Brett Johnson’s blocked punt was the first by a Cal player since Nu’u Tafisi did it against Washington State in 2006.
Cal punter Bryan Anger just reeled off a 56-yard punt on the first punt of his career. This guy will be an All-American before he’s done at Cal.
A good first drive for safety Marcus Ezeff, who has several tackles. Not so good for nose guard Derrick Hill, who was pulled from the game briefly after jumping offsides on third down. Michael Costanzo took a few reps in Hill’s place.
Note that Sean Young was Cal’s punt returner. That’s probably a sign that Syd’Quan Thompson still isn’t quite ready because of his sprained shoulder. On the other hand, Thompson exhibited excellent coverage on a deep pass, blanketing Michigan STate recevier B.J. Cunningham.
Giorgio Tavechhio, who just joined the team on Wednesday, kicked the opening kickoff for Cal.
I reported it earlier in the week, but Cal’s captains this week are Alex Mack, Will Ta’ufo’ou, Anthony Felder and Zack Follett.
Michael Calvin was announced as a starter. He took more reps during warm-ups, but with the second team.
Bernard Hicks will start at free safety over Brett Johnson.
No other surprises.
Biggest reaction from the crowd when the lineups were announced: Kevin Riley, and it wasn’t close.
Most of the Bears have taken the field in their new uniforms, wearing gold jerseys and blue pants. Michael Calvin is suited up, but that’s no guarantee he’s ready to go. But at least there’s a chance because he’s not in his street clothes.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the season. I’m settled in here in the Memorial Stadium press box. One of the immediate things I’m looking for is the status of wide receiver Michael Calvin, who hasn’t practiced this week because of a sprained toe. He’s been out on the field warming up, but only jogging. I haven’t seen him yet try to really test it out by running full speed. I would still be surprised if he’s able to go. We’ll find out soon.
If Calvin is out, true freshman Marvin Jones could get the start in his first college game. Jones replaced Calvin on the first team during practice this week when the team used three receivers.
Nothing much else going on yet. Only a handful of fans have made their way into the stadium. I’ll check in later with more.
Cal’s biggest concern defensively is stopping Michigan State tailback Javon Ringer, one of the most underrated running backs in the country who rushed for 1,447 yards last season. Ringer is the third-leading returning rusher in the country. He’s been nominated for the Walter Camp Award, Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award.
Cal’s players and coaches compared Ringer to former Bear Justin Forsett — compact, quick and strong.
Ringer and the Spartans’ running game will provide an immediate test for the 3-4 defense. Michigan State is big and physical and makes no apologies that they want to run it down your throat as much as possible.
“We’re excited about it,” Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. “It’s downill, Big Ten, smashmouth football. They do as good a job as anybody doing it. It will be a great test for us.”
The grind of training camp makes it so nice to be able to say that Cal is finally playing a game tomorrow. There has been so much analysis and discussion of these new Bears, and now we’ll finally start to get some answers. But right now, some reading:
–Here’s some notes from today’s paper, following up on Cameron Jordan’s suspension and new kicker Giorgio Taveccio.
–ESPN.com’s Ted Miller clarifies the uproar over comments made by a reporter, not Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, about Cal’s crowd.
–Jeff Tedford’s latest blog entry went up yesterday, where he touches on the quarterback situation among other things.
–A message from Cal’s athletic department: Yes, you can see this game!
–No breaking news here, but a good feature on Jahvid Best.
–You’ll have to scroll down a bit, but here is some good stuff from the Michigan State perspective
–The player to watch on MSU’s defense is linebacker Greg Jones.
–One of Michigan State’s biggest uncertainties is at wide receiver. Sound familiar?