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Archive for June, 2008

A little break

Hi, all. Just wanted to pass along a note that I will be taking a little time off starting tomorrow. I’ll be back in action on July 7. Believe it or not, the beginning of training camp will be less than a month away when I return! Take care, everyone.

Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
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A new look

Some of you may have heard the rumors already, but Cal is unveling new uniforms this season. It was made official today. Here is the link to the release on calbears.com.

Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
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Tedford reacts

Cal coach Jeff Tedford took a cautious approach when asked to comment on last night’s ruling.

“I know a lot of specifics still need to be worked through,” he said. “I’m kind of in a holding mode to see what it all means. I know there are people working on it so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Tedford did say he was encouraged after talking to athletic director Sandy Barbour.

“I felt like her attitude was pretty positive,” Tedford said. “That’s the impression I got from Sandy. That’s all I can really go by.”

During the season, Tedford said he didn’t really pay much attention to the legal proceedings. He said he still doesn’t, instead waiting for Barbour and other Cal officials to keep him informed.

“It’s out of my control,” Tedford said. “I have confidence in the people in the administration are doing their part, and I just get updates.”

When asked if the facility was still important to him, Tedford replied: “Of course.” But Tedford chose not to elaborate what the facility means to him and the program. He said he’d rather wait until the story is completely written.

 

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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Ruling aftermath

I certainly am not a legal expert and Cal’s proposed student-athlete center mostly has been a story covered by our news staff, but I can tell you that the basic feeling I got at last night’s press conference is that Cal is cautiously optimistic about the ruling handed down by Judge Barbara Miller.

It certainly looks like there were major victories for Cal. It seems the only thing preventing the university from really celebrating is that this is a legal process, and until everything is completely set in stone, there is going to be some uncertainty.

And obviously, there still is no finality. According to Cal’s attorney, Charles Olson, there are a few minor technical issues to be worked out, and then the school sees no reason why the injunction won’t be lifted. Olson said he believed those issues could be resolved in a matter of days.

After that, who knows? Surely, there could be other issues that are not immediately transparent in the 129-page report. Will the injunction be lifted next week? That would be a pretty optimistic wish for Cal officials. But unless something else comes up, perhaps in a matter of weeks the issue could be settled.

I had a chance to talk to athletic director Sandy Barbour after the press conference. She didn’t have too much more information, but I did ask her about the ruling in the context of Jeff Tedford. She preferred to address it in the context of all the Cal coaches, but did say she talked to Tedford on Wednesday night and told him things looked good.

“It’s a complicated ruling,” Barbour said. “But the bottom line is we believe that this ruling gives us a road map, after a couple of technical issues we need to address, to give us the opportunity to move forward. We believe this gives us the opportunity to get this thing underway. Because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, all of our coaches are pleased.”

 

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008
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And just to recap….

…other former Cal players from this year’s draft who have signed so far include safety Thomas DeCoud (four-year deal wtih Atlanta) and OL Mike Gibson (four-year deal with Philadelphia).

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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While we wait…

…for the ruling from Judge Miller, word is Justin Forsett has signed a contract with the Seahawks. The Seattle Times reports it is believed to be a four-year deal.

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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Action

Many of you have probably already heard that there has been some action today at the site of the tree-sitters protesting the construction of Cal’s new athletic facility. Here is a link to the current story on our website:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_9611669

A ruling on the facility is expected to come tomorrow. We, of course, will have extensive coverage.

 

Posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
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More TV analysis

As mentioned in an earlier post, four of Cal’s games could be picked up by ABC, Fox Sports Net or Versus. Those are during weeks in which the networks are allowed to select a game 12 or six days before it is played. Here is a look at what Cal is up against on those days:

OCT. 4 VS. ARIZONA STATE

ABC has a 12:30 p.m. window and Versus has a 4:30 slot on this day. The other games to choose from are Washington at Arizona and Washington State at UCLA. It appears the Bears should have a good chance to be televised, presuming Arizona and Washington are lower-tier conference teams, as expected. Plus, Arizona State is expected to be one of the top teams in the conference, so even if the Bears don’t contend for a Pac-10 title, the game should still have some appeal.

 

OCT. 25 vs. UCLA

There is just one available slot this day, with ABC airing a game at 12:30. The other option is Oregon at Arizona State. Cal could be in trouble here. Oregon and ASU both could be in the midst of pretty good seasons at this point, although I’m not sure the Ducks will be as good as some are making them out to be. But UCLA could surprise some folks if it can get healthy. Still, all things being equal, it looks like the Ducks-Sun Devils game may be the better option.

 

NOV. 1 VS. OREGON

Cal looks to be in pretty good shape here. There are two slots available, ABC at 12:30 and Fox Sports Net at 3:30. The other games are Washington State at Stanford and Washington at USC. We all know the Trojans will be selected, because, well, they always are. But the Cal-Oregon game should be a much more appealing option than WSU and Stanford. Look for this game to be on Fox Sports Net (which will be carried by Comcast Sports Net Bay Area).

