Football: Saturday night update

You get the feeling Jeff Tedford isn’t a big fan of depth charts. Us media types get ahold of them and then pepper him with questions, while Tedford would rather not talk in terms of everything being set in stone.

That contrast came up today when we asked about the kicking situation. The depth chart released today lists Giorgio Tavecchio as the kicker. No surprise there; it seemed as though the incumbent was holding on to his job. But Tedford went out of his way to say that Tavecchio is listed as the kicker only because media relations rep Kyle McRae had been badgering him to release a depth chart soon.

“As of right now, Tavecchio would be the guy,” Tedford said. “But just because (McRae) forces me to put a depth chart together, doesn’t mean that’s what is going to happen next Saturday. We could change the kicker on Wednesday. That hasn’t been decided yet.”

Tavecchio confirmed he hasn’t been told anything about Saturday’s game at this point, and continues to take a diplomatic approach about the competition between him, David Seawright and Vince D’Amato.

“I have 100 percent faith and i believe in Coach Tedford’s judgment,” Tavecchio said. “I feel like  I’m giving the best effort I can. I’m very happy and satisfied  with the way I have performed so far. Of course, there is always room to improve. I hope I’m the kicker. If not, I’ll be the best teammate possible.”

Considering Tedford reserved the right to buck the depth chart, it’s pretty significant that he reiterated that wide receiver Verran Tucker will indeed start against Maryland. He definitively said Tucker and Marvin Jones are the starters, while it could be a number of guys when three receivers are needed.

Tucker’s ascenion back to the top of the depth chart after missing spring practice is a nice story, and you can read about it here.

Tucker didn’t know he had been named a starter until a group of reporters informed him after practice.

“I’ve come a long way,” he said. “I had to get my academics situated. I’m feeling good. I feel like I have my legs under me. Camp was great. I’m ready for Saturday. I can’t wait to step on the field.”

Tucker had an uphill climb after falling to the bottom of the depth chart when fall began. He said the coaching staff never gave up on him.

“The coaches talked to me every practice, giving me motivation, telling me I had to work to get my spot back,” he said. “They just kept me motivated.”

While the Bears practiced during the spring, Tucker studied in the coaches office. Then he would join the team at the end of practice for conditioning. But he didn’t stop when his teammates stopped. While the rest of the Bears were headed for the locker room, Tucker did extensive extra running with either Tedford or receivers coach Kevin Daft, sometimes to the point of vomiting.

“It just showed me that i have to get my life together,” Tucker said.

–Tedford said wide receiver Michael Calvin, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Aug. 17 as a clean-up procedure, has returned to practice and should be available for the opener.

–There was an estimated 5,000 fans at Fan Appreciation Day on a toasty day at Memorial Stadium. No surprise: the longest autograph lines were for Tedford and Jahvid Best.

–Speaking of Best, he returned to practice without limitations after missing Thursday with an appointment. Best had his usual explosiveness during the portion of practice we were able to watch.

–The Bears will hold a late practice tomorrow, finishing up around 9 p.m. They originally were supposed to have Sunday off and practice Monday, but decided to swap days. Now it will be like a normal game week, with Monday off and getting back on the field on Tuesday.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • calfan1

    Hi JO,
    What’s going on with Alex Lagemann? He was coming on so strong that he was being mentioned as a possible starter until that injury (quad?) which was only supposed to hold him out a few days. Any word on him? In your depth chart, he’s nowhere to be found.

  • Pete Carroll

    Hi JO – What about Chis Conte? I’m surprised he’s not listed either.

  • wehofx

    Great story on VT. Makes me proud to be a Cal alum. Another example of why JT is the perfect coach for Cal.

    Great work so far, JO. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.

    Go Bears!

