Monday, January 25, 2010

Contra Costa Times: UC Berkeley banking on unusual plan to fund stadium work

UC Berkeley is nearly ready to firm up the shakiest stadium around.  The university this year will begin preparing 87-year-old Memorial Stadium, which straddles the dangerous Hayward fault, for a $320 million renovation that is expected to make the football venue much safer. The upgrade is scheduled to be finished in time for the 2012 football season.  University of California regents last week handed the Berkeley campus its final approval to go ahead with the project, completing years of planning.

"I'm just so excited because it's just one more step to be able to know that it's going to be a reality," said Cal football coach Jeff Tedford, whose team will play home games at either Candlestick Park, AT&T Park or the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2011.  "It's a big piece of the puzzle that's been missing for a while," he said. "It's very exciting to know that it's for real." The school will use a scheme with roots in the NFL to finance the project. The university will borrow the $320 million and pay it back over 30 years with the help of seat licenses, which fans buy for life and pay off annually.  The money raised by the licenses, a concept used by the National Football League, would collect interest in an endowment. Those profits — which university officials hope will outpace interest on the borrowed money — would pay off the loan if all goes as planned.

Link to rest of article.


ESPN: Two Receivers Commit to Cal

Cal had a big need for receivers this year and brought in a pair of under the radar types this past weekend. Long Beach Poly (Calif.) standout Kaelin Clay committed over the weekend and you can now add Terrance Montgomery (Los Angeles, Calif./West Adams Prep) to the commitment list as well.

Montgomery is a name that not many people have heard much about it. West Adams Prep is a small school and Montgomery in fact, is now the first football player to ever receive a FBS scholarship from the school.  Cal had been recruiting Montgomery on and off since his junior season and he picked up their interest in the last month. He visited this past weekend and upon being offered a scholarship by coach (Jeff) Tedford, wasted no time in jumping on it.

Link to rest of article.

Monday, January 18, 2010

SF Examiner: Tedford goes to Michigan to replace fired Alamar

Rob Calonge

After letting Pete Alamar go after the season, Coach Jeff Tedford conducted a national search for a replacement to coach both the tight ends and special teams for 2010. Today, Cal announced that the search is over.  Former Eastern Michigan head coach Jeff Genyk has been hired to improve upon a special teams unit that was a major disappointment in 2009. Genyk will also fill the same role as Alamar did by coaching the tight ends as well.

In a released statement, Tedford was quoted as saying, "We are excited about bringing in an experienced coach with Jeff's high level of expertise, energy and passion." In the same statement, Genyk stated, "I will work relentlessly to do everything I can to help the program continue to be successful and reach an even higher level."

Link to Rest of Article

AP: Cal Hires New Special Teams, Tight Ends Coach

California has hired former Eastern Michigan coach Jeff Genyk as its special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford made the announcement Saturday that Genyk would replace Pete Alamar on his staff.  Genyk spent five years as head coach at Eastern Michigan before being fired in 2008. He had a 16-42 record at Eastern Michigan.  Genyk previously spent 12 seasons as an assistant at Northwestern. He ran the special teams there in his final eight seasons with the Wildcats. He helped Northwestern win shares of three Big Ten titles and go to the Rose Bowl following the 1995 season.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

LA Times: Lane Kiffin is a Lightweight for USC's Heavyweight Program

Bill Plaschke

What was Mike Garrett thinking?  This question, of course, is based on the large and dangerous assumption that he was actually thinking.  On the contrary, in handing his heavyweight USC football team to lightweight Lane Kiffin on Tuesday, Garrett has seemingly lost his mind.  The USC athletic director's few remaining defenders have always deflected criticism toward Garrett by claiming he is a true Trojan.

This is who a true Trojan hires?  A program that defines itself by victories over UCLA just signed a guy who was out coached by UCLA's Rick Neuheisel just four months ago, Kiffin's Tennessee team losing to the Bruins in Knoxville. I haven't yet talked to Neuheisel, but I can guess his two-word reaction to this move. "Thank you." This is who a true Trojan hires?  A program that defines itself in consistency of leadership just acquired a guy who walks out of a Tennessee program after only one season.

Link to rest of article.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

LA Times: Lane Kiffin returns to replace Pete Carroll

Former Trojans assistant, who had short stints as head coach with the Oakland Raiders and University of Tennessee, is the surprise choice. He will have his father, Monte, and Ed Orgeron on his staff.

By Gary Klein

Given the giant task of replacing charismatic, championship-winning football coach Pete Carroll, USC on Tuesday surprised no one by turning to one of its own.  But the coach the Trojans chose was a shocker.

Lane Kiffin, a Carroll protégé who had quickly become among the most controversial coaches in college football during his one season at the University of Tennessee, rejoined a program he helped to glory in six seasons as an assistant.  "We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC," Athletic Director Mike Garrett said in a statement announcing the hiring. "I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us, and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose."

