Football: Sunday practice update

For the first time in over a month, the Bears came to a day-after-game practice feeling good about themselves this evening. Their three-game losing streak is a thing of the past and things are looking up with reeling UCLA up next on the schedule.

UCLA is in shambles after Thursday night’s embarrassing 48-12 loss at Arizona, a game that was on national television. Not only did the Bruins get completely outplayed by a team that had yet to register a Pac-12 victory and had just fired its head coach, they were involved in an extensive bench-clearing brawl just before halftime that had the look of two teams out of control.

The implications of that brawl will reach Saturday’s game at the Rose Bowl. The Pac-12 suspended six players for their roles in the altercation, including two starters. That means UCLA will be a depleted team when it hosts the Bears.

Launching a pre-emptive strike, Cal coach Jeff Tedford addressed the issue with is players Sunday night.

“I told the team that has nothing to do with us,” Tedford said. “We’re not going to get caught up in that. I know there’s going to be a lot made of it throughout the week, but I want us to stay away from that.”

The suspensions hit the Bruins especially hard at wide receiver. Starter Shaq Evans and backups Tyler Embree and Randall Carroll are out. Starting defensive tackle Cassius Marsh also is out.

While conventional wisdom might suggest the suspensions gives Cal an advantage, Tedford warned that the Bruins could use it as a rallying cry to play better.

“I know how teams typically respond to something like that,” Tedford said. “You use it as a rallying cry with the guys you do have. Anytime you see something like this happen, teams come out stronger than anything because of solidarity and the rallying cry it can bring out.”

Tedford acknowledged he’s not looking forward to asking questions about the issue all week, but did say he can use it as a teachable moment for his team.

“The incident teaches you how severe a penalty can be if you lose your composure,” he said. “‘The conference is looking at everything. It’s important, not only to not get a 15-yard penalty, but it could cost your team more than just 15 yards.”

Tedford said he was pretty happy after watching the tape of Saturday’s win, but is still concerned about penalties. When asked if it was Zach Maynard’s best game of the season, he said: “I think he’s played some pretty good ones. I thought he was really efficient, the decisions he made. It was probably the most efficient game he’s played from beginning to end.”

Tedford said he expects cornerback Marc Anthony to resume practicing this week, meaning he could be available for Saturday’s game. Anthony has missed the past two games with a dislocated shoulder.

In his place, true freshman Stefan McClure has played well. If Anthony can go against the Bruins, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will have a tough decision to make whether to leave McClure in the starting lineup or go back to Anthony.

“We’ll have to talk about it,” Tedford said.

The performance USC wide receiver Robert Woods had yesterday against Notre Dame — 12 catches, 119 yards, 2 TDs — magnifies the job McClure did against him last week (5 catches, 36 yards). Tedford said McClure has the potential to be a lockdown corner.

“He has great cover skills,” Tedford said. “I think the more experience he gets and learns the tricks of the trade, I think he’ll really continue to improve. But I think he has the ability to be that type of guy.”

Tedford said McClure was “right in the hip pocket” of Utah’s receivers yesterday.

Meanwhile, I had to ask Keenan Allen where his left-handed catch yesterday ranked on his all-time list of catches.

“It’s definitely up there in the top five,” he said. “It was definitely a reach, but if I got my hand on it I was going to catch it.”

But Allen said he was more proud of his 12-yard touchdown catch, in which he dragged Utah defensive back Eric Rowe for the final five yards into the end zone.

“If I’m going to get close (to the end zone), I’m going to try to get in.”


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.

  • House

    Love Allen’s’attitude, dudes a winner.

  • rob bear

    I do not care if UCLA is depleted or not. Back in the 80’s & 90’s, we took our lumps from these wanna-be Bears and I personally could care less about their situation at wide out, QB, coach or entire program. As with all games against the fakees, BEAT UCLA WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE. GO BEARS! Get ONE MORE VICTORY CLOSER TO BOWL ELIGIBILITY! Nice work against the UTES. Kendricks is a freaking stud….

  • Matt

    So is Stef McClure

  • rollonubears

    Too many losses at the rose bowl in recent years, too. Time for things to change. The next 3 games are must wins, for a bowl bid. If we can take those, the last 2 will be a lot more fun to watch.

