Football: Pac-12 Networks `Training Camp’ schedules visit to Cal practice for Aug. 23

The Pac-12 Networks once again will send its football crew to every conference school during the coming weeks to preview each before the season kicks off.

Cal will be the final stop for the Pac-12 team of Mike Yam, Rick Neuheisel, Curtis Conway and Nick Aliotti, which makes its visit on Saturday, Aug. 23 — exactly one week prior to the Bears’ opener at Northwestern.

The series debuts on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at Arizona State.

Each episode will air at 9 p.m. on all Pac-12 Networks.

Click here for the full schedule.


Rowing: 3 Cal women capture international gold

Three Cal women helped the U.S. eight boat to a gold medal at the Women’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships at Varese, Italy.

Agatha Nowinski (stroke), Kendall Chase (seven-seat) and Lindsay Meltz (coxswain) and the U.S. boat beat Great Britain by nearly four seconds in the final.

Chase won her second gold medal of the competition after contributing to a U.S. win in the women’s four on Saturday.

Australia, with Cal’s Jacinta Edmunds in the seven-seat, finished fourth in the women’s eight competition. In the women’s double sculls, Cal’s Inger Kavlie, in the bow-seat, helped Norway capture silver.

On the men’s side, Golden Bears Louis Snelson (five-seat) and Aaron Wright (six-seat) helped Australia to a silver medal in the eight competition, and Cal’s Spencer Hall (five-seat) contributed to a bronze-medal finish by the U.S.


Athletics: Barbour lands on her feet

As you no doubt heard,former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was introduced Saturday as new AD at Penn State.

Barbour, who will receive a five-year contract worth $700,000 per year (plus up to $200,000 in incentives), achieved a lot at Cal. She said her problems in Berkeley were the result of her loyalty.

“What it really boils down to is I stayed too long,” Barbour was quoted saying the Associated Press story on her hiring. “Leading a program like Cal’s, like Penn State’s, in terms of a major conference and a lot of sports and a lot of moving parts, 10 years is a long time.

“If you look around the country, there are very few (athletic directors) that have that kind of length. Ultimately, it’s about having stayed a little too long, but it was about that I was loyal. I’m a loyalist.

“In the end, at some point, you stay too long.”

Here are stories on Barbour’s hiring from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Phildelphia Inquirer.


Football: Question of the day

Memorial Stadium drew a sellout crowd of 62,583 fans for Saturday’s international soccer game between Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

How many football dates this fall will attract crowds that size?

Certainly the Nov. 22 Big Game will be a sellout.

How many more?

The Sept. 6 home opener against Sac State on Sept. 6? Not a chance.

Sept. 27 vs. Colorado? Seriously?

Oct. 11 vs. Washington? Don’t see it.

Oct. 18 against UCLA? Hmm . . . maybe.

Oct. 24 vs. Oregon? Doesn’t count for this discussion because the game will be played at Levi’s Stadium.

Nov. 29 vs. BYU? An intriguing possibility. The Cougars will draw well, but how many Cal fans still will be interested if a long season to that point had produced, say, three victories?

Anyway, I’ll set the over-under at 1 1/2. If you choose the over, that means you believe the Bears will sell out the Big Game plus at least one more.


Football: Director says Lynch photo was staged

NFL star Marshawn Lynch of Oakland is being lampooned on the internet and TV for a photo showing his parked white Lamborghini protected by velvet ropes.

His people want to set the record straight.

The scene was staged, according to Mario Bobino, the director of “Family First — The Marshawn Lynch Story,” which concluded filming in Oakland last weekend.

“It was a prop for the movie,” Bobino said Thursday. “We did that.”

Lynch’s representatives reached out to this newspaper to “set the record straight” about the photo, which was taken from an upstairs apartment window across the street from where the car was parked Sunday.

Since then, the photo has gone viral on social media, and has been shared by websites including CBS Sports, Deadspin, Washington Post and NFL.com. Bobino said two Bay Area news stations showed it.

Click here to see the photo and the rest of this story.


Football: Pac-12 media day leftovers

A few more items from Pac-12 media day on Wednesday in Hollywood . . .

In all my running around Paramount Studios, never managed to post results of the annual media poll on BearTalk. Of course, you probably didn’t expect Cal to finish on top, anyway.

In fact, the Bears were picked last in the Pac-12 North, collecting 41 total points. That means only two of the 39 voters picked Cal as high as fifth place. Everyone else has them finishing sixth again.

