Football: Thursday report

The biggest question heading into Saturday’s game at Oregon State is what the starting secondary will look like. Steve Williams got his first career start at cornerback in place of Darian Hagan last week against Arizona State, and it’s looking like that will happen again against the Beavers.

Jeff Tedford wasn’t ready to name his starting defensive backs after practice today, but even the depth chart on Cal’s weekly game notes have been updated to have Williams starting over Hagan. But Tedford still said the position will be decided based on performance during practice.

Also, will it be Sean Cattouse or Josh Hill starting at free safety? Both were starters last week as Cal employed the nickel defense throughout the game. But the Bears will go back to their conventional base defense this week. Cattouse said earlier in the week he expected to start, but all Tedford said today was Cattouse had taken some No. 1 reps during the week. Still, expect Cattouse to start.

I posted earlier that linebacker Mike Mohamed had been named one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, given to the best football scholar-athlete in the country. I don’t know how good a chance he has to actually win, but what a story that would be to have two of the past three winners  come from one school. Former Cal center Alex Mack won the award when it was called the Draddy Award in 2008. My sense is Mack was a stronger candidate than Mohamed. Nothing against Mohamed, I just remember not feeling all that surprised when Mack won it. His reputation was so strong.

By all accounts, Cal had a pretty good week of practice. Of course, many will be interested in how the Bears start Saturday’s game with so much focus on their road woes. Of their four road games so far, this one seems the most winnable. I was high on Oregon St. before the season, but the loss of wide receiver James Rodgers is devastating. And the Beavers have played surprisingly bad defense, ranking 119th out of 120 FBS teams. That being said, Oregon St. played a brutal nonconference schedule with games against TCU and Boise State.

The Bears have been pretty good against the run this season and did a good job of shutting down Jacquizz Rodgers last season. If they can do that again this year, they should be in pretty good shape because OSU’s passing game isn’t what it was last year with former quarterback Sean Canfield running the show and the loss of Rodgers.

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.

  • SteveNtexas

    Despite our record – I’m not sure being on the road makes that much difference in our losses. We weren’t hopeless at Arizona. Still OSU may just be a better team.

    Y’all probably know this but I was looking at the Seahawks Roster and there are 6 former Cal players from Cal . That’s the most Bears I’ve noticed on one NFL Roster but then again I don’t check too regularly.

  • Juancho

    Pretty cool for Mohamed. That type of stuff is the area that nobody can critique on Tedford. The dude runs a good program that develops good guys. Good for them.

  • SteveNtexas

    LOL “six former Cal players from Cal” Its 12:24 AM I should have gone to sleep before posting.

  • Juancho

    6 players, let’s see who can name them without googling.

    Lynch, Forsett, Mebane…that’s all I got.

  • calfan1

    Moorah is also with Seahawks – that makes it 4. who else?

  • SteveNtexas

    I can find them without Googling – just got to CBS Sports —NFL>>>> teams Seattle >>rosters. LOL

    Hint the other two are GUARDS and have 2 and 3 years pro experience respectively.

  • jabes

    Regarding road woes, the Arizona game may be the biggest example of this. At Arizona, despite playing a team clearly in a lull, the offense and special teams seemed to lack energy.

    The Nevada and $C games would have gone against the Bears 19 times out of 20 based on (a) Cal never executing against the Nevada offensive scheme and (b) Barkley hitting every pass for $C and no credible passing threat from Riley.

    Cal is definitely better than UCLA and ASU, and they made that worse by making mistakes. Considering UCLA won at Texas and ASU lost at Wisconsin by a blocked PAT those teams can’t be accused of playing universally badly on the road.

    My biggest worry is the fact that Riley has consistently out-schemed Tedford. Riley has the additional benefit a bye week to prepare for Cal.

  • Bears

    We have not won on the road yet this year and OSU is always a tough opponent and has our number.
    If Cal wins this one I will be very surprised but very very happy.
    Go Bears!

  • thisiscal

    I expect the Bears to win this weekend. OSU’s QB Ryan Katz is good, but inexperienced. Add to that a soft Oline and the Bears defense will be able to use different blitz packages that Katz has never seen before. I expect him to turn the ball over a couple of times. Also, IF KR can limit his mental mistakes, we win this one easily.
    We used to play well in Corvallis and we’re due.
    Go BEARS!

  • CalBear91

    I clearly remember seeing Cal beat OSU in Corvallis in 2004, and it was 49-7 and not that close. Glorious. It is possible, indeed, it is possible. Of course, that team was GREAT.

  • Larry

    Yeah, that 2004 team had A.Rodgers. 2010 has…riley.