BearTalk

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Happenings

By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, February 6th, 2008 at 9:56 pm in off-season stuff.

It’s been an interesting few days around the Cal football office, to say the least. Most notably, of course, is the saga surrounding Kevin Hart, a high school football player from Fernley, Nevada who claimed he was going to Cal on a football scholarship. I’m sure most of you know the story by now. If you haven’t heard the latest, Hart finally admitted that he made up the whole thing. Here is the link to an updated story about the situation”

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=3234302 

Because of NCAA rules, Cal isn’t allowed to say much about this situation. But I can tell you that coach Jeff Tedford wasn’t exactly thrilled about it. It was unwanted negative attention about his program, right on the eve of signing day. He did have the following to say during his signing day press conference Wednesday:

“We didn’t recruit him. There is really not much more to say. It was total news to me. It’s unfortunate that whole situation is what it is. I don’t even know the whole story. But we never had anything to do with it. I never talked to the kid one time.

“It just seems like this thing is getting so big and egos are getting so involved that people want to have an identity or whatever. To get to that magnitude that I read about is really kind of unfortunate.”

Now on to signing day: One of the bigger bits of news involved somebody who has already signed with the Bears — wide receiver Nyan Boateng. Tedford said Boateng has rejoined the team and will participate in spring practice. Boateng is currently going through strength and conditioning workouts with the team. For those who aren’t familiar, Boateng is a megatalented receiver who transferred to Cal from Florida but ran into legal trouble last summer. He was suspended for the fall, although he had to sit out the season anyway because of NCAA transfer rules. If Boateng actually gets it together and can legitimately compete for playing time, he could be a huge addition to the Bears, who are in desperate need of quality receivers after the departure of DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan.

Much of the discussion Wednesday was about the wide receivers Cal has signed. There are five of them, and the Bears need as a big a pool as possible to find some productivity. Marvin Jones and Jarrett Sparks may be the best candidates to make an immediate impact, along with junior college transfer Verran Tucker.

As it always does on signing day, Cal shows a video to the press featuring clips from every player in the recruiting class. A couple of players who stood out on film included the two offensive linemen the Bears have signed — Tyler Rigsbee and Dominic Galas. Both looked dominant, and Tedford compared Galas to current center Alex Mack. Galas was rated the 6th-best center in the country by ESPN.com.

Still, offensive line is an area where Cal has great depth, and traditionally it takes a while for offensive linemen to work their way into the playing rotation. But it looks as though the future is in good shape.

The two tight ends in the class — Spencer Ladner and Anthony Miller — also were impressive. Ladner even threw a touchdown pass on a double pass play. Miller looked to be the better receiver. One of them could become the backup to Cameron Morrah next season, although the Bears have a few other tight ends returning, such as Skylar Curran and Garry Graffort.

Running back Covaughn DeBoskie looks like an explosive back. Of course, he’s joining a deep pool of running backs so it may be harder for him to get on the field immediately. But DeBoskie does have one thing going for him — he graduated from high school early and is already enrolled in classes at Cal. That means he can participate in spring practice. And he may end up getting a lot of reps because Jahvid Best is sitting out the spring with his hip injury and James Montgomery might be limited as he recovers from minor knee surgery.

Quarterback Beau Sweeney also looked good on film, displaying a good arm and excellent mobility. But that’s another position where the Bears have a lot of talent in front of him, so his time should be down the road.

Defensive tackle Kendrick Payne also is already enrolled at Cal and will be available for the spring. Tedford compared Payne to Brandon Mebane.

A few other notes: Tedford said defensive back Brandon Jones has left the program because he “needed to make a change.” Jones was one of the Bears’ better special teams players last season and some players said he was the fastest guy on the team. With Thomas DeCoud and Brandon Hampton graduating, the Bears could use some defensive backs. Tedford said incoming freshman Marc Anthony has a chance to play as a true freshman.

Also, Tedford said defensive end Phillip Mbakogu has given up any thoughts of trying to come back. Mbakogu hasn’t played since the 2005 season because of knee problems.

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  • Bearbacker71

    Too bad about Mbakogu. He came in with lots of promise. Coupled with Jones’ departure does that mean Cal has a couple more scholarships available for still unsigned propects?

