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Archive for September, 2013

Football: Goff, Kline share 1st-team practice reps; Dykes says McCain decision not for single event

Two days after Oregon’s defense and a severe rainstorm sent Cal quarterback Jared Goff to the bench, the Bears had Goff and Zach Kline share practice time on Monday.

Coach Sonny Dykes said after the 55-16 loss to the Ducks that Goff likely would remain the starter.

“If I had to make a guess, that’d be my guess,” Dykes said Monday, when asked to speculate on who will start Saturday against Washington State. “We’ll see how they perform this week. We felt like Zach warranted some more reps.”

Meanwhile, Dykes explained he booted junior defensive end Chris McCain from the team Sunday following “a series of things that date back for a while.”

He said there was no single incident during or after the Oregon game that sparked the decision, but declined to provide further details.

“Anytime you do that it’s a very difficult decision because it has an impact on a young person’s life,” said Dykes, adding that McCain will be kept on scholarship this year and continue to attend classes.

Senior nose tackle Deandre Coleman said he was surprised by the move.

“The team was hurt. He’s a friend, he’s a brother,” Coleman said. “Coach is always going to do what he feels is best for the team. Most guys understood. I understand. I’m a team player.”

Goff, who lost two fumbles in the first quarter at Oregon, practiced some wearing a glove. “It may be something he decides to do, may be something he hates,” Dykes said.

Goff was the nation’s total offense leader as a true freshman through three games. Kline, a redshirt freshman, completed 18 of 37 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his college debut.

Monday’s practice ended nearly a half-hour early because of a campus-wide power outage that prevented use of lights at Menorial Stadium.

Starting right tackle Steven Moore (head), cornerback Kam Jackson (lower leg) and reserve running back Khalfani Muhammad (head) were on the sideline, but Dykes said he he expects all three to play Saturday.

Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo

Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013
Under: Football, Mid-week | 14 Comments »
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Basketball: 5 questions with Lindsay Gottlieb

The Cal women’s basketball team, coming off its first-ever Final Four appearance, begins practice Tuesday.

The Golden Bears were 32-4 last season, shared the Pac-12 title and return three starters to a team projected as No. 3 in the country, according to Lindy’s magazine.

I spoke last week with coach Lindsay Gottlieb about her team. Here’s our conversation:

What do you and your players expect from this encore season?

“I think our baseline for everything has been raised. Our expectations now permanently for Cal women’s basketball have been raised. Does that mean we’re going to go to the Final Four every single year? No, everything has to go right. But if there’s a legacy that team left, it’s there’s a way you play at Cal. You play for each other, play with a lot of heart, play very hard, enjoy it. Now that that’s established, the level of expectation every day in practice is higher.”

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Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013
Under: Pre-season, Women's basketball | 5 Comments »
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Football: Cal @ UCLA, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Cal’s game vs. UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 12 has been set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

The game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013
Under: Football, Scheduling | 6 Comments »
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Football: Bears try to regroup beginning with WSU

Having emerged from its season-opening gauntlet with a predictable record but few style points, the Cal football team now must show it can beat a Pac-12 Conference opponent.

That starts Saturday at home against a Washington State team coming off a thrashing at the hands of Stanford.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013
Under: Football | 7 Comments »
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Football: Just how bad is Bears’ defense so far? Worst in school history after four games

Yes, the Cal defense — having surrendered an average of 45.3 points through four games — ranks last in the Pac-12 and third-to-last nationally.

But it’s scarier than that: No Cal team has allowed 181 points in its first four games.

Not even Tom Holmoe’s 1-10 squad from 2001, which went on to become the worst defensive club in Cal history. Those Bears allowed only 170 points the first four games.

Believe it or not, only one team between 1886 and 1954 — spanning the first 68 years of Cal football – gave up 181 points during an entire season. And that was in 1915, the Bears’ first year back playing football after a decade of rugby, when they allowed 184 points in 13 games.

During the historic 44-0-4 run from 1920 through 1924, Andy Smith’s “Wonder Teams” gave up a total of 139 points. Spread over five seasons.

