Coach Chip Kelly announced that redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has won the starting quarterback job for No. 5 Oregon, beating out Bryan Bennett, who was the backup last season to Darron Thomas.
Former Duck and 49ers rookie LaMichael James greeted the announcement with enthusiastic optimism. “He will possibly be the best qb to ever play at Oregon!” James posted to Twitter. “He’s the real deal.”
Elsewhere . . .
— USC starting cornerback Isiah Wiley has been ruled academically ineligible and has lost his scholarship.
Linebacker Storm Klein was reinstated to the Ohio State football team after a charge of domestic violence was dropped, and the former starter could return to action on Sept. 15 when Cal visits Columbus.
Klein is scheduled to face at least a two-game suspension by new coach Urban Meyer, meaning his first game back could be against the Bears. Here are the details.
Thursday was a big day on the Cal campus. Students began classes and the football team began preparation specific to its Sept. 1 opener vs. Nevada.
“It’s officially game week,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “The looks we saw in practice today were about Nevada.”
Which had to get the Bears’ attention two years after the Wolfpack buried them 52-31 in Reno. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, now a second-year player with the 49ers, totaled 329 yards of rushing and passing and accounted for five touchdowns.
Nevada used the victory as a springboard for its 13-1 campaign.
The Wolfpack has moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West and has different personnel than in 2010. But coach Chris Ault’s pistol offense, with its three wide receivers and deceptive option running game remains.
“It’s like the triple-option,” Tedford said. “You have to cover every phase of it — you’ve got to take care of quarterback, dive back, pitch guy. They move very quickly and they play-action pass very well off it.
“The scheme itself is very difficult to stop. We have our hands full. We have to be very disciplined.”
Nine of Jeff Tedford’s first 10 Cal teams have featured a 1,000-yard running back. Most of his squads have enjoyed a productive 1-2 punch at the position.
Tedford believes this team could boast more and better talent at running back than any of those.
With seniors Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson expected to share the starting job — and be on the field together at times — and sophomore Brendan Bigelow and redshirt freshman Daniel Lasco ready and able behind them, Tedford is salivating at the depth of riches he has in the backfield.
“As far as four backs are concerned, as a group at one time, this is probably the deepest we’ve been and the most talented we’ve been,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape in the tailback position.”
Maybe you care, maybe you don’t . . . but you’ve got to admit that Oregon introducing its latest game-day fashion statement is always an intriguing/nauseating/amusing/predictable/excessive/ridiculous/creative ritual in the Nike-driven world of the Ducks.
Take a peek if you wish.
Coach Jeff Tedford met with reporters this afternoon and released the team’s first fall depth chart, showing freshman wideout Bryce Treggs has won a starting job opposite Keenan Allen.
Tedford said Chris Harper is on the second team, adding that Darius Powe is the third freshman who will see significant playing time. Kenny Lawler will redshirt and Cedric Dozier has asked to move to defense and will begin working out at corner.
Here’s my story with other lineup updates. Here is the Bears’ two-deep.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, upset that Jason Kidd changed his mind on a contract offer at the last minute to sign with the New York Knicks last month, said he cannot imagine someday retiring the jersey of the former Cal star who helped the franchise win an NBA title in 2011.
Kidd was close to signing a three-year, $9 million deal with the Mavs before backing out the next morning to accept virtually the same deal with the Knicks.
“I was more than upset. I thought he was coming. I was pissed,” Cuban said. “J-Kidd is a big boy; he can do whatever he wants. But you don’t change your mind like that. That was … yeah. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of now, I wouldn’t put J-Kidd’s number in the rafters.
“It hurt my feelings, period, because I felt that we had developed a relationship, and I thought that he was committed to the organization. It sure seemed that he was. I mean, J-Kidd was active in going out there and talking to Deron Williams the whole time. I guess it was more shocking and surprising than anything else.”
Seven months after appearing to be a step slow regarding social media on letter-of-intent signing day, the Cal football program has joined the game.
Here’s my story on what the Bears have done to keep up with the latest means of delivering their message and tracking of recruits.
Sept. 1 is huge for Cal football, but a big day also for basketball.
While the Golden Bears make their football return to renovated Memorial Stadium that day, three elite local basketball recruits — Jabari Bird, Marcus Lee and Aaron Gordon — will make campus visits.
Bird, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Richmond-Salesian High plans his official campus visit that weekend — the first of four trips he will take to Pac-12 schools during the month of September.
Bird will be accompanied by two high-profile Bay Area buddies making unofficial (self-funded) visits — 6-9 center Lee of Antioch-Deer Valley High and 6-8 forward Gordon of San Jose-Archbishop Mitty High.
In a nutshell, coach Mike Montgomery and his staff will be hosting three of the nation’s top 33 prospects .
Bird and Lee have the Bears on their list of finalists, but Gordon’s decision to join them is a bit of a surprise. Cal remains very much a longshot to get him, but the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect is close enough to Bird to want to hear what the Bears have to say.
We covered this topic last month at Pac-12 media day, but figured you probably can’t get enough on this soap opera topic.
Coach Jeff Tedford told the Seattle Times has has “no hard feelings” toward Steve Sarkisian or Washington in the aftermath of Sark poaching a couple of his assistant coaches last January.