Friday, February 23, 2007

Early 2007 Prediction on ESPN

Wow, after a great first half against UCLA, Cal got worked in the second half last night. So let's look to some more pleasant news.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach listed his early predictions for the 2007 football season.

20. TCU will crash the BCS party: West Virginia and USC will play in the BCS title game. California will play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Florida State will play TCU in the Orange Bowl. LSU will play Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. Texas will play Georgia in the Fiesta Bowl.
Right on... Cal in the Rose Bowl. But he does pick USC to win the National Championship.

2. The Trojans will finish on top: Southern California will be tested only twice -- at Nebraska on Sept. 15 and at California on Nov. 10 -- before finishing the season undefeated. The Trojans will play West Virginia for the national championship Jan. 7 in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, three weeks after the Trojans receive a formal notice of investigation from the NCAA for alleged violations involving 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.
Silver lining is that he is predicting that USC will be investigate for Bush-gate.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cal Recruits

We are a little late to the party but here are our 2 cents on Cal's recruiting class.

First, if you have not read anything about Cal's recruits, head over to TightWad Hill's blog for the best recap. (I don't know how this guy does it, but bar none the best Cal blog out there.)

This was a very balanced class. It was rated as high as #12 nationally and was generally considered a top 25 class (damn you ESPN and your random rankings). But overall class ranking is not a good measure of how a team will perform with these recruits. (Case in point, see CFN's re-rank of the 2003 and 2002 college football recruiting classes.)

Tedford is great at identifying talent and matching this up with the needs of the team. This is what Cal added in order of strength:

1) 5 O-linemen - this is the strength of this class. You could be looking at the starting 5 in 2009. (If one of them can slide over to center.)

2) 2 great running backs - Vereen is a top rated back, but Best is the real sleeper, nationally. Two websites have him listed as a future star.

AOL Sports lists him as one of 10 impact recruits (click here)...
Jahvid Best, Tailback (California) - The "sleeper" out of my ten, if you want to call him that. Best is a little on the light/small side (5'-10"/183 pounds) but the man can scoot (a California high school best 10.39 in the 100-yard dash). There are only a handful of people every year who are that fast and are legitimate football players. Think Ted Ginn, Reggie Bush, those types of zoom zoomers. Best may be the next.
Heisman Pundit lists Best as a Dark Horse future Heisman candidate (click here) ...
Jahvid Best, California - Cal is getting the fastest back in the country with a 10.39 100-meter dash to his credit.
3) Arguably the nation's top prep punter. Normally, we would not place much emphasis on a punter but Bryan Anger is the top rated prospect in Cal's class. Also, he has some crazy punting stats (yes there are punting stats) like a 4.9 average hang time. (I think this is like a WR running a 4.35 40.)

4) 4 more dominating linebackers. Alex Cook is a Juco DE that will play outside LB for Cal. He runs a 4.5 40. This will definitely help Cal's recent lack of pass rush. Little D-Bish is coming to Cal to step into the shoes of his older brother. Preps DJ Holt and Robert Mullins will have to take a back seat to an already stacked LB unit but will be ready to continue the great LB tradition in 2008-9.

Side note: With Follett, Felder and Williams already at Cal, the LB position looks like the most competitive position outside of WR.

5) Need to upgrade the pass rush? Recruit 4 stud DE's. Cameron Jordan is ready to play today, while Solomona Aigamaua is more of a project. Ernest Owusu made the biggest splash as a surprise recruit and should be more mature after a year at prep school. Scott Smith continues the legacy of great players from Hawaii.

6) 2 tall, fast WR's. Mike Calvin and Alex Lagemann are both 6'2 or taller and run in the 4.5 40 range. Don't expect much from them next year as DJax, Hawkins and Jordan should make up the best WR unit in the nation.

7) Another Elite 11 QB. So every year 11 of the top QB's in the nation are invited to this camp. And every year one of them signs with Cal. Nate Longshore, Kyle Reed, Kevin Riley and this year Brock Mansion. Mansion is a pro style QB but can actually move. He gained almost 1000 yards on the ground his senior year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New OC Jim Michalczik

Coach Tedford annouced that Offensive Line coach Jim Michalczik will be promoted to Offensive Coordinator replacing the recently departed Spread Dunbar. (ESPN article)

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Jim Michalczik became California's offensive coordinator Thursday after five seasons as the Golden Bears' offensive line coach.

Michalczik replaces Mike Dunbar, who resigned last week after one season to take the same job at Minnesota. Michalczik's promotion could signal a return to a more conventional Cal attack after the Bears dabbled in aspects of Dunbar's favored spread offense last season.

Coach Jeff Tedford is largely in charge of the Bears' offensive game plans, but believes Michalczik's tremendous success on the offensive line warranted more responsibility.

"He has an excellent understanding of our offensive philosophy, and he is very well-respected by the players and the rest of the coaching staff," Tedford said. "We have worked closely together with offensive game-planning, and we will continue to do that."

This is a great choice for new OC. Promotion within the program is always great and allows for continuity. It allows for a smooth transition between seasons and the player do not have to learn new schemes and play signals. Most likely, and in no way is this meant to diminish Michalczik contribution to the program, Tedford will take back play calling duties and return to his Pro Set offense. Tedford is an offensive mastermind and it will be good to see him lead the offense again.

One thought on the spread (or removal of the spread). True, we don't have a mobile QB (a la Pat White or Tim Tebow) to run a pure spread offense. But with Marshawn off to the NFL, it is possible that Forsett could have thrived more in the spread. Forsett hits holes quickly and runs North/South more than Marshawn did. Forsett has a build like Steve Slaton and could thrive in the spread. I don't know how well he will hold up a power run game. But then again, Cal is stocked, and I do mean loaded, at the TB position. You think Tedford is good at molding QB's, in 5 years Cal might be known as a tailback factory.