Friday, October 30, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Jordan is Bears' energizer

Jonathan Okanes

When their son started first grade at Anderson Elementary in Eden Prairie, Minn., Steve and Anita Jordan had a message for his teacher. It seemed Cameron Jordan had an extra wealth of energy and may need some special attention. "We told the teacher that he's a smart kid, but he's not the traditional kid," Steve Jordan said. "Don't expect him to sit in the chair all day and do his work. He may need to get up and move around. He has all this energy he has to burn. "So the teacher would let him get up and go to the back while she read to the class. Everybody is sitting  down around the teacher and he's bouncing off the walls."

Word is Cameron Jordan can actually stay in his seat now for an entire lecture at Cal, but he's still a man on the move — mostly moving toward opposing quarterbacks. The junior defensive end is coming off a 21/2-sack performance last week against Washington State and hopes to continue that production when he returns home Saturday for a date at Arizona State.  "I don't think he's still bouncing off the walls, but it wouldn't surprise me," said Steve Jordan, a former Pro Bowl tight end with the Minnesota Vikings. "He's mellowed on that. But he gets bored. For him, boredom means he needs to be entertained or learning something new."

Link to rest of article.

Daily Cal: Sun Devils Should Illuminate Bears' True Identity

Matt Kawahara

Over halfway through the 2009 season, a number of questions about the Cal football team have been answered, while a would-be standard one has not.  For starters, this is not the year that the Bears contend with USC for the Pac-10 title -- that was answered four weeks ago, when Cal was dominated by the Trojans at home. The defense is not as strong as it was last year. Good opposing defenses can be successful by making the Bears pass.  Barring a series of miracles, Jahvid Best is not going to be a Heisman Trophy candidate at the end of the season.  All that said, Cal is 5-2, with the best scoring offense in the Pac-10 and its two toughest conference games already in the past.

It all rolls into the great unanswered question about this team, which will become a lot clearer after Saturday's 12:30 p.m., meeting with Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.  Who exactly are these Bears?  "We've kind of seen opposite sides of Cal at times," linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "The biggest thing is, can we get the explosive Cal out there? The Cal that scores points early in the first quarter and then the defense shuts guys down."

Link to rest of article.

AP: Hot Golden Bears headed to Tempe to meet ASU

The California Golden Bears are coming to the desert, and it's hard to say which team will show up.

Will it be the one that lost to Oregon and USC by a combined 72-6, or the one that beat up UCLA and Washington State by a combined 94-43?  The Bears (5-2, 2-2 Pac-10) took the week off and regrouped after their back-to-back embarrassments against the Ducks and the Trojans. "Since the bye week, this will show us how much we've grown as a team," quarterback Kevin Riley said.

Cal's apparent turnaround may be attributed to the caliber of the opposition. Oregon and USC are a combined 12-1, UCLA and Washington State 4-10.  "We played two really good football teams, two top 10 football teams, and didn't play our best," coach Jeff Tedford said.  The Bears hope to extend their modest winning streak against Arizona State (4-3, 2-2). The Sun Devils are searching for answers after a 33-14 drubbing at Stanford.  "We can't play like we did last week or else the same thing will happen to us," ASU coach Dennis Erickson said.  Like Cal, ASU has made a habit of beating lesser opponents; the Sun Devils have yet to knock off a team with a winning record at kickoff. (They did it once last year, defeating 1-0 Stanford).  The Sun Devils' offense has been sputtering for weeks.

Link to rest of article.


ESPN: Cal, ASU Try to Get Their Groove Back

Ted Miller

It hasn't been an easy season for Arizona State quarterback Danny Sullivan, but often adversity brings enlightenment.  Sullivan, it seems, understands the Pac-10 -- and college football for that matter -- perfectly.  "You can be a good team the first week and completely change the next week just based on who you are playing and how they are trying to exploit you," he said.  California, which visits Sullivan and the Sun Devils on Saturday (3:30 EST, ABC), certainly understands that. The Bears were ranked sixth in the country and then -- whammo! -- consecutive losses to Oregon and USC by a combined count of 72-6 slapped them onto the slag heap of also-rans.

But, quietly, the Bears have won two in a row and may be poised to make a run.  Arizona State, meanwhile, went to Stanford last weekend to prove it was a conference contender and it ended up getting pushed around on both sides of the ball. A defense that had been ranked among the nation's elite surrendered 473 yards, including 237 yards rushing.  "Physically, Stanford kicked our rear ends," said coach Dennis Erickson, cutting directly to the chase.  Still, there are plenty of examples of Pac-10 teams righting themselves after bad moments. See Oregon after the Boise State debacle. See Oregon State just about every year.  If Arizona State upsets the Bears, its bowl hopes brighten considerably. If Cal wins, it may re-enter the national rankings -- the Bears are 24th in the BCS standings -- and still could become a player in the conference race.

Link to rest of article.

SF Chronicle: Lines dinged up headed to Arizona State

Steve Kroner

When Cal boards its plane to Phoenix this morning for Saturday's game at Arizona State, the Bears will do so without three men who have started this season.  Both guard Matt Summers-Gavin and nose guard Derrick Hill will not make the trip because of shoulder injuries, and head coach Jeff Tedford announced after practice Thursday that cornerback Darian Hagan has been suspended one game for missing class.

Mark Boskovich and Richard Fisher will alternate at Summers-Gavin's left-guard spot against the Sun Devils. Redshirt freshman Aaron Tipoti is the likely replacement for Hill.  Tedford believes - but isn't sure - Summers-Gavin and Hill will be available for the Bears' home game against Oregon State on Nov. 7.

Josh Hill, meanwhile, returns to the starting lineup at cornerback. Tedford said Hill would have started even if Hagan had not been suspended.  One other change in the secondary: Sophomore Sean Cattouse gets the start at safety ahead of senior Marcus Ezeff.

Best vs. Sun Devils: In his 21/2 seasons with the Bears, Jahvid Best has run for 2,576 yards. Only 13 have come against Arizona State.  He gained those 13 on three carries in a 31-20 loss in Tempe in 2007. Best missed Cal's 24-14 win over the Sun Devils last year because of a dislocated elbow.

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Hagan suspended for Cal Bears' contest with Arizona State

Rob Calonge

Thursday after practice, head coach Jeff Tedford announced that starting cornerback Darian Hagan would miss Saturday's game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. He won't be missing the game due to injury.  Tedford said that Hagan was suspended for one game because he had missed a class. It's not clear if there is more to this, but judging by the punishment, I would've been suspended every season (all 13 games) for all the classes I missed in school.

With Hagan's suspension comes opportunity for someone else. Josh Hill, who had started in front of Hagan at one point this season, will get the nod on Saturday. Tedford also said that Chris Conte will see some time at the open position. Other players that could see time would be Charles Amadi and possibly redshirt freshman Marc Anthony

Link to rest of article.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daily Cal: Midweek Notebook: Week 9

Matt Kawahara

In its last two games, the Cal football team has been perfect on three scoring chances from inside the 20-yard line. It has also made a habit of bypassing the red zone altogether.  Before Jahvid Best's two-yard touchdown run with 11:07 left in the third quarter against Washington State, the Bears' last 10 offensive touchdowns had come from outside the red zone -- and even Best's scamper was set up by a 61-yard pass from Kevin Riley to Jeremy Ross.

