Saturday, December 05, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Cal Bears football team's offensive line is growing up

Jonathan Okanes

The 2009 Big Game will long be remembered for Shane Vereen's running and Mike Mohamed's game-clinching interception, but history may show it was significant for another reason — it was the day that Cal's offensive line of the future came of age.  The Bears' offensive front dominated Stanford, helping Cal amass 477 yards of offense and 31 first downs in a 34-28 win on Nov. 21. The Bears had put up some big offensive numbers earlier in the season, but the opponents in those games didn't match Stanford, which entered the Big Game as arguably the hottest team in the country. "As far as feeling we could physically impose our will on them, that was probably the best we've done this year," Cal right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said. "We hit a rough patch in the middle of the year, and we put an emphasis on getting better. We had to look at ourselves in the mirror, and I think we've done a good job of that. We've just kept progressing throughout the year."  Cal's offensive line had its way with Stanford's defensive front, opening up running lanes for Vereen and protecting quarterback Kevin Riley, who was 17-for-31 for 235 yards and a touchdown. Vereen finished with a career-high 193 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries.

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