Sunday, May 10, 2009

ESPN - California Football spring wrap-up

Posted by's Ted Miller
California Golden Bears
2008 overall record: 9-4
2008 conference record: 6-3
Returning starters
Offense 7, defense 8, kicker/punter 2
Top returners
RB Jahvid Best, LT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Nyan Boateng, CB Syd'Quan Thompson, DE Tyson Alualu, DE Cameron Jordan, LB Mike Mohamed
Key losses
C Alex Mack, FB Will Ta'ufo'ou, TE Cameron Morrah, LB Zack Follett, LB Worrell Williams, LB Anthony Felder
2008 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Jahvid Best* (1,580)Passing: Kevin Riley* (1,360)Receiving: Nyan Boateng* (439)Tackles: Anthony Felder (93)Sacks: Zack Follett (10.5)Interceptions: Syd'Quan Thompson* (4)
Spring answers
2009 Schedule
Sep. 5 Maryland Sep. 12 Eastern Washington Sep. 19 at Minnesota Sep. 26 at Oregon Oct. 3 USC Oct. 17 at UCLA Oct. 24 Washington State Oct. 31 at Arizona State Nov. 7 Oregon State Nov. 14 Arizona Nov. 21 at Stanford Dec. 5 at Washington
1. On the run: California will again be one of the best rushing teams in the Pac-10 next fall with tailback tandem Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, who combined for nearly 2,300 yards last year, even though two starting offensive linemen are gone, including All-American center and first-round NFL draft pick Alex Mack. All five of the linemen topping the depth chart after spring practices have previously started games, with mammoth 6-foot-6, 335-pound sophomore tackle Mitchell Schwartz stepping in for Mack as the designated star. Best, the conference's top Heisman Trophy candidate, sat out spring practices recovering from foot and elbow surgery, but he's expected to be full-go well before fall practices begin.
2. Is this the Pac-10's best secondary? While USC's secondary should be exceptional in 2009, Cal's might be every bit the Trojans' match. All four starters are back from a crew that ranked sixth in pass efficiency defense last year and intercepted 24 passes (third in the nation). Moreover, the depth is strong with youngsters pushing for playing time.
3. Bears up front: . This could be an exceptional defensive line. Few teams in the country will have a better pair of defensive ends than senior Tyson Alualu and junior Cameron Jordan, and nose tackle Derrick Hill is no stiff either. Further, the play of the backups this spring suggested this crew could go six or seven deep.
Fall questions
1. QB still undecided:
The post-spring depth chart featured two "Ors" between junior Kevin Riley, sophomore Brock Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney, though the general belief is Riley finished spring ahead of the other two. While it may be Riley's job to lose, those "Ors" mean coach Jeff Tedford doesn't want him to feel secure just yet.
2. Replacing the big three: The spring question on defense was obvious: How will the Bears replace linebackers Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams, the anchors of their successful transition to a 3-4 defense in 2008? After the linebacking corps -- Mychal Kendricks, Devin Bishop, Mike Mohamed and Eddie Young -- turned in a strong spring, that question lost some urgency. Still, how well those linebackers perform when the games begin likely will determine if this is a great or merely good defense.
3. Who will receive? Strong springs from sophomores Marvin Jones and Alex Lagemann mean the receiving corps, which returned intact, will be highly competitive for playing time. The post-spring depth chart lists seven names and all seven are in the running for significant action, but it's unlikely more than four or five will see many passes.