But as coach Jeff Tedford cautioned during Tuesday's press conference, Saturday's game against Arizona State will probably require a little more patience by Best and the Cal offense. The Sun Devils have the stingiest defense in the Pac-10, allowing just 280 yards a game, and featured the conference's best rushing defense until Stanford overpowered them on the ground for 236 yards last weekend.

Still, currently allowing just 83.4 rushing yards per game, ASU is only one of two Pac-10 teams -- USC being the other -- that is giving up under 100 rushing yards per game.  "Ripping off big chunks, well, you don't do that against these guys," Tedford said. "You're going to have to stay patient. There's going to be some two-yard gains and some eight-yard gains and some zero-yard gains, and you have to stay patient and hopefully leave yourself in situations where you can convert third downs. It's going to be that type of game."

That type of game hasn't been the Bears' strong point this season. In its five wins, Cal is averaging 6.56 yards per carry, compared to 2.9 yards per rush in losses to Oregon and USC. The Bears also appeared to go away from the running game early against the Ducks and Trojans, when those defenses showed they could consistently keep Best and Shane Vereen from breaking loose into the open field.

Link to rest of article.

SF Chronicle: Showdown looms for Bears' run game

Ron Kroichick

Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, meet Arizona State's Sun Devils. They're waiting for you. Cal brings the most productive rushing offense in the Pac-10 into Saturday's road game against ASU, at 216 yards per outing. The Sun Devils counter with a stout run defense, allowing 83.4 yards per contest (sixth-best in the nation).  "I look at it as a great opportunity to show that our run offense is still able to kick some butt," Cal offensive tackle Mike Tepper said Tuesday. "... I want to put up some points against these guys, and do it in the run game."

The Bears accumulated nearly 600 yards rushing in their past two games, zooming past UCLA and Washington State behind Best and Vereen. The yards often came in large chunks - Vereen (42 yards) and Best (93 yards) both scored on long runs against the Bruins, and Best galloped 61 yards for a touchdown against the Cougars.  Coach Jeff Tedford is not expecting a similarly splashy display against Arizona State, which features plenty of speed on defense.

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: #24 Cal Bears will need to be patient against Arizona State Sun Devils

Rob Calonge

Tuesday's media luncheon is drawing fewer scribes despite their #24 BCS standing. Even so, a Jeff Tedford press conference still brings in the local media and their questions.  One of the most intriguing questions is whether or not this Golden Bears team is one of the Pac-10 elite, or just one of the also-rans. Up until now, Cal hasn't shown to be any better than the latter of those two.

"It's the biggest game so far this year," said starting quarterback Kevin Riley. "Like I said, since the bye week, this will show us how much we've grown as a team."  Mike Mohamed agreed. "Every game here on out is important," he said. "We're trying to finish 10-2 now, win out the rest of the Pac-10. Yeah, it'll be good to get a more quality opponent and see what we're all about."

Link to rest of article.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SF Examiner: Cal Bears ranked #24 in BCS? They can thank USC and Oregon for that

Rob Calonge

So Cal (5-2, 2-2 Pac-10) is ranked #24 in the BCS standings after their thrilling defeat of the Washington State Cougars (1-6, 0-5 Pac-10) on Saturday 49-17. The week before, they went down to Pasadena and defeated the UCLA Bruins (3-4, 0-4 Pac-10) 45-26.  Those aren't quality wins. A look back to the rest of their wins on the season doesn't fair much better.

Wins against 2-6 Maryland, Div IAA Eastern Washington, and 4-4 Minnesota don't necessarily give the Golden Bears any extra added prestige either. So why would they be ranked in the top 25?  Computers.

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Oregon State at Cal Bears to be televised

Rob Calonge

For those of you who were unhappy about Cal's blowout win not being televised, you'll be happy (or relieved) to know that their next home game will be on the airwaves.  Cal's game against the Beavers of Oregon State on November 7, will be televised by FSN and CSN Bay Area.  With the announcement, Cal has now been chosen for nine television broadcasts this season. Most likely, the contest against #20 Arizona will become the tenth, leaving only the Big Game yet to be determined.

Oregon State, (currently 4-3, 2-2 Pac-10), has beaten both Arizona State and Stanford in Pac-10 play, while losing to Arizona and USC thus far.

Link to entire article.

Contra Costa Times: Scolding Ignites Cal Defenders

Gary Peterson

It's one of the oldest passages in the football coaching bible, and one of the most revered: Never express unconditional satisfaction after a game. Even a blowout. Especially a blowout.  Thus, the aftermath of the 49-17 power wedgie which Cal administered to Washington State on Saturday was as predictable as the game's outcome. The first chance coach Jeff Tedford got, he played the "If That's The Best We Can Do, God Help Us All" card.  And the first chance he got was when he was asked about his team's defensive play.  "I felt like we got sloppy with our fundamentals," he said, recalling the final 11:14 of the second quarter when the Bears saw their 35-3 lead whittled to

Link to rest of article.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Daily Evergreen: Football travels to Cal in Pac-10 showdown

(Take this article with a grain of salt…the subheading was “Both the Cougars and the California Golden Bears will be looking for their first Pac-10 win,” which is slightly inaccurate.)

Braulio Perez

The Cougars (1-5, 0-4 Pac-10) will travel to Berkeley, Calif., this weekend to take on the California Golden Bears (3-2, 0-2) and their highly explosive offense that has put up 197 points through six games this season.  Cal’s offense is led by a Heismen Trophy hopeful, running back Jahvid Best, who has torn up defensive lines throughout the entire season. The play-making back has rushed for 616 yards and nine touchdowns, and he is good enough for third in the Pac-10 behind Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers (13) and Stanford’s Toby Gerhart (12).

“This is our biggest test by far,” Head Coach Paul Wulff said. “We’re defending a great runner.” Behind center for Cal is gun-slinging quarterback Kevin Riley, who has thrown for 1,225 yards, eight touchdowns and only one interception. Riley is coming of a great game last week against UCLA, where he threw for 205 yards with three touchdown passes.

“Riley is a very talented passer, and we understand that,” said co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears. “Coach (Jeff) Tedford is a quarterback guru, and he does a tremendous job of getting the ball downfield.” Meanwhile for WSU, their are some big name players who look to return to action. Redshirt junior left guard Zack Williams will start after missing four weeks with an ankle injury he suffered against Hawaii. Redshirt sophomore left tackle Steven Ayers (ankle) and redshirt sophomore right guard B.J. Guerra (knee) were able to return to practice this week, and both shared reps running with the first team. Wulff announced that redshirt junior right guard Joe Eppele will start on Saturday over Guerra, who is still recovering, and that he is not sure as to whether Ayers or true freshman Alex Reitnouer will get the nod at left tackle.

Link to rest of article.

Seattle Post Intelligencer: Wulff Says Players Must Forget Losses

Nick Geranios

Washington State coach Paul Wulff said one of his jobs is making sure young players forget certain things. Such as tough losses.  With so many freshmen playing key roles, Wulff has to be careful they don't dwell so much on past mistakes that they fail to prepare for the next game. "They are not a mature enough group to know how to prepare properly every week," Wulff said of  his team, which is heavy with freshmen and sophomores. "You have to flush the game, win or lose, and prepare for next week."

