the ball. You can never stop getting better."  Even though not as many people might notice, with Best getting much of the national headlines?  "You know, I'm working just as hard," Vereen says with a laugh. "It's OK. Jahvid deserves all the credit he gets. He's a phenomenal athlete, a phenomenal football player. It's a pleasure playing with him."  And he continues with the ultimate company line, which may be more or less true in their case: "We learn from each other. I think we make each other better.

Mercury News: Quarterback concerns facing Stanford, Cal

By Jon Wilner


What a difference a bay makes. On a chilly night early last week, Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh could barely contain his excitement over the performance of freshman quarterback Andrew Luck, who tossed five touchdown passes in the Spring Game.  Five days later, on a warm Saturday afternoon, Cal Coach Jeff Tedford gave a matter-of-fact review of quarterbacks Kevin Riley, Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney following the last of the Bears' spring workouts. "I was really encouraged with their attitude and work ethic," was as complimentary as Tedford got. But guess what: None of it matters — and it wouldn't have mattered if Harbaugh had been slightly subdued and Tedford approaching giddy.  If we have learned anything about spring practice on either side of the bay, it's that April impressions don't necessarily translate to October efficiency. (The same goes for San Jose State, which wraps up its spring session this weekend.)

A year ago, both Harbaugh and Tedford broke spring workouts encouraged about their options at quarterbacks. Less than one month into the '08 season, Tedford had benched his starter and Harbaugh was on the verge of doing the same.  So until further notice, Cal and Stanford are in the same position they were six months ago: desperate for efficient quarterback play, hopeful that it will surface, braced for the possibility that it won't. The bar isn't particularly high for either team. The Cardinal doesn't need Luck to be Trent Edwards, and the Bears don't need Riley to be Aaron Rodgers. They simply need the starter to complete 60 percent of his passes, limit mistakes (especially in the fourth quarter and in the red zone) and make sound decisions. And if that happens, both programs can reach their respective goals: Stanford can make its first bowl appearance in eight years and Cal can make its first Rose Bowl appearance in 51 years. Because in Berkeley and on the Farm, the other pieces are in place.

Both teams have veteran offensive lines, depth along the defensive front, playmakers at the skill positions and favorable schedules: Stanford plays seven home games, and Cal gets USC in Berkeley. "Everyone believes we can be Pac-10 champs," Riley said after Saturday's controlled scrimmage. "We have the running game. We just have to work on the passing game."  Technically, neither Tedford nor Harbaugh named a starter last week. But their reluctance was not created equal. Harbaugh went hypothetical: "If we had a game tomorrow, Andrew would be our starter" over senior Tavita Pritchard, who has thrown 449 more career passes than Luck (449 to 0) but has limited ability. Tedford conceded nothing: The post-spring depth chart (Riley, followed by Mansion and then Sweeney) is based solely on experience. "Once we get to camp, we'll see if one of them can separate," he said.

The guess here is that Harbaugh names Luck the starter in the second week of training camp. The son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, he is less mobile but far more talented than Pritchard — his big arm will open up the playbook and create opportunities downfield that the Cardinal hasn't had in years. At the same time, don't expect Tedford to name his starter until deep into camp. He probably will split the reps equally for a few days, eliminate one of the three (probably Sweeney), then let Mansion and Riley go head-to-head for two weeks. Given his history, Tedford could wait until the Monday before the season opener against Maryland to name his starter (probably Riley). At that point, spring practice will be long forgotten and all that matter — on both sides of the Bay — are those 12 precious Saturdays.


Contra Costa Times: Scrimmage to close spring practice

By Jonathan Okanes


Cal wraps up spring practice today with its third and final scrimmage, and although coach Jeff Tedford said there will be no definitive conclusions drawn for the pecking order in the fall, it's still a chance for players at positions that are in play to make one final impression before August.  Tedford has said he will not name a starting quarterback until the fall, and as recently as Thursday maintained that the competition still is even between incumbent Kevin Riley and challengers Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. But today's scrimmage will put an exclamation point on each player's case to be the man behind center and provide the opportunity to enter the summer with some momentum. "They've all done a nice job of improving every day, and making mistakes and learning," Tedford said. Riley has taken most of the first-team reps during the spring. Despite being a true freshman, Sweeney has impressed with his comfort level and accuracy and has positioned himself to be a legitimate candidate for the No. 2 job, if nothing else. Meanwhile, after Mansion struggled for much of the spring, he came on this week with two very good practices. "He's made a lot of strides," Tedford said after Thursday's practice. "They all have. Brock has done a nice job the past two days. He's been pretty sharp."

