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Thompson returns, and more spring updates

Posted by Eric | April 3, 2008 at 1:36 am | In Coaches, Defense, Offense, Players/Alumni | No Comments

* Thompson returns to practice

CB Syd’Quan Thompson returned to practice today (Wednesday), following a one-practice suspension for violating team rules. Coach Jeff Tedford gave Cal fans a scare on Monday when he suggested that the suspension might be indefinite. While the reason for the suspension has not been revealed, Thompson said:

“I’m just glad to be back out here and have a chance to make up for what I missed Monday.”

Thompson didn’t waste any time getting up to speed, as he and CB Chris Conte intercepted QB Kevin Riley on consecutive plays.

* Best takes limited reps

While Tedford indicated that RB Jahvid Best would not be participating in any team practice drills for the spring on Monday, Best already took a few reps with the first team offense today. Of course, he was still wearing a red non-contact jersey, and he is not expected to take any hits for all of spring ball. Tedford said:

“Actually, I think he did sneak in on a couple of plays . . . He’s going to do some ball-handling and he’s going to run some, but we’re not going to bang him.”

* OL Mike Tepper moves to LT

Mike Tepper has been moved back to left tackle, where he played two years ago. There was some speculation that center Alex Mack might be moved to LT following his decision to stay his senior year, but it looks like Tepper will be the guy protecting the QB’s blind side. In general, left tackles are chosen higher in the NFL draft than centers.

* WR Glover, WR/PR? Boateng emerging

(Continue reading “Thompson returns, and more spring updates”…)

Spring practice opens

Posted by Eric | April 1, 2008 at 12:52 am | In Coaches, Players/Alumni | 3 Comments

Today, Cal’s spring practice began with a few news items of note.

#1: RB Jahvid Best is already well enough to be out doing individual drills in a red noncontact jersey.

Best, who suffered a major hip injury last season, is not expected to participate in the team drills this spring. After practice, Best said:

“I was just told to come out here and go as hard as I can and see how my hip responds. After today, I feel pretty good. The only thing I felt is that I’m a little bit out of shape from not doing too much in a long time. But I felt fine . . . they basically just wanted to see how it responds if I act normal, and then go from there to see how it plays out.”

J. Okanes says that Best “looked like the blur he usually is during individual drills” as his “speed was there.” He even saw Best “cut definitively a few times and it looked like the Best of last season.”

“I’m past the point of being scared to cut or scared to run fast,” Best said. “I’m just trying to go out there and act normal.”

#2: CB Syd’Quan Thompson has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

This development is a big surprise — Thompson is a returning starter, largely expected to be a leader of the team this season. Coach Jeff Tedford said “he’ll be out until I deem he can come back,” which does not sound too good.

#3: QB Nate Longshore is still taking reps with the first team.

As Tedford mentioned after last season, Longshore has begun spring practice with the first team offense, while Kevin Riley has been taking second team reps. Redshirt freshman Brock Mansion got a few snaps as well. Tedford has stated that he may not name a starter until the end of fall practice.

#4: RB James Montgomery was in the “doghouse” and hopes to transfer to Florida.

(Continue reading “Spring practice opens”…)

Spring update

Posted by Eric | March 17, 2008 at 1:07 am | In Coaches, Facilities, Players/Alumni | No Comments

Originally scheduled to begin today (Monday, March 17), spring practice has been delayed until March 31 and will run through April 26. J. Okanes singles out RB James Montgomery and DT Derrick Hill as players who will benefit from the extra time to recover to 100% strength:

“Coach Tedford thought it would be most beneficial for the team to delay the start of spring practice. It will give some players some time to recover from injuries so they can participate fully in spring ball.”

Meanwhile, the CC Times reports that Coach Jeff Tedford has reinstated “Tedford Law” during conditioning:

“At some point we lost our confidence,” Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said. “We lost the fun in the game. So (Tedford’s) bringing a whole new attitude.”Tedford is drawing on some of the team- and morale-building skills he used six years ago when he arrived in Berkeley and took over a demoralized group coming off a 1-10 disaster. …

“Coach Tedford’s on us harder than he’s ever been,” [LB Zach] Follett said. “He’s reinforcing the ‘Tedford Law’ around here. When I first got here, I saw how it was. Then two years went by, and I saw how much lenience was being allowed.  He kind of recognized that. That’s the No. 1 change that he’s been making. That’s helping our team.”

Follett said he welcomed the return of a tougher, more demanding Tedford. After what happened last season, it’s not surprising that Tedford’s players are receptive to anything that will help them avoid a repeat.

Finally, the courtroom battle over the construction of the new athletic facilities is still raging on. A final hearing was originally scheduled for last Friday, March 14, but the presiding judge has delayed the hearing without giving a reason. The judge previously asked for expert testimony about the specifics of the project, and it appears that UC made a stronger case. This Scout.com article covers some of the background and recent news of the situation.

