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Vote for Tedford for the National Coach of the Year Award

Posted by Steve | September 29, 2006 at 12:56 pm | In Awards, Coaches | No Comments

Cal fans, head over to www.coachoftheyear.com and cast a vote for Jeff Tedford. The winning coach, besides gaining national recognition in a televised award presentation in December, will also select a charity to receive a $100,000 donation and earn their school $20,000 for their own scholarship fund. Fans can vote every day through the end of the first phase of voting, which ends November 5th.

How to catch the Oregon State game

Posted by Eric | September 29, 2006 at 12:30 pm | In Games | No Comments

Since Saturday’s game isn’t televised, you have a few options (besides making the trip up to Corvallis, of course).

Radio:

  • KALX Radio (90.7 FM, Berkeley)
  • KGO Radio (810 AM, San Francisco)
  • KKGO Radio (1260 AM, Los Angeles)
  • KKGO Radio (540 AM, San Diego)
  • KESP Radio (970 AM, Modesto)
  • KNRO Radio (1670AM, Redding)

Online:

Eric’s prediction: 52-21, Cal.

Steve’s prediction: 41-17 Cal.

Saturday’s matchup: at Oregon State

Posted by Eric | September 28, 2006 at 6:08 pm | In Games | 1 Comment

Saturday’s matchup is away in Corvallis, OR and untelevised, but it is an important conference matchup against a decent team who upset the Bears last season. Here are some articles and thoughts:

Associated Press: “Beavers see a chance to define themselves”

Enter conference play and the Golden Bears… Cal brings the momentum of a 49-21 win over Arizona State. Oregon State’s defense returned to form in a 38-0 win over the Vandals Saturday, but coach Mike Riley cautioned against putting too much stock in that win…

California embarrassed the Beavers in its last appearance at Reser Stadium — a 49-7 win in 2004. Oregon State returned the favor last year, beating then-No. 18 Cal 23-20 in Berkeley.

ESPN’s “Pac-10 Notebook”:

During the Bears’ three-game winning streak, [Longshore]’s completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 795 yards with 10 touchdowns and has become the Pac-10’s highest-rated quarterback. Each of those games were at home, however, and now he takes the Bears on the road for the first time since the ill-fated trip to Knoxville. Last year, Oregon State ended Cal’s 10-game home winning streak with a 23-20 upset. On the other hand, the last time Cal went to Corvallis, it prevailed 49-7.

Contra Costa Times: “Oregon State has a proven record of running past Cal”

Oregon State coach Mike Riley wouldn’t boast about tailback Yvenson Bernard rushing for 194 yards on 42 carries in his team’s 23-20 victory over Cal last season at Memorial Stadium…

The Bears’ confidence might be high, but they have given up 164.8 rushing yards per game. Cal senior linebacker Mickey Pimentel said the Beavers are sure to test the Bears’ front seven early on Saturday.

“They wanted to pound us last year,” Pimentel said. “And they did. We have pride on defense. We always want to shut down the run, but (Bernard) had ridiculous yards against us. Our focus is going to be stopping the run.” Pimentel said it’s rare that an opponent can dominate the Bears physically. “That’s just not us,” he said. “We don’t get beaten up physically. We are going to answer the challenge.”

Jay Heater’s (Contra Costa Times) blog:

The theme of today’s media conference was very clear. Jeff Tedford told his players “you got your butt kicked last season, now what are you going to do about it?”

Tedford has been very good about issuing challenges to his players. When Oregon State has been able to run against the Bears, it has handled them. The Beavers also have mugged Cal’s receivers at the line of scrimmage and that has had a significant effect on the game.

Tedford wants his players to understand this is another of those smack down challenges, a physical war along the line of scrimmage. And that just doesn’t mean the front seven. Those defensive backs and wide receivers will be hammering each other the entire game.

ESPN’s Bruce Feldman picks:

No. 20 Cal 41, Oregon State 17: The Bears have way too many weapons for Oregon State to handle. On paper, this sounds like a nice challenge for Cal QB Nate Longshore since the Beavers lead the Pac-10 in passing defense by a fairly large margin. (Opposing QBs are only completing 45 percent of their passes and have thrown just one TD against 5 INTs.) But I think Longshore and his speedy collection of receivers are going to light them up.
Thing that has me sold: Cal’s skill level.

Longshore is USA Today Player of the Week

Posted by Eric | September 27, 2006 at 1:39 pm | In Quarterback | 1 Comment

QB Nate Longshore has been awarded the USA Today Player of the Week honor, as two members of the media overrode the public vote.

