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Football: From the press box

Quite a scene on the field after the game. I was on the field and decided to follow Shane Vereen around immediately afterward (my assignment tonight was to write a feature on Vereen. Our Jon Wilner wrote the main game story which I will post tomorrow).

Vereen was mobbed by Cal fans behind hte end zone as they stormed the field when it ended. Recruiting coordinator Kevin Parker presented Vereen with the Cal hard hat, given to a player who carries an exceptional workload.

I interviewed Vereen briefly on the field and then later outside the locker room. As I interviewed him on the field, he was choking up with emotion, tears welling in his eyes. He pointed toward his family in the stands. As he usually does, he talked more about the team than his individual performance.

The bowl situation cleared up slightly after tonight, but not much. If the Bears beat Washington in their finale, they could finish as high as a tie for third place in the Pac-10. But there could be as many as three other teams tied for that spot. That means Cal could be headed to the Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, Emerald Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl. If the Bears were to lose to Washington, there would still be multiple bowl possibilities, and the Poinsettia Bowl would be added to the mix.

The Bears were supposed to have their usual Sunday night conditioning practice tomorrow but let’s just say the players made a sales pitch to cancel. While Tedford started to address the team in the locker room after the game, the players began to chant “Sunday off, Sunday off!” After a few opening comments, Tedford exclaimed “Sunday off!”, prompting a roar from the team.

I talked to Jahvid Best briefly after the game and he still hopes to come back for the Washington game. He said he plans on rehabbing over the break, even saying he would come in on Thanksgiving if the trainers are working. But Best mostly boasted about the performance of his good buddy, Vereen.

And now for some notes:

–Vereen’s 42 carries were the most by a Cal back since Terrell Williams had 36 in 2001 at Rutgers. The Cal record for carries in a game is 46 by Paul Jones in 1978.

–Cal converted 11 of 19 third down opportunities.

–Cal had 31 first downs, tying for the Pac-10 high this season. Oregon had 31 twice.

–Vince D’Amato was the placekicker for the first time since the UCLA game. He had a 21-yard field goal and made all four of his PAT attempts.

–The win tied Jeff Tedford for first place all-time in Cal victories in the modern era with 67.

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.

  • johnny

    GREAT GAME BEARS

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • shawn

    we had an answer for TOBY and LUCK!!!! bwahahahah. Our Axe!!!

  • uh oh.

    I hate to say anything that slights Jahvid, but I am sure I’m not the only person who thinks a decent argument could be made that Vareen is the more valuable back.
    On some of those carries where Shane fought for 3 extra yards, Best drops. Vareen has break away speed, good hands, good balance, power, and perhaps is a bit more smooth, especially laterally. Nobody wants to make it a contest. We like ‘em both VERY much.

  • Dan

    uh oh- you’re right. I have said that all year. Jahvid could not have carried the warrior workload that Vdereen did tonight. There are defintiely areas where Vereen is stronger. He was a MAN tonight. Played RB, QB, caught the ball. He maximize a at times bizarre gameplan- I mean, how many times did we run the Wildcat? Flat out, he is a Big Game legend now.

  • Dan

    JO- Thanks for sharing that tidbit on Vereen. I bet he was overcome with emotion. He played like a warrior tonight. Where would the Bears have been without him? It was an maximum effort, all heart. It is an overused cliche, but he really did leave it ALL on the field.

    If he never did another thing in a Cal uniform, he achieved greatness tonight. But we know there is a lot of greatness ahead him.

  • Will

    If Jahvid is healthy and ready to play next week, do you still think he’ll see the bulk of the carries or will it be 50/50 (or even tilted in Shane’s favor)?

  • David

    I’m not too sure about having the team not condition tomorrow. I’d like no doubt that we beat Washington

  • Dan

    Will- No game next week- it’s a bye. The Huskies in 2 weeks.

    If Jahvid plays, use Vereen between the tackles, use Jahvid around end, in space and occasionally between the tackles if you think he can catch a seam. Use cautiously. Try to get him his 1,000 yards between that game and our bowl game.

  • Will

    Sorry, yeah that’s what I meant – the next game. And I hope Tedford follows your strategy, it sounds good.

  • abe

    One of 2 great JT wins in my humble opinion. The other off course being the Cal @ Oregon in 07.

  • Easy Ed

    Uh Oh I think you’re wrong. Jahvid is amazing and a strong runner between the tackles. You have to remember that the offensive line did not play at full strength until the Arizona game. For those of you that doubt it, look at the last 3 games of last year. As for Vereen? He would be starting at most other schools in the conference. He is a solid “A” back and Jahvid is an “A+”.

  • Ho

    I think Vareen’s an A+ back too. 42 carries…he’s an animal. Go Bears!

  • Old Bear

    Who is more conservative: Tedford or Glen Beck?

    For the second week in a row, Tedford plays it safe and goes for the field goal at the end of the game. It worked!

    Second question: Can anyone remember two more exciting games played back-to-back?