Hired: OC, DB and DL coaches

Posted by Eric | January 7, 2008 at 1:01 am | In Coaches | No Comments

Head coach Jeff Tedford has hired Frank Cignetti to be the new offensive coordinator for the Bears. This season, he was the 49ers quarterback coach; he formerly was the OC of Fresno State and UNC.

Tedford also hired Al Simmons (Cal’s DB coach in 98-00) to be the new defensive backs coach, replacing R. Todd Littlejohn. Simmons previously coached for teams like ASU, SJSU, the 49ers, and Oregon State.

Finally, Tedford promoted graduate assistant Tosh Lupoi (see profile) to be the new defensive line coach spot (replacing Ken Delgado).

As previously reported, current QB coach Kevin Daft will be the new receivers coach, replacing Dan Ferrigno.

Here is the official Cal release as well as an article by the Associated Press [/jj].

WR, DB coaches fired

Posted by Eric | January 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm | In Coaches | 2 Comments

Confirming rumors floating around the internet, the CC Times reports that Coach Jeff Tedford has axed two assistant coaches: receivers coach Dan Ferrigno and defensive backs coach R. Todd Littlejohn.

Also in the rumor mill is the possible hire of former Tedford pupil and current 49er quarterback Trent Dilfer as a new offensive coordinator, as well as current QB coach Kevin Daft taking over the WR coach duties.

EDIT 1/5: Additionally, reports are circulating that defensive line coach Ken Delgado is leaving for Louisville on his own (not fired by Tedford).

Rock bottom: season Longshored

Posted by Eric | December 2, 2007 at 6:09 pm | In Coaches, Games, Quarterback | 33 Comments

Longshore: Deer In Headlights

Cal loses the Axe and goes down 20-13 to Stanford. Unbelievable.

At least in 2005, the season was mitigated by Tedford’s late decision to pull Joe Ayoob for Steve Levy. The Big Game was secured and we found victory in the Las Vegas Bowl.

2007 has turned out much worse than 2005. Indeed, Nate Longshore has performed as poorly as Ayoob did, but he has not been replaced by a healthy and potentially superior backup quarterback waiting on the bench. Cal’s BCS opportunity this season was “Longshored” away by Tedford’s loyalty — as Tedford became loyal to a fault.

Tedford is still the savior of Cal Football. Nate is still a good kid and a Bear. However, there is NO justification for Longshore playing exclusively in the last six games, especially as he struggled mightily and threw game after game away. You could see that he lacked leadership, confidence, and heart, and the whole team followed — they quit and will continue to quit as long as Tedford stubbornly starts a bum quarterback with zero potential to win games.

Today, Cal accepted a bid to play Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX on December 31. If you see #9 under center, expect the Bears to lose.

If Tedford doesn’t make the QB position an open competition come Spring, expect another embarrassing disaster in 2008.

Recap

Posted by Eric | November 30, 2007 at 2:18 pm | In Awards, Coaches, DeSean, Players/Alumni | 3 Comments

My apologies, but 1L is getting the best of me and the discouraging season hasn’t helped. Here’s a digest of what we’ve missed here in the past week.

Cal in the news:

  • Freshman RB Jahvid Best is probably out for the year with a hip injury.
  • WR DeSean Jackson’s bad thigh injury makes him probable to play but limited on Saturday. Also out: TE Cameron Morrah and DT Matt Malele.
  • DE Rulon Davis will be back in action for Stanford.
  • Coordinators Bob Gregory (defense) and Jim Michalczik (offense) are on the short list of candidates for WSU’s head coach. Gregory is near the top of the list.
  • Everything is not OK with Coach Jeff Tedford.

Honors:

  • East-West Shrine Game invitees: FS Thomas DeCoud, OT Mike Gibson, WR Lavelle Hawkins, RB Justin Forsett, and TE Craig Stevens
  • Senior Bowl invitees: DeCoud, Forsett, and Hawkins

Cal-related:

Thoughts at 5-2: “There’s still a chance”

Posted by Eric | October 27, 2007 at 7:47 am | In Coaches, Games | No Comments

CC Times’ Jon Okanes: “Bears down but not out after slide”

Now that Cal’s players apparently have talked themselves off the ledge following their crushing 30-21 road loss to UCLA on Saturday, it seems they’ve regained some perspective on the rest of the season. No, the Bears aren’t going to win the national title this season, but they haven’t been relegated to spoilers, either. The Rose Bowl may seem like a long shot, but it’s still a possibility. And finishing with a two-loss season would make them a factor on the national scene no matter how the rest of the Pac-10 standings shake down.

