By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 at 9:38 pm in upcoming game.
The Bears are on a bowl schedule now, meaning they will practice only intermittently for the next few weeks. They are off all this week until Friday.
Coach Jeff Tedford did address the media Monday and much of the discussion focused on quarterback Nate Longshore (seems to be a trend). Tedford revealed that not only has Longshore been bothered by a sprained ankle, but there is a chip in the back of that ankle as well. Tedford went on to reiterate what he has said all year, that although the injury may have an effect on Longshore’s mobility, it’s not enough to knock him out of the lineup because of his intangibles and grasp of the offense.
Until they get to Fort Worth on Dec. 27, Cal’s practices will be a lot like bye weeks. The younger players will get most of the reps. This is one of the major advantages of playing in a bowl game. The team gets a bunch of extra practice time that enables them not only to prepare for the game, but look ahead to next season as well.
Once the Bears get to Fort Worth, they will resume normal practices with the first team and second team taking reps together and implementing the game plan.
I didn’t go to the team’s year-end banquet on Monday, but I am kind of wondering what the vibe was like. Here, less than 24 hours after the disappointing end to the season at Stanford, they all got together to talk about all the positives from the season. Don’t get me wrong, there still are some things worth celebrating for the Bears, but I imagine it must have been hard to really put things like that in perspective after closing out the season so dreadfully.
Speaking of the banquet, no real surprises to the year-end awards. Justin Forsett was the offensive MVP and Thomas DeCoud the defensive MVP. Forsett was a slam dunk. Defensively, I thought it also may have gone to Zack Follett or Anthony Felder. But DeCoud has been steady all season and ended up leading the team in tackles (not that the Bears want their free safety having the most tackles, of course)
A glimpse into the future: Scout Team Player of the Year honors went to offensive lineman Sam DeMartinis, wide receiver Michael Calvin, safety D.J. Campbell, linebacker D.J. Holt and fullback John Tyndall.
It was also good to see the Pac-10 coaches recognize the efforts of freshman Jahvid Best on special teams. Best may be the best special teams player I have ever seen, which is saying something considering he never had to do such things in high school. His speed obviously is an asset as a gunner on kicks, but he also is such a sure-handed tackler, again something he wasn’t required to do on the prep level. Best was voted All-Pac-10 first team as a special teams player. I would hazard to guess not too many true freshman earn that honor.