Sure, football has changed in every way from that era.  The seasons are longer, the forward pass came into vogue, etc. The game from a century ago would barely recognizable today.

Still, as relatively recently as 1968, Cal opponents totaled just 114 points in 11 games.

The question at this point: Can these Bears merely hold an opponent under 30 points?

Stay tuned.

Posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Under: Football | 25 Comments »
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Football: Chris McCain dismissed from team

Coach Sonny Dykes announced Sunday that junior defensive end Chris McCain has been dismissed from the team due to “conduct detrimental to the team.”

Dykes said he would have no comment on the matter until after Monday’s practice, but McCain’s issues did not involve academics or legal trouble.

It’s the latest setback for the Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) and comes the day after their 55-16 loss at No. 2 Oregon.

McCain, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound native of Greensboro, N.C., was an honorable mention all-Pac-12 linebacker last season.

He was moved to defensive end during spring ball, then briefly lost his scholarship after spring semester because of academic shortcomings. But Dykes gave McCain the chance to earn back his scholarship with a strong performance during summer school, and McCain got it done.

McCain entered this season as the team’s active leader in sacks and tackles for loss. His 16 career starts were the most by any Cal player.

McCain was ejected from the season-opening game against Northwestern after being flagged for “targeting.” The latter ruling later was overturned, but he sat out the Bears’ game against Portland State with a concussion and has had marginal impact on a defense that is allowing 45.3 points per game, worst in the Pac-12.

Cal already has played this season without defensive end Brennan Scarlett, regarded as perhaps the team’s most talented defensive player. Scarlett never has been cleared medically after breaking his hand twice last season, then undergoing surgery.

JC transfer Sione Sina is redshirting due to a knee injury that has not allowed him back on the practice field.

Kyle Kragen, another JC transfer, started in place of McCain at Oregon, although McCain played and recorded three tackles.

 

Posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Under: Football | 20 Comments »
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Football: Cal-Oregon game thread

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 55, Cal 16. Click here for my final game story.

END OF 3RD QTR: Oregon leads 55-10. Cal is saying that Khalfani Muhammad left the game with a head injury and Kameron Jackson suffered an injury to his lower leg. No other details, including their status for next week.

Cal also confirmed that Goff was not removed from the game because of an injury.

BTW: Oregon’s 55 points through three quarters is not the most the Ducks have scored against Cal. That was 59 — last year.

My apologies for not providing more details of this train wreck while battling deadline issues brought on by the late start.

END OF 1ST QTR: Oregon 27-0. Cal four lost fumbles, two of them by Jared Goff, who is replaced at QB by Zach Kline. Kline completes 1st three attempts for 58 yards, then is intercepted in end zone on an apparent miscommunication with WR Bryce McGovern. Cal outgained just 205-91 in the quarter, but four TOs were too much. Goff was 3 for 6 for 11 yards and 2 lost fumbles when he came out. Khalfani Muhammad and Kameron Jackson both injured and have not returned.

WELCOME: Arrived here at Autzen Stadium at 4:30 p.m., after driving 2 hours from Portland, and the rain and wind were minimal.

But it doesn’t look like that’s going to last. Very cloudy here and the bad weather is on its way.

The Bears and Ducks are on the field, beginning warmups. Will keep you posted as things evolve here.

 CAPTAINS: Senior DE Dan Camporeale was named a game captain for tonigiht to go with the Bears’ four season captains: Freddie Tagaloa, Jackson Bouza, Stefan McClure and Deandre Coleman.

CAL WINS the coin toss . . . defers to get the ball in the second half.

Posted on Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Under: Football, Gameday | 148 Comments »
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Football: Weather will be an issue at Eugene

How will rain and wind impact Cal’s game against No. 2 Oregon on Saturday night?

“I always tell the guys we love the rain. We hope it pours, hope we have sheets of rain, monsoons of rain,” Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said. “We think it helps our offense tremendously.”

Oregon is being hit with what Portland’s local CBS affiliate said could be a record fall storm, including 4 to 7 inches of rain in places and wind gusts of 40 mph or more.

Weather.com projected a 70-percent chance of rain and winds of 26 mph in Eugene for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

“Rain is whatever you believe it to be,” Franklin said. “It just depends on your attitude, so our attitude is we love it. Hope it rains a bunch.”