The Cougars (1-5, 0-4 Pac-10) had two weeks to flush the memory of their 27-14 loss at home to Arizona State. After a bye week, they play at California (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday. It would also be best to flush the memory of last season's 66-3 Cal win in Pullman. It was one of the worst games of a lousy season. The Cougars are in the midst of a long break from games in Pullman. After Saturday's game, they travel to San Antonio for a neutral site contest against Notre Dame. Then they play at Arizona. Their next home game is Nov. 14 against UCLA. Cal has been an enigma this season. They were ranked in the Top 10 after opening with wins against Maryland, Eastern Washington and Minnesota. But then they were pounded 42-3 by Oregon and 30-3 by Southern Cal before rebounding to beat UCLA 45-26 last week.

Link to rest of article.

Seattle Times: Cougars Face Tall Task: Stopping Cal's Jahvid Best

Vince Grippi

There may not be a more aptly named college football player than the University of California's Jahvid Best.  When it comes to running backs in the Pac-10 Conference, and possibly the country, he's simply unsurpassed.  "In my eyes, he probably is the best tailback in the country, if not the best," says Washington State coach Paul Wulff.

"He's more than good," says WSU running back James Montgomery, a former Cal teammate. "From the first day I saw him, I knew he was good. He's the best."  "He's a very, very well-versed back," says USC coach Pete Carroll, who compares him to Heisman winner Reggie Bush. "He's got the magic because he's got that great speed, and he's a very consistent player, too."  If all you knew of the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Best is his performance in last year's game against the Cougars, you might think he is the greatest running back in the history of college football.  On the first play of Cal's 66-3 rout — the first Pullman game of Wulff's tenure — Best took a handoff from quarterback Kevin Riley and burst through a hole in the center of the WSU line.  Up came sophomore Chima Nwachukwu, making just his second start at safety. Best juked to the inside, Nwachukwu bit and Best exploded to the outside. Eighty yards and 11 seconds later, it was 7-0 Cal.

Link to rest of article.

Daily Cal: Cougars Limp Into Memorial Stadium

Jimmy Tran

A decade-long losing streak may have been broken this past weekend, but the mantra for the Cal football team has not changed.  Just as they did with the losses to USC and Oregon, the Bears (4-2, 1-2 in the Pac-10) have put their win at the Rose Bowl behind them and have locked in on this weekend's game. "We always have to put the last game behind us," coach Jeff Tedford said. "We got to go in this game with great focus and attention of what we got to get done this game."  What the Bears probably need to do this weekend is continue regaining respect.

Cal's 45-26 win over UCLA marked its first conference victory of the season. Perhaps more importantly, it marked a newfound focus for the team after two consecutive blowout losses. Now, the Bears set their sights on lowly Washington State (1-5, 0-4) this Saturday at 1:30 p.m., at Memorial Stadium.  Not much has changed since the last time the two teams squared off in Pullman, Wash. Last year, Cal dominated the Cougars by a score of 66-3.

Bears tailback Jahvid Best ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of that game. The tandem of Best and Shane Vereen have combined for 14 rushing touchdowns on the season thus far and should find running room against a Washington State defense that has given up more rushing touchdowns than any other team in the Pac-10.

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Vereen may not be best, but he's very good

Ron Kroichick

Sometimes, in an idle moment, Shane Vereen must wonder about his timing. Even when he busts loose for the biggest day of his college career - 154 yards rushing in Cal's win over UCLA - the most popular TV highlight showed teammate Jahvid Best twisting away from tacklers on an electrifying 93-yard touchdown run.  Vereen's response, essentially: Way to go, buddy.

"He's one of my best friends," Vereen said. "We're competitive on the field, of course, but we both want each other to do well."  Best said, simply: "Shane's just a cool dude."

He's also way more than Best's caddie. As Vereen illustrated last Saturday at the Rose Bowl, he brings Best-like skills to the table - speed, acceleration, receiving ability, versatility. Vereen also returned kickoffs and punts, and caught two passes, against UCLA.  It was a vivid reminder that the Bears' running game stretches beyond Best. He commands attention and collects accolades - understandable given his 1,580 yards rushing last season, blinding speed and dynamic moves - but Vereen is no ordinary backup.

Link to rest of article.

Contra Costa Times: Bears Have Plan to Pressure QB

Jonathan Okanes

The statistics tell you that Cal is on its way to eclipsing last season's sack total that placed it in a tie for 14th in the country. The reality is the Bears aren't pressuring the quarterback as well as they did last season.  Cal has 18 sacks through six games, putting it on pace to finish with 36 at the end of the regular season, one more than the 35 the Bears registered last season. But since coming up with six sacks against Maryland's beleaguered offensive line in the season-opener, the Bears have just 12 in five games.

"From time to time we do, probably not enough," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said when asked if his team was getting enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. "We probably need some more of it, but it depends on who we're playing and what they are doing."

The Bears have stressed pass pressure the past few weeks because they faced freshmen quarterbacks, a trend that will continue Saturday when they play against Washington State's Jeff Tuel. But Cal was only able to get one sack of USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The Bears had three sacks against UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince during their 45-26 victory Saturday, but there were still several plays where Prince had sufficient time to throw. He finished with 311 yards passing.


Daily Cal: Bears' Defense Hopes Tuel Can't Shed Its Pressure

Matt Kawahara

Facing freshman quarterbacks in each of its last two games, the Cal football defense put an emphasis on creating pressure in the pocket. That isn't going to stop this weekend, with Washington State-and its true freshman quarterback, Jeff Tuel-visiting Memorial Stadium at 1:30 p.m.

"We're going to try to get after him, bring some blitzes and stuff," linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We feel like if we can do that, good things are going to happen."  The outcomes of those last two games were radically different, of course, and it's probably not surprising that the Bears' ability to breach the backfield followed suit. They sacked USC quarterback Matt Barkley only once. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said after the game that, while his unit did pressure Barkley a few times, it wasn't as much as he would have liked.  Last Saturday, Cal got to UCLA's Kevin Prince three times. Trevor Guyton's sack in the first quarter doubled as a forced fumble, which the Bears recovered and which led directly to Kevin Riley's 43-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones that put Cal ahead 14-0.

Mohamed brought up a good point about how the fact that these quarterbacks are freshmen might have an impact on opposing sack numbers: Offenses create easier decisions for them in the pocket, which means quicker throws, which means less time for the rush to break through.

Link to rest of article.

SF Chronicle: Jones provides boost to Cal's air game

Ron Kroichick

Maybe the remedy for Cal's ailing passing game did not involve changes in personnel or intricate blocking schemes or quarterback Kevin Riley suddenly morphing into a hybrid of Steve Bartkowski/Joe Roth/Aaron Rodgers.  Maybe it was as simple as telling Marvin Jones to run downfield and jump.

The Bears begin the second half of their season Saturday against Washington State with renewed faith in their ability to move the ball through the air. Riley threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's pride-restoring win over UCLA, including two scoring strikes to Jones. Both times, Riley lofted passes high into the end zone and watched Jones pluck them out of the sky. On the second touchdown, especially, Jones' height (6-foot-2) and long arms mattered more than any precise pass route - he simply out-leaped and out-muscled UCLA's Alterraun Verner, an accomplished cornerback.

Verner's only mistake: He's 5-11.  "I like hauling down the pass," Jones said. "That's what I love to do."

