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Football: A few notes

While the college football world was focused on Glendale, Ariz. today, there are other things happening:

  • Cal received a surprising oral commitment from cornerback Joel Willis of Garden Grove. Willis had previously committed to Washington and there wasn’t any scuttlebutt that he was considering switching to the Bears. But he continues to solidify what is becoming an excellent recruiting class on the defensive side of the ball.
  • I usually only post information about other Pac-10 teams if they reasonably affect Cal, and this one certainly does. Oregon St. running back Jacquizz Rodgers has decided to enter the NFL draft. So the Bears still have to contend with Andrew Luck in the Pac-12 North but have gotten rid of Rodgers.
  • It will be interesting to see how the inclusion of Rodgers affects Shane Vereen in the draft. At this point, you’d have to think Rodgers would go before Vereen, but that could change after individual workouts. Despite his smallish size, Rodgers still is rated pretty highly among NFL scouts.
  • Cal’s new offensive line coach should be coming soon, perhaps this week. Why is it taking so long? Perhaps Jeff Tedford was waiting to see if Tom Cable and his staff were  going to be retained by the Raiders. Could former OL coach Jim Michalczik be making a return? The whole reason Michalczik left Washington abruptly for the Raiders is because he had aspirations to coach in the NFL. The question is whether there are other opportunities available to him right now on the pro level.

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.

  • Calduke

    This can be a scary period during the recruiting process. The LOI day is Feb 2 – getting close.
    Some recruits may be getting hit hard to change their prior commits or they just get antsy whether they have made the correct prior commit.
    Parents, friends, fellow recruits may be pressure to
    ‘re-evaulate’.

  • HeyAlumniGo

    Hopefully Viliami Moala doesn’t reconsider. He said he was still taking his recruiting trip to Oregon to support his Grant teammates not to look at Oregon. He is still fully commited to Cal…

  • Calduke

    HeyAlum

    I think it’s Oregon State – where All-American DL Paea will probably say hello

  • Bears

    Calduke,
    Why the scared posts?
    I’d be more worried if I were other programs, we could steal some fine recruits from them. Much less chance our verbally commited guys will switch. Our staff is a really good stable one and it has gotten stronger with the recent additions.
    It’s going to be a great LOI day for Cal football!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Vareen v. Rodgers will depend on the team making the pick. I have little doubt they will be higher than each other on various boards, depending on the teams needs. Quiz, IMO, is looking like a fantastic 3rd down back. Shane is more balanced, with better hands (slightly), and better blitz pick-up (a Tedford RB staple).

    I do wonder very much how Quiz’ game will translate. He is SO good at following blockers, but the zone reads used by so many NFL teams negates that plus slightly. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pair of pulling guards more than once in an NFL game.

  • covinared

    Did anyone notice the nice plug Musburger gave Cal and Tedford last night?

  • uh oh

    I think Musburger commented that Cal did a great job of stopping Oregon’s offense and that the Auburn coaching staff took a long hard look at the game to see what we did.

    Of course they did!!!

    Nice words for us, but I’m tired of Musburger and wish they’d find someone else to partner up with blondie, who does a good job!

  • milo

    Cal’s D did stop Oregon, pretty cold at that, plus the signing of high defensive recruits, is a very good sign.

    Defense wins championships. Cal isn’t fully there yet but at least one piece of the puzzle looks taken care of.

    re: Mushburger – he’s a salesman with a microphone

  • uh oh

    Jim Michalczik was at UW? I had to look it up.

    He left as Cal’s O-line coach in Dec 2008 to become O-Coordinator at UW, but then left there less than 2 months later to become O-line coach for Tom Cable at the Raiders.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskies/2008725319_uwfb10.html

    Come on back, Jim. You’re kids are settled in school and with their friends. Hang out a while longer – don’t be one of those coaches who is constantly uprooting the family!

    Now then, down to the money.
    Jim was to make 350k/hr at UW, and perhaps more as a pro. If Cal cannot keep up with that for an O-line spot, then perhaps JT could shed some more of his own pay to keep the Bears on top. If winning returns, he’ll get it back! If he can’t get the OL in order, he’ll be done. So, JT, consider it an investment in your own future.

  • heckyeah

    dang. 350k/hr.. haha..

