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Football: Trevor Davis says he’s feeling `a lot better’

Cal junior receiver Trevor Davis, who injured his neck in an incident against UCLA last Saturday that hushed the crowd at Memorial Stadium, said he feels “a lot better,” but still has some pain and stiffness and has no timetable to return to action.

In his first meeting with reporters since the injury, Davis said he has more rotation in his neck and is getting regular treatment. But he still appeared a bit stiff, even rotating his shoulders a bit – not just his head — as he turned to one direction or another.

“There’s still some pain I have to work out,” Davis said. “It’ll get better with time I think.”

Davis took a knee to the back of the neck while being tackled on a kickoff return with 3½ minutes left in the 36-34 loss to UCLA. He remained on the ground for at least 10 minutes, but said he knew sooner than that he was in no grave danger.

“Yeah, I was in shock for a while,” he explained. “I didn’t pass out or anything. It was pretty scary. After I started moving, I was really calm after that.”

By that time, with the crowd chanting “Tre-vor Dav-is,” he knew he’d better give them a quick diagnosis. He raised one arm and flashed a thumbs-up sign.

His dad was among those in the stadium, while his mother was watching on TV from home.

“I wanted everybody to know I’m OK, I could still move,” said Davis, who grew up in Martinez. “Family, too, they’re probably worrying. They probably want to see that, to know that I’m OK and my mom would stop freaking out.”

Davis was taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be checked out, then was sent home around midnight. Coach Sonny Dykes said doctors confirmed Davis did not suffer an injury to his head, just a jammed neck.

By Sunday afternoon he was back at Memorial Stadium, greeting his teammates to make sure they knew he was OK.

Since then he’s received countless text messages, tweets and support from people he knows and those he’s never met.

“All the care from the Cal family . . . that’s crazy,” he said.

It won’t be surprising if Davis gets a few more cheers Friday night. Although it’s unclear when he will resume playing, Davis will be on the sideline at Levi’s Stadium for the Bears’ game against No. 6 Oregon.

He said he intends to try to help as a coach or a cheerleader. “At least as much as Coach will let me.”

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Basketball: Montgomery likes what he sees in Martin

The old Cal basketball coach has met the new Cal coach and he likes what he sees.

Both Mike Montgomery and Cuonzo Martin were at Pac-12 basketball media day on Thursday, and Cal senior forward Kravish was a bit amused by the new assignment his former coach has taken on as a TV analyst for the Pac-12 Networks.

“It’s interesting to see him with a little media tag on,” Kravish said. “He would always answer your guys’ questions a little sarcastically and now he’s on the questions end.”

Montgomery, who worked in TV before his six-year stint as coach at Cal, said he always knew he’d try to land back in that role.

“I was on the beach in Mexico last week. I’ve never been on the beach in October before,” he said. “It’s a nice change, but a little bit of that goes a long ways.”

Montgomery met Martin for the first time on campus during the offseason and is impressed.

”He seems like a first-class guy. He’s quiet, doesn’t say very much. He watches before he speaks, which is a good thing,” Montgomery said. “But he has the players’ respect. He’s no-nonsense. That’s good – that’s what that group needs.”

Martin’s first Cal team features veterans in Kravish and junior guard Tyrone Wallace, along with a promising sophomore class.

“He inherited a very good group. He’s got a very good locker room, great leadership,” Montgomery said. “They’ve been getting up at 6 to practice and I was, `Yup, they’ll do it.’ In years past we’d have had a little trouble getting everybody up at 6.”

The Bears have minimal frontline depth, but Montgomery believes that can be overcome. “If they stay healthy,” he said, “I think they can compete.”

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Football: Cal-Oregon facts box

Cal vs. Oregon

KICKOFF: Friday, 7 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

TV/RADIO: FoxSports1; 810-AM.

RECORDS: Cal 4-3, 2-3 in Pac-12; Oregon 6-1, 3-1.

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 39-35-2. Oregon has won five straight, including 55-16 in 2013.

STORYLINES: Cal faces its biggest challenge of the season to date in the first college game ever played at the 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium. No. 6 Oregon has won by a combined margin of 87-50 the past two weeks against UCLA and Washington teams that beat Cal. . . . The Bears’ pass defense, which has allowed more yards per game (391.7) than any team in the country, will be severely tested by Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota, who needs just 45 passing yards to become the Ducks’ all-time yardage leader. Mariota has thrown a touchdown in 33 consecutive games. . . San Jose native Byron Marshall, who led the Ducks with 1,038 rushing yards last season, now is splitting time between running back and wide receiver. He has 249 rushing yards, leads the Ducks with 34 catches for 388 yards.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: OG Chris Borrayo (head) will play; WR Chris Harper (back) is probable; S Avery Sebastian (quad), WR Trevor Davis (neck) and DE Brennan Scarlett (knee) are out. Oregon: RB Thomas Tyner (shoulder) is probable; WR Keanon Lowe (hamstring) is questionable; OT Tyler Johnstone (knee), WR Bralon Addison (knee) and OT Andre Yruretagoyena (knee) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: While Mariota is the headliner, Oregon’s ground attack is a silent killer. The Ducks have led the Pac-12 in rushing offense eight straight seasons, and are on top this fall at 217.3 yards per game. Cal rates fourth in the conference defending the run, but will be challenged by the threesome of freshman Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and Marshall, who have combined to rush for 1,164 yards this season. The return of starting OT Jake Fisher from injury two weeks ago has helped spark the offense.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal outscored its first three opponents by a combined 56-0 in the first quarter, but has been shut out in the first quarter of its past three games and outscored 52-7 in the opening period the past four outings. . . . The Bears are averaging just 60.7 yards rushing the past three games. . . . Oregon is the first ranked opponent Cal has faced this season. . . . Oregon is the only team in the Pac-12 that has not thrown an interception this season. . . . Quick-strike Ducks lead the conference in scoring (43.6 ppg) despite being last in time of possession.