Today's scrimmage also will be important for Cal's offensive guards, as Justin Cheadle and Matt Summers-Gavin try to push starters Mark Boskovich and Chet Teofilo. Up-and-coming wide receiver Alex Lagemann and linebacker Devin Bishop also may have more at stake. Bishop is penciled in to replace Zack Follett at weak-side outside linebacker, but he could get some competition in the fall when junior college transfer Ryan Davis arrives. Davis is one of the JC linebackers who will try to compete for the spots vacated by Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder. "It will change some of the dynamic," Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. "It will create a lot more competition. Everybody knows we recruited them, and they'll embrace them and there will be good competition."

Keeping up

Starting cornerback Darian Hagan has practiced only once a week this spring to concentrate on academics, which has given more first-team reps to players such as Chris Conte and Bryant Nnabufie. But that doesn't necessarily mean Hagan's place in the depth chart has taken a hit. "When Hagan has been out here, he's practiced very well," Gregory said. "I think he'll be fine. The nice thing is we do have a little depth there."

Extra points

Conte likely will miss the scrimmage because of a concussion. The scrimmage begins at noon and is open to the public. The first 1,200 fans will receive a free hot dog.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Enigmatic Longshore faces uncertain draft

Jonathan Okanes


This was supposed to be the week that Nate Longshore sorted through all the possible options. Now, he's hoping for at least one option.  Cal's former quarterback will be watching ESPN this weekend to see if his name is called during the NFL draft.  There was a time when some believed Longshore could be selected during the first day of the draft. But that was before a rocky season-and-a-half that saw his skills deteriorate until he finally lost his starting job. Most projections don't have Longshore being drafted at all, this after he was considered the top junior quarterback in the country going into the 2007 season by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.

"When you have a kid who is 6-4, 240 pounds and in a system that's conducive to success, you think he's going to put up some numbers," Kiper said. "He just didn't develop. He just didn't show the skill level. That's just the way it is playing the quarterback position. Some develop, some don't."  Longshore believes there is a simple reason for his decline — injuries. He says since spraining his ankle midway through the 2007 season, he hasn't played in a game completely healthy. He played with the ankle injury the rest of the '07 season, then suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle the following spring. He said the effects of that injury lingered all last season.

"I felt like I couldn't do anything nearly to the ability that I should have been able to," he said. "It's hard when your body doesn't respond the way you want it to."  Longshore says he finally feels completely healthy and hopes NFL teams will take that into consideration. One NFL scout said Longshore looked good during his pro day workout at Cal last month. Longshore also took part in the 49ers' regional workout Friday. Longshore's agent, Erik Burkhardt, has been sending teams "before and after" film, illustrating his client's ability when healthy and when not. In 2006, Longshore became just the second Cal quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, totaling 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns as the Bears went 10-3 and finished with a No. 14 national ranking.  "I think I'm even better now than I was in 2006," Longshore said. "I've been able to improve on my game and the things I need to get better at. I think (NFL teams) are seeing what I am doing now, and they go back and watch film and see that I've won games and made throws."

Longshore said it's taken some reflection to realize just how much the effects of his injuries contributed to his performance. He said he didn't realize it at the time because he was simply focused on playing through the ailments and planning for the next opponent.  "It's really difficult gauging where your body is at when you're thinking about that play and your reads," Longshore said. "I just didn't feel like I had the chance to understand all that at the time. I just wish I would have understood better at the time what my body was capable of." Burkhardt says Longshore has received good feedback from four or five teams, including the 49ers, Raiders and Indianapolis. Burkhardt believes Longshore will go in the sixth or seventh round, but he has other options in place as a free-agent training camp invitee.  It is a substantial departure from the beginning of the 2007 season, when Longshore appeared on his way to becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

"There's no point in getting frustrated over that," Longshore said. "There are a lot of guys in the NFL succeeding now that came in the later rounds or as a free agent. I feel like regardless of where you are taken in the draft, you're on a level playing field once you get into a camp. It's in everybody's best interest to let the best players play."

SF Examiner: Interview with Nate Longshore

By Rob Calonge

If Nate Longshore were to walk around with a chip on his shoulder, it would be very difficult to blame him for it.  He's endured boos from his own fans, dealt with losing his starting job during his senior year, and gone from a top quarterback in this year's draft to being projected as an undrafted free agent.  Those are all difficult situations - for anyone. When you consider that 'confidence' can be a determining factor between failure and success as a leader, a quarterback, or even a football player, one has to wonder how Longshore has made it this far without hanging his head.

As a redshirt freshman, Longshore took over as starter for the departed Aaron Rodgers.  The thought at the time was that he would be the starter for at least the next three, and it was hoped, the next four years.