Kiffin, 34, will be introduced at a news conference at USC's Heritage Hall at 4 this afternoon. He was hired on the day Carroll was introduced in Seattle as the new head coach of the NFL's Seahawks, completing a move that sent shock waves throughout football's highest levels.  USC enjoyed one of the most successful runs in college football history under Carroll, but the coach left behind a Trojans program that is being investigated by the NCAA for various rules violations.


Monday, January 11, 2010

SF Examiner: Going pro is Best for both Cal and Jahvid

Few were surprised and practically all Bear Backers were disappointed that Jahvid Best chose to forgo his senior season at Berkeley and head for the NFL. He'll likely be a first-round selection, but whether or not he'll move into the top five of the draft is yet to be determined.  Should Best move into the top five of the NFL draft, he could end up calling St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Washington, or Kansas City home for next season. Of the five teams drafting in the top five this year, Detroit, Washington, or Kansas City are the most likely destinations for the former Cal Bear.

No matter where Best goes in the first round, just getting drafted in the NFL's premier prime-time slot will guarantee Best enough money to BUY over 100 Cal Berkeley tuitions. And that's just for the life of his first contract.  Education is important, so if Best was slated to be a second-round pick, I might have a different take on his situation, but with the amount of money he's about to make, his innocent baby-faced smile, and his incredible athletic ability, it's a no-brainer for the future Wheaties-box hero. Not only will he be making money off his initial NFL contract, if he shows an inkling of the promise he's shown at Cal in his rookie season, he'll become the new face of the NFL. Clean living, talent, and good looks has a way of doing that for a player...and it also helps that unlike other NFL stars, he doesn't struggle with the English language.

Link to rest of article.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Los Angeles Times Confirms Pete Carroll Has Resigned as USC's Headcoach

From USAToday:

The L.A. Times and L.A. Daily News reported that Carroll had resigned as head coach Southern California on Sunday.  The Times reported that Carroll intends to accept the position as the Seahawks' next head coach.  Carroll emerged as the leading contender for the Seattle job after the team fired Jim Mora on Sunday. He met with Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke on Sunday. Multiple outlets, including the Daily News, the Times, and ESPN, had earlier reported that Carroll had reached a deal with the Seahawks.  ESPN reported that Carroll had convinced his offensive coordinator at USC, Jeremy Bates, to join him in Seattle. Bates had been a contender for the Bears' vacant OC position. ESPN also reported that Ken Norton, Carroll's linebackers coach with the Trojans, will join him in Seattle.  If the deal becomes official, it will be Carroll's third stint as a head coach in the NFL. He went 33-31 in four seasons with the Jets and Patriots in 1994 (Jets) and 1997-1999 (Patriots). -- Sean Leahy


Seattle Times: Pete Carroll Resigns as USC Head Coach

Pete Carroll has resigned as USC head coach, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.  An agreement to make him the Seahawks next head coach is close at hand, but that deal was not announced Sunday night. Carroll is apparently returning to the NFL after nine years at USC where he compiled a record of 97-19, won two national titles and had seven successive seasons with 11 or more victories.  He returns to the NFL one decade after he was fired from New England in 1999, and the Seahawks indicated over the weekend that he would not be hired with final say over personnel, something previously characterized as a prerequisite for his return to the league. As an NFL coach, Carroll was 33-31 overall with two playoff appearances and one playoff victory.  He would become the seventh head coach in Seahawks history, replacing Jim Mora who was fired after just one season.  Seattle still must hire a general manager, and according to ESPN, four candidates have been lined up for interviews this week: Floyd Reese, previous GM of the Oilers and Titans who currently serves as senior football adviser; John Schneider, Green Bay's director of football operations, and a well-regarded personnel evaluator; Marc Ross of the New York Giants' college scouting department; and Omar Khan, the Pittsburgh Steelers' business and football administration coordinator who handles contract negotiations.

Both Ross and Khan are young up-and-coming executives in their 30s while Reese is a veteran. Schneider worked in Seattle for one year in 2000 where he was vice president of player personnel under Mike Holmgren. The exact title Carroll may end up holding in Seattle is not known, however, and it's possible that Seattle is creating a new organizational structure in which Carroll would report directly to the CEO, Tod Leiweke, and not the general manager. Although Carroll will not have a final say over personnel in terms of the draft, free-agent signings and trades, he might have final say on who makes the 53-man roster. USC has a potential vacancy, and the Los Angeles Daily News reported the Trojans contacted University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian to gauge his potential interest, and he said no thanks. Sarkisian, however, said Sunday in an e-mail he had not been contacted. On Friday after news of Carroll's potential departure to the Seahawks was reported, Sarkisian said to The Seattle Times he wasn't interested in going elsewhere. "People don't understand it, but this is my dream job," he said.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cal Fail

