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.