“Everybody has to know that it’s not over,” Cal wide receiver Robert Jordan said. “That’s the motivation that will keep us in it, knowing we still have a chance at the Pac-10 title and to get in the Rose Bowl. Everybody just has to relax. The way the college football season has been going, a lot of people can still lose. You never know what’s going to happen.” …

“Everybody had their heads down and everything,” Jordan said. “We just can’t give up on the season like this. There’s still a chance. It’s not too late for us to compete for the Pac-10 championship. Everything will be all right, and we’ll beat Arizona State.”

Oakland Trib’s Gary Peterson: “Tedford dwelling on his play-calling, like Cal fans”

“Trust me, I’ve been awake a lot the past couple days,” [Jeff Tedford] said Tuesday at his weekly media confessional. “As a play-caller after every game, I go back and think, should we have done this, should we have done that? I’m not going to call the perfect play every time.” …

At the top of Tedford’s To-Review list this week were the two running plays he called near the end of Saturday’s loss to UCLA. Cal, trailing by two points, had a first down at the UCLA 35-yard line with 2:40 to play. The Bears needed 20 yards to reach the outer limits of the chip shot zone. …

“We’ve won a lot of games around here doing things the way we’ve done them,” he said. “I’m not sure we should change anything. I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button.” …

One of the things that won’t change is Cal’s commitment to the run. For starters, Forsett is second in the Pac-10 at 116 rushing yards per game.

SJ Mercury’s Jon Wilner: “How did Cal implode so quickly?”

In eight stunning, perplexing days, Cal plunged from the brink of No. 1 in the nation to fifth in the conference. From a national title contender to the outskirts of the Bowl Championship Series standings. From a Rose Bowl favorite to a Sun Bowl wannabe. And from 5-0 to . . . a three-game losing streak? …The reasons for Cal’s plunge are numerous and somewhat unsatisfying.

Year after year, the Bears have headed to Los Angeles with a lot on the line, and year after year, they’ve come up short. … During Cal’s six winless years in Los Angeles, UCLA has been beaten at home seven times and USC has been toppled in the Coliseum by Stanford. You’d think that Cal, which has had arguably the second-best program in the league over that span, would have broken through once - if for no other reason than chance. …

And yet, despite their October plunge, the Bears (5-2, 2-2) are not out of the Rose Bowl race.

It has been all of 10 months since a team made the Rose Bowl with two losses in conference play (USC), but the climb to the top of the standings will require help. The Bears need Oregon to lose again, they need ASU to falter, and they need UCLA to stumble at least twice. Oh, and they need to regroup emotionally, get Longshore healthy, find some answers on defense, hold onto the ball and run the table.

SF Examiner’s Glenn Dickey: “Cal alums should see bigger picture”

FACT NO. 1: Cal is two botched plays from a perfect season. …

FACT NO. 2: Jeff Tedford is the most successful Cal coach since the early Pappy Waldorf years, when the Bears went to the Rose Bowl three straight years — 1948-50. Waldorf’s last winning season was 1952, exactly half a century before Tedford’s first season at Cal. …

FACT. NO. 3: Since Tedford has been at Cal, the graduation rate of football players, which had been below 50 percent, has risen dramatically.

College quarterbacks

Posted by Alex | July 30, 2007 at 4:18 pm | In Coaches, Quarterback | No Comments

Interesting article on espn.com talking about college quarterbacks and what it requires to be one. There are also some good quotes from Tedford talking about what he looks for in a quarterback recruit.

“But it takes a special breed to be a great quarterback, with a unique mix of attributes. This is Tedford’s five-part recruiting checklist when shopping for a QB:

1. Mental and physical toughness. “Obviously, physically, you’re going to take a pounding, and you’ve got to get up and have your team follow you. You have to be mentally tough because if you throw a couple picks, you’ve got to be tough enough to come back.” 2. Intelligence. “You’ve got to be able to understand and control the offense.” 3. Competitiveness. “We look for a guy who wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line.” 4. Escape dimension. “Not everything happens the way it’s drawn up. We want a guy who can elude the rush and make something happen when a play breaks down.” 5. Natural throwing motion. “He’s got to be able to get the ball around the field.”

Click here for the full article.

Details of Tedford’s new contract

Posted by Eric | March 14, 2007 at 5:06 am | In Coaches | 1 Comment

While Coach Jeff Tedford’s new contract has not been approved by the Regents or signed by anyone, its details have been released.

The Chronicle has a full article describing its ins and outs, and it appears that Tedford is up for a lot of money if he stays through the next five years. Meanwhile, he looks to be earning $2.8 million annually in the next two years. Take a look.

EDIT 3/16: The contract has been approved unanimously by the Regents according to the Chronicle.

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