Football: The coach search intensifies

I’m back folks and, as expected, plenty happened while I was gone. My absence could not be helped — a significant family event that was planned months ago.

Now I turn my attention to tracking down who is being courted by the Bears to replace Jeff Tedford. I expect Sandy Barbour to aim high — there is a lot at stake.

Meanwhile, it appears Tedford may already have suitors lining up. Colorado fired Jon Embree on Sunday night after he posted a 4-21 in two seasons, and Tedford’s name was mentioned in the Denver Post as a possible replacement.

From the Post: “A search for a successor will start immediately. (Athletic director Mike) Bohn has mentioned an admiration for Jeff Tedford, considered at one time a quarterbacks guru who was fired at California after an 11-year stint.”


Football: Tedford’s status remains in limbo

On the day after the end of Cal’s worst football season in 11 years, there was no decision on coach Jeff Tedford’s future.

Tedford was scheduled to meet Sunday with athletic director Sandy Barbour after she watched the Bears lose 62-14 at Oregon State on Saturday night.

Barbour’s office at Haas Pavilion was locked and dark on Sunday afternoon, and she did not respond to a text message asking for an update. Likewise, Tedford wasn’t available for interviews.

An athletic department spokesman said in the early evening that there was no decision made or announcement planned.

A previously scheduled season-ending team meeting was moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday, with no details available.

Click here for the rest of the story.


NOTE: Wanted to let you all know I will not be around during Thanksgiving week while attending my son Ryan’s graduation from Marine Corps boot camp. Jon Wilner on our staff will follow the Jeff Tedford story during my absence.


Football: Oregon State game thread

FINAL: Oregon State 62, Cal 14. Here’s what you’re waiting to hear: Athletic director Sandy Barbour had no announcement immediately after the game regarding the future of coach Jeff Tedford.

“Now that the season is over, Jeff and I will get to work tomorrow on what the solutions are for us to get better. We will start the conversation . . . to what the answers are, what the solutions are to put us on the right path to being a better football program.”

Pressed on when she might have a decision, Barbour merely repeated those words several more times. If she has made up her mind, she wasn’t saying so Saturday night.

Tedford, asked about the game in his postgame session, said, “Not very good. It’s not something we’re not used to. It’s obvious we have work to do. I will say this about these kids — these are good kids. Through tough times they’ve kept it together and I appreciate that.

“It’s absolutely not something we’re used to and don’t ever want to get used to.”

Asked if he expects to be back next year, Tedford said, “I don’t know. My job is to develop players. We have work to do. We’ll go back to work tomorrow and get ready to get going.” 

Asked he if thought his players finally cashed it in Saturday when the score got out of hand, he added, “You didn’t see that in their eyes. We’ve got  a lot of guys banged up. Oregon State was hitting on all cylinders. We had way too many penalties (15-172 yards) and turnovers (4). I really don’t believe it’s a lack of effort. I don’t think they ever quit. They just were outmatched tonight.” 

THE NUMBERS: Cal finished 3-9 overall, 2-7 in the Pac-12. It was just the seventh time in the Bears’ 130-year football history they lost as many as nine games in a season.

It also marked the first time in 28 years they lost the final five games of the season. The combined margin in those five: 212 points to 74.

Cal had not surrendered 50 points in back-to-back games since 1973.

A pair of East Bay products delivered for OSU against the Bears. Quarterback Sean Mannion, formerly of Foothill HS in Pleasanton, finished 24 for 34 for 325 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Terron Ward, an Antioch native who prepped at De La Salle HS, ran for 128 yards and two TDs.

Cal junior quarterback Allan Bridgford, starting in place of injured senior Zach Maynard for the second straight game, was 18 for 31 for 132 yards with an interception. He scored his first career touchdown on a 1-yard sneak.

“He needs some more experience,” Tedford said. “He kept plugging away in there, always was attentive to what was going on. He made some good throws and did what he could.”

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Basketball: Crabbe’s 2nd half lifts Cal

Allen Crabbe recovered from a quiet first half with a strong finish for the second straight game and Cal stayed unbeaten with a 71-62 win over Denver on Friday night.

Crabbe finished with 20 points after scoring just three on 1-for-4 shooting in the first half.

On Tuesday, Crabbe scored 24 of his career-high 33 points in the second half against Pepperdine.