  • drew

    please for the love of god stop pretending that nate longshore is “talented”.

  • Jan K. Oski

    Hey Drew! please for the love of college football stop bashing Student Athletes. It’s one thing to question their actions on the field. It is an entirely different thing to attack their person. Don’t you have anything better to do than dwell on other people’s past? I guess Bellotti was a real idiot, too, since he started Dixon after his miserable junior demotion and spring baseball? Wait! Dixon was the reason why the Ducks were in position to play LSU for the National Title before his injury! Why do you think you are Entitled to endless bashing? Am I wasting my time on Amy?

  • Dio

    I’ve read that Nyan Boateng’s legal run-ins have given the Cal football program “points,” which im guessing is for negative behavior. What is the consequence of racking up this sorts of “points”? Anybody care to explain. Just wondering if he’s even gonna see the field because I’d hate to see a guy with that much upside crap it away.

  • Mike

    we dont need brandon jones anyways. speed isnt everything. i run a 4.4 and wasnt recruited by any D1 school. p.s. nate longshore should quit

  • drew

    yeah, i am sure you DIDNT lead the bandwagon to run joe ayoob out of town, and wanted him to continue to start. stop being a hypocrite. and how is attacking longshore’s talent attacking his character? did you GO to Cal? cause i thought you had to be smart to go there. (that was me attacking you) kidding, kidding. haha. no but seriously, tedford is a great coach who made a mistake by continuing to start nate longshore. my opinion, and i am sure i am not the only one.

  • drew

    and to address you argument, it is completely ridiculous to compare longshore to Dixon. Why? Dixon is mobile.

    longshore would get outrun in the 40 by the entire offensive line. the reason the ducks are so good is the defense facing them ALWAYS has to factor in the fact that dixon might break off a 30 yard run.

    playing against longshore, it is inconceivable that nate will EVER start running, EVER, so the defense locks up the receivers, watches for the run, and thats that.

    with dixon, a first down is NEVER out of the question.

    against longshore, the only question is, is he going to actually throw his little slant pass ABOVE the first down marker or not… cause god knows he isnt going to tuck and run.

    the offense is severely limited with longshore’s immobility, end or story.

    and i am not even talking about his back breaking interceptions in the red zone in nearly every close game.

    i am very happy to read in this blog about potential mobile QB’s in the future.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Bearbacker, it’s possible, but Cal doesn’t necessarily have to use all of its scholarships every year. A lot of times it’s good to have available scholarships lying around in case a Justin Forsett comes around or a walk-on is deserving of one.

    Dio, I don’t know of any point system for legal problems. I know they have the system in place that tracks graduation rates, but don’t know about legal stuff. I’ll try to find out more.

  • Oski Desoto Jr.

    Longshore should be sent to prison, not the starting line up! For the love of God! I can’t believe he still has supporters! The loser ruined everything this past year! Wake up people! He just isn’t any good at playing football, period!

  • joseph

    dude…. you’re way out of line here. he certainly enabled Cal to beat Tennessee and Oregon last year. he may have melted down the stretch… but even though he’s probably not lurking around this blog, you’re being really harsh.

  • drew

    actually, seeing longshore’s decision making when he is left to his own devices, i cant give him credit for those w’s. i think he is lucky he had the perfect storm combination of amazing receivers, and a big enough arm to (occasionally) get the ball in front of them, plus great D (in the tenn and oregon games) that got the W’s he did this year.

  • Jan K. Oski

    Why are you morons discussing last year, when Spring ball is less than 25 days away? Can’t you come up with something new about the present team? By the way, Tedford publicly defended Nate in Sacto, and the new O.C. has unambigiously stated all 3 QBs will get a fair look. So, you’re bashing the coaching staff as well as sensible fans and the University when you demean a STUDENT-athlete. It is one thing to bash pros who are earning the big money, but it is an entirely different thing to bash players who are out there free of charge for your entertainment. Give it a rest! Statistically, Nate is still one of the best QBs who has played at Cal, if you’re capable of finding the facts presented by EP3 and BuckSavage in the forum. Then, again, you’re fair weather or too young to recall the dismal pre-Tedford era.