Cal football had the dubious distinction of making the Fail blog today.  LINK.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Contra Costa Times: Cal coach Tedford vows to find answers

By Jonathan Okanes

Cal football coach Jeff Tedford has spent the past week holed up in his office, trying to process a maddening season that has left a bad taste inside and outside the program. He hears the criticism from fans and the media and acknowledges that some of it is justified.  But Tedford is eager to move forward, and he would like to do so with fans and alumni on board. However, he understands there are droves of Old Blues demanding some answers before that can happen.  So Tedford contacted the Bay Area News Group to speak to Cal's fan base. In a lengthy, exclusive interview in an otherwise empty Cal football office this week, Tedford sympathized with the widespread disappointment over the season, acknowledged that an eight-win season isn't good enough and asked fans for their support in turning negatives into positives.   "I feel terrible about it," he said. "There's a knot in my stomach. I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. You lose sleep thinking about how you can improve and get better. There are a lot of internal expectations, but I don't lose sight of how people take pride in our success and are disappointed in our failure. I feel that as much as you can possibly imagine."   The 2009 season was one of the most highly anticipated in years in Berkeley. The Bears returned 16 starters from last year's 9-4 team, and with USC going through a slight rebuilding phase, many observers felt Cal could make its first Rose Bowl appearance in over 50 years. The Bears were ranked 12th in the preseason Associated Press Top 25.  Not only did the Bears come up short in a number of performances, but they also failed to be competitive. Cal finished 8-5 and was outscored 182-57 in its defeats. The Bears' 37-27 loss to Utah in last week's Poinsettia Bowl turned out to be their closest setback.  "I'm disappointed we lost five games, but more than that probably is the way those went," Tedford said. "You try to figure that out. The first place I look is in the mirror. We have to make sure we do whatever it takes to improve and not have those issues. I'm really anxious to get back at it to fix that."

After each of Cal's losses, Tedford was quick to give credit to the opponent while also pointing out his own team's mistakes. He said the Bears ran into hot quarterbacks in lopsided losses to Oregon and Washington. He said his staff was outcoached on a few occasions.  "We're going to do everything we can to define the problems and fix them," he said. "I understand the frustrations. Nobody is more frustrated than me. Eight wins is not what we set out to do. We set out to be better than that. "  When Tedford turned Cal from a Pac-10 doormat into a Bowl Championship Series contender in three years, his name surfaced often when high-profile coaching jobs opened up. Tedford said he has declined three head-coaching offers in his eight years at Cal that would have made him more money, one as recently as last year.  Tedford now is signed through the 2015 season. He has a deep passion for Cal. He said that's what makes the 2009 season even more frustrating and why he hopes the Cal football community will stick with him.  What can Tedford do to cure the warts of 2009? He still is in the preliminary stages of figuring that out. Tedford said he's going to make an exhaustive list of everything that goes on in the program and get together with coaches and players to evaluate them. While Tedford often makes references to working harder when things go wrong, he said that doesn't necessarily mean things will otherwise remain status quo.

"We're not just going to work harder at what we already do," he said. "Part of the hard work is defining who you are and what you're going to be, what you're going to actually be working at. At every turn, there are certain things where you may feel like you have to do things differently. Maybe some of the things we've always done are not good enough."  Tedford's immediate to-do list includes replacing special teams/tight ends coach Pete Alamar, who was fired earlier in the week, and hitting the recruiting trail up until signing day Feb. 3. In the meantime, he is hoping to break through the negativity that has clouded the team at the end of the season.   "I just hope people will still lend support to what we're doing so it doesn't get so negative," Tedford said. "I'm just asking for people to support us and our players so that we can move in the right direction. We're going to do our best to learn from it, and we're going to work on it and continue to try to reach all of our goals.  "I know there are a lot of questions. I'm not naive to the disappointment, I'm not naive to the naysayers, I'm not naive to the critics. I want them to know that I'm going to do my best to address the things because it's important to me that we make people proud."

Jahvid Best Decides to Turn Pro

Ted Miller - ESPN

With the blessing of coach Jeff Tedford, California running back Jahvid Best will bypass his senior year and enter the NFL draft this spring.  "This is an opportunity I can't pass up, so I have to take advantage of it," Best said.  Best said he consulted a number of people about the decision -- including the NFL -- and he believes he could be selected anywhere from the first to the third round.  Best began the season as a top Heisman Trophy candidate and his outstanding speed will catch NFL scouts attention. He rushed for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns, despite missing the Bears final four games. In 2008, he led the Pac-10 and ranked third in the country in rushing, averaging 131.67 yards per game and finished with 1,580 yards, which ranks second in the Cal record book.  Best suffered a severe concussion and injured his back on Nov. 7 against Oregon State after he was flipped in the endzone after scoring a touchdown. He said he's still not 100 percent but expects to be by the NFL combine.

Link to rest of article.