A prolific passing day carried California quarterback Nate Longshore to this week’s USA TODAY’s Player of the Week honor. The sophomore threw for four touchdowns and 270 yards as the Golden Bears scored 42 first-half points in a 49-21 defeat of No. 18 Arizona State. Longshore won the award with the votes of Gannett News Service columnist Mike Lopresti and college football editor Erick Smith. Fan voting sided with Notre Dame defensive back Terrail Lambert.

It’s nice to see Longshore’s efforts recognized by national media.

OL/DL Justin Cheadle commits to Cal

Posted by Eric | September 26, 2006 at 1:25 am | In Recruiting | 3 Comments

Four-star lineman Justin Cheadle out of Bakersfield has committed to Cal. He’s a 6′4″, 260+ lb player who can play both offensive and defensive line, but will likely play the former at Cal. Check out his player profile at Scout and Rivals. From his mouth:

“I always [was] thinking about committing to Cal, but something told me when I was there, just go ahead and commit to Cal. I like the coaches. I like the players. I love the area. I’ll get a top education. It’s a top program. I really think they’ll compete for the Pac 10 championship. Every thing’s just really good about them. I’m just really impressed with the whole program,” concluded Cheadle.

Cheadle is a basketball star for Bakersfield as well and also sports a 3.8 GPA.

Vote for Cal’s Pontiac Game Changing Performance

Posted by Steve | September 26, 2006 at 12:37 am | In Awards, Games, Marshawn, Special Teams | No Comments

DeSean Jackson’s second-quarter, 80-yard punt return for a touchdown is one of four plays nominated for Week 4’s Pontiac Game Changing Performance. The University to win this award will receive a $5,000 contribution to their general scholarship fund and place them in the running for the $100,000 Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year. Voting began Sunday, and will end on Wednesday night. Go here to vote. As extra incentive to vote, Pontiac is also giving away a $5,000 scholarship each week to one lucky visitor to the site, so hurry up, and go support our Bears. While you’re at it, also don’t forget to drop by here once a week to vote for Marshawn Lynch for the Heisman.

Longshore Pac-10 Player of the Week - again

Posted by Eric | September 25, 2006 at 10:42 pm | In Awards, Defense, Quarterback, Special Teams | 2 Comments

QB Nate Longshore has been named Pac-10 offensive player of the week for the second time this season.

Longshore, a sophomore from Canyon Country, Calif., directed California’s offense in the Golden Bears’ 49-21 win against No. 18-ranked Arizona State. Longshore completed 18 of 26 passes (.692) for 270 yards and four touchdowns covering 9, 31, 23 and 8 yards with just one interception. All four touchdown passes came in the first half as California built a 42-14 halftime lead. It marks the second time this season Longshore has been named Pac-10 offensive player of the week having also been so honored after his performance in Cal’s win against Minnesota.

DB Daymeion Hughes and WR/PR DeSean Jackson were also nominated for defensive PotW and special teams PotW, respectively.

Cal leading the Pac-10 in stats

Posted by Eric | September 25, 2006 at 10:34 am | In Defense, Offense | No Comments

Cal is emerging as the statistical leader of the Pac-10. As a team, Cal is the Pac-10’s leader in scoring (37.8 ppg) and passing yards (287.8).

In addition, Nate Longshore is #1 in QB rating at 166.92. Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson both are leading in rushing yards (449) and receiving yards (371), respectively. Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan are also in the top 5 in receiving yards. Jackson leads the conference in scoring with 42 points as well. Finally, Daymeion Hughes is far and away the leader in interceptions with 5.

Longshore for USA Today Player of the Week

Posted by Eric | September 25, 2006 at 10:10 am | In Awards, Quarterback | No Comments

QB Nate Longshore has been nominated by USA Today for their College Football Player of the Week award. He is one of five players in the running, alongside Notre Dame DB Terrail Lambert, South Carolina WR Sidney Rice, Utah DB Eric Weddle, and Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe.

You can help Longshore out by visiting the site and casting a vote for him. He’s currently in second place at 23% behind Lambert with 33%.

Also, Todd McShay with Scouts Inc./ESPN recognized Nate Longshore’s great performance on Saturday and included him on his weekly college football stock report in “Stock Up”. He writes:

Nate Longshore, QB, Cal
It would have been easy to write Longshore off following the season-opening debacle at Tennessee. So give head coach Jeff Tedford credit for sticking with the confidence-shaken sophomore. Longshore made progress in wins over Minnesota and Portland State, but his breakout game came Saturday in Cal’s lopsided victory over Pac-10 foe Arizona State. His poise and accuracy were most impressive, as Longshore completed 18 passes to eight different receivers. He finished the afternoon throwing for 270 yards and four touchdowns. As a side note, CB Daymeion Hughes headlined Cal’s dominant defensive performance with two interceptions and WR/RS DeSean Jackson showed his rare explosiveness on an 80-yard punt return for a score.

Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter is listed in the “Stock Down” section following his dismal performance against Cal’s defense.

Bears rout Arizona State, inch up in polls

Posted by Eric | September 24, 2006 at 3:58 pm | In Games, Ranks/Predictions | 4 Comments

Yesterday, Cal obliterated then-ranked Arizona State, sending them home with a painful loss and blasting them out of the top 25.

ESPN: No. 22 Arizona State had some questions entering its Pac-10 opener. The answers weren’t good. No. 21 Cal blasted the Sun Devils 49-21 in Berkeley

Associated Press: California walked all over the Sun Devils in a 49-21 victory Saturday, and [Daymeion] Hughes’ pivotal pick capped a 42-point first half that showed the No. 21 Golden Bears have made significant strides in the last three weeks.

Bear Insider: Speed kills. Absolute speed kills absolutely. With apologies to Nicolo Machiavelli, nothing could sum up Saturday’s 49-21 Cal victory better or more concisely. The #21-ranked Golden Bears allowed ASU to rip off a 12-play, 74 yard touchdown drive to open the football game.

Scout.com: Arizona State had one of the top-ranked defenses heading into last Saturday’s showdown with Cal. The Sun Devils got sun burned by four Nate Longshore touchdown passes in an impressive 49-21 statement win for the Bears. Had smoking-hot Cal scheduled Tennessee in late September, rather than on the opening weekend, we all might be labeling the Bears a dangerous darkhorse contender for a national championship.

Contra Costa Times: The highly regarded Cal team that everyone expected to debut on Sept. 2 at Tennessee showed up Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The Golden Bears, who were ranked No. 9 in the preseason polls, opened their Pac 10 season with a 49-21 win over No. 22 Arizona State, which simply had no answer for the Bears’ bevy of playmakers. No. 21 Cal (3-1, 1-0) scored in explosive fashion, racing to a 42-14 lead by intermission. Six players scored Cal’s seven touchdowns.

Sports Network: Nate Longshore tossed four first-half touchdown passes to lead 21st-ranked California to a 49-21 thumping of No.22 Arizona State in the Pac 10 opener for both teams at Memorial Stadium. Longshore completed 18-of-26 passes for 270 yards with an interception, and Marshawn Lynch rushed 17 times for 124 yards. Lynch also caught a touchdown and DeSean Jackson hauled in four passes for 67 yards and a score, while also returning a punt 80 yards for a touchdown for the Golden Bears (3-1, 1-0 Pac 10), who have now won their last three games following a season-opening loss to Tennessee.

Coach Jeff Tedford: We had a lot of speed on the field and our playmakers really stepped up well on offense and defense. I thought special teams did a nice job. I thought Andrew Larson did an excellent job of punting with really great hang-time to allow us to cover his punts. I think in all three phases of the game we played fairly solid but we’re still not where we need to be. We need to be able to put four quarters together and we haven’t done that yet this year. I thought our offensive line did a nice job. Coach Gregory did a nice job. He did a nice job of mixing his calls up and making adjustments.

ASU Coach Dirk Koetter: We talked to the team about when you’re on the road against a good team with a loud crowd, whenever that onslaught comes, you’ve got to be able to answer it, and we just couldn’t answer it. What Cal did to us today is exactly what happened to them at Tennessee, it’s exactly the same thing. That’s the difficulty of playing on the road - not just playing on the road, but playing against a good football team.

After the pressure starts to build from their blitzes, even the most routine plays become difficult.

Cal’s very talented. All of those wide receivers, three tailbacks, the corner [Hughes] is outstanding. They’re by far the most athletic team we’ve played - by far.

Despite this huge in-conference throttling of a top 25 team, the polls again showed Cal little respect. In the AP poll, Cal moved up one spot to #20. The Coaches’ poll left Cal at #20, like last week. In both votes, Clemson leapfrogged Cal due to their win over ACC bottom dweller North Carolina. Regardless, pundits are turning their eyes back to Cal with this win and recognizing the big-time potential for the season.

As an aside, in addition to the plethora of highlights from the Bears, there was one brutal lowlight from ASU. Cornerback Justin Tryon laid DeSean Jackson out with a dangerous and vicious cheapshot during a punt return, receiving only a personal foul flag. In my opinion, he should have been ejected or at least benched by his coaches. Fellow bloggers at Sturdy Golden Blog and Bear Territory agree as well, and you can take a look to see what they think.

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