Unfortunately, for Bear Backers and Longshore, that starting gig lasted about 28-minutes of his first game as a starter. A broken leg caused Jeff Tedford to use JC transfer, Joe Ayoob, and then former fullback, Steve Levy in that game, and for the rest of the year. That season, Longshore watched from the sidelines in a cast, while Bear Backers showered Ayoob with boos.  Little did he know at the time, one day he'd receive the same affection.

Link to rest of story.


SF Examiner: Zack Follett is riding his 'Pain Train' to the NFL

By Rob Calonge

When NFL Network's draft guru, Mike Mayock, describes Zack Follett, he talks about his Cal record for forced fumbles (13), and then explains that it's an indication of the linebacker's 'bad humor' when he reaches the ball carrier.

Bad humor and all, Follett put together a career at Cal that has rarely been rivaled before.  It would be easy for a player of his caliber to have a huge ego, but as it turns out, he doesn't even take credit for his play or his best season as a Bear. Reebok's Office Linebacker, Terry Tate, might get the credit for Follett's #56 jersey.  Tate might even be the impetus for Follett's 'bad humor' on the field, but when it comes to his production, he praises a higher power.  His faith wasn't something he grew up with.

When discussing his faith by phone, he talked about a time in high school where he was cocky, arrogant, and walking around with the attitude there was nothing that HE couldn't do.  Going into his junior year, he broke his foot and realized that the reason for his arrogance (football) could all vanish instantly. The high school injury may have humbled him a bit, but it wasn't until four years later that he found his faith in Christ that has given him his humility.

Link to rest of article.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SF Examiner: More recruits flock to Berkeley to become Golden Bears

Rob Calonge

The Golden Bears continue to make moves to turn their 2010 recruiting class into a defensive juggernaut.  When this past signing day concluded, the Cal Bears Examiner called it '18-plus' recruits - 18 recruits for the 2009 team and a 'plus' who is gray shirting the 2009 season in order to join the team in the spring of 2010. Over the weekend, the Bears secured 'one-plus' recruits.  One is a four-star, highly-rated, inside linebacker, one is a former running back who picked up a scholarship for track and field with the chance to walk-on, and one is the top player in Nevada who will gray shirt and join the team in 2010. Despite the Pac-10 being known for fast-break offensive games, defense has been what wins the conference.  The California Bears are putting together a freshman class that will no doubt eventually become part of one of the better defenses in college football.

The Golden Bears, with verbals from two defensive tackles and an athlete projected at linebacker, received a verbal from one of the top middle linebackers in the nation.  Dave Wilkerson of Monte Vista High in Danville, Ca., gave his verbal commitment to the Bears on Sunday.  The 6'3", 235 lbs. middle linebacker was expected to become a Bear, but the formality of a verbal is always welcome when it comes to recruiting.  He reportedly runs the forty in 4.68 and has the prototypical size to man the middle in the Bears' 3-4 package.  Wilkerson also was named to the First-Team All-State Underclass for the 2008 season. Wilkerson is excited about being a Bear.  In an interview with Jim McGill of the Bear Insider, he expressed the excitement he and his family has about his decision: Link to rest of article.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reno Gazette Journal: State Player of the Year Accepts Cal Scholarship


By Chris Gabel

After months of waiting for a scholarship offer to come in, the two-time RGJ All-North Football Player of the Year and the 2008 Gatorade state player of the year got what he was looking for Wednesday night.

The McQueen senior was offered a full-ride scholarship to play at California, Berkeley, by head coach Jeff Tedford, which he accepted -- though he has not yet signed a letter of intent.

"This is awesome, it really is," York said Thursday. "There were some stressful times but this is exactly what I wanted: a Pac-10 school at a high level of play."  The 5-foot-11 York -- who rushed for 3,191 yards and 47 touchdowns and had 152 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions for the Lancers the past seasons, including leading a run to the 4A state championship last yeas -- will be a safety for the Golden Bears.  He will first gray shirt this upcoming season and enroll in the spring. He will have four years eligibility, as well as a redshirt season, available beginning with the 2010 season.  "This is quite unique, to get an offer this late in the recruiting process," said Jim Snelling, who was McQueen's defensive coordinator the past five years before becoming head coach this offseason. "But I have never coached a kid with any more of competitive drive than him. I am very excited for him."

UNLV was pursuing York hard -- he watched the Rebels' April 3 spring scrimmage from the sideline -- but they never put a scholarship offer on the table. Nevada was offering a preferred walk-on spot as a running back, but the Wolf Pack's depth chart at the position is not advantageous, York noted.

"Tyler received a lot of attention from a lot of schools but no one pulled the trigger," Snelling said.