Link to rest of article.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SF Examiner: Cal-Arizona State Halloween game to be on ABC

This week Cal won't be playing on television when they host the Washington State Cougars on Saturday. No need to worry Bear Backers, their blackout will end the following week.  ABC has picked up their trip to Sun Devil Stadium to face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Halloween of all days.

The Golden Bears have had good luck playing the Sun Devils on the road, although they haven't won there since 2003. The last time the teams faced in Tempe, Arizona State defeated the Golden Bears 31-20.  Prior to that defeat, Cal hadn't been to Sun Devil Stadium since 2003 where they were the victors in a 51-23 outcome. That was the second consecutive season where the Bears traveled to Tempe.

Link to rest of article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SF Examiner: Tedford still has Cal headed in the right direction

Glenn Dickey

Hmmm. Cal scores 52, 59 and 35 points in its first three games, then only a field goal in each of two lopsided losses to Oregon and USC before scoring 35 points in the first half against UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, en route to a 45-26 win.

Do you think quality of opposition might have something to do with those disparate results? That was a factor some of the more frenzied in the Cal rooting base didn’t consider after the two losses. There were even some who called for the head of Jeff Tedford, the best coach I’ve seen at Berkeley in 53 years of watching Cal football closely.

Realistically, many of us overrated the Bears; I wrote early that this could be Tedford’s best team. My chief reasons for optimism were an explosive offense and a speedy young defense, but those two units didn’t show well against the Pac-10’s best. Even after Saturday’s win, it’s only reasonable to lower expectations for this team.  Now, it appears that USC and Oregon are the class of the conference, perhaps not in that order. Washington State is still the conference doormat; the Bears host them in a nontelevised game Saturday.

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Cal Bears may not be irrelevant yet

Rob Calonge

Cal, ranked highly once again after being in purgatory following the 2007 season, had the opportunity to finally break through the glass ceiling of also-rans. It didn't happen.

As in 2007, a Pac-10 team from the state of Oregon burst the proverbial BCS bubble that the Golden Bears had hoped to be a part of. Following the loss in Oregon with a loss to USC at home wouldn't have been so bad had both losses not been embarrassing blowouts.

The problem for Cal and their fragile prestige is that both losses this season were more lopsided than any of their victories, causing outsiders to wonder what sort of team plays in Berkeley. Is it the world beater from Saturday or is it the malfunctioning patsy that lost two games by a total score of 72-6?

That answer won't come for several weeks. Cal will host hapless Washington State this week, travel to Arizona State for Halloween, stay at home for battles with Oregon State and No. 22 Arizona, and people will still wonder just how good this team is. Even if the Bears go undefeated in those four games, they'll be at 8-2 with question marks.

Link to rest of article.

Cal is 35 1/2 point favorite over WSU

Here’s the link.

Daily Cal: Cal All About the Highlight Stick This Year

Jeff Goodman

Saturday's game against UCLA wasn't three minutes old when the Cal football team distanced itself from a nightmarish start to Pac-10 play. It had finally found the end zone. "It was good to have a touchdown," Bears quarterback Kevin Riley said. "It's been a while." But it wasn't a momentous occasion for Cal simply because the team managed a six-point score for the first time since Sept. 19 against Minnesota.

Indeed, Shane Vereen's 42-yard touchdown run on his team's opening drive was crucial because of the way the Bears scored.   They went big, and they sustained their lust for long yardage throughout a 45-26 victory over the Bruins at the Rose Bowl.  How else would Cal have scored five offensive touchdowns with only one opportunity in the red zone? How else would tailback Jahvid Best have salvaged a game in which he was locked up by the UCLA defense on nearly all of his touches?

Link to rest of article.

Daily Cal: Players Banding Together Led to Everything Coming Up Roses

Matt Kawahara

Before the Cal football team set foot in a wilting Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon, a number of players approached quarterback Kevin Riley with a message of support.   "We told Kevin before the game that we had his back no matter what," tailback Shane Vereen said.

So Riley went out and showed his teammates that he had theirs as well. After Jahvid Best danced his way to the sideline on his 93-yard touchdown run, with one man to beat near midfield, there was Riley about 40 yards from the line of scrimmage, throwing the block to free him the rest of the way.

Asked about it later, Best said that seeing Riley in front of him didn't surprise him at all. But it was representative of a game in which the Bears rotated multiple personnel groups to deal with the heat and received big contributions in every facet.  As coach Jeff Tedford said afterward, the biggest positive to come out of the 45-26 win was that it was a "team effort."

"Our preparation the last two weeks was that we need to stick together," Tedford said. "As naysayers and critics step up, the people in that locker room are the ones who believe in each other. I thought we did a nice job of playing hard for each other."   Saturday showed that, more than schemes practiced or reps taken, rest had or psyches re-steeled, the most important thing to come out of Cal's bye week may have been a team-wide revitalization of the concept of team.   "Throughout these couple weeks, we just bonded," said receiver Marvin Jones, who caught two touchdowns. "We do things that involve more team."

Link to rest of article.

Sporting News: Jahvid Best: 'They tell me to go out there and outrun the guy'

Stan McNeal

After his team was blown out by Oregon and USC, California coach Jeff Tedford told the Bears to look at the rest of the season as a new season. The Bears responded Saturday with a big victory at UCLA ,and Jahvid Best, not surprisingly, played a key role with two long touchdowns. The running back talked with Sporting News' Stan McNeal and other reporters after the game.

Reporter: After coming into the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, did the two losses and sub-100-yard games change your outlook?

Jahvid Best: As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter. If it comes, it'll happen. If it doesn't, it's not a big loss because I'm not counting on it. I'm out here just trying to make my team better. That's the way it's been since Day 1. It's a great accomplishment to be mentioned in that category from the beginning, but I just worry about what's happening on the field.

Q: How did you guys regroup after losing to USC?

JB: Luckily we had a bye week. We were able to get back to the drawing board and work on fundamentals and everything. We were able to get everything squared away.

Q: What difference do you see in the team now?

JB: We're a lot tighter as a family. We do everything together now. Our team bonding elevated a lot over those weeks.

Q: How does this carry over to the field?

JB: When the defense is on the field, coach Tedford wants the offense to be engaged and cheer them on and not just be sitting down on the bench not paying attention. It felt like the whole team was behind us.

Q: Of the 10 runs you've had for more than 60 yards at Cal, has there been one when you broke as many tackles as you did in that 93-yarder against UCLA?

JB: I don't think so, unless I go back to high school. ... They overpursued on the outside, and my read tells me to cut back inside. From then on, it's just finding your way to the end zone.

Link to rest of article.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Riley Makes Critical Block for Best in 93 Yard Run

If you watch the video below, you'll see Kevin Riley, at 15 seconds in, take out the last Bruin that had a chance at tackling Best. (That's Riley on the ground, below the falling Bruin).

Video of Best's 93-Yard Touchdown

Contra Costa Times: Cal linebacker makes most of playing time

Jonathan Okanes

The Pacific-10 Conference's leading tackler didn't play much Saturday — just enough to clinch a victory for Cal.  Linebacker Mychal Kendricks didn't start for the first time this year and got in for only a handful of plays. But he made one of the most memorable ones by intercepting a pass by UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince and returning it 68 yards for a touchdown.

