Pac-10 check-in

I will spend the coming days providing some highlights from today’s Pac-10 media day in Los Angeles. Here are a few before I wrap up a long day:

–A reporter asked Cal’s DeSean Jackson if he still stands by his comment after last season’s Holiday Bowl that the Bears will win the national championship this season. His answer was an emphatic yes.

–Cal coach Jeff Tedford expressed optimism that his young group of defensive backs can do the job. He acknowledged their inexperience but stressed their talent level and potential. The Bears have to replace cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who was last year’s Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Robert Peele and Darian Hagan are the frontrunners.

–Tedford said one of the team’s uncertanties is finding quality backups to starting running back Justin Forsett. The Bears had the luxury of having Forsett back up Marshawn Lynch the past couple of seasons. Whoever ends up getting snaps behind Forsett will be inexperienced, albeit talented. James Montgomery figures to be the leading candidate to supplement Forsett’s rushing production.

–A couple of the best moments of the day involved Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and USC coach Pete Carroll. A reporter jokingly asked Harbaugh if he had any update on Carroll’s future at USC, a reference to Harbaugh’s controversial comment that Carroll was leaving after this season. “That ground has been plowed,” Harbaugh said. When Carroll was asked later for a reaction to Harbaugh’s comment that this year’s USC team “may be the best in the history of college football”, Carroll said: “You gotta love Jim, don’t you?… Thanks, Jim.”

–As they took the podium one by one, it hit me that the Pac-10 has a bunch of rock stars as coaches. Dennis Erickson is in the conference once again, and Carroll and Tedford are two of the biggest names in college football. Tyrone Willingham is a former Notre Dame coach, and that immediately gives him visibility, and Harbaugh is well-known from his playing days.

–Arizona coach Mike Stoops repeatedly lamented his team’s inconsistency as the reason why his program isn’t better. Hmm. Isn’t the coach ultimately responsible for such a shortcoming?

If you haven’t seen it yet, Cal was picked to finish second for the fourth straight year in the media preseason poll. USC was a unanimous choice. The consensus among the coaches was the Trojans are clearly superior but the rest of the conference should be ultra-competitive.

That’s it for now. I’ll have much more in the days to come.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Calfan

    With Cal about to open camp couple questions. How do Nate and MLB W. WIlliams bodies look? Are they in great shape and ready to go? Do you think WW will be the starting MLB?
    Lastly, Nyan Boateng was rumored to be in legal trouble. What’s the deal with that? Will he still be with the team this year and play in 08?
    Enjoy your last few days of quite, it’s Cal football non-stop unitl 08 beginning Sunday!

  • TrumanHugh

    I’ve been waiting for “much more” for many days now…there HAS to be more to Pac-10 media day than your July 26 post??

    Also, when do the AP and Coaches’ Poll come out? I’m sure everybody will remember the sting from placing Cal in their preseason top ten and be a little cautious this year; I just hope we fall in the top 15–I’m guessing 12–and ahead of UCLA.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Calfan, I haven’t seen Worrell, but I do think he will start at MLB. I saw Nate briefly at the Men’s huddle and he looked to be in pretty good shape to me. I believe I will see Nate again tomorrow at Bay Area media day.
    I had a story today on Nyan. He’s been charged with a felony and two misdemeanors and has been suspended from the team for now. Apparently, it was some kind of domestic dispute.
    TrumanHugh, nice to see you’re so anxious. I’m excited to get the season rolling, too. Don’t worry, there is plenty more to come from media day, beginning today. And I think you’re right about the national polls, somewhere between 10 and 15 sounds right for Cal. I believe the coaches poll is released in the middle of August and the AP poll right before the season starts.

  • TrumanHugh

    Thanks, Jonathan!

    I just read your latest post and am, as you mentioned, very eager to read more. Sounds like you can’t catch a break, though, as the comments were asking for more “inside” information.

    While I undertstand their point, your response was right on. Obvioulsy, once we get past the horrific annual preseason slump, there’ll be much more to report. For now, though ANYTHING is better than nothing.

    I am finally, officially, fed up with all the USC glorification so prevalent in the sports media, and am ready to hear a little something about the other Pac-10 powerhouse!