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Football: Off to Levi’s, Jared Goff and teammates put last year’s rain-soaked Oregon disaster in rear-view mirror

The setting will be merely a subplot when Cal faces No. 6 Oregon on Friday night in the first college football game at Levi’s Stadium.

Quarterback Jared Goff said the Bears haven’t given much thought to playing in the 49ers’ fancy, new digs. But he acknowledged, “When we walk on the field it’ll be, ‘Wow, this is pretty sweet.’ ”

A year ago at Eugene, Oregon, the environment wreaked as much havoc as the Ducks. Relentless sheets of rain and swirling winds contributed to Cal losing four fumbles in the opening nine minutes on the way to a 55-16 loss.

Even the home team was astonished.

“As a native Oregonian, growing up in an area where storms are frequent, that was unbelievable,” Ducks coach Mark Helfrich recalled. “I’ve never seen that before or since.”

Neither had Goff, who arrived at Autzen Stadium as the nation’s passing leader, averaging 435 yards through his first three collegiate starts as a freshman. He lasted only 14 snaps before being pulled.

“I couldn’t control the weather and I couldn’t control the way the ball was coming out of my hands,” said Goff, who lost two fumbles in the splashy conditions.

“That game was rough. It wasn’t a good one for me or anyone else, really. It’s in the past. I’ve got a chance to prove myself again against them.”

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said there’s little connection between last year’s game and what might happen Friday night.

“Obviously, last year was a disaster,” he said. “We anticipate playing better.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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Basketball: Arizona picked to win Pac-12; Cal tabbed 7th

Arizona was a near-unanimous pick to win the Pac-12 men’s basketball championship, according to a poll of 32 media members who cover the conference.

Cal was voted seventh.

The Wildcats, picked for the third straight year to win the league, collected 31 of 32 first-place votes to easily outdistance Utah and Colorado in the Pac-12 poll, announced Thursday at media day.

Arizona accumulated 383 total points, with Utah second at 317 and Colorado one point back in third. UCLA, which secured the only other first-place vote, was fourth with 290 points.

Stanford, coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, was picked fifth with 264 points and Cal, under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, is tabbed to finish seventh. Washington was picked sixth with 189 points, one more than Cal totaled.

Finishing eighth through 12th are Oregon, Arizona State, USC, Washington State and Oregon State.

The media have correctly picked the conference winner 13 times over the past 22 seasons.

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Basketball: Pac-12 media day set for Thursday

Pac-12 basketball media day is Thursday in San Francisco and I will be on hand to provide news and notes from the proceedings.

The event, featuring all 12 coaches and one player from each school, begins at 10 a.m. Cal will be represented by coach Cuonzo Martin and senior forward David Kravish.

If you want to watch live streaming from the event, click here for information on how to get onboard.

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Football: Dykes dishes on `importance’ of uniforms

Cal coach Sonny Dykes did an interview this week with John Canzano, columnist for the Oregonian and Portland radio personality, and expressed his view that some things are more important than fancy uniforms.

Here’s part of what Dykes had to say:

“That’s where you’re going to go to college, that’s where you’re going to get your education,” Dykes said. “There’s a lot of factors that I think are a lot more important factors than what you’re going to wear 12 Saturdays a year. But, you know, kids like those things.

“The thing about it is, at Cal, we’re a unique university. Academics are going to be a big thing here. Kids who come to Cal are going to have to work really hard. The type of kids we recruit, typically, the uniforms aren’t going to matter that much.”

Click here for Canzano’s entire interview with Dykes.

And here for my how I answered Five Questions from Oregonian beat writer Andrew Greif on the state of Cal’s team.

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Women’s basketball: Cal picked second in Pac-12 poll

For the second straight season, the Cal women’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 Conference, according to the annual coaches poll.

The Bears got three first-place votes to finish behind perennial champion Stanford. Oregon State was close behind in third place.

Cal has three starters back — including All-America candidates Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray — from a 22-10 that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

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Athletic director search: Seven-member committee formed, tasked to find up to three candidates by spring

Cal has formed a seven-member search committee to help find its next athletic director, the university announced Tuesday.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele and Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance John Wilton have been named co-chairs the committee that will advise Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

The committee is asked to provide Dirks with up to three potential candidates by mid-spring of 2015.

Other members of the committee are:

* Bob Jacobsen, faculty athletic representative and interim dean of undergraduate studies, College of Letters and Science

* Kathleen Correia, UC Berkeley Foundation trustee

* Meg Conkey, professor emerita of anthropology and chair of the chancellor’s task force on academics and athletics

* Solomon Hughes, Cal basketball alumnus, task force member and undergraduate adviser for student-athletes at Stanford

* Teri McKeever, Cal women’s swim coach

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Football: Dykes says Mariota better than Manziel

Only one coach in the nation has faced both Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota, and Sonny Dykes says Mariota is the better player.

“I think he’s the best quarterback I’ve seen in a while,” said Cal’s second-year coach, who will have to deal with Mariota again Friday when the Bears face No. 6 Oregon at Levi’s Stadium.

On the way to winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2012, Manziel racked up 576 yards passing and rushing and accounted for six touchdowns in a 59-57 win over Dykes’ Louisiana Tech team.

And still Dykes gives a slight edge to Mariota.

“He compares favorably to Johnny Manziel,” Dykes said. “Mariota’s a bigger, faster, stronger version.”

Click here for the rest of this story.