The turnover ended a Bruins drive that could have cut Cal's lead to one score and instead gave the Bears a 45-26 advantage with 5:05 to play.  "The game right then was still back and forth and anything can happen," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It was a huge play."

Kendricks didn't start partly because he missed the entire bye week of practice with a shoulder injury and partly because defensive coordinator liked how D.J. Holt had practiced in his place. Kendricks, who entered the day pacing the conference in tackles (9.2 per game), estimated he got in for about 15 plays.

"I'm going to support the team no matter what," Kendricks said. "I'm going to support the coaches' decision, whatever they chose to do. Starting or not, getting a pick felt good."

Link to rest of article.

Contra Costa Times: Cal soaks in rare Southern California victory

Jonathan Okanes

When Cal coach Jeff Tedford saw nose tackle Derrick Hill and wide receiver Nyan Boateng getting ready to shower him with the obligatory tub bath Saturday, he didn't make much of an effort to avoid it.  This was one celebration he was going to soak up.  Tedford got doused just seconds before the Bears polished off a 45-26 victory over UCLA in front of 67,317 at the Rose Bowl. It was the first road win at either UCLA or USC in Tedford's seven-plus seasons at Cal, and the tub bath served as a refreshment after a game played in heat that reached triple-digits.

"It felt good, for a lot of reasons," Tedford said.  Saturday gave Tedford the first victory of his career in Southern California, but, more important, it put an end to an ugly two-game losing streak that had the Bears' season on the brink. Instead of setting up a showdown for last place this week against Washington State, Cal (4-2, 1-2 Pac-10) is once again feeling good about itself with three of its next four games at home.

"We've been talking the last two weeks that it's a new season now," Tedford said. "We start over right now and it's a new season. I've been pleased the last two weeks with the attitude, the preparation, the togetherness of the team. When a lot of things are against you, you can really learn a lot and teach a lot to young people. I was really pleased with the mind-set of our players."

Link to rest of article.

LA Times: Cal puts its Best foot forward in 45-26 win over UCLA

About the time California's Jahvid Best was weaving his way through what looked like powder blue pylons, slipping tackle after tackle against the UCLA defense, the idea that there was a problem should have crossed the Bruins' minds.  Best's 93-yard touchdown run underscored the Bears' ability to make big plays -- and the Bruins' inability to prevent them -- in Cal's 45-26 victory Saturday in a Pacific 10 Conference game at the Rose Bowl.  By the time Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks was sailing down field on a 68-yard interception return to polish off things, the Bruins probably realized their season was in critical condition.

All the feel-good giddiness of a 3-0 start has been spent after a third consecutive loss that left UCLA 0-3 in Pac-10 play. The Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2) tapped that account dry with three offensive touchdowns of 42 yards or more. So where do the Bruins go from here?

Link to rest of article.

SF Chronicle: Big day for receiver Jones

Ron Kroichick

Saturday's game was a homecoming for Cal wide receiver Marvin Jones. He grew up in Etiwanda (San Bernardino County), a short drive from the Rose Bowl, and talked excitedly during the week of playing in front of several family members and friends.  Jones gave them reasons to cheer, catching two first-half touchdown passes to propel the Bears toward their 45-26 victory. Both times, quarterback Kevin Riley lofted the ball high into the air to give Jones, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore, a chance to run under it.  On the second touchdown, with 46 seconds left before halftime, Jones outjumped UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner in the back of the end zone.  "Kevin just puts the ball up where nobody can catch it but me," Jones said. "That's what I love, and he does a good job doing that."

Link to rest of article.

ESPN: Pac-10 Helmet Stickets


Kevin Riley & Jeff Tedford, QB and head coach, California: Riley, after a bye week that featured some extra work with Tedford, completed 14 of 23 for 205 yards and three TDs in Cal's 45-26 win over UCLA. That win was Tedford's first in eight games in southern California as the Bears head coach.


SF Chronicle: Cal takes care of UCLA

Ron Kroichick

Cal players Nyan Boateng and Derrick Hill lurked on the sideline, trying to hide from coach Jeff Tedford. Finally, as the last sweltering seconds ticked away Saturday at the Rose Bowl, they hopped into action and dumped a large tub of ice water on Tedford.  It was an uncommonly demonstrative way to celebrate a mid-October victory against an opponent languishing near the bottom of the Pac-10 standings. Then again, Cal's 45-26 win over UCLA counted as uncommonly significant for Tedford and the Bears.

They won in the Los Angeles area for the first time in Tedford's eight years at Cal. They scored a touchdown - six, actually - for the first time in nearly a month. They rediscovered their passing game. They weathered 100-degree heat, injuries to key players and a pesky Bruins team.  "It was a pivotal moment for us, in our season," running back Jahvid Best said afterward. "This was a huge game, win or lose."  That seemed clear the past two weeks, as Cal tried to escape the stigma of blowout losses to Oregon and USC. Those defeats, by a cumulative score of 72-6, turned the Bears from national contenders to a team trying to salvage its season, scrambling to prevent an all-too-familiar collapse.

Link to rest of article.

Los Angeles Times: UCLA football: A fan's look back at California

Knoxville in September seems so, so long ago.  Such is the reality when it comes to being a UCLA football fan, and after three consecutive losses that make a 3-0 start seem but a distant memory, one can't help but wonder whether this is yet another lost season.  The perpetually positive Rick Neuheisel certainly isn't going to admit that, yet he even conceded that at this point he no longer can measure a successful season by whether or not the Bruins make a bowl game.  Here are "observations, opinions and reflections from the fan's chair" after UCLA's 45-26 loss to California.

-- As always, let's start with some positives. Did you see it? Jeff Locke hit the goalpost for a touchback on the opening kickoff. That might have been the high point. OK, it wasn't that bad. 

-- The first down battle between the teams was even at 17-17. ... UCLA's 448 yards in total offense was only 56 fewer than Cal. ... The Bruins averaged a season-high 6.6 yards per play. ... OK, enough of the rose-colored glasses.

-- Should have known it would be a long day when Cal's Shane Vereen took an option pitch to the short side and scampered untouched down the sideline for a 42-yard touchdown run on the first drive. Remember, this is a Cal team that hadn't scored a touchdown in its previous nine quarters.

-- Then it got worse the next quarter when Jahvid Best went 93 yards for another touchdown, which saw several Bruins try and miss tackling him as he juked his way into the open field.

Link to rest of article.

Friday, October 16, 2009

SF Examiner: Mychal Kendricks on UCLA - 'We're going to win this week'

The weather was much nicer Wednesday, allowing the Golden Bears to hold their practice at Memorial Stadium. They'll practice again Thursday before getting on buses and traveling down to Pasadena for their contest against the UCLA Bruins.  One of the things that the Bears are trying to do is translate their practices to the games. On Tuesday, Mychal Kendricks admitted that some of the problems they've had is that they've been too tight during games.

So, in order to start playing more relaxed and loose on game day, the team has been implementing a little more interactions after practice that help give them a little more 'swagger', as Kendricks called it.

While talking to reporters on Tuesday, Kendricks stated, "We can't lose again and I don't think we are either. Actually, I know we're not."  Obviously, that's a quote that reporters can't get enough of, so he was asked why he was so confident that they wouldn't lose again. "Because we can't," the Pac-10's leading tackler flatly stated. "We can't. That's gonna' be my answer to every game. I don't think that we're gonna'--we're not gonna' lose. That's going to be my answer forever."