Pac-10 spring wrap-up: What we learned
May 8, 2009 10:00 AM
Posted by's Ted Miller

We spent a lot of time talking about quarterbacks this spring in the Pac-10, most particularly USC's quarterback competition -- did ya hear, Aaron Corp's No. 1 but this freshman Matt Barkley looks like the bees' knees!
The other general theme isn't new: After reviewing the tea leaves on the table, does any team have the karmic -- and talent -- potential to unseat USC from the top of the Pac-10?
The answer? Maybe.
What we learned. Or developed a hunch about.
1. Oregon State's quarterback situation is ... interesting: You have two starting quarterbacks who are seniors. One is going to sit. No other way to describe it. Lyle Moevao threw for 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns last year but he sat out spring practices with a shoulder injury, which is exactly what happened to Sean Canfield last year before he lost his starting job. By the way, Canfield went 3-0 -- two starts -- subbing for Moevao in 2008. Though he struggled in the spring game with three interceptions, Canfield played well enough throughout that he probably owns a slight lead heading into the offseason.
2. USC's defense may not be as good as 2008, but it's probably as good as anyone else: The 2008 USC defense had more future NFL players on it than any other unit in the nation. And the 2009 version might not be any different, though there's clearly youth and inexperience to fret about from the Trojans' perspective. Still, start with perhaps the best secondary in the nation, led by safeties Taylor Mays and Josh Pinkard. Then consider the breakout spring of end Everson Griffen, who could win the Pac-10 sack title if he remains focused. Further, word is the three new linebackers might not match the NFL-ready standard of Rey Maualuga, Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing, but Malcolm Smith, Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan are faster. Toss in some impressive youngsters up front, and it's hard to imagine this crew not ranking among the nation's top 10 in just about every category.
3. The conference of ... running backs: The Pac-10 might feature the best collection of running backs in the nation. Five 1,000-yard rushers are schedule to return, including California's Jahvid Best, the conference's top Heisman Trophy candidate, and Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, who won the conference's Offensive Player of the Year award as a true freshman. Toss in Oregon's LeGarrette Blount, a potential first-day NFL draft pick in 2010, and Stanford's Toby Gerhart and Arizona's Nic Grigsby, not to mention the six-deep stable of runners at USC, and the battle for first-team Pac-10 might be more arduous than All-American.
4. But can anyone block? Three teams that ran the ball well last year -- Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State -- lost three starting offensive linemen, including early-round NFL draft picks. Four others -- Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State -- were just lousy up front last fall. Even Stanford and California, which should be fairly stout, lost their best blockers from 2008. The conference's only sure thing up front is USC, which welcomes back its entire starting five, including All-American center Kristopher O'Dowd. Moreover, the teams that entered spring with questions on the line didn't get many answers three weeks later. O-line play might be the most critical issue facing the conference in 2009, even more so than at quarterback.
5. Sarkisian and Kelly bring new energy: Steve Sarkisian and Chip Kelly inherited completely different situations, but both made a mark by upping the intensity of practices. Sarkisian, of course, took over a lifeless program that Tyrone Willingham ran into the ground (uncharitable, but inarguable). He opened up practices and practically begged boosters and old Huskies greats to come visit. He also increased the tempo and energy level of practices -- heck, everything around the team -- which might do more than anything to get the Huskies a handful of wins next fall. Meanwhile, Kelly took over for one of the best coaches in the nation, Mike Bellotti, and brought a little East Coast volume to Ducks practices. He's not completely renovating the Ducks, who finished in the nation's top 10 last year, but he's going to add his own coat of paint -- which at Oregon, as you known, probably will be a fairly loud shade.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

BearTerritory Hot 11

Cal Finishes Spring Practice with Successful Scrimmage
Head Coach Jeff Tedford Pleased with Progress Made by the Bears
April 18, 2009