York took an official visit to the Berkeley campus last weekend. If all things had been equal, York would have preferred to play running back but the opportunity to play at Cal was too much to pass up.

"Now that this has happened I am so relieved," said York, who got the attention of the Cal coaches be sending them a highlight film. "But I still have a lot of work to do before I get there,"

According to Scouts, Inc., York has the frame to bulk up from current his current weight of 190 pounds to 210 pounds.  "We like this kid's energy and aggressiveness as a football player on both sides of the ball," Scouts, Inc. says on "... Fills hard and fast when attacking vertically. Displays good chase speed and adequate range with his longer-stride in run support. Does not stay blocked for long when pursuing through traffic and closes on ball carriers strong as a tackler."

SF Examiner: NFL TEAMS - Beware Passing on Rulon Davis

By Rob Calonge

Rulon Davis is an imposing presence.  With his 6'5" frame filled with 280 pounds of muscle, deep baritone voice, spine tingling stare, and a strict military bearing he perfected in the Marines, he can easily make the bravest man shrink a little.  On the football field, his play does the same to offensive linemen.  Davis has been described as a 'high motor' player, a description reserved for players that not only give 100%, but are doing it 100% of the time. His look and his play may be the reason that his nickname is 'The Beast'.

"I think Rulon plays with a high motor," says Cal defensive line coach and former Cal defensive lineman, Tosh Lupoi.  "He plays with aggression and violence."  Aggression and violence are good terms to describe a defensive player.  NFL teams often look for defenders that best exhibit that on the field of play, but they don't always do a good job of identifying those players during the draft. The NFL is littered with great defensive ends that weren't highly scouted coming into the league.  As with anything, it doesn't matter where you start, but where you finish, and Davis intends to finish at the top.

Right now, his biggest hurdle seems to be getting acknowledged for what he can do as a player.  Yesterday, by phone, he admitted that much and more.  While he doesn't take it personally, he does have a message to all the mock drafters and to teams that end up passing on him next weekend:

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fans Invited to Cal's Final Football Scrimmage This Saturday

Cal Press Release:

Golden Bear fans are invited out to Memorial Stadium to watch the Cal football team's final spring scrimmage on Saturday, April 18 as part of the annual Cal Day. Admission is free and the practice will get underway at 12 noon. The event is sponsored by Peterson Tractor. Evergood Sausage will give away hot dogs to the first 1,200 fans, while concession and souvenir stands will be open throughout the day.

With a large crowd expected on campus for Cal Day, parking will be at a premium and fans are encouraged to arrive early or take public transportation. Recommended lots include Underhill (College at Channing), Foothill (Gayley at Hearst), Boalt Hall (Gayley Road) and Bancroft (Bancroft below College). Gates to Memorial Stadium will open at 11 a.m.

In addition, fans should note that several gates to the stadium have closed due to construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center and that they will need to enter through the North Gate next to Maxwell Family Field. The scrimmage will conclude Cal's schedule of 18 spring practice sessions, with the Golden Bears resuming their team workouts in August in preparation for the 2009 campaign.

With 17 starters returning from last year's 9-4 squad that defeated Miami in the Emerald Bowl, Cal has been mentioned in virtually every preseason Top 25 list, including No. 18 by and and No. 12 by

Note from Blogger: I can’t make it this Saturday, but if you are going, please take photos of the construction around Memorial and I’ll post them on this blog. I’ll give you credit, of course. I might even make a photo slideshow of your photos and post them on Youtube. You can contact me at GO BEARS!

Napa Valley Register: Cal Spring Practice Continues


UC Berkeley continued spring football workouts Saturday with a scrimmage that included a series of situational settings for nearly 70 plays at Memorial Stadium.   The Golden Bears — who beat Miami 24-17 in the Emerald Bowl in December at AT&T Park in San Francisco to finish 9-4 — practiced with a long field and a short field during the 80-minute scrimmage. They also worked on goal line situations, special teams, and scoring opportunities in a close game with less than a minute to go on the clock.

“It’s always bittersweet,” head coach Jeff Tedford said on the Cal athletic Web site. “When the offense does something well, you’re worrying about the defense. When the defense does something well, you're worrying about the offense.  “There were a lot of great efforts. When we have that, we’re going to continue to improve.” Cal opens the 2009 season at home against Maryland on Sept. 5 and will play a total of six games in Memorial Stadium. Other home games are against USC, Eastern Washington, Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona. The Bears were ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today coaches poll last year.