  • rotfogel

    Steph McClure played better but still got burned on one occasion. It is a tough decision, but I’d go with anthony whom in the Oregon game was playing well before he got injured and then Oregon ABUSED McClure. Having said that McClure did play decently against a bad passing team in utah.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    “I know how teams typically respond to something like that,” Tedford said. “You use it as a rallying cry with the guys you do have. Anytime you see something like this happen, teams come out stronger than anything because of solidarity and the rallying cry it can bring out.”

    It is my understanding that Teddy can’t get his troops motivated for big games. What does he really know?

  • rollonubears

    why can’t thy platoon? fresh bodies every few plays. best of both worlds.

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    It is my understanding that everybody wishes the Moren Troll would go away, but she won’t.

  • c98

    McClure held Robert Woods to 36 yards.

  • Do I scense a trap game??

  • “Sense”

  • Dan

    Not only is getting another win important, pummeling UCLA when we have a chanc eis key- BUT – we also recruit a LOT of the same players. A convinving win with class will look good to those recruits- and their parents. Another HUGE game for the Golden Bears this Saturday.

  • Gdog

    Any win is nice win, looks like Shaq Thompson who was almost a lock last year has been lost. Need to win against FUCLA to gain any momentum.

    From Rivals:

    Cal is right behind the Ducks and the Huskies for Thompson, who said his only concern is that the Golden Bears are having a tough time at quarterback. That might be an issue as Thompson, whose brother Syd’Quan played in Berkeley, examines all the schools remaining on his list.

    “Cal is No. 2 because Oregon and Washington are tied for first,” Thompson said. “I love Cal but it’s really just the way they’re playing. They’re doing good on defense but it’s like the quarterback spot is where they’re struggling. Cal needs a good quarterback because they have every other spot there.”

  • Steve W

    I sat in a really crappy seat at the game on Saturday, but it did give me the chance to isolate on Maynard for a lot of the game. He got lucky a bit in the game. He threw a sure pick into the hands of a Utah defender who simply dropped the ball. There were still far too many errantly thrown balls. And boy does he get happy feet while in the pocket.

    I would love to see him check down to his secondary receivers, but I am not sure he is capable. Cal should have a fairly even qb matchup with receiver depleted UCLA on Saturday, but the OSU game is looking scarier ever week. The Beavs look to have found their mojo again and are getting great qb play from a rs freshman.

  • newell67

    Shaq is a high schooler calling out a college quarterback. Taking team chemistry into account it may be best if Cal passes on him…do the Bears really need that attitude in their locker room?

  • Suttree

    Maynard successfully checked down a number of times in this game…

  • Bears

    In my opinion, the ucla game down in LA Saturday is the biggest game of the year.
    Cal needs to keep getting better and have a chance to do that by posting a solid road win.
    Maynard did some good things Sat. Liked a few check downs he made and seeing him find Miller 1-1 was great. He needs to keep working hard to get better, but positive progress is encouraging!
    Go Bears

  • calgrizzlybear

    yeah im feeling what newell said if thats true what shaq says

  • Tom S

    Get Shaq. We need some players with attitude. We are too nice.

  • rollonubears

    If he’s smart, he’ll go to Cal. Read that any way you like.

  • Juancho

    We need Shaq. We need players that wouldn’t be afraid to call out a teammate. Shaq is light years ahead of where Maynard was as a HS recruit. I don’t have a problem with him saying that.

    Plus it’s not like he said he’s the worst qb in the world. He said what a lot of us feel. The team is pretty good most places, but QB is where we have been struggling.

  • Shaq was at the U$C game.

    maynard was awful. Shaq is just stating the obvious. Our QB play was horrible.

    Shaq T we need you in berkley.

    Zach Kline is the QB in you’re HS class. Hopefully he will be a BIG upgrade over ZM.

  • Stay Golden

    Anthony over McClure, are you serious rotfogel? You could make an argument that ever since Anthony went down, the defense has stepped up it’s game. McClure has been beat… but he’s usually in place to make a play on the ball or on the receiver. Anthony was getting flat out beat (Paul Richardson).

  • Easy Ed

    GOOD LUCK AT OREGON SHAQ! You’ll get all the free Nike gear you could ever want and who knows maybe some school official will get you a car and you too can shoot for 118 mph on I-5. BTW, Cliff just got suspended again. With any luck, you can get to Oregon in time for the NCAA sanctions.