  • Bears

    Second that story on Tucker, nice job. The guy is a tremendous talent but having to overcome obstacles should make him better as a SR. I hope his spot as starter pushes our other SR WR to raise his game up to the next level. Both SR WR’s have tremendous talent but different games. They both bring a little something different to the offense. If they both play to their potential and always do what’s best for the team it will allow the talented underclass WR’s to progress and the group can be very productive.
    Congrats to Tucker and good luck.

  • Davidson

    Tucker is the real deal. His and Jones are the most physically talented receivers on the team, and it’s good to see them both emerge as the starters.

    On another note, anyone see Yarnway at Fan day? After getting used to the size of our recent RBs (Forsett, Best, Vareen, Debo)…I was surprised at the size of Yarnway. Full-fledged beast. At his size, I don’t think he runs a 4.4, but a 4.5 would be sufficient.

  • GoBeerz

    Nice – Best was tearing it up and Michael Calvin will be back by the opener. Very pleased. Go Beerz!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    My contact at USC said Barkley is ready and he commands a huddle like a senior. It is called heart and it is called smarts. He is one of the smartest QBs in college football. As a freshman he already can read D’s and thread the needle.

  • Davidson

    I think I speak for all of Pac-10 when we say that we were happy to have Barkeley named the starter. I sincerely hope that he somehow plays well enough to still be the starter when they visit Strawberry Canyon, Memorial Stadium on Oct 3rd.

  • rollonubears

    ahh, the sweet sound of desperation from an $C fan. and the season hasn’t even started. awesome! good luck against ohio state.

  • covinared

    One of the smartest QBs in college football? Pray tell how that can be? Did they all take some kind of test? Are the defenses he can now read less than the those that picked him 18 times last year?

  • Golden Bear

    Why, I bet Barkley could even get into Boalt Law when he is done with SC undergrad.

  • elbarto83

    And I doubt he would throw an interception against the scout defense…

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Why all of the hate directed toward Barkley. He is a fine Christian young man like Tim Tebow.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I believe we should pray for Matt Cassell too. He suffered a leg injury.

  • covinared

    Poor Matt Cassell. Hurt knee and $28 mil. God please look out for him. Is Brandon Mebane an agent of lucifer?

  • covinared

    No hate was directed toward Barkley either. Completely off topic, you claimed he was one of the smartest QB’s in college football. Your bold claim was simply questioned. Back it up with objective proof.

  • Larry

    Matt who?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    My contact at USC told me. I trust him. We went to the same church together down in SoCal and were in the same small group. He is way way up there in the program. Says Barkley is incredibly intelligent, can read every defense and if he makes a mistake he will never make the same one again. His only weakness is that he is a “Favre” type QB who likes to takes risks and believes his strong arm can compensate for everything. Sorry to bring up Favre. I know how much you fans around here don’t like him but he was one of the greatest QBs in NFL history and was being replaced by someone who still hasn’t one a really big game. Sorry that is no knock. It is the truth.

  • covinared

    Has your friend spent time with all the other qb’s from all the other schools to compare their intellects to Matt’s? What has lead you to believe Favre is disfavored by those on a Cal website? When has he been bashed here?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    covinared Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 9:55 pm
    Has your friend spent time with all the other qb’s from all the other schools to compare their intellects to Matt’s? >>>>>> So what it is that you want my friend of say so that we can end your useless interrorgative rant? How’s about if I changed HIS statement to say – Barkley is the smartest QB that has come through the Palmer, Leinart, Booty, and Sanchez era? Is that sufficient for you Oh Bearer of the Pure and Correct? If this isn’t what you want then say what it is and stop playing “I went to Cal State and I am smarter than you” game.

    What has lead you to believe Favre is disfavored by those on a Cal website? >>>>>> Do your own reading on those different websites. If you seek it you will find it.

  • Davidson

    I have a friend that says Barkley is overconfident and the coaches are just gassing him because all the other options have either left for the NFL or got injured.

    You can trust my friend, he is never wrong. We go Burger King together on Sundays. He is VERY well connected. Trust me.

  • Pete Carroll

    Why is anyone even talking about Barkley on this thread?