SF Examiner: Last winning Cal coach passes away

By Rob Calonge

Bruce Snyder last coached in 2000 for the Arizona State Sun Devils, but his shadow still looms large on campus.  Snyder joined his former player, Pat Tillman last year in the ASU Athletic Hall of Distinction - the equivalent of a Sun Devils hall of fame.  He coached the Sun Devils for nine seasons from 1992-2000 where he compiled a record of 58-47-0.

Prior to joining ASU, he was responsible for bringing excellence to Cal football.  After taking over head coaching duties for Joe Kapp in 1987, he was tasked with creating a winning team from a program that had just gone 20-34-1 over the previous five seasons.

In his first season, the Bears went 3-6-2.  It wasn't until his fourth season that the Bears finally broke out of their slumber, winning for the first time in seven years.  They went 7-4-1 and won the Copper Bowl.  In his final season, the Bears went 10-2-0 and won the Citrus Bowl.  He finished his Cal career with a 29-24-4 record. Prior to Cal's hiring of Jeff Tedford, he was the last coach to leave with a winning record. Over a 20 year career, Snyder compiled a record of 126-106-5.  He had a winning record at all three head coaching stops, going 38-37-2 at Utah State before coaching at Cal and ASU.

Read the rest of the article here.

SF Examiner: Golden Bears recruit another top defensive player

By Rob Calonge

The California 2010 recruiting class is starting to get pretty exciting.  The annual Blue-Gold game hasn't been played yet and the Bears are already reeling in top talent for 2010.  Easter brought the verbal commitment from a highly coveted defensive tackle from Westlake Village, California.  Choosing the Bears over USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and Texas, Cassius Marsh proclaimed, "Cal is the best place for me."

Cassius, according to Wikipedia, was one of the oldest family names of ancient Rome.  Unfortunately for Pete Carrol and the Trojans, Marsh is more interested in doing battles at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

Along with fellow 2010 recruit, Jay Guy, Marsh gives the Golden Bears a great one-two punch at the defensive tackle position - ensuring that the defense will likely become a little more versatile after these two step on campus.  Both players may find themselves playing together in a 4-3 or taking turns in a 3-4. Cal will definitely have the talent in the tackle box to pull it off.

Link to rest of story.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bruce Snyder Dead at age 69

Former Cal coach Bruce Snyder passed away today after a 10 month fight against cancer.  Here’s the link.


A lot of Cal fans were angry at Snyder for leaving, but as Glenn Dickey pointed out in 2007:

“In 1991, as Bruce Snyder entered the final year of his contract, athletic director Dave Maggard was working on an extension. Before it could be concluded, Maggard left the university. His successor, Bob Bockrath, did nothing to keep Snyder, even after Snyder’s team went 10-2 and won a New Year’s Day bowl game, the first for Cal in more than 50 years.”


Bob Bockrath is responsible for Keith Gilbertson being hired to replace Snyder.  Bockrath is currently a member of the Prescott, Arizona Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  He most recently was athletic director for Yavapai Community College after getting fired as Alabama’s AD.


Snyder was head Coach at Cal from 1987 to 1991, and left Cal with a 29-24-4 record.  Favorite play under Snyder: Russell White taking the kick off against Miami and running it back 99 yards for a touchdown.  Low point: The 1991 Big Game at Stanford.

Contra Costa Times: No letup on the horizon in the life of Riley

By Jonathan Okanes


Kevin Riley almost led Cal to a stirring comeback against Oregon State in his first career start in 2007, but his infamous gaffe of failing to throw the ball away with time running out ultimately cost the Bears a chance.

Afterward, he took full responsibility for the loss. When told he played well just to get Cal in that position, he shrugged it off as though that was exactly how he expected to play. Last spring, when Riley was asked about his chances to win the quarterback job despite playing in just two career games, he said matter-of-factly that he expected to be the team's starter. There is a certain amount of brash to Riley's personality — not necessarily in a bad way — but he has a quiet confidence that implies success is the only option. But some of that went away last season when Riley twice lost his starting job and didn't play all that well when he was on the field.

With counterpart Nate Longshore now gone, it's Riley's job to lose for 2009. He's involved in another competition with youngsters Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney this spring, but that confidence is coming back as Riley now realizes he is the most experienced quarterback on the roster.

Strong ego

"He's more than confident," said Cal tight end Garry Graffort, Riley's roommate and close friend. "This is back to the Kevin that we knew when he first got here. He's got his swag back. It was never gone. There is just a lot more of it again." Riley indeed won the starting job to begin last season but was benched during the fourth game because of inconsistent play. He got the job back a few weeks later and was the team's starter the rest of the regular season, only to find himself on the bench again for the Emerald Bowl.