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said throwing teams can thrive in rain “just because we kind of know where we’re going and the defense doesn’t. We’ve never had any issues throwing and catching the ball in the rain.”

But, he added, “The wind will be more of an issue than the rain.”

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Posted on Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Under: Football, Gameday | 9 Comments »
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Football: Dykes believes message heard

In this week’s episode of “The Drive” on the Pac-12 Networks, Cal coach Sonny Dykes talked to his team about the difference between pain and injury.

“I think they got the message,” he said, noting that after the Portland State game 16 players missed practice on Monday, but that after the Ohio State game just two were sidelined.

“That’s part of our culture that we’ve got to change. Guys have got to learn to work through things. It’s college football,” Dykes said.

“Obviously, our number one concern is player safety. If somebody’s injured, we’re going to take care of them. At the same time, if you’ve got a sprained ankle, you’ve got to push through.”

Dykes downplayed the scenes showing him delivering tough-love encouragement to linebacker Khairi Fortt and running back Brendan Bigelow.

“I have talks like that with guys all the time, 10 times a day” he said. “Just not on television all the time.”

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2013
Under: Football | 4 Comments »
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Football: Cal-Oregon promises huge numbers

The numbers promise to be bloated Saturday night when Cal faces No. 2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.

And it’s hard to find a combination of those figures that adds up to a victory for the Bears, rated as 36-point underdogs. Cal has failed to cover the spread in its past nine games, according to OddsShark.com — the longest such streak in the country.

The over/under betting total for the game is 84 points — the third-largest in college football since 2000.

Even that number may not contain these two fast-paced teams. Cal (1-2) has gone “over” in its past five games and Oregon (3-0) has gone over in its past three, thanks to an offense producing more than 61 points per game.

“They remind you of a basketball team,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “Huge momemtum swings take place in their games sometimes. You watch the film and it’s 7-0 and all of a sudden it’s 52-0. It’s like their touchdowns are worth 25 points each.”

Click here for the rest of this story.

CAL AT NO. 2 OREGON

RECORDS: Cal 1-2, Oregon 3-0.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m., Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

RADIO: 810

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 39-34-2, but Oregon has won the past four games overall and nine of the past 10 in Eugene. The Bears’ most recent win at Autzen Stadium was a 31-24 victory in 2007.

STORYLINES: The Bears open Pac-12 play vs. their third Top-25 foe in four games after a nonconference slate that included a 44-30 loss to then-No. 22 Northwestern and a 52-34 loss to then-No. 4 Ohio State. … The Ducks’ roster features 43 players from California — 19 more than hail from within Oregon. Among those from the Bay Area are backup RB Byron Marshall of San Jose, No. 2 QB Jeff Lockie of Alamo and starting FS Avery Patterson of Pittsburg. . . . Cal LB Nick Forbes (back) is cleared and has practiced, but isn’t expected to see action on defense.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – WR Maurice Harris (shoulder) is questionable. OG Matt Cochran (ankle), DE Brennan Scarlett (hand) and DT Mustafa Jalil (knee) are out. Oregon – None reported.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defense vs. Oregon’s run game. The Bears cannot get gouged here and expect to be in the game for long. The Ducks feature TB De’Anthony Thomas, who has scored 11 touchdowns in the past five games and boasts a gaudy 8.6 yards per-carry rush average for his career. QB Marcus Mariota is a spectacular running threat, averaging 17.5 yards per try this season. Oregon is second nationally at 355.3 rushing yards per game, while Cal is third-to-last among FBS teams in the same category on defense, allowing 262 yards per game.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal is 4-51 all-time vs. Top-5 opponents, winning just once in 28 tries since 1975. . . . Jared Goff, with 1,306 yards after three games, already has thrown for more yards than any freshman in Cal history. . . . The Ducks are the only team in the country without an offensive turnover. . . . The combined record of Cal’s first four opponents is 14-1. . . . Cal has run at least 90 offensive plays in each of its first three games.

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2013
Under: Football, Gameday | 3 Comments »
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