    Go Bears

  • Bears

    Vereen and the OL put on a legendary performance and will never be forgotten for that gutty effort by true blue Cal fans. What a win! Best 3 Cal games I’ve been to in past decade, sc 03, at UO 07 and Big Game 09! Those guys had just put 50 on UO and sc and have the most dominate RB in the country. Our D rose to the occasion, slowed em down and beat em!
    Bears won this game because they won the fight, they hit harder and longer and beat up the favored tree. Chopped it down.
    The fact that they were down 14-0 and came back and won by beating those guys at their own game says a lot about the character of our program.
    So proud of California fooball.
    We’ve got the Axe!
    Go Bears!!!!!!

  • C.J. Roses

    Great win despite Tedford’s level best effort to give the game away…!

  • TrumanHUgh

    Jahvid Best needs to come back and rush for another 150 (or so) yards so we can keep Cal’s six (seven?) season streak of having a 1000-yard-rusher alive. Either that, or Vereen will have to rush almost 300 yards to put him over the mark.

    Two games left to keep the streak alive!

  • Bears

    We ran the ball 54 times!!!! for 257, tree ran it 28 for 207.
    I don’t care what all the negative nancy’s say. This upset victory is one for the ages. Can you always strive for more and better, hell yes. But we have a whole week and Thanksgiving included to celebrate this one before coming back down to earth and getting ready for UW up there in the rain and cold.
    I actually liked putting the game on our defense to keep em out of the EZ and win it. Shows our coach trusts our D to take care of buisiness and when it counted they did just that.
    So happy for our players, Go Bears!

  • Bears07

    Incredibly proud of our team and maybe one of the best all-around performances I’ve watched (except special teams, unfortunately). The heart and the desire of our players really shone tonight!

    As for the discussion on helping Best get up to the 1,000 yard mark, I don’t think Tedford is the kind of coach to make such personal achievements a priority. When Best comes back, I think they’ll mix up Best and Vereen as they see fit, but not with a specific yardage total in mind.

    Also, I do think that Vereen made a solid case for his own potential last night. Don’t think he’s eclipsed Best, but this is probably the best 1-2 combo we’ve had! GO BEARS!

  • http://TheBEARS GC

    You gotta love those BEARS.

  • Killer

    How can anyone criticize the coach after this historic big game victory and the back to back wins over ranked teams. It is very easy to be a Sunday morning quarterback (or coach). I have followed Cal football for nearly 60 years and have never been more proud of a Cal team. I believe that Cal’s fairly recent success is attributable to the coaching staff starting with the recruiting, followed by the integrety of the program and the motivation of the players. This is a coarch who has had remarkable success while having to play games while protester sat in trees outside of our outdated stadium and the worst athletic facilites in the conference. We now have a class program that has achieved national recognition, something I did not think was possible before Tedford. Go Bears!

  • robert

    What a classy group of players and coaches!!

    Worked their butts off and they care a ton, you can see it after the last 2 games! Some may criticize their decisions, but their heart and effort are outstanding!

    Congratulations!

  • Old Bear

    MeShawn Jackson just introduced himself on the NBC telecast as coming from Long Beach Poly.

    Has there ever been a more talented and less liked Bear than MeShawn?

    The lockerroom is 100% better since he left.

  • Bears

    DJ was a great player for Cal and is a great player in the NFL.
    He is free to say whatever he wants. Wish he would tout Cal instead of LBP but whatever floats his boat.

  • Steve W

    Here’s my vote for the five greatest wins in the Tedford era in no particular order:

    - Yesterday’s Big Game
    - Cal over USC in 2003
    - Cal over Washington in 2002
    - Cal over Tennessee in 2007
    - Cal over Oregon in 2007
    (Funny how two of the best wins came in in 07 season, which is generally considered to be the biggest failure in the Tedford era. If Longshore wouldn’t have got hurt in that Oregon game, no doubt in my mind they would have gone to the Rose Bowl. He was never the same after that injury.)

  • Jan K Oski

    Guys, DJ has always been positive about his experience at Cal. Show me a quote from him where he slighted Cal? Don’t bother, because you’re not going to find it.

  • Boaltblue

    DeSean Jackson was a great player on our team. He could have played anywhere in the nation, but he came to Cal, and for that Cal fans should always be grateful. He brought our team to a higher level. He is responsible for many memorable moments in Cal football history.

    Had we given DeSean more touches in ’07 we would have increased our chances of winning. The losses in ’07 were not due to DeSean’s failures, or his lack of skill or effort.

    Let all in the Cal family reach out to DeSean and give him the appreciation and credit that he earned and deserves.

    DeSean is a treasured Cal Bear and always will be.

  • Larry

    What happened to that unlovable loser $C fan that couldn’t stop flappin his gums, until the Trojans threw up all over themselves? Wow, that Moron must have jumped off the bandwagon and then got run over by it.

  • Larry

    Moron, is that you masquerading as ‘Old Blue’?
    Silly fella, tricks are for kids.

    “A child shall lead them from the Rose Bowl to the Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, Vegas Bowl, or Emerald Bowl”