It left Riley's ego a little damaged, partly because he felt like he had to be perfect or he would be replaced by Longshore, and partly because he knew he wasn't playing to his potential.

"It's not the easiest thing," Riley said. "When a couple of things go wrong, it kind of gets in your head. You feel like you're going to be benched if you don't do something. You start thinking about that instead of the game. A couple of things didn't go the way I wanted it to. I was pretty hard on myself about some things. Pretty much I just didn't get the job done."

Quick hook

Riley was the undisputed starter going into the first four games of last season but was pulled in favor of Longshore against Colorado State, despite the fact the Bears held a sizeable lead at the time. Coach Jeff Tedford held an open competition for the job for each of the next three games, the first two of which were won by Longshore. But Riley replaced Longshore during a loss at Arizona and was the team's starter the rest of the regular season, except for one week in which he had a concussion.

"It's not the easiest thing," Riley said. "Some games I knew I was starting and some games I found out Friday. When you find out the day before, you feel like if you don't play well in the beginning you'll be taken out of the game right away. Things just didn't work out. You just have to learn from it. That's all you can do."

Tedford replaced Riley with Longshore once again for the Emerald Bowl, effectively wiping the slate clean for the 2009 competition. So far, Riley has looked sharp in the spring.  "Now I think he knows he's the guy, he's the leader," said Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed, who also is Riley's roommate. "I think what happened last year would be hard on anybody, emotionally. But he just stuck with it and made the best of it. He didn't let it get him down. He's a team player. He looks out for the best interest of the team." Riley says he didn't do a good enough job communicating with Tedford last season, something he is hoping to improve. A couple of weeks before the start of spring practice, Riley went to Tedford and asked if he would help him with his mechanics. They ended up making some changes to his throwing motion that has helped his accuracy.

Riley admitted that he didn't really think he would be pulled after making one bad pass last season, saying it made for a difficult situation.  "I didn't do it last year, but I've been going in and talking to (Tedford) a lot more about things," Riley said. "That's the way it should be. I felt like part of the communication problems we had last year was partially on the quarterbacks for not bringing it up."

No security

While Riley and Longshore both didn't let the situation become bigger than the team, it clearly wore on Riley. He spent a lot of time talking to his father and high school football coach, Faustin.  "Obviously, he learned a lot last year," Faustin Riley said. "A lot of it wasn't necessarily positive. But it should pay off down the road. Kevin has always been pretty well-grounded. He's always had to scrap and fight for whatever he got. Nothing has ever come easy to him." While Riley is competing for the job for the second straight year, the dynamic this time around is substantially different than last year. Now, Riley is an incumbent starter competing against two players who have barely played college football. "I'm one of the most experienced guys on our offense," said Riley, who will be a redshirt junior. "People are expecting me to perform. We have two young quarterbacks that are really good, but I feel like if I perform like I should, it should be my position."

Notes: Riley, Mansion and Sweeney each threw a touchdown pass in Cal's next-to-last scrimmage of the spring Saturday. Riley completed 9 of 17 passes for 85 yards and an interception. Mansion completed 4 of 9 passes for 68 yards and Sweeney completed 6 of 12 for 60 yards and an interception. The defensive front seven played well, holding the offense's leading rusher, Covaughn DeBoskie, to just 15 yards on eight carries. ... Several notable alumni watched the scrimmage, with Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez, Washington DE Andre Carter, Seattle RB Justin Forsett and Green Bay LB Desmond Bishop among the current NFL players in attendance.


SF Examiner: A Golden Bears NFL mock draft

By Rob Calonge

It's that time of year where NFL fans, and college fans who care where their former players end up, get inundated with NFL mock drafts.  For those fans that truly enjoy mock drafts, they can't get enough.  Then there are the fans that get truly tired of reading about everybody's 'guess'.  For those fans, I truly apologize for what I'm about to do.

Here's my disclaimer.  All of the following paragraphs in this article are anything but accurate.  Unlike Mel Kiper, Todd McShay or Mike Mayock, I am in no way a draft guru.  However, as much as their guesses, mine is as good as anybody else.  The simple fact is, even the teams doing the drafting aren't 100% certain as to what they'll do when faced with their picks, let alone what the other teams will do.