  • ToparchiBear

    “The best QB” ha ha… Who are you comparing him with? There are three Heiman candidates this year. And, I can’t say they are the best.

    We all know that you are Cal hater…
    What do you know about Aaron Rodger, Man?
    He had three superb preseason games with superb stats.
    to add to his last year’s superiority as the first year of starter. Tell me which QB lead a team in the NFL that accumulate 38 pts in first and only 30 minutes of playing. He silenced all the critics about how he can take the challenge after Brett Favre. He did…

    Can’t wait to see Cal kick butt this year. 5 more days to go.

    Go Bears!

  • ToparchiBear

    0ops! Your best QB has just lost his target.
    I feel sorry for Johnson, and hope he will recover soon. But, I have no feeling for USC, because of you, keep taunting the bears in the bear territory.

    “Johnson was hurt during the second series of the mock game when he was tackled after catching an underthrown 34-yard pass from Barkley”

    Sounds like your best QB is the guilty one for his injury.

  • BluenGold

    moron the troll’s post, and the reactions to it, are a perfect example of why the CCTimes should delete messages from this blog that are completely off topic (i.e. have nothing to do with Cal football).

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Cal, there’s no question the the couple of nagging injuries he had during camp set him back a bit. He missed some practice time, while some of the other receivers improved, like Jeremy Ross, for instance. But remember that the depth chart is not set in stone. Lagemann could easily still get a lot of playing time.
    Pete, I’m surprised as well. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Bob Gregory about it yet, but I will this week. Conte has sat out some with an injury, too.

  • BluenGold

    Cal predicted to win the 2009 Pac 10 title:

    (yeah, its a bit old, but still informatave as to the reasons behind Wilner’s picks)


  • MoreNCsarecoming

    It’s old news. It appeared the same day as the Noah Smith news. And here is some more news. Sharece Wright is ineligible. That means Josh P goes back to safety along with Taylor and Will Harris goes back to CB. Our D just got better.

  • Golden Bear

    Gee, Verran Tucker could do at UC Berkeley what Wright could not do at $C. All that money and support and they couldn’t get Wright the proper advising? Or did he just not have the same drive and ambition and determination that Tucker did? What does that say about the SC team?

  • Golden Bear

    I know someone who played soccer with Barkley and who lives on the same block as Barkley’s gf. He doesn’t have the same things to say about Barkley as some church guy said.

  • Golden Bear

    SC fans don’t seem to be as okay with the loss of Wright that some here pretend:


  • MoreNCsarecoming

    AdvisingBear/misterpeabody: It says everything I have been saying about your football program and academics. One of the dirty secrets of the Tedford era is that the players were railroaded into “gimmee” type classes. He learned this from his time up there in Oregon. Care to disagree. I didn’t think so.

    The bottom line is that it only matters if a player went to the school for academics. Yours don’t and most USC players don’t. What does it matter?

  • covinared

    Please give us the facts of your dirty little secret: Names of players, courses taken, who masterminded the scheme, how was it done, how did you find out about it and how, in light of this, is Cal is second in the PAC 10 only to stanford in the football academic progress ratings? If you know about it, why don’t the raters? Don’t bear false witness against others.

  • BluenGold

    Its time for the CCTimes to start deleting off topic posts, particularly those posted by trolls.

  • Golden Bear

    If you want to talk about gimme classes, Moron, try to explain why half of the upper division players at SC are in the Sociology major.

    Interesting thing about Sociology at USC — there are no tests. All grading is done on papers. And nobody checks to make sure the paper was written by the actual student.

    Don’t expect Moron to provide you with anything. Just like you shouldn’t expect to find him posting on any SC message board. Punked and banned by his own fellow fans. Pity the troll — this is all he has.

  • Golden Bear

    And ultimately, if what you say is true, Moron — and so little of what you do say is true — then Pete Carroll isn’t a smart enough coach to get his starting cornerback into a course he can pass? Pete is that stupid a coach?