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Loose ends

By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 at 3:28 pm in off-season stuff.

A couple of tidbits during this down time before spring practice heats up (less than a month away now — spring practice starts on March 17):

–Incoming freshman running back Covaughn DeBoskie is one of five finalists for the Watkins Memorial Trophy, given annually to an “exceptionally talented African-American male athlete who, by their example, help promote high academic standards and a commitment to community service.” The winner will be announced Saturday at a special ceremony in Los Angeles. The other finalists are Matthew Daniels of Atlanta, Brandon Moore of Trotwood, Ohio, Kenneth Page of Columbia, S.C. and DeVier Posey of Cinncinati.

DeBoskie, from Chandler, Arizona, already graduated from Hamilton High School and is enrolled in spring classes at Cal. He will be able to participate in spring practice.

–I’m sure many of you read the story I wrote for last Sunday’s paper, focusing on the personal effect last season had on Jeff Tedford. Some points were touched on that didn’t make it into the story. Such as:

Tedford said he felt the most pain for the players. But he also said he felt bad for the fans as well. “To know our fans got right there — No. 2 and 12 yards away from maybe being No. 1 or whatever — and then for us to hit some really hard times, I’m sure was frustrating to everybody,” he said.

Tedford said there were a couple of reasons he didn’t seek out advice during the slide in the second half of the season. He didn’t think anyone could really give him better persepctive because nobody else knew the program like he did, and even if he got some credible suggestions, he didn’t feel like he could implement anything in the middle of the season. “Maybe I’m hardheaded, but other people don’t know what our problems are,” Tedford said. “They don’t know what we’re dealing with. People think they know what the issues are sometimes, and only we really know what the issues are.  

“And even if I did call som eone, it’s hard to implement something in midseason. You don’t just switch gears all of the sudden in midseason. That’s something I was kind of wrestling with midway through the second half of the season. Do we press the panic button and start to change the way we practice all of the sudden? We’ve done things the way we’ve done them forever and we’ve been fairly successful with it. Why all of the sudden shold we change everything that we’re doing?”

Tedford said he may call a play “here or there,” but new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti will be the playcaller. Tedford said it will be similar to the 2005 season, when offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar called the plays but Tedford chimed in as well.

–It appears Jahvid Best, James Montgomery and Shane Vereen are a step ahead of Tracey Slocum in the battle to get reps at running back. Tedford said Slocum will still compete, but has to get in better shape. Slocum should get an opportunity to increase his stock during practice because Best is out and Montgomery will be limited coming off knee surgery.

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  • AL da BERKELEY KID

    hell ya it was a sad night in berkeley when we came up short against osu. i had seats on the westside on the 10 yrd line so I was right on the line when Riley had a brain fart. STILL HURTS

  • Blaker

    Jonathan:
    Great updates–this is the kind of information I crave during the off season. Keep nuggets like this coming to feed the starving bears like me!

  • morencsarecoming

    The bottom line is this. Even though the program has had one of its best runs over a 6 year period in 50 years it has happened at the same time USC has had ours. Trojanesque is not just a passing thought. It is a standard and the baseline which not only all Pac 10 teams measure themselves against but the rest of college football. Teams that have no tradition for winning don’t have the inner resources to pull it altogether to become great overnight. It takes time and any little mistake or error of judgment especially by the coaching staff can exacerbate the downturn.

  • CBKWit

    how’s UC Davs amy?

  • Gary (aka GldnBear71)

    It has been pointed out, statistically, that Pass Efficiency Rating (PER) is one of the most accurate tools for evaluating the success of a team. That is, the team whose Quarterback has the higher PER usually wins the game, and the likelihood of winning goes up significantly as the gap between the PER of the two opposing QBs increases.

    Nate Longshore’s PER in the Fourth Quarter of games has not been stellar. This is not an attack on Nate; it is simply a mathematical fact that anyone can look up or calculate for themselves.

    Ratio of picks to TDs is another telling statistic, and Nate’s 4th Quarter performance on that scale was also pretty dismal in 2007.

    Jeff Tedford is known to place a very high degree of emphasis and importance in the performance of a player in practice, but it is not as widely known to what extent or how he evaluates player game performance.

    I wish one of the dwindling number of Cal beat reporters would directly ask Coach Tedford to what extent (if any) he pays attention to statistical evaluation of performance, especially the two I’ve mentioned here. It might shed some light on the decision process.

  • Larry L.

    Naw man, what USC has that CAL doesn’t is people giving things to the players. Reggie Bush and his mama’s house. Even in the 60′s, they’d give USC players roles as extras in movies and all that junk. The NCAA knows that USC has a really vast money market in SOCAL, and that is why they haven’t put them on probation yet. If they go 7-5 or something, that is when the NCAA will bring down the hammer on SC because their cash cow days will be over. Just be patient, they’ll get nailed for cheating soon enough.

  • Morencsarecuming

    lol AT aMY

  • morencsarecoming

    Larry L….just the facts please. Idle speculation amounts to as many Rose Bowls as Berkley has won the last 70 years. There are no facts that Coach Carroll or any of the staff knew about the Reggie being victimized by a corrupt wannabe agent.

  • Larry L.

    Moron, We’ll see about that.

  • Larry L.
  • Larry L.

    USC didn’t cheat? Yeah, and Bonds didn’t juice, PLEASE!
    I got some ocean front beach property I want to sell to you in North Dakota!

  • Dixon Bear

    “Maybe I’m hardheaded……”
    says Tedford.

    Tedford wasn’t hardheaded when he benched future NFL players Rodgers, Arrington, Lynch during games.

    Tedford wasn’t hardheaded when he benched the entire defensive line for a series in the Washington game.

    But somehow Longshore takes every snap until Cal was down 21 points against Air Force.

    Tedford’s explanation of his 2nd-half-of-the-season “brain lock” is totally weak!

    Go Bears!

  • morencsarecoming

    Larry L…frankly we don’t care about the NCAA. We are bigger than the NCAA. They need us more than any other program in college football. Your sources are old news. Get over it will you Larry! This is old news. 2008 and 2009 and 2010 will put us right back again on top of the college football world. We will win at least 1 if not 2 NCs in that period of time.

  • CBKWit

    Who is “we” UC Davs isn’t winning any national titles, sorry.

  • BlueNGold

    The U of $poiled Children will care a whole lot about the NCAA after it is put on probation because of ReggieGate and can’t play in the Toilet Bowl, much less for a national championship.

  • http://Foxsport mark90277

    Part of being a head coach is being able to make the tough choices. If a quarterback is turning the ball over again and again, late in the game, then it is up to the coach as a leader of the team to make the choices that benefit the team. If he chooses not to act then he bears the responsibility.

    By not making that decision, we now have what was looking like a pro prospect in Nate Longshore, who has become a quarterback with very little confidenc4e with an untested receiving corp. Imagine what his confidence will be like next year as he lines up needing to pick up 10 or more yards with all the young receivers

  • Al da BERKELEY KID

    JO on the official site it says that on the April 12 CAL DAY is when they’re going to open it up for the fans.