BERKELEY - With both sides of the ball creating their own set of highlights, California completed its spring 2009 practice with a final scrimmage before approximately 2,000 fans in Memorial Stadium Saturday.
Going through a series of situational opportunities, the Bears had sessions in almost all facets of the game - kickoffs, field goals, punting and short yardage, as well as late-game and full-field conditions.
"A lot of learning has gone on," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "That's what spring is all about. I was really encouraged by the attitude and work ethic. I think we are doing just fine."
The first set of plays began with the ball placed on the 30-yard-line, and quarterback Brock Mansion led the Cal offense 70 yards down the field in 11 plays. He capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Lagemann. Mansion was 5-for-5 for 75 yards on the drive, with three of the completions going to Lagemann for 47 yards. Mansion ended the afternoon 8-for-11 for 90 yards with the one TD and an interception.
Quarterback Kevin Riley was next to go behind center and he completed his first five attempts for 45 yards. He finished the scrimmage going 8-for-13 for 80 yards with long plays of 23 yards to Nyan Boateng and 19 yards to Lagemann.
Quarterback Kevin Sweeney was 4-for-12 for 65 yards with an interception and a TD. The score was a 36-yard toss down the sideline to Jeremy Ross, who caught the ball over his shoulder in the end zone.
"All three will get a lot of opportunities," Tedford said of the quarterbacks. "Once we get to camp, we'll see if they separate themselves."

The running game didn't get untracked against the Cal defense, as only tailback Langston Jackson managed a rush of at least 10 yards when he burst through for a 13-yard gain. He was the day's top runner with 33 yards on six attempts.

May 3, 2009
Chris Nguon
Senior Writer

Before we begin our coverage of the summer workouts next week, we revisit Spring Ball and denote some of the standouts of the competitive four-week session for the Cal football team. There were several players that performed exceptionally well this spring year, including a handful of athletes on the defensive side of the ball. But, the No. 1 player on our list is a dynamic playmaker that could really give the Bears' offense a major boost this upcoming season if he can carry his momentum into Fall Camp and beyond. Click inside to check out BearTerritory's "Hot 11."

BearTerritory Hot 11
Marvin Jones, Tyson Alualu, Cameron Jordan, Kendrick Payne, Mychal Kendricks,
Chris Conte, Kevin Riley, Mike Mohamed, Syd Quan Thompson, Chris Guarnero, Brett Johnson, JUST MISSED
Other Notables

Solomona Aigamaua, Charles Amadi, Bryan Anger, Marc Anthony, Kevin Bemoll, Devin Bishop, Nyan Boateng, Mark Boskovich,Jesse Brooks, Keith Browner, D.J. Campbell, Sean Cattouse, Justin Cheadle, Mike Costanzo, Skylar Curran, Covaughn DeBoskie, Sam DeMartinis, Donovan Edwards, Savai'i Eselu, Marcus Ezeff, Richard Fisher, Dominic Galas, Justin Gates, Peter Geurts, Garry Graffort, Trevor Guyton,Darian Hagan,Derrick Hill,Josh Hill,Brian Holley, D.J. Holt, J.P. Hurrell,
Langston Jackson, running back, 6-foot-1, 227, Freshman
Provides depth to an insanely deep backfield

Charles Johnson, Will Kapp Spencer Ladner, Alex Lagemann, Chris Little, Brock Mansion, Anthony Miller, Robert Mullins, Bryant Nnabuife, Justin Prueitt, Tyler Rigsbee, Matt Rios,
Jeremy Ross, Matt Russi, Charles Satchell, Mitchell Schwartz, David Seawright, Tad Smith, Jarrett Sparks, Eric Stevens, Matt Summers-Gavin, Beau Sweeney, Chet Teofilo, Mike Tepper, Aaron Tipoti, Verran Tucker, John Tyndall, Shane Vereen, Eddie Young,
Simi Valley RB Jackson a Cal Bear
Chris Nguon
To put it bluntly, the Cal offense struggled in goal-line and short yardage situations last season. Sometimes, the ball carrier didn't run through the correct hole while other times, as Bears coach Jeff Tedford simply stated, "we needed to block better." For this year's corps of running backs, the name of the game is speed. And while athletes likes Jahvid Best and his compatriots can certainly lay a shoulder into a defender if needed, one player who might indeed help Cal's short yardage game down the line is walk-on Langston Jackson, a late add to the current roster.