Loose ends

I’m sure most of you have seen some of the honors handed down over the past couple of days. Center Alex Mack won the Morris Trophy, given annually to the best offensive lineman and defensive lineman in the Pac-10. It’s an award players truly appreciate because it’s voted on by other players. The starting defensive linemen in the conference vote for the offensive winner, and vice versa. It says a lot about Mack that his peers hold him in such high regard. Mack clearly is one of the top centers in the country and should be again next year as a senior. He was one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top center. Arkansas’ Jonathan Luigs won the award. Luigs also is a junior.

I was a little surprised to see DeSean Jackson get named third team All-American as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press. If anyone from Cal should have got it, it probably should have been Lavelle Hawkins. Hawkins had more catches and more receiving yards than Jackson and ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards. Jackson wasn’t even in the conference’s top ten in all-purpose yards. Jackson did finish second in the Pac-10 in punt returns but Hawkins was still in the top ten in kick returns. Simply put, Hawkins was more consistently productive.

One other note: Tight end Craig Stevens has been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

The Bears were off today and don’t practice Thursday, either. They practiced Tuesday afternoon without coach Jeff Tedford, who was off recruiting. Cal still seems to be enjoying these practices before game planning for Air Force. They scrimmage against each other and the players get into it. They seem to be having more fun than they’ve had in awhile. At the end of Tuesday’s practice, offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik raced his offensive linemen toward the tunnel at Memorial Stadium. Gotta say Michalczik held his own.

A bit of bad news for the Bears, but not unexpected: Defensive tackle Matt Malele had knee surgery last week and will miss the Armed Forces Bowl. Malele has been battling that cranky knee all season and apparently it just became too much to overcome. Malele missed the last two games of the season. It’s a big loss on a defensive line that already has some holes. Mika Kane has been banged up too so Derrick Hill has been getting reps with the first team in practice.

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.

  • Robert

    J.O. any more word on what came out of that player’s only meeting?

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Robert, just that it was a chance for players to air any concerns and try go get on the same page. I was told much of the talk was about accepting leadership, which apparently has been a problem. I understand there also was talk that some players maybe were perceived as not having as much commitment to get to the top as others.

  • Go Bears82

    J.O. – thanks for the posts, they’ve been great. With DJ’s average season, do you think he’ll forgo the draft and return for another season?

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Go Bears, I doubt it.

  • treed


    It’s too bad Gregory didn’t get the HC job.
    I’m a little tired of the “bend don’t break” defensive philosophy of the Bears’ “D”.

    All that touted team spead on “D” hasn’t added up too much over the past few seasons.

    Every fall, I read the comments in the dailies about how this team is so much more athletic than years past. If that’s the case, why is the “D” struggling year after year?

    Tedford should can BG and go after Cal Alum and Michigan DC Ron English.

    Additionally, is the recruiting for the Bears as dismal as early reports suggest?

    It appears this will be by far be the worst recruiting effort for Tedford in some years?

    What’s up with that?

    T. Reed

  • Gus

    Recruiting isn’t bad, but it doesn’t seem to be as good as years past.

    Cal’s defense in recent years has gotten more talented, but also seems to always underachieve.

    Is there any possibility both of those problems might be ameliorated by the hiring of Ed Orgeron? He is a great assistant coach and a great recruiter.

  • California Pete


    Perhaps one could make the case that defensively, the current recruiting class is shaping up slowly, but I don’t see much reason for disappointment on the offensive side of the ball. And these are still early days, especially for a Bears coaching staff that tends to pick up big commitments later, rather than earlier, in the process.

    As for Gregory, there’s a reason his name gets floated semi-regularly for head coaching jobs elsewhere. Contrary to what has become popular belief, he’s done a very good job at Cal, building what most experts consider one of the top defensive units on the West Coast over the last 3-4 years. As I mentioned in a comment to a previous post, the statistics bear this out, and it would be a big blow to Cal to lose him.

    This season was a step backward, I can’t deny that. But given the pre-season loss of several key playmakers to graduation, that’s not necessarily evidence that his defenses have “peaked”. One game does not a season make, but who are the only two teams to hold the Dennis Dixon-led Ducks to under 35 points this season? USC and Cal, both of whom gave up just 24 points on the road at Autzen. This to a Duck team that put up at least 50 (!) as many as four times, as well as 48 vs. Houston, 39 vs. Michigan, and 35 vs. a very good Arizona State team. Heck, the Ducks even put up 31 against Oregon State, without Dixon (and just about every other playmaker on the team after being ridiculously decimated by injury.)

    The Bears had a lot of problems this year. But Bob Gregory wasn’t one of them.

  • treed

    You make some very valid points in regards to BG.
    But, it seems that CAL’s offense must score alot points in order to compensate for the points given up by the “D”sive scehmes.

    The only team CAL heald to less than 2 scores was the vaunted LA TECH team.

    It’s not like the this year’s schedule was full of offensive juggernauts.

  • Suzy

    What do you guys think about matteye being a fan of 6-6 Berkley team?

  • Anti-CaliPete

    More excuses huh, CaliPete. You have gotten so good at them! Are you sure you’re not a Cal coach? Come on Pete, after basically losing seven games in a row (no, the pathetic win at Washington St. doesn’t count!)you still go into all these message boards with a straight face. You make it seem like we are a whole lot better than we are, and that’s dishonest. You puzzle me Pete.

    Merry Christmas.

  • ice

    Is Tedford going completly away from the spread offense does he not have any trust in his back up recievers that in the stanford game he would go with the 2 tight end formations for virtually the whole game just because DJ was hurt. What is he telling them by doing that. Is it me or do the Bears look like they aren’t having any fun. Tedford seems to be getting more conservative every year he needs to loosen up the team looked very uninspired this year. He needs to let them have fun.

  • Ken

    Pete our defense was ranked 70th in the nation when we were the 2nd ranked team in college. Our primary problems are on defense.
    BG dependence on the big play defense was nice when we had big players. Now that we have no big players due to the lack of recruiting, wouldn’t it be wise for BG to pull his head out of his *** and think outside of the box? As a matter of fact he should think INSIDE the box becuase we can’t stop anyone from running through it.
    The bottom line is, his defense has given up on several different occassions, the players are playing uninspired football right now which tells me several things. The biggest thing I SUSPECT is he doesn’t have a relationship with the players. Through this relationship alot can be accomplished.
    Players play for good coaches the same way workers work for good managers.

  • Jackie

    They’re not there to have fun, Mr. Ice. They’re there to WIN games! Oh wait, they have lost six of their last seven… You have a good point.

  • Will

    Have enjoyed reading your comments all year….thanks!

    One request…..can you elaborate on Jahvid Best’s condition and what the latest med reports say. I would appreciate a response. Thanks, again.