Link to rest of article.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SF Chronicle: Flying high no more, Bears going by bus

Rusty Simmons

Cal will practice tonight in Berkeley and then board buses for a six- to seven-hour ride to Pasadena for Saturday's game against UCLA, a move that was an attempt to help the university with budget shortcomings but may end up being more symbolic than fiscally responsible.

Because the game is at 12:30 p.m., the Bears are getting to Southern California a day earlier than they would have if they traveled via charter flight as usual. It is estimated that the road travel would have saved about $20,000, a number all but wiped out by the extra night of hotel and food costs. Cal officials couldn't immediately confirm the monetary estimates.  "We all understand the financial constraints that we're in, and we want to do anything we can do to help out the department," coach Jeff Tedford said. "It felt like it was something that we could help with and do our part."

Left tackle Mike Tepper, who is from Cypress (Orange County), has mixed emotions about making the trip via buses, a trek he's made a number of times in a car.  "When I heard we were taking a bus, I started thinking, 'OK, when I'm blazing home, it takes five hours. On a bus, it's going to be a long, long ride,' " he said. "I'm glad we're getting there (today), because we'll have time to stretch back out, and I'm glad we'll have the time with our teammates. Any time you hang out with your teammates for that long, it makes for a bonding experience."

Link to rest of article.

ESPN: Cal and UCLA are both wounded but hopeful

Storms have drenched in the Bay Area this week, but there have been no reports of California coach Jeff Tedford going all King Lear, dashing outside and ranting insanely -- "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!" -- amid the tempests swirling around his team's fallen state.  Where there was once a No. 6 ranking, there is now a new number: 72-6.

That's the combined count of the Bears losses to Oregon and USC.  Tedford is well-aware that high expectations and Rose Bowl dreams have given way to frustration and recrimination among the fan base, who have pointed fingers at many things, but most particularly at Tedford.  "I know there's a lot opinions, and there's going to be naysayers and there's going to be critics, but it doesn't help anything," Tedford said. "Everybody's entitled to their opinion. I don't read it and I hope our players don't read it."

Tedford said after his team was overwhelmed at home by USC that he would not yell and scream at his players. He expressed confidence that the Bears wouldn't fracture like the 2007 crew that went from second-ranked to losing six of their final seven regular-season games.

Link to rest of article.

USA Today: Athletic spending belies California's budget crisis

By Steve Weinberg

From the University of California's Upper Sproul Plaza three weeks ago came the evocative, 1960s-era sounds of protest — speeches, chants, calls for change — over staggering budget cuts on the Berkeley campus and throughout the UC system.  Just up Bancroft Way, construction outside football's Memorial Stadium raised a competing clatter.

More than $430 million will go into a new office, training and locker room complex for athletics and then renovation of the venerable, 86-year-old stadium, in part to make it more earthquake-resistant. The money will come from private sources, officials say. But the high-dollar project nonetheless stands out amid fiscal retrenchment across the university.

Some faculty members have hit on the issue of athletics spending, a few expressing themselves in an online forum about the budget crisis and staff furloughs, tuition increases, enrollment reductions and other cost-saving measures. Anthropology professor Laura Nader complained in a letter this summer to UC system President Mark Yudof: "No word of cuts? A new sports center, fixing the stadium? If it is true that this is what most alums want then faculty have done a poor job in educating."  The outcry has been limited, however.

Link to rest of article.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SF Chronicle: Linebacker Kendricks surprisingly confident

Ron Kroichick

Cal's players, rejuvenated by their bye week - much needed after consecutive blowout losses - now have their gaze fixed firmly on Saturday's game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl.  The Bears once dreamed of spending Jan. 1 in Pasadena, but those visions essentially vanished with deflating defeats to Oregon (42-3) and USC (30-3). Even so, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, the Pac-10's leading tackler (9.2 per game), peers toward the Bruins with striking confidence.  "We can't lose again, and I don't think we will, either," Kendricks said Tuesday. "Actually, I know we're not. ... We're going to win this week."

That seems like bold chatter, given how thoroughly the Ducks and Trojans shredded Cal - to the tune of 72 points and 981 yards. The Bears, so impressive in winning their first three games of the season, were equally abysmal in dropping their past two.  But a week away from the fray convinced Kendricks, at least, that Cal quickly can right its suddenly wobbly ship.  "It was just us," he said. "It wasn't anything they particularly did. Everything we did was on us - wrong fits, wrong assignments. It's nothing that can't be fixed."

Link to rest of article.

SF Examiner: Cal Bears practice must go on - storms will only be a hindrance

Rob Calonge

With the stormy weather that has hit the Bay Area, the Golden Bears football team is going to have to improvise on their plans for practice. The emphasis is that they will be practicing no matter what the weather is like.  In Tuesday's media luncheon, head coach Jeff Tedford emphasized that they have to do just that. "We have to practice, we can't not practice," said the coach, who is attempting to prepare his team this week to face the UCLA Bruins on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

Originally, the Bears were going to practice on Cal's Witter Rugby Field due to the field having grass--which is the same surface they'll be playing on Saturday.  The problem with grass is that playing on it in the rain could lead to injury. "I hope we don't get hurt. We aerated that field a couple of weeks ago, so I was hoping that the drainage would be a little bit better," said Tedford. At the time, he hadn't had a look at the field.

When he finally looked at it, he must not have liked what he saw because the practice site changed after the luncheon. Instead, they held practice at Cal's Recreational Sports Facility on campus. Said Tedford about the change of venue, "We have a lot of work to get in for the UCLA game and practicing on our field today was going to make it very difficult to have a productive workout."

Link to rest of article.

AP: Neuheisel Sticking with QB Prince

Although UCLA's offensive struggles are threatening to derail a once-promising season, coach Rick Neuheisel is certain another quarterback change won't help matters right now.  Freshman Kevin Prince will start again for the Bruins (3-2, 0-2 Pac-10) on Saturday against California, Neuheisel said Tuesday.

Prince, who won the starting job in training camp, missed two games for the Bruins with a broken jaw. He returned for last weekend's 24-10 loss to No. 13 Oregon with what he claimed was "probably the worst game I've ever played in my life." Prince went 13 of 25 for 81 yards with an interception that was returned for a touchdown.  "I'm not trying to create this controversy," Neuheisel said. "Kevin Prince is the guy we chose. We're going to get Kevin Prince ready to play, and he's going to do a good job."

Neuheisel says he's not ready to go full-time to Richard Brehaut, the talented freshman who enrolled early at UCLA to get a jump on learning the offense. Brehaut played three series against the Ducks in the fourth quarter, going 5 of 10 for 64 yards with an interception and getting sacked four times, before Prince returned to run the two-minute drill late.

Link to rest of article.

Contra Costa Times: Bears put the 'road' back into road trip

Jonathan Okanes

If Cal's players want to get up and move around during their trip to Los Angeles on Thursday, they won't have to worry about any pilot sending them back to their seats because of turbulence.  In an attempt to do their part to help the university with its budget shortcomings, the Bears have agreed to take buses to Southern California for Saturday's game at UCLA. Cal usually travels on a charter plane for its road trips.

