Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thoughts on the Athletic Center...

I took a couple days to digest the news that a judge is blocking construction on the new athletic center. After reading many articles, blog postings, and chat room comments, I think the situation is less bleak than I had initially thought.

I am certainly no legal expert, but it seems that this is a temporary set back. That the judge looking through the merits of the case saw that more research could be done to assess safety concerns. After more due diligence is done, it seems as though the construction will go forward. But again, I know nothing about how these legal things actually work.

I was more interested in the reaction from Cal football fans. They ranged from sober to enraged to one, half jokingingly (I think), urging fans to bum rush the tree sitters with chain saws. All were understandable reactions.

While I love Cal Football, one things I always liked about going to UC Berkeley was the "hippies" or "environmental fringe groups" that littered the campus with their far from center thoughts and ideas. And before the comments sections get bombed with comments about my lack of Cal football passion, I am not saying they are right. I just agree with the idea that everyone has a right to voice their opinion.

Yes, we need this new construction to start to maintain a great athletic program. (And I say athletic program because while football is at the centerpiece, all Cal athletes will benefit from the new center.) But this small protest by a fringe group is exactly why Berkeley is what it is and adds to the rich experience that is Cal.

I believe that common sense will prevail and the new center will be built. Some alteration probably will occur and there will be delays. But like Coach Tedford, I am 100% commited to this program and have confidence that this is a minor setback.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

OC Dunbar leaves for Minn

Back to football news,

OC Mike Dunbar is leaving Cal to take the OC position at Minnesota after one season. I think Dunbar regretted his decision to come to Cal for a variety of reasons:
1) Had he stayed at Northwestern, he would have been a favorite to become head coach after Randy Walker's sudden death.
2) He loves the spread offense and anybody watching Cal's offense certainly did not see a true spread or anything close to it.
3) He is a Midwestern guy and leaving home is hard.

While others are more critical of Dunbar, we appreciate his contribution to Cal and wish him well.

So who will take over now. Tightwad Hill has a great post on the topic, here. His choice is Ron Gould, current running backs coach, who would simply execute Tedford's offensive game plan. While I believe Tedford is the greatest offensive mind in college football, it would be interesting to bring in some new blood to try his hand with the offense. Someone who would run Tedford's pro style offense and add some wrinkle's of his own. No one comes to mind right now but this will be an interesting situation to watch.

Cal vs UCLA basketball tonight

We don't normally post about basketball but tonight's game is huge. So please support the team by watching the game 6pm PST on FSN or going to Haas to cheer the Bears and jeer the baby bears.

Cal basketball has had an up and down season. Injuries have plagued the team all year with Devon Hardin out for most of the season. Freshman phenom Ryan Anderson and senior point guard Ayinde Ubaka have carried the team to a respectable 12-7 record. But what you have to love about this team is that it is scrappy and has tremendous heart. If Ben Braun gets this team into the NCAA tournament he should be a lock for Pac 10 coach of the year and should get some consideration for National coach of the year.

Cal currently has 9 scholarship players on the team. That essentially means that Cal is a starting 5 with 2 players rotating in so that starters don't pass out on the floor. Watch this team, follow this team and cheer for this team because this team is what UC Berkeley is all about.

Also, watch for a big upset tonight. UCLA is ranked #3 in the nation and has a solid team. But it is one that Cal matches up with well. With Luc Mhab a Moute out, there is no one on the UCLA team that can stop Anderson. He will go for over 20 in the game. Ubaka can handle Darren Collinson, the UCLA spark plug at point guard or move over to the 2 and shut down Afflalo. Perhaps, Cal will counter Collinson with our own freshman jitter bug Jerome Randle. I am telling you this is a fun Cal team to watch.

Prediction: 65 - 61 Cal over UCLA

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blue Chip WR Transfers to Cal

Bruce Feldman and the SF Chronicle are reporting that Nyan Boateng is transfering from Florida to Cal. Here is what Feldman writes...
Nyan Boateng, a former blue-chip recruit and high school hoops teammate of Sebastian Telfair, has transferred from Florida to Cal, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A lanky 6-foot-2 wide receiver, Boateng figures to arrive at a very good time for the Bears, since starters Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan will graduate after the 2007 season and DeSean Jackson would also be eligible for the NFL draft then. Boateng, who played only football at Florida, has said he hopes to play both football and basketball. You might remember him as the Gator player who was stabbed in the leg by a female student in November.
Bear Insider also has an article... apparently DJax is a great recruiter in addition to his many on field talents.

“I relied on DeSean to give me the inside story about Cal,” said Boateng. “You know how it is. Sometimes it’s just a little better to get a look on the inside and DeSean was real straight with me.

“I didn’t know a lot about Cal not too long ago,” continued Boateng. I watched a couple games and I really like Coach Tedford’s vertical game. That fits my style well. I’m a vertical receiver. I’ll stretch the field and make plays.

