Looking at the offensive line Wednesday night, it was hard to believe this is the same team that lined up against Michigan State for its opener. Center Alex Mack was the only starter taking first team reps that did so at the beginning of the season. Donovan Edwards took reps at right tackle for the injured Chet Teofilo and Matt Laird, and Justin Cheadle took reps at right guard for Noris Malele. Malele has a sprained ankle, but coach Jeff Tedford said he will play on Saturday.
Also, it looks as though Pac-10 Player of the Week Mike Mohamed will get his first start of the season and second of his career. This is not surprising. Not only is Mohamed playing well, the strength of his game is his speed, which is an asset against Oregon’s spread offense. Mohamed will replace Eddie Young in the starting lineup.
Cal center Alex Mack today was named one of the 15 finalists for the Draddy Trophy, given annuallly to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. By being named a finalist, Mack will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9 in New York and will have his scholarship increased to $25,000. Here’s more details from Cal’s official website.
Also, linebacker Zack Follett has been named one of the 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott Trophy, given to the defensive player for his athletic performance and strong character traits. The winner will be announced on Dec. 14 in Newport Beach. Former Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes won the award in 2006.
–Here’s a look at our story today, focusing on Saturday’s big game and the danger of making out to be a big game.
–The Portland Tribune has some thorough notes here.
Abdul Gaddy, who twice committed to Arizona before opting out last week after coach Lute Olson retired, has decided to stay home. A senior at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash., and the nation’s No. 2 ranked point guard, Gaddy told rivals.com he will attend Washington.
“I just felt like everything that happened at Arizona was a sign to stay at home. I can go to the NBA from home just as well as from anywhere else,” Gaddy told the recruiting Web site. “Coach (Lorenzo) Romar has proven himself. Look at the success of Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy. Going to Washington gives me a great chance to do what I want to do.”
The most newsworthy development to come out of today’s weekly press luncheon is that it looks as though Kevin Riley will start Saturday’s game against Oregon.
This is not newsworthy because it is surprising; rather because coach Jeff Tedford spent the past three games keeping the starting position open until the end of the week.
But after digesting Saturday’s 41-20 win over UCLA, Tedford was happy with Riley’s performance. That appears to be enough to give him the inside track to be the starter against the Ducks.
Here’s the latest on Lute Olson, who retired last week after a quarter-century as coach at Arizona.
At Cal’s weekly press luncheon today, coach Jeff Tedford said Kevin Riley will start Saturday’s game against Oregon, “as of right now.” He also went on to praise Riley’s play against UCLA, and said Riley’s mobility will be important against the Ducks’ fierce pass rush. It looks like, barring some dramatic change, Riley will start on Saturday.
The two big men expected to sign wth Cal in about two weeks wouldn’t seem to have much in common.
Bak Bak is 6-9, 210 pounds, comes from the Sudan in Africa and will arrive at Cal next fall as a freshman.
Markhuri Sanders-Frison is 6-8, 270, comes from Portland, Ore., and will arrive at Cal as a junior.
But they do share one thing — both will be playing in a new place this season before meeting up next year in Berkeley. Bak is a senior at Village Christian High in Sun Valley, Calif., having sat out last year due to international transfer rules. Sanders-Frison switched from Eastern Arizona CC to South Plains (Tx) CC, where he joins a club that won the 2008 NJCAA national title.
Here are scouting reports from the men who will coach them this season:
Cal will be bigger up front in 2009-10 — about 275 pounds bigger.
Coach Mike Montgomery, responding to an immediate need on his frontline, got an oral commitment over the weekend from 6-foot-7, 275-pound post player Markhuri Sanders-Frison, a native of Portland, Ore., who will play this season at South Plains CC in Levelland, Texas.
Sanders-Frison, who visited the Berkeley campus this past weekend, becomes the third member of the Bears’ class of 2009. He joins 6-8 forward Bak Bak, a native of the Sudan, and De La Salle point guard Brandon Smith. The first day of the fall signing period is Nov. 12.
Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for defense. Mohamed had nine tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown.
All three conference players of the week will be represented in Saturday’s game against Oregon, as the other two winners this week come from the Ducks. Here’s the news release from the Pac-10.