"We definitely want to do our part," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "To do our part to alleviate some of the issues. ... We have a responsibility."  But the Bears won't be saving as much money for the university as originally intended because the team has decided to leave Thursday rather than Friday, meaning an extra night in a hotel for the travel party. The team made the decision after it was announced last week that Saturday's game will begin at 12:30 p.m.

"We are going Thursday night so we don't run into a deal of busing down there late Friday, having a late walk-through and then having a 12:30 game," Tedford said. "We will for sure have gotten over the bus ride. I don't think the bus ride will be an issue."  The bus ride actually will allow the team to spend more time together than the one-hour flight down south. Tedford said the Bears might even hold some position meetings during their travels. "It kind of reminds you of the high school days with the long bus trips," Cal quarterback Kevin Riley said. think it will be fine. Guys will just have to find something to do for six hours."

Link to rest of article.

Desert Sun: Four teams meet Saturday at Rose Bowl


On Saturday at the Rose Bowl, two teams will meet.  Or is it four?  There's one UCLA, the Bruins who started 3-0 with home victories over San Diego State and Kansas State and with a road victory at Tennessee.  There's the other UCLA, the Bruins who have slipped to 3-2, with consecutive losses at Stanford and at home against Oregon.  Likewise, the two-face Cal Bears come into town with a similar case of Jekyll and Hyde. Cal is also 3-2, riding a two-game losing streak in which the Bears have been outscored 72-6.  “I know Jeff's spent probably the last 10 days thinking about it,” UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said of Cal coach Jeff Tedford. “I do know that they're talented. I know they have a great deal of pride, and we're expecting their best.”

Even if UCLA is at its best, too, it might not be so close.  In the Bruins' three wins, they've scored 75 points.  In Cal's three victories, the Bears racked up 146.  UCLA will have to close the gap after consecutive games in which the defense has allowed an opposing rusher over 120 yards. It doesn't get any easier now, with Bear back Jahvid Best and his 514 yards and nine touchdowns. “I thought defensively, we played terrifically probably 90 percent of the time,” Neuheisel said. “Ten percent of the time ... Chuck Bullough said seven plays led to 170 yards of offense. Most of the times it's because we didn't tackle and wrap up. That's a huge lesson as we go into this game. If you don't get your arms around them, they'll make you pay, and pay dearly.”  The Bruins have not made the opposition pay, both short and long, since defeating Kansas State 23-9 in Week 3. They've stalled when they need to surge, they've come up just short when they needed to get just a foot more, and they've looked every bit their age.

“Sometimes we move along scheme-wise and try to take what we see are opportunities, but are we ready to execute that stuff?” Neuheisel said. “Sometimes when you've had more experience, you can point to a time earlier in a guy's career. Now, we don't have that luxury. But at the end of the day, it's always about execution.” 

Bumps and Bruises: Neuheisel said senior linebacker Reggie Carter (sprained knee), senior defensive end Korey Bosworth (bruised ribs), redshirt freshman running back Johnathan Franklin (sprained ankle) and sophomore safety Glenn Love (sprained ankle) were all day-to-day.

“They are going to make the game, but I think we'll have to nurse them along,” Neuheisel said.”

Locke'd Up: It says a lot about an offense when a team's best player is its punter, yet redshirt freshman Jeff Locke had a standout performance, booming seven punts for 353 yards, an average of 50.4 per attempt, with one ball inside the Oregon 1-yard line. Locke had a 77-yard punt in the third quarter, UCLA's longest since Chris Sailer's 81-yard boot against Washington State in 1995.

San Jose Mercury: Bears on brink of another midseason collapse

Jon Wilner

The Rose Bowl isn't on the line. First place isn't at stake. The game won't make or break Cal's chances for a bowl bid.  But the outcome of Saturday's game at UCLA will shape the rest of coach Jeff Tedford's tenure in Berkeley, whether it lasts two years or 10. Following blowout losses to Oregon and USC, the once-soaring Bears are on the brink of a midseason collapse. Another midseason collapse.

Two years ago, they zoomed to a 5-0 start and were on the brink of a No. 1 ranking before splitting apart at the seams. They lost six of their final seven regular-season games and spent the winter searching for answers.  Tedford determined that poor communication was to blame for the frayed locker room and took steps to correct the problem, going so far as to remove himself as offensive coordinator and take on more leadership responsibilities.

"Back then, I just focused on X's and O's," he said. "They were tough losses, and instead of spending time - looking for things in the locker room that were maybe getting us down, I spent all my time trying to come up with plays.

Link to rest of article.

Los Angeles Times: UCLA football: Defense to face best running back in Jahvid Best

Toby Gerhart, Stanford’s brutish tailback, gained 134 yards rushing against UCLA in a 26-14 victory.

LaMichael James, Oregon’s spinning-top-like tailback, went for 152 yards against the Bruins in a 24-10 victory.  Is a pattern is forming? The Bruins can only hope that’s not the case. On Saturday, UCLA will face California running back Jahvid Best, considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner before the Bears were thumped in back-to-loses to Oregon and USC.

“If you don’t get your arms around him, he is going to make you pay and pay dearly,” UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “We got to wrap up and squeeze this week.”  The Bruins had few worries against the run before facing Stanford. They went into that game ranked ninth nationally against the run. The Cardinal gained 174 yards rushing.  Oregon expanded on that with 221 yards rushing. Neuheisel framed that as occasional slip-ups, saying, “Defensively, we played terrifically 90% of time. There were seven plays cost us 170 yards of offense, and most of the time that was because we didn’t tackle and wrap up.”

But while James did have a 49-yard run, he also averaged 5.4 yards per carry on his other 19 runs, using a pivot move, where he spun around, on a number of plays. The poor tackling, Neuheisel said, is “a huge lesson for us as we go into this game with [an] explosive player like Best.”  Best has 514 yards rushing and has scored nine touchdowns -- eight on runs -- this season. He was held to 55 yards by Oregon and 47 by USC, though both times the game was so lopsided that the Bears all-but abandoned the run. The Bears will serve up Best in different looks, including the Wildcat formation, something that California Coach Jeff Tedford said, “Gives you an extra blocker at the point of attack and prevents teams from stacking the box against you. It gives you a hat on hat.”

Link to rest of article.

Yahoo Sports: Cal's L.A. Woes



Cal coach Jeff Tedford has done many good things in rebuilding the program since arriving in Berkeley in 2002.  He has led Cal to six bowls in a row and notched a 62-30 record, including a 36-23 mark in the Pac-10. Tedford also led the Bears to a share of the Pac-10 title in 2006. Best of all in the eyes of Cal fans: Tedford is 6-1 against Stanford.

But Tedford has yet to notch a win in Los Angeles since becoming Cal’s head coach. The Bears play at UCLA on Saturday, bringing with them an 0-7 record in L.A. under Tedford. Failures to win in Southern California are a major reason why he has been unable to get Cal to its first Rose Bowl since the 1958 season.