So, with all of that said, let me explain how I put this together and made my picks.  First, I take into account the player's ratings as told by other 'experts' on the web.  Secondly, I adjust these ratings based on latest news, what we know about these players, and workout numbers.  Let's face it, ONLY Al Davis knew that Nnamdi Asomugha was a first-round cornerback when he was drafted.  Everyone else looked at him as a safety - and not a highly ranked one at that.  That's why team needs and tendencies will also be accounted for as best as can be.  After the draft, I'll come back to this article and see how I did.  I'm expecting it to be a little humbling so don't get too excited or angry if your opinion differs, though all suggestions and comments are gladly accepted

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Defense wins the day in Cal's second scrimmage

By Rob Calonge

As spring practice continues, it's becoming clear that Cal's defensive unit is going to be stronger than their offensive counterparts - at least for now.  It's not uncommon for an offense to start off slow, especially an offense that is working under a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.  When an offense, still working at coming together, competes against a defense that has had a year to get their system down, the results are usually going to favor the defense.  Saturday was no exception for the Bears.

Once again, Kevin Riley outperformed his teammates at the quarterback position, Marvin Jones was the leading receiver, and the defense came up with big plays to come out on top. Riley completed nine passes in 16 attempts for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Sophomore Brock Mansion went 4-11 for 68 yards and a 51-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-freshman Ross Bostock - the first offensive score of the day.  Another redshirt freshman, Beau Sweeney, was 6-12 for 61 yards, a touchdown (a 29-yarder to Nyan Boateng), and an interception.

While Jones didn't catch a touchdown on the day, he did catch four passes for 27 yards to lead the Cal receivers.  Boateng and Jeremy Ross are taking first-team reps., but Jones is becoming the type of playmaker that the Bears need in their passing game.

Link to remainder of article.

Friday, April 10, 2009

SF Examiner: Zack Follett working out for the Raiders and 49ers

Rob Calonge

Several sources are reporting that one of the most feared Pac-10 linebackers from 2008 will be participating in NFL workouts close to his old stomping ground. is reporting that Follett has scheduled to workout with the Oakland Raiders (privately) and the San Francisco 49ers (with other local NFL hopefuls).

Follett reportedly already interviewed with the Buffalo Bills and could be on a few other NFL radars for the coming NFL Draft.  So what does this all mean?

Well, when it comes to the NFL Draft, it could mean nothing.  It's common for teams to workout players even if they are unsure of their interest in them.  It could be that they expect another team within their division to be interested in the player working out for them and they'll take the opportunity to scout the player further for future use. For instance, the Raiders often don't workout players that they intend to draft - and if they do work them out, it's rarely reported.

Read the entire story here.

SF Examiner: Bears continue recruiting defense

By Rob Calonge

Last year, The Cal Bears really took their time when it came to getting commitments.  At the end of October, they were sitting at the bottom of the Pac-10 with only six commitments on their list.  While it may have been worrisome to Bear Backers, hindsight pretty much tells the story of the 2009 recruiting class.  A young team often leads to fewer scholarships available for recruiting.  That seems to have been the case for Cal last year.  Early indications are beginning to look like they won't be moving slowly this time around.

Cal received a verbal commitment back in February from a defensive tackle prior to any of the recruiting services posting his ranking.  The 6'1" 315 pound high school junior, Jay Guy, has since been rated.  ESPNU has him in their top 150, has listed him as a four-star recruit, and it's fairly certain that when gets around to rating him, the rating will be fairly high.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Jones moves to head of class

Jonathan Okanes

BERKELEY — Cal is hoping the year of experience that Nyan Boateng, Verran Tucker and Jeremy Ross got last year will result in more production this season. But it may be a player without much experience who emerges as the Bears' biggest star at wide receiver.  Sophomore-to-be Marvin Jones is having the best spring of any receiver. He appears to be picking up where he left off early last season before suffering a sprained knee. Cal could use the emergence of somebody such as Jones to help improve a passing game that was ranked No. 83 nationally last season.  "He's been excellent," coach Jeff Tedford said. "He's a hard worker, a physical guy. He's explosive. He's always had great hands, and he's tough. He's definitely had a great spring ball so far." It looked as though Jones was on the cusp of cracking the starting lineup as a true freshman before he went down with a sprained knee during a practice last September. He came back later in the season but played sparingly, totaling one reception on the season. Still, Tedford was excited about the way Jones was practicing at the end of last year. It appears he hasn't let up.  "He would have played in (more) games," Tedford said. "But he was still in on game-planning. His head was in the game. To travel, to get ready for a game and those types of things, going through pregame — those are experiences that are valuable."

Boateng led the Bears last season with 29 catches and 439 yards. Tucker had 21 catches and Ross hauled in 17. While each receiver demonstrated potential, nobody ever emerged as a consistent playmaker. "We're all progressing, and we're all doing well," Jones said. "I do see myself on the field making that spectacular catch that we need. ... I want the pressure to make the big catch."


