Football: Ex-Cal star Brian Treggs on son Bryce’s reaction so far to Berkeley — `He loves it’

I visited at length over the weekend with former Cal star Brian Treggs, whose freshman son Bryce is competing for a starting wideout position with the Bears.

We talked about many things regarding his son. My profile on father and son will run sometime later this week.

But Brian said his son has embraced everything about Berkeley so far.

“He loves it — he loved it from Day 1,” Brian said. “He called me after the first day of summer bridge. He said, `Dad, I made the right decision.’

“If you can find a match of a school that loves you and you love, that’s perfect. A lot of kids don’t get that.”


Football: Bears take two days off before resuming

The Bears are off Sunday and Monday after working out again Saturday in Memorial Stadium for a brief time.

The players will lift weights, have meetings and get rest for two days before returning to practice Tuesday. By the middle of next week, the coaching staff will begin to implement its game plan for the Sept. 1 opener vs. Nevada.

Coach Jeff Tedford said the newly installed turf in the stadium remains fast and a bit soft, but provides great footing. He expects the field will become a little harder as it settles over the next days and weeks.

The Bears were still shorthanded on the defensive line Saturday, but Tedford expects everyone back in action by Tuesday.

“We’re getting some good work in small pods because we don’t have a lot of bodies yet,” he said.

Eventually, Tedford believes the Bears will be solid at the three D-line spots. “I feel good about our top seven — we’re two-deep plus one,” he said.

The candiates for those spots include Kendrick Payne, Aaron Tipoti, Viliami Moala, Deandre Coleman, Mustafa Jalil, Todd Barr and Gabe King.

Tight end Richard Rodgers (shoulder) has continued to avoid contact drills, but should be up by Tuesday. Spencer Hagen is practicing with a cast on his hand. In the meantime, freshman Maximo Espitia and JC transfer Harrison Wilfley are getting more reps.

At wideout, Tedford reported good progress from freshman Darius Powe. He has dropped about 10 pounds to 208 and appears to be in the rotation, along with star junior Keenan Allen and fellow freshmen Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.

“He’s a big, physical guy with great hands — a lot like Keenan as far as stature is concerned,” Tedford said. “He has a little wiggle to him, can run routes. Seeing him move better is really beneficial to him.”


Football: CB Allensworth commits to Bears

Cornerback Darius Allensworth, a three-star prospect from Heritage HS in Menifee (Riverside County), has committed to the Bears, according to both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

“I love everything about the school and the biggest thing was, if you took football away, I would still want to go to Cal,” Allensworth told Scout.com. Having previously committed to Arizona, he said this is his “final decision.”

At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Allensworth is rated as the nation’s No. 43 cornerback prospect by Rivals.

Besides Arizona, he also had offers from Wisconsin, UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Washington State.

Allensworth is the 10th prospect to commit to Cal. Commitments are not binding until national letter-of-intent signing day, Feb. 6, 2013.



Football: Manpower shortage on D-line could cause Bears to shuffle practice schedule

The Bears plan to venture back into Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon for their second workout of the day.

But a scheduled scrimmage on Monday may be postponed because there still aren’t enough fully healthy defensive linemen.

“If we can’t get quality out of it, there’s really no use doing it,” coach Jeff Tedford said after practice Friday morning. “If we’re too banged up . . . we just have to see how people (are) healing up.”

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Football: Freshman Fletcher doesn’t make grade

Incoming freshman defensive back Willie Fletcher of Carson won’t be with the team or in school this year after failing to get through his summer bridge classes, coach Jeff Tedford confirmed Friday.

Fletcher must attend school elsewhere, presumably at a junior college, to become eligible, then could re-apply to Cal. He also could choose to attend school elsewhere.

A 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, Fletcher played at Orange Lutheran HS and Junipero Serra HS in southern California.

Will have more later.


Football: Bears legend Russell White named commissioner of the Oakland Athletic League

Ex-Cal star running back Russell White just took on a very tough job: He is the new commissioner of the Oakland Athletic League.

The OAL is one of the nation’s most storied public high school leagues, with alums that include Bill Russell, Frank Robinson, Curt Flood, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Gary Payton.

But the six-team league struggles with finances and dwindling enrollments. Private schools take many of Oakland’s elite student-athletes these days, coaches come and go and facilities are sub-par.

In White, who coached football the past two seasons at Castlemont High in the OAL, the league got a man who has faced challenges and overcome obstacles.

One of the nation’s elite high school running back prospects, White was a non-academic qualifier out of Crespi-Encino. Cal, to its credit, took a chance on him. White sat out his freshman season to focus on academics, then stunned everyone by graduating in four years.

He did so perhaps to his own detriment, as his NFL draft stock slipped by his senior season. But White was determined to show he belonged at one of the nation’s top public universities, so he made graduating his No. 1 priority.

“Hopefully people will know that Russell White wasn’t the smartest guy in high school, but he figured it out,” White told our Jimmy Durkin.

And White more than lived up to his reputation on the field, too. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons, and returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against Miami the first time he touched the football in Memorial Stadium.

He still holds Cal’s career records with 3,367 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns.


Football: Larry Scott calls coaches poll `fallacy’

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott defended USC coach Lane Kiffin’s decision to drop his vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

“I think it’s an unfair position to put the coaches in, to supposedly vote objectively when they’ve got a very natural conflict of interest, No. 1, and, No. 2, I think most coaches are focused on their own games — let alone breaking down tape afterwards and all that,” Scott said.

“So to expect that coaches could have a good, balanced, well-researched perspective on who the best teams are in any given week is a fallacy.”

Elsewhere . . .

— New UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr., unhappy with his team, kicked his players out of practice Wednesday.

— USC freshman defensive end DeVante Wilson has torn the ACL of his left knee, will undergo surgery and is out for the season.



Pac-12 TV networks have long-awaited launch

The new Pac-12 Networks launched at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening with high-brow music, familiar images, cool graphics and proud references to the recently completed London Olympics.

Host Mike Yam called it “an historic day,” while co-host Ashley Adamson fretted, “Let’s not screw this up too bad.”

They didn’t.

The Pac-12’s debut show wasn’t bad, but was hardly legendary.

In fairness, finding just the right tone for this kind of moment isn’t easy.

Neil Armstrong, beginning his 1969 moon walk, nailed it with his famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Talk about your historic days.

Keith Olbermann drew some big laughs in 1993 when he launched ESPN2 with the opening line,  “Good evening and welcome to the end of our careers.” It took Olbermann nearly two decades more — long after he left ESPN — to torpedo his career.

Then there was inventor Alexander Graham Bell, back in 1876, who might have given his first words on the telephone a little more thought before telling assistant Thomas A. Watson:   “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.”

What we probably all want to see — some games. Soon enough.