“My game’s kind of similar to DeSean’s but I’ve got a different style. I’m an explosive player and I hope to be able to make a lot of plays at Cal.” Besides receiver, Boateng excels on special teams and hopes to be able to return both punts and kickoffs for the Bears.

“I do both,” said Boateng. “I just like to have a chance to make some plays out there.”

Cal basketball fans have cause to rejoice as Boateng is expected to play basketball also.
Boateng hopes to play basketball at Cal when eligible. With the success of All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez setting the standard for dual sport athletic success at Cal, Boateng and his 42 inch vertical would be a welcome addition on the hardcourt to Cal fans.
This comes on heels of news that Jamal Boykins, California State Basketball Player of the Year 2005, is transfering from Duke to Cal.

Boateng will be eligible in 2008 just as Jordan and Hawkins are graduating and possibly an early jump by Jackson. This is a good situation for both Cal and Boateng who was wearing out his welcome at Florida. Apparently, Boateng claimed to run a 4.0 40 yard dash. Deion Sanders claimed to run a 4.1 flat, so someone saying they ran a 4.0 flat is a big deal. He would make Desean look slow. One thing is for sure, Cal will not be lacking confidence at the WR position.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Breaking News...

AP NewsBreak: Cal's Tedford to get contract extension
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
January 16, 2007

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- California coach Jeff Tedford has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will keep the two-time Pac-10 coach of the year with the Golden Bears through 2013, The Associated Press learned Tuesday.

The UC Board of Regents was scheduled to discuss the deal at a closed meeting Tuesday, and athletic department spokesman John Sudsbury said approval is expected Thursday.

Tedford is 43-20 in five seasons, leading the Bears' longest sustained period of excellence in a half-century. He led Cal to a 10-3 record, a Pac-10 co-championship and a victory over Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl in the just-completed season.

With his offensive acumen and impressive success at a relatively low-profile football school, Tedford annually appears on the coaching wish lists of big-school athletic directors and NFL general managers. This winter alone, he was linked him with openings at Alabama and with the Atlanta Falcons.

But Tedford seems comfortable at Cal, where he has transformed a once-struggling program into a West Coast power with burgeoning fan support and new facilities on the way.

The Bears have reached the top 10 in three straight seasons while appearing in four consecutive bowl games -- winning three -- for the first time in school history. Cal's share of the Pac-10 crown this season was its first conference title since 1975, and Tedford also has beaten archrival Stanford five straight times.

After Tedford's 2004 club went 10-2 and reached a No. 4 national ranking, he received a five-year contract that will be worth $2 million per season if he collects a retention bonus for staying the length of the deal. Financial terms of his proposed extension weren't immediately available, but should be public record when the deal is approved.

Tedford is best known for his acumen in tutoring quarterbacks, both at Cal and during his time as an offensive coordinator at Oregon and Fresno State. The former Canadian Football League quarterback has sent Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, A.J. Feeley, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers to the NFL.

Tedford's teams have generated record attendance and enthusiasm that has helped the school to pay for an extensive renovation of Memorial Stadium and the construction of a large training complex.

And the Bears will return with a talented team this fall led by quarterback Nate Longshore and receiver DeSean Jackson despite the absence of Pac-10 rushing leader Marshawn Lynch, who skipped his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Support the Stadium

Sorry, it has been a while since we posted. Now that college football and Cal football are on hiatus until next August, postings will be less frequent. But this is important.

An online petition has been created supporting Cal football and the stadium renovation. Do your part to support the team and take a couple minutes to add your name.

Sign Petition Here

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Thanks for the memories, Money...

Marshawn Lynch declared for the NFL draft today. While this should come as a surprise to no one, there was still that glimmer of hope that he would come back for his senior year. Here is the SF Chronicle article.
Marshawn Lynch announced Tuesday that he has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft.

Speculation about the Cal junior tailback's decision has been rampant the better part of the season as he piled up numbers, accolades and praise from scouts. With all of the reasons to leave Berkeley mounting, he managed to evade questions about his decision until Tuesday.

"Playing in the NFL has always been a dream of mine," he said. "Right now, it is just hitting me that my dreams are going to have the chance to come true."

Despite two sprained ankles and an offensive line that lost three players to the NFL, Lynch earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors by rushing for 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's got the size (5-foot-11, 217 pounds), the speed (4.5 in the 40-yard dash) and the hands that make scouts drool.

According to most draft gurus, Lynch will be a first-round pick and will be the second running back selected, behind Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson.

Lynch's favorite response to questions about potentially leaving school early was to say, "I ain't going anywhere," before winking. He took it a step further after the Bears' Holiday Bowl win, grabbing a microphone on the field and telling the crowd, "One more year."

You read it here first (or maybe second or third) Marshawn will absolutely wow the scouts on Pro Day and leapfrog Peterson as the first running back selected. Also, the Raiders will take a hard look at keeping the hometown product at home. Marshawn is already a better passer than Brooks or Walters.