Depth is always a good thing, but is it possible the Bears have too many kickers? Incumbent Giorgio Tavecchio has looked excellent this spring, but Cal recruited incoming freshman Vince D'Amato to compete for the job. Now, David Seawright has returned to practice after progressing in his recovery from a potentially serious hip injury. It's not often a team goes three-deep at kicker, but that's the situation Cal may find itself in once the season begins. "Obviously, it's a situation where you feel good about that competition," Tedford said. "That's three quality kickers right there." Doctors have had a difficult time getting an accurate diagnosis on Seawright's injury. He tore an external rotator in his hip and has been told he may not be able to kick without pain ever again. "It's frustrating," Seawright said. "I'm still optimistic that someday I will kick without pain. My confidence hasn't gone away."

Extra points

Tight end Tad Smith underwent surgery on his broken scapula Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for 3½ months. Tedford expects Smith to be ready by the beginning of fall camp in August. Smith suffered the injury after taking a hard hit by safety Marcus Ezeff in practice last week. ... Backup center Dominic Galas sprained his left ankle at practice Tuesday and is in a boot.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Daily Cal: Kendricks Hopes to Wrap Up Starting Linebacker Spot

By Andrew Kim


On an emotion-filled evening at the 2008 Emerald Bowl, then-Cal linebacker Worrell Williams offered his individual goodbyes, imputing players with his departing words.  And for his final personal blessing, Williams grabbed freshman linebacker Mychal Kendricks, looked him straight in the eye and told him this: You have the potential to be the best linebacker ever to come out of Berkeley.  It's a scene that Kendricks remembers quite clearly.  "It was kind of emotional," Kendricks recalled. "Just to think that other people think that about myself, it lets me know what I have to do and what expectations are. If other people believe in myself, I've got to, too."  At this point in time, Kendricks remains raw and unproven, but the departure of Williams, Anthony Felder and Zack Follett to the NFL Draft have produced openings that weren't there in 2008.  The freshman played sparingly on special teams last season, while today the coaching staff is trying to figure out whether the 6-foot raw talent fares better outside or inside. Under the leisurely springtime sun, Kendricks has been rather busy-in order to maximize his number of snaps, the Bears staff has the freshman playing with both the first- and third-team defenses.

So excuse Kendricks if he shows a little fatigue; running east and west, the linebacker picked off quarterback Ryan Wertenberger during Saturday's scrimmage but was dragged down before running it back for six.  "I wanted to take it to the house," he said. "I should have. But I was going ones and threes. I was dead tired. It seemed like right when my hands got on the rock, my legs got so heavy. It's different running vertically than horizontally. I was happy with it, but hopefully I'll get better, and the next time, I'll take it to the house." Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory added later, dryly: "He actually should have scored there."  According to Kendricks, Oregon once recruited him as a running back. And considering the type of tailbacks the Ducks go after, perhaps the linebacker should have scored.  Now a year wiser, Kendricks doesn't dwell on it. He seems to understand that returning picks is the least of his concerns as he's faced with his first legitimate shot at starting on defense.   "I'm working on the little things," Kendricks said. "Things that we as individuals have to work on. Everyone has their little things. Mine is attacking downhill."  Learning to play both inside and outside linebacker is another, though the freshman said he doesn't mind where he ends up as long as he sees the field. It hasn't been a year, he points out, since his goal for every Saturday was to make just one tackle.

Gregory said that the month will strictly serve as a springboard to improvement, and that no roster decisions will be made. It looks like Kendricks will have to improve his stock before the junior transfers-names like Ryan Davis and Jarred Price-arrive for fall camp.  He's certainly trying.  "I'm trying to keep my technique when I'm tired," Kendricks said. "They have me going in the ones and threes, and by the time I get to threes I'm dead tired. What I try to do is focus particularly on my technique and what I have to do because under pressure and when you're tired, you start losing that."  While concentration may be an area for potential growth, Kendricks brings a lot of athleticism to a position where the Bears need reloading. Cal returns just two part-time starters at linebacker in Mike Mohamed and Eddie Young.  Gregory described Kendricks as "talented" and "explosive."  Kendricks said more or less the same things about himself, albeit a bit more colorfully.  "Speed and intensity, all day," he said, describing his approach. "One hundred miles per hour at all times. I don't have all the size and everything, but I've got strength and speed. I think people underestimate me."  The freshman's job, to put it bluntly, is to prevent fans from missing last year's trio. The underestimating should end as soon as he and the other linebackers replace the 244 tackles that left with the graduating seniors.  Still, does he miss Williams and Co. himself?

"Hell yeah," Kendricks said. "I miss them a lot. I miss them 'cause they're my first senior class to leave. Even though they might not miss me as much as I miss them-because I know when you're a senior, you leave and you move on-those guys had a big impact on me."