Football: Spring practice preview — defensive line




THE BREAKDOWN: Of all positions on the field, this is the unit where the least could be decided in the spring. That’s because the Bears are bringing in one of the nation’s top defensive line classes in the fall, and whatever movement there is this spring could certainly be adjusted when training camp begins.

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Football: Cal getting displaced for spring

Cal announced today that Witter Rugby Field needs to be repaired and spring practice is being moved to Golden Bear Field on the Clark Kerr Campus and Laney College.

You can read the explanation here. Basically, the drainage system underneath the field isn’t functioning properly and the turf is suffering because of it. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise after seeing the condition the turf was in at Pro Day a couple weeks ago. There were a lot of craters and bubbles, and a couple players didn’t even run because of it.

As you can also see in the press release, the offsite practices that are open to the public have been finalized (well, they’re all pretty much offsite now). The times for those sessions are forthcoming and will pass them along as soon as I get them.


Football: Spring practice preview — offensive line

RETURNING STARTERS: Mitchell Schwartz, Brian Schwenke



THE BREAKDOWN: The Bears have recruited very well along the offensive line in recent years, and although the unit has played well at times, frankly it should be better. Cal’s biggest recruit this year was Jim Michalczik, the Bears’ former OL coach who is back in Berkeley for a second Tour of Duty. Michalczik will be charged with making sure the Bears get the best offensive linemen on the field, and in the right roles.

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Basketball: No shortage of news in the Pac-10

Let’s review the past 48 hours and take a peek ahead:

— Washington State’s DeAngelo Casto is cited for possession of marijuana — the third Cougars player this season to become an honorary member of the Doobie Brothers.

— Casto’s attorney files a not guilty plea and suggests the case will be thrown out because the search wasn’t constitutional.

— WSU athletic director Bill Moos, citing unusual circumstances, rescinds Casto’s indefinite suspension. Just in time to play in the NIT quarterfinal Wednesday night against Northwestern. Spokane Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette has some legitimate questions about WSU’s handling of the matter.

— Meanwhile, in Eugene, Ore., the Oregon rides 24 points and 11 rebounds from senior Joevan Catron to a 79-71 victory over Boise State in the semifinals of the College Basketball Insider tournament. The Ducks (19-17) earn a spot in the CBI best-of-3 final vs. first-year coach Dana Altman’s old school, Creighton. The teams will play Game 1 on Monday in Omaha, Neb, with Games 2 and, if necessary, 3 on Wednesday and Friday in Eugene. The full story from the Eugene Register Guard.

— Back at Pullman, Wash., the Cougars are poised to polish off the Wildcats. All they need is one free throw from Abe Lodwick, who was fouled with 0.2 seconds left. He misses both. But the Cougs win 69-66 in overtime, thanks to 17 points from Klay Thompson and 11 points and eight rebounds from Casto. WSU (22-12) will play Wichita State on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in the NIT semifinals. Here’s the Spokesman-Review story.

— The NCAA Swet 16 gets under way today with four terrific games, including Pac-10 champion Arizona (29-7) facing defending national champ Duke (32-4) at Anaheim. And if you think the Blue Devils are concerned about playing on Pac-10 turf, think again. Tipoff on CBS is 6:45 p.m.


Basketball: Casto’s attorney files not guilty plea, says case won’t `get to first base’

The attorney for Washington State junior forward DeAngelo Casto, who was cited for possession of marijuana and suspended indefinitely from the team, filed a not guilty plea on behalf of his client along with a motion to supress any evidence collected during a police search of Casto’s apartment.

“This case is never going to get to first base,” Pullman attorney Timothy Esser said in an interview Wednesday with the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “This case will be dismissed. There was absolutely no compliance with constitutional privacy interest requirements.”

Here’s the most recent story on the topic.

— If you’re more in the mood for something NCAA tournament related, here’s a story from the Arizona Daily Star on how coach Sean Miller is trying to keep his team from being “fat and happy” before its Sweet 16 matchup with defending national champion Duke.


Basketball: Montgomery looks back and ahead to year next in season-ending Q and A session

I had the chance to talk with Mike Montgomery this morning about the Bears’ recently completed season and what lies ahead. As usual, he had plenty say. So I’ve decided to present it to you unfiltered in a Q/A format.

Here goes:

Given the obstacles your team faced, how do you assess the season? “We knew we were going to run into a speed bump with all the juniors we had when we got here. We actually had it managed. Then we had Max (Zhang) not come back and Omondi (Amoke) get in trouble. (Freshman guard Alex) Rossi gets hurt, (freshman guard Gary) Franklin leaves. Those were things we didn’t expect.

“What we did get was a tremendous performance out of the kids we had. (Allen)  Crabbe had a better year probably than people would have anticipated. Part of that’s because he’s a good player, part of it’s because he was given an opportunity. Harper (Kamp) and Jorge (Gutierrez) and Markhuri (Sanders-Frison) are really tough customers. And truthfully, Brandon (Smith) saved our bacon. He just came in and became a real solid (point) guard for us, didn’t try to do too much.

“These kids probably got as much out of themselves as you possibly could hope for. We were probably an Arizona win, maybe one other win from looking at the NCAA tournament.”

— You do seem to like these guys. What is it about them that works for you? “I like kids that play hard. There’s just a tenacity about them. When Kansas came in here, they were ranked No. 2 and they were going to try to bully us and these kids weren’t having that. They stuck their chests out and said, `You might beat us, but  you’re not going to do that.’ There’s a certain toughness you have mentally and that’s what they had. (Losing games) wasn’t because of a lack of grit and trying. Nobody was selfish.”

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Basketball: WSU’s Casto suspended — more trouble in Paradise, or at least in Pullman

On the eve of his team’s NIT quarterfinal game against Northwestern on Wednedsay night, Washington State coach Ken Bone was forced to suspend his third different player this season.

And apparently for the same old reason.

The Spokane Spokesman Review is reporting that junior forward DeAngelo Casto could be cited as early as Wednesday morning for possession of marijuana after a Tuesday search of his campus apartment by police.

Previously, both Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson and starting point guard Reggie Moore served one-game suspensions after being cited for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Here’s the full story.


Football: Spring practice preview — running back


WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR: Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson

POSSIBLE SURPRISE: None (not enough healthy bodies)

THE BREAKDOWN: The luxury of having running backs like Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen in the program at the same time is being felt now. Jeff Tedford slept well at night (when he decided to sleep) the last few years knowing he had tailbacks who could carry the offense. As 2011 spring practice begins, there is a lot of uncertainty with the running game, just like with the quarterback position.

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