Against the Pioneers, he also became the 42nd player in Cal history to reach 1,000 for his career. The junior guard now has 1,010 points, and is averaging 26.7 points for the season.

Cal (3-0) also got 17 points from point guard Justin Cobbs. Crabbe and Cobbs combined for 105 points in the Bears’ first two games while no other player had even 10 in either game.

On Friday, three other players scored in double digits, led by forward David Kravish with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Off the bench, Ricky Kreklow and Robert Thurman scored 10 points apiece.


Football: A long, dreary season ends at Oregon St.

For the Cal football team, all the season-long subplots will fade into what’s expected to be a wet and dreary Saturday night at Oregon State’s Reser Stadium.

The Bears’ season-ending matchup vs. the Beavers isn’t a referendum on coach Jeff Tedford’s future — the good and bad of his 11-year tenure will be sorted out Sunday when he meets with athletic director Sandy Barbour to discuss what’s next.

Still, Tedford is the focal point in a game that offers few tangible rewards for the Bears. He has guided the Bears (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12) to heights they hadn’t enjoyed in a half-century and became Cal’s winningest all-time coach. Now he presides over a program that has won just 15 times in its past 38 games.

“It’s frustrating. My expectations were way higher,” senior running back Isi Sofele said. “We have one more game. We’re going to come out and give it all we’ve got. This is our bowl game.”

Of course, it’s really not. The Bears are missing bowl season for the second time in three seasons after seven straight post-season appearances.

Click here to rest the rest of my Cal-Oregon State game preview.


RECORDS: Cal 3-8, 2-6 in Pac-12; Oregon State 7-2, 5-2

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.

TV: Pac-12 Networks


SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 34-30. Cal won 23-6 in 2011, but Oregon State has won four of the past five meetings.

STORYLINES: Will this be Cal coach Jeff Tedford’s final game? He is experiencing his worst season in 11 years at Berkeley and the Bears hope to avoid becoming the first Cal team since 1984 to lose their final five games of the season. Either way, Tedford and athletic director Sandy Barbour are expected to meet Sunday to discuss the future of the program. … Pleasanton native Sean Mannion, who passed for an OSU freshman record 3,328 yards last season, is healthy again and will start against the Bears.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal — WR Bryce Treggs (ankle) is questionable. OT Matt Summers-Gavin (knee), QB Zach Maynard (knee/flu) and WR Keenan Allen (knee) are out. Oregon State — LB D.J. Alexander (ribs) is probable; QB Cody Vaz (ankle) and OG Grant Enger (ankle) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s running game vs. OSU’s run defense. The Bears, who average 182 rushing yards per game, ran the ball effectively against Oregon last week and hope to once more in order to help protect inexperienced junior QB Allan Bridgford. But the Beavers are stout up front and rank second in the Pac-12 in rushing defense, allowing just 99.7 yards per game. In a nutshell: If the Bears cannot run, they’re in trouble.

STATS THAT MATTER: Oregon State’s defense has allowed just one opponent to score more than 26 points. The Bears have surrendered 26 or more in seven games. … The Bears have been outscored 150-60 during their four-game losing streak. … Cal’s RB trio of C.J. Anderson (729 yards), Isi Sofele (653) and Brendan Bigelow (412) is just 206 yards shy of reaching 2,000. … OSU wideouts Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton have combined for 118 receptions.


Basketball: Denver game preview

TIPOFF: 5:05 p.m. Friday at Magness Arena, Denver. TV/Radio: Root/910 AM.

This would not be Mike Montgomery’s preference, but against Pepperdine on Tuesday he went stretches in the second half with four out, one in. In other words, he was not happy with his big men.

“Our bigs are not producing at a level that’s satisfactory,” he said after tinkering with four perimeter players on the floor together at times. “That’s  something we’re going have to look at.

“Whether it’s nervousness or whatever, we’ve got to get our bigs finishing around the basket better.”

The Bears (2-0), who face Denver (1-1) on Friday night, got a combined six points from Richard Solomon and David Kravish against the Waves. Solomon shot 3 for 6 and scored six points, but also had three turnovers. Kravish was 0 for 7 from the floor and scoreless. He’s made one of nine shots in two games.

Don’t expect a knee-jerk reaction from Montgomery. Figure the lineup to be the same against the Pioneers.