2002: at USC, 30-28

2003: at UCLA, 23-20 OT

2004: at USC, 23-17

2005: at UCLA, 47-40

2006: at USC, 23-9

2007: at UCLA, 30-21

2008: at USC, 17-3

Daily Cal: Bears Well-Rested and Ready for Bus Ride Down to Pasadena

Jimmy Tran

It was an exuberant end to a productive practice for the Cal football team Sunday.  After practice, the players all gathered in a circle around the 20-yard line and started jumping up and down. The excitement was so contagious that even coach Jeff Tedford participated in the impromptu celebration.  Theatrics aside, the tone of the practice could hardly be more serious, as the Bears (3-2, 0-2 in the Pac-10) are coming off two decisive losses in a row to start conference play.  Cal used its bye week to work rather than rest but did not practice Friday or Saturday. The two days appeared to have paid off, as Tedford said the players looked "refreshed and ready to go" during Sunday's practice.

With the kickoff time against UCLA slated for 12:30 p.m., this Saturday, Tedford decided to have the team leave for Los Angeles on Thursday rather than on Friday. The decision was primarily made to avoid any lag that comes with arriving less than a day before game time.  "We'll practice here Thursday and get there fairly late, in the evening" Tedford said. "Friday, we'll have a walk-through around game time and have some meetings, so we will have for sure got over the bus ride. "I think it'll be great, because we'll have some position meetings on the bus with the extra time."

Link to rest of article.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cal Snags 21st Nobel Prize

Oliver E. Williamson, the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics, and Law at UC Berkeley, a pioneer in the multi-disciplinary field of transaction cost economics, and one of the world’s most cited economists, is a winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

This is the fifth economics Nobel for UC Berkeley — three were awarded in the past nine years — and Cal’s 21st Nobel Prize overall in fields including economics, physics, chemistry, and literature.

October 24 Cal-Washington State Game to Start at 1:30 p.m.

From Cal Athletics (link):  The California football game against Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 24 will kick off from Memorial Stadium at 1:30 p.m. The Pac-10 contest will not be televised.  Cal leads the all-time series between the schools, 40-25-5, and has a current four-game win streak against the Cougars.

Note: Strangely, there are plenty of tickets left for what will surely be a colossal battle of Pac-10 titans!

SF Examiner: Cal Bears looking up to rest of Pac-10 in standings - for now

Rob Calonge

It's fair to say that nearly everyone polled prior to the college football season commencing had the Cal Bears rated much higher than the Stanford Cardinal. Besides USC, Cal was supposed to be the dominating team in the conference and seriously challenge for a bid at a national championship.

We all know what came next--a colossal collapse that rivals some of the top falls from grace in recent college football memory. Unfortunately for Cal, it is beginning to rival their own collapse of 2007.

After the 2007 debacle, it took a complete season along with a respectable 9-4 record before national pundits would again take the program seriously. And now that they have again taken the Bears seriously, only to be snake-bitten once again, Cal will have to shake what ails them and make a serious run to close out the season if they want regain their prestige.

More importantly than gaining credibility in the eyes of the media is regaining the credibility of the program for current and future recruits. No loss hurt Cal more than the loss to USC at home. At that home game, the Golden Bears had many of their top recruits visiting the campus. Instead of giving them an inspirational victory to watch, those recruits were given a good dose of second-guessing whether or not to come to Cal.

Link to rest of article.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal Forgetting its Best Man

Jonathan Okanes

Cal trailed USC 10-0 last weekend, but it was early.  However, beginning with the last play of the first quarter, star tailback Jahvid Best did not touch the ball on the Bears' next seven offensive plays. Cal managed one first down during those two possessions, which were sandwiched around a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Trojans' Damian Williams.

Once considered a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, Best has fallen off the national map the past two weeks as opposing defenses dare Cal to beat them through the air. The Bears' inconsistent passing attack has failed to do the job, leaving one of the most talented players in college football virtually helpless in the backfield.  "With players like Jahvid and Shane (Vereen) in the backfield, defenses are going to say, 'We have to stop this,'" Cal offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. "When an opponent does that, they leave other opportunities that you have to try to exploit. We haven't had the success exploiting those opportunities."

Best had just 14 carries against the Trojans, and only eight in the first half when the game was still relatively competitive. In each of the past two weeks against Oregon and USC, the Bears have been forced to throw in an attempt to erase big deficits.

Link to rest of article.

SF Chronicle: Cal's Conte walks the line

Rusty Simmons

When Cal defensive back Chris Conte walks into the Rose Bowl on Saturday, he might be as comfortable with his surroundings as anyone on the host UCLA roster.   "I was over there all of the time as a kid," said Conte, who went to Loyola High-Los Angeles and lived about 10 minutes away from the campus. "We went to nearly every basketball game, football games, baseball games, whatever. UCLA was pretty much where I spent my time growing up."

That's why it was such a surprise when Conte, a junior, switched his verbal commitment from UCLA to Cal two years ago. It's a choice he still talks about with a handful of the current members of the Bruins' roster.  "That was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life, and it totally changed my life," Conte said. "I wouldn't be the same person if I would have stayed home and gone to UCLA. I've matured a lot more by leaving home, living on my own, not having my parents or friends and being able to establish myself. ... It would have pretty much been an extension of high school if I went to UCLA, but I'm getting a real-life, college experience."

Link to rest of article.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Wall Street Journal: College Football's Bad News Bears

Note: This is from the October 1, 2009 edition of the paper.  It’s a pretty negative piece, written prior to the USC blowout.  Be sure to click on the link to see their “bumbling in Berkeley” timeline.


Gaffes and Bad Breaks Prolong Cal's Epic Rose Bowl Drought; Coach Kapp's Tequila Bottle

By Darren Everson

When Joe Kapp took over the football team at the University of California-Berkeley before the 1982 season, he wanted to impress upon his players the need to make sacrifices. So the coach made them a vow: He would forgo tequila until Cal won the Rose Bowl. Nearly three decades later, the 71-year-old is still waiting.  "I've got the bottle right here," he says.

Talk of curses is uncommon in college football. Most of the great historical jinxes—the "please-let-them-win-before-I-die" kind—haunt the fans of professional teams, where a rotten owner can cripple a team for generations. The nature of college sports is that the players come and go, so every four years, there's a chance for a fresh start. At some point, if the school commits itself to winning, the pieces will fall into place and the fans' feeling of collective hopelessness will be relieved.

But then there's Cal. This once-powerful football program, a member of the elite Pac-10 conference, hasn't reached the coveted Rose Bowl since the 1958 season. No other conference school has been absent that long. (Arizona has never made it, but it only joined the conference in 1978.) Every time Cal comes close, something goes horribly, inexplicably wrong.

There was the time in 2006 when they had a key touchdown called back, the time in 2004 when poll voters turned against them, and the time in 2007 when quarterback Kevin Riley failed to stop the clock. Then came last Saturday, when the undefeated Bears, ranked No. 6 in the nation, faced unranked Oregon and lost by the shocking score of 42-3. "The Bears showed up in Oregon to take a stroll," says Mr. Kapp, "and they were on a freeway."

If the Bears can't win Saturday at home against No. 7 Southern California, they'll effectively be out of the Rose Bowl running again. "You'd see the collective psyche of the fan base collapse inward into the fetal position," says Cal alum Erik Johannessen, who expects to lose Saturday.

Going into the Oregon game, Cal was favored by a touchdown. Experts prattled on about how Oregon's offensive line was weak, its quarterback was inaccurate and Cal's star running back, Jahvid Best, would be hard to stop. But on a site called "Dr. Saturday," one Cal fan chimed in with what would prove to be the irrational truth. "Cal should win, but they won't," the commenter wrote. "Dunno why, dunno how, but they won't win."

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