    With the release of the football strength & conditioning coach, maybe Cal’s making room for more $ for a better O-Line Coach

  • rollonubears

    does it matter who the o-line coach is, if you refuse to play your best talent on the o-line?

  • Dan

    Uh oh at #9 and yet Rollonubears at #11. Both spot on, but maybe the right OLine coach would get who the best OL players are and play them.

  • milo

    Man, $350k to coach? That’s like 3x the average UC professor salary. Yes, I know, football as a revenue sport covers most of the other sports so it’s simply an expense.

  • Calduke

    Bears;

    I remember Stan Husiak

    and last year the top DL lineman committed with a LOI and then left.
    Even an LOI is not a sure thing.

    My comment about this period of time was a general observation of high school recruiting. I believe there is a no-contact period with the recruits and recruiters aren’t able to ‘monitor’ what the recruits are doing.

    I would say that Cal has been fortunate with late de-commits considering the past years turnover and results.

    I think Moala, although visiting north with his high school buddies, is not a risk.

    February 2.

  • Meep.

    Moala isn’t a risk because of what he stated. He’s already made his decision and is only visiting Oregon State because he promised his friends he would, and he doesn’t go back on his promises. Seeing an 18 year old kid say that makes me feel good and trust him a little more than some others that made their verbal commitments. Also, Cal’s a school that has very little risk when it comes to losing commitments. We’re not football power house, so kids don’t come over to us unless they really want to come here.

    Martin left because of personal life issues that returned when he moved back to Berkeley (having been from Oakland). Don’t forget that he moved FROM Oakland BECAUSE of the people he knew in the area and the impact they were making on his life. It wasn’t a simple “Ooops! Teehee, see ya later!” He wanted to make sure he had a future, and the only way to do so was to transfer; I’m alright with that.

    I really hope coach m comes back…

  • PC

    Moala has a chance to leave since he’s going with his friends to OSU. His dream was to play with his hs buds and now everyone there will be trying to convince him to switch.

    With that said, he has health issues in his family and so I think this will be the ultimate deciding factor in keeping him close to home.

    I wonder if Ambrose’s arrival had anything to do with Willis switching over. Looks like Ambrose made a visit and his years in the NFL are a great recruiting point.

  • Calduke

    Cal Recruiting;

    Scout(Fox Sports.com)
    Offense 5 ea 3-star 3 ea 4-star
    Defense 4 ea 3-star 4 ea 4-star 1 ea 5-star

    Rivals.com
    Offense 3 ea 3-star 5 ea 4-star
    Defense 4 ea 3-star 5 ea 4-star

    Prior to this comparison my perception was that it was the defensive recruits that had the more significant impact on the average star ratings; and several more recruits than the offense. It appears fairly even.
    However, are there any truly impact players among the offensive recruits?

  • Calduke

    Maybe Michalczik to the 49ers??

  • Nor-Cal Scott

    Moala won’t flip. He’s a Grant HS kid from Sac, and Cal has a good relationship with that excellent program.

    Last week ESPN had Cal ranked #15, but with our recent verbals I’m sure we’ll move up higher!

  • Davidson

    Guys, let’s not focus on the 1 or 2 players a year that decide to flip (we also get some of those from other schools), but focus on the 95% of the class that commit, sign, play and graduate.

    If we focus on the small minority, we will forever be paranoid…

    …will he pull a Hasiak and leave right before LOI?
    …will he pull a C. Martin and leave right after summer bridge?
    …will he pull a G. Franklin (basketball) and leave after 13 games?
    …will he pull a J. Mont and leave after 1 year?
    …etc…etc…etc…

  • milo

    Agreed Davidson…

    18 y.o. recruits changing their minds (or flipping) is part of the game. It only gets more frequent when the stakes get higher. Afterall Cal picked up Moala who flipped from UW so for the most part, I think Cal is doing fine.

    Getting caught up with 18 y.o. changing their minds (for whatever reason) is pointless. I’m just happy Cal continues to recruit well and damn, can’t wait until the SAHPC and Memorial are complete. Recruiting will get even better.

  • Calduke

    Joel Willis decommitted from Washington.
    Moala – not so sure.

  • Calduke

    Scout lists Moala as a ‘soft verbal’ commit to Cal. ??