Asked about Kravish’s early struggles, Montgomery said, “It’s an extremely small sample size. I don’t think he knows exactly where he’s going to get the ball. And he has a tendency to want to rush things. I’m not worried.”

Montgomery believes Solomon still may be rusty after sitting out the second half of last season when he was declared academically ineligible.

“He’s sort of starting from scratch. I expect him to get better,” Montgomery said. “He needs to identify where he’s going to get ball and what to do with it.”

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Football: Pac-12 picks — Week 12

A couple of blockbusters and a few games only a mother could love on the final full week of the Pac-12 schedule.

In Corvallis, Ore., Cal hopes to avoid ending a season with five straight defeats for the first time in 28 years.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who may know by Sunday whether he’ll be back in 2013, faces old friend Mike Riley, who once upon a time coached Tedford in the Canadian Football League.

Not sure this Cal team has a happy ending in it.

SEASON: 57-21


— Washington at Colorado, 10:30 a.m. (FX): The Huskies (6-4, 4-3) have won just one road game all season — at Cal — but the Buffloes (1-9, 1-6) don’t figure to offer must resistance. CU has given up 48 points or more in six games this season, including the past five. They are making a bid to become the worst defensive team in conference history. Washington 45, Colorado 20.

— No. 21 USC at No. 17 UCLA, noon (FX): It’s tempting to look at the preseason No. 1 Trojans (7-3, 5-3) and decide they have under-achieved. The Bruins (8-2, 5-2) are just the opposite, heading very much in the right direction under first-year coach Jim Mora Jr. But I continue to favor the Trojans for one reason: Marqise Lee. Through 10 games, the sophomore wideout has 2,234 yards and 14 touchdowns on 98 receptions and 23 kickoff returns. A force of nature. USC 31, UCLA 27.

— Washington State at Arizona State, noon (Pac-12 Networks): The Cougars (2-8, 0-7) haven’t won since Sept. 14, the Sun Devils (5-5, 3-4) are winless since Oct. 11, and that hardly counts because the opponent was Colorado. Still, WSU coach Mike Leach has managed to make this season even more difficult than it needed to be. Arizona State 35, Washington State 17.

— No. 14 Stanford at No. 1 Oregon, 5 p.m. (ABC): The Cardinal (8-2, 6-1) is superb defensively, but I keep coming back to one thing: Oregon (10-0, 7-0) beat Stanford 53-30 and 52-21 the past two seasons, and that Stanford team had Andrew Luck. This team does not. Oregon 42, Stanford 30.

— Arizona at Utah, 7 p.m. (ESPNU): This is the biggest game of the season for the Utes (4-6, 2-5). They’ve got Colorado in their season finale, so a win over the Wildcats (6-4, 3-4) puts them on the path to bowl eligibility. The problem is their two recent wins may have been misleading, given the opponents were Cal and WSU. Will be fun to see if the Utah defensive line can stop record-setting Ka’Deem Carey. Utah 27, Arizona 24.

— Cal at Oregon State, 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): I have no doubt the Bears (3-8, 2-6) will play hard. Problem is: the Beavers (7-2, 5-2) are not a good matchup for Cal. OSU is tough against the run, which is what the Bears do best on offense. In a hostile environment with OSU eager to bounce back from a tough loss at Stanford, just don’t envision the upset. Oregon State 28, Cal 13.


Football: Rodgers says Cal should keep Tedford


Embattled Cal football coach Jeff Tedford has one of the NFL’s biggest stars in his corner.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his former coach deserves to keep his job.

“They would be losing the greatest coach in their history if they make a change,” Rodgers told me Thursday in a phone interview.

The Bears, 3-8, close their season Saturday at Oregon State. Tedford, the winningest coach in school history, is scheduled to meet with Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour on Sunday to discuss his future.

Rodgers, who starred for the Bears in 2003 and ’04, said he and Tedford contributed to the momentum that got Memorial Stadium renovated, and Tedford now deserves the chance to reap the benefits.

“He’s been through a lot, all the stuff they had to go through just to get that stadium finished up,” Rodgers said. “I was a part of bringing that fan base back and take a lot of pride in that.

“I think he deserves an opportunity to recruit to those new facilities.”

Rodgers led the Bears to a 10-2 record in 2004 and the brink of a long-awaited Rose Bowl bid. “I’m still upset about that,” he said.

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