Oregon received 37 first-place votes to easily outdistance Stanford for the top spot in the North, followed by Washington, Oregon State and Washington State.

UCLA got 37 first-place votes to top USC in the South division, followed by Arizona State, Arizona. Utah and Colorado.

Twenty-four voters picked Oregon to win the Pac-12 title game, with 13 votes going to UCLA. One voter each picked Stanford and USC.


Cal coach Sonny Dykes said senior Chris Adcock, who missed the final eight games last season with a knee injury, likely will regain his starting center spot. Adcock is expected to be eased into workouts, beginning Aug. 4, but Dykes said he should be ready to play the Aug. 30 opener at Northwestern.

That will allow junior Jordan Rigsbee, who finished last season at center, to shift to right tackle, where no one has stepped forward to secure the position.

If everything falls into place, here is Cal’s projected O-line: LT Steven Moore, LG Chris Borrayo, C Chris Adcock, RG Alejandro Crosthwaite, RT Jordan Rigsbee.


Dykes said there is no word still on whether James Looney will be granted the waiver he has requested to be immediately eligible after transferring last spring from Wake Forest.

A sophomore defensive tackle, Looney would be an impact player for the Bears, Dykes said, if available.


Looney’s presence would be doubly important because, as I reported last week, Dykes confirmed that sophomore DT Jacobi Hunter has left Cal. Hunter was married earlier this year and will play at a small school in his home state of Texas.


Pac-12 media day: No DirecTV deal near

There likely will be no agreement between the Pac-12 Networks and DirecTV for the third straight football season, conference commissioner Larry Scott said.

“There is no latest, unfortunately. It looks very unlikely under the present ownership of DirecTV that they’re going to carry us,” Scott during Wednesday’s Pac-12 football media day at Paramount Studios.

AT&T announced in May its intention to purchase DirecTV in a $48.5-billion deal that is not yet finalized.

“I’m much more hopeful that when AT&T buys DirecTV we’ll have different kinds of discussions and outcomes,” Scott said.

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Football: Stefan McClure embraces safety role, but Bears need others to develop at cornerback

It says a lot about Cal’s troubles in the defensive secondary that a player who missed half of last season due to injury and now is playing a new position is the unit’s key man.

Junior Stefan McClure, who played five games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, has been shifted from cornerback to safety in a position group with lots of moving parts.

Whether the Bears can afford to keep McClure there depends on how others develop at corner.

“I like the depth on our football team,” coach Sonny Dykes said Wednesday during Pac-12 media day at Paramount Studios. “But the secondary is still one part of our team that we still don’t have as many bodies that are ready to play as we need to.”

McClure had sufficiently recovered from surgery to repair a torn meniscus that he was able to participate in spring ball. That allowed him to learn a new system under first-year defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and new defensive backs coach Greg Burns.

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Pac-12 media day: Commissioner Larry Scott optimistic about future of college athletics

Two days after Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby outlined a grim future for college athletics, his Pac-12 counterpart painted a very different picture.

“While we’ve heard some doomsday and some threats over the last week, I am very confident and optimistic about where college sports is going,” Pac-12 commission Larry Scott said Wednesday during the league’s football media day at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.

Scott touted the presidents and chancellors of the Pac-12 for advancing an agenda intended to “bring college sports into the modern era.” He said he embraces proposed reforms that include promoting student-athlete health and welfare, integrating them more broadly into campus life and providing them greater financial support.”

Bowlsby, the former Stanford athletic director, warned that the NCAA’s enforcement staff is toothless to halt cheating and that “a strange environment” featuring lawsuits by former athletes threatens college sports.

He argued against unionization of college athletics and said paying athletes could spell the end of many Olympic-sport programs.

Scott doesn’t envision such a bleak horizon.

“We know there are some significant challenges out there, and we know it’s time to make significant changes,” he said. “Today requires that we do more for student-athletes who work so hard to find balance for their passions for their sport while still wanting to get an education.”

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Football: Bears’ No. 1 priority — red-zone efficiency

The No. 1 priority of the Cal offense this season is to transform opportunity into points.

The Golden Bears piled up gaudy yardage totals during their 1-11 season in 2013, but it didn’t translate into touchdowns.

More often than not, the red-zone became a dead zone for the Bears.

“It’s definitely frustrating, getting down there so many times and not being able to punch it in,” Goff said Wednesday during Pac-12 media day at Paramount Studios. “Getting that ball from the 20 to the goal line is the whole game, really.”

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