 

Nov. 15 AT OREGON STATE

This looks like a toss-up. There are two windows, ABC at 12:30 and Fox Sports Net at 7:15 p.m. The other contenders are Arizona at Oregon and UCLA at Washington. Oregon could be in contention and would be a good choice. The other four teams combined — Cal, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington — all have their share of uncertainty. This is exactly why some of these games are reserved for a 12 or 6-day window, so the networks can wait to determine the best teams and the best games.

As I mentioned in the post a couple of days ago, there are four other games that don’t fall on days where there is a 6 or 12-day window. The only other likely option for these games — Sept. 6 at Washington State, Sept. 27 against Colorado State, Oct. 18 against Arizona and the Big Game on Nov. 22 — is for Comcast Sports Net West to pick them up. CSN West has a contract with Cal and has regularly televised games in recent years. It’s part of Sacramento’s basic cable package but in the past the network has also broadcast games in the Bay Area over an over-the-air channel. It’s also available in the Bay Area on digital packages.

CSN West also potentially could pick up any games that aren’t selected by ABC, FSN or Versus in the 6 and 12-day windows.

There are four games on TV for sure — Aug. 30 against Michigan State (ABC), Sept. 13 at Maryland (ESPN or ESPN2), Nov. 8 at USC (ABC)  and Dec. 6 vs. Washington (FSN, ESPN or ESPN2).

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
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Colder commodity?

Cal apparently isn’t quite the attraction it was last season.

A year after having all of their games televised for the first time ever, Cal is only guaranteed to have four games on TV this season after the Pac-10 released its 2008 schedule Monday.

Three of the games we already knew about — ABC had already picked up the season-opener against Michigan State and the Nov. 8 game at USC, and the Sept. 13 game at Maryland will be on ESPN or ESPN2.

One more game was added Monday. Cal’s season-finale against Washington on Dec. 6 will be shown on either Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, ESPN or ESPN2.

That’s not to say more games won’t be televised. There are four other games that could be selected by either ABC or Fox Sports Net. Any game picked up by Fox Sports Net would be shown on Comcast Sports Net Bay Area. Those games are: Oct. 4 vs. Arizona State, Oct. 25 vs. UCLA, Nov. 1 vs. Oregon and Nov. 15 at Oregon State.

That leaves four other games wide open. I was told today that Cal will try to get other games that are not picked up on to other channels. The most likely suitor would be Comcast Sports Net West, which has a contract with Cal. CSN West is based out of Sacramento and isn’t part of basic cable packages in the Bay Area. However, it is my understanding that any games CSN West picked up would also air on an over-the-air channel in the Bay Area. This happened last year with the Louisiana Tech game.

Those four other games are: Sept. 6 at Washington State, Sept. 27 vs. Colorado State, Oct. 18 at Arizona and, believe it or not, the Big Game against Stanford on Nov. 22.

For the record, if the Cal-Washington game is picked up by Fox Sports Net, it would begin at noon. If it is selected by ESPN or ESPN2, it would come on at 5 p.m.

Posted on Monday, June 9th, 2008
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Day camp

I dropped by Cal’s fantasy camp today for a couple of hours and, as usual, it looked to be a smashing success. I was told there were about 65 entrants this year, and enthusiasm abounded, not just from the campers, but from the players, former players and coaches on hand.

I sat in on part of the defensive meetings where each position coach went over assignments for a couple of coverages. Then it was time for the team to assemble in the Big Game Room, just as it does before every home game. Linebacker Worrell Williams led the campers in the traditional pregame chant, then it was down to the tunnel before taking the field.

Williams, one of the more engaging personalities on the team, got some of the guys going after “the Bears’ took the field by standing up on one of the exercise bikes near the stands and gesturing to a make-believe crowd to make some noise.

Players went through position drills, special teams and 7-on-7s. It’s always fun to watch how enthusiastic and competitive players get. During a one-on-one receiving drill, Williams and Zack Follett whooped it up whenever a defensive player made an INT or broke up a pass. Likewise, Jahvid Best and Will Ta’ufo’ou got fired up when an offensive player made a catch or scored a touchdown.

I counted 18 current players on hand: Williams, Follett, Best, Ta’ufo’ou, Alex Mack, Jesse Brooks, Kevin Riley, Cameron Morrah, Bryan Anger, Nick Sundberg, Cameron Jordan, D.J. Holt, Shane Vereen, Keith Browner, Michael Calvin, Ernie Owusu, Syd’Quan Thompson and Jeremy Ross. I may have missed one or two. Also, there were a handful of former players on hand — Russell White, Chuck Muncie, Matt Bouza, Nick Harris, Doug Brien, Na’il Benjamin, Dameane Douglas and Dave Barr.

Harris helped out with punting drills, taking turns with Anger lofting punts high into the sky while campers attempted to field them.  Whenever someone successfully fielded a punt, it drew hoots and hollers from everyone involved.

Posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2008
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