Notes, insights and perspective

There obviously have been a lot of storylines heading up to tomorrow’s game and a lot has been said. I will cover some of them here.

–Cal went 10-3 last season, crushed Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 14 in the country. So what was the lingering memory from the season? The Bears say the loss to Tennessee.

“We won ten games last season, and the question that gets asked the most is Tennessee,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “Maybe you’ll get an ‘oh, by the way, good job in the bowl game.’ That’s what comes out of last year.

“That’s the worst we’ve ever played, I think. In five years, I don’t ever remember looking up and being down 35-0. We deserved it. We didn’t play very well.”

–Tedford was asked if he gets especially nervous for a game like this. “Every game is the same. I’m a wreck, no matter what,” he said.

–An out-of-town writer asked right tackle Mike Tepper what his impression was of DeSean Jackson when he first arrived at Cal. Jackson came in as a top prospect but isn’t exactly an intimidating physical presence.

“I went on youtube and checked out highlight film, and it kind of proved to me that he’s a really good player,” Tepper said. “Then playing with him, he makes unbelievable catches all the time, even in practice.”

–When Justin Forsett was asked about the nickname he gave to Jahvid Best, “Jahvid the Jet,” he was quick to point out he also nicknamed fellow freshman running back Shane Vereen: “Shane the Train.”

–Forsett said Marshawn Lynch is attending the game tomorrow.

–Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins is one of the more engaging guys on the team. Earlier this week he lamented the fact that his locker is no longer next to quarterback Nate Longshore’s.

“I”m mad at Coach Tedford. He moved my locker away from Nate,” Hawkins said. “When Nate was next to me, I caught 46 balls.”

Hawkins joked about the depth of the team’s running backs, especially the emergence of freshman Jahvid Best. Hawkins took a few reps at running back during the spring. “Jahvid messed my hopes up,” Hawkins said. “Me and Jahvid have to have a talk because he messed my whole plan up.”

–One of the big questions will be whether Cal’s defensive front can contend with Tennessee’s offensive line. The Bears have only one starter back on their defensive line.

One day during training camp, linebacker Zack Follett got the defense together after watching film of the defensive line getting blown off the ball by the offensive line. “There was no bounce to our steps and we were going through the motions,” he said. “I tried to make the defensive line remember that feeling from Tennessee last year. I told them Tennessee is bigger and stronger than what we were facing and the guys really stepped up.”

–Saturday’s game will feature two of the best punters in the country. Tennessee’s Britton Colquitt is a preseason first team All-American, and Cal’s Andrew Larson isn’t far behind.

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.

  • WeareCB4life

    JO, I don’t mean to bash your style at all, and I’m really grateful that we have a Cal blog at all, but at the same time…can’t we get any other news other than the stuff that has been printed already? Stuff like Hawkins being upset about his locker being moved — awesome. But those Tedford quotes are about a week old, and they’ve even been printed in the Daily Cal (that great bastion of journalism). Just little things, like quotes from the players that aren’t all over the SF Chronicle, or insights from watching practices…anything like that? I just get the feeling that the majority of fans who read this blog are the ones who have already read all of this stuff, and are thirsting for news. Can you give it to us?

  • CalChicago

    I hate to pile on, but I feel the same way about this blog. You give little sense of the reporter actually BEING THERE in the locker room, on the sidelines, etc. That is the VALUE-ADDED of a blog, I would think. It’s a place for odds and ends that DON’T get into other stories, not stuff that is appearing elsewhere. Would love to see more…

  • Jonathan Okanes

    We…The reason I include that stuff..even if it is a few days old, is because there’s nowhere near enough space in the actual paper to get it all in. I figure I have it so I may as well get it out there somewhere, and the blog is a perfect vehicle for it.

    I don’t use the Chronicle or the Daily Cal or any other publication to dictate what I include here or don’t include here. I have to assume that some of the people aren’t reading every newspaper in town. You may be right that a lot of you read everything, but this blog is getting 30,000 hits a month, so it’s hard to know if every single person is reading everything.

    I think if you went back and checked some of my other entries, I am including much more than just quotes and news. During training camp I provided an update almost every day, pointing out who was doing well or wasn’t, specific plays a guy may have made, an insight here or there.

    It also will be easier to provide opinions and insights once real games are being played. I was kind of reserving judgement on some things until I see the team play against somebody else but each other.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Cal, as I just wrote in my response to We, that’s one of the things I exactly use the blog for — to get odds and ends out there that there is no room for in the actual paper. Again, I can’t assume everyone is reading everything written. I have gathered all this information as a reporter and want to communicate it. All I know is it hasn’t been communicated in our papers unless I use the blog for it.

    And again, if you go back and look through my posts, I think you’ll see I am providing information that only I am getting by being at practice and around the program. I was able to set the scene yesterday after Jeff Tedford closed practice. I was able to get some insights about Kyle Reed’s transfer, etc. Stuff like that.

    But I don’t mind your thirst for more info. I fully realize the readers of this blog are the most rabid of Cal fans. I will do my best to keep providing insights and “inside” info that I can get from being around the program. And don’t hesitate to ask questions looking for specific info, etc.

  • 07

    I think you’re doing a great job the way it is. Keep it up.

  • Rick Russell

    I’m live in So Cal and this is one of my lifelines for Cal football info. Keep it comin’!

  • Jan Koski

    Great work, J.O.! I could see the other poster’s perspective, and I do read from other sources. In contrast to them, I learn something new from you almost everytime. I think you deliver exceptional coverage on here. Keep it up!