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Football: More than 1,000 gather for Ted Agu

More than 1,000 football teammates, fraternity brothers and members of the Cal community gathered outside Memorial Stadium on a cool, clear Wednesday night to celebrate the life of Ted Agu.

None of them were ready to say goodbye to the 21-year-old junior defensive end from Bakersfield, who died Friday after a routine football team training run.

“Ted is the inspiration for life. Ted is . . .” said one of his Omega Psi Phi fraternity members. “Let it hurt so bad that you have to smile. You can’t think of a sad moment with Ted, because it doesn’t exist.”

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Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Football | 1 Comment »
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Football: Tony Franklin unconcerned proposed new rule will slow Bear Raid offense

UPDATED

The NCAA Football Rules Committee, at two-day meetings that ended Wednesday in Indianapolis, have proposed a change that will prevent offenses from snapping the ball earlier than with 29 remaining on the play clock in order to give defenses the change to make substitutions.

The proposal, which still must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month, shouldn’t inhibit teams that play fast-paced football, the committee said. If approved, the new rule will go into effect next season.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes joined the conversation Thursday, tweeting, “New rule slowing down college football at its height of popularity isn’t about player safety, it’s about a who runs college football.”

Bears offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had heard rumblings about a possible change during the season and wasn’t surprised by the news.

But he thinks it’s a reactionary move by coaches who prefer traditional, defense-oriented football and he isn’t worried it will slow down his offense.

He’s also not buying the committee’s rationale that safety is the reason for the change.

“People for a long time have kind of had their way defensively who don’t anymore. They’re trying to get something back,” he said.

“If it was truly a safety issue, what they should do is not let defenses hide their blitzes until the last second or send someone off the edge to hit a quarterback in the back. That’s the advantage the defense has, to do all those things at the last second.”

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Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Football | 16 Comments »
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Women’s basketball: Another honor for Boyd

Cal junior guard Brittany Boyd has been named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Midseason 30 list, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced.

Boyd has also been named to the midseason lists for the Dawn Staley Award (Phoenix Club of Philadelphia), the Nancy Lieberman Award (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame) and the Wooden Award (Los Angeles Athletic Club), in addition to being included on the initial and updated Wade Trophy (WBCA) award lists.

Boyd is one of just four players in the country to be named to all five of those lists, joining Jerica Coley (FIU), Bria Hartley (UConn) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor).

The former Berkeley High star averages 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.1 steals for the 16-7 Golden Bears.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Honors, Women's basketball | No Comments »
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Rugby: Clark to enter Hall of Fame

Cal’s Jack Clark will be inducted into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame, the United States Rugby Football Federation announced.

To which I pose the question: What took them so long?

The induction ceremony takes place June 7 in Houston.

“I am very appreciative of the recognition,” Clark said. “I want to thank all the coaches and support staff who have so significantly contributed to this career and well as my opposition colleagues around the country and rugby world for their friendship and partnership in growing rugby.

“I am so appreciative of my old teammates and coaches for the game and teamship example they set. Mostly, I want to thank the players I have been blessed to coach.”

In his 31st year as head coach of the Golden Bears, Clark has led the rugby program to 22 national collegiate titles in 15s and, in 2013, its first collegiate 7s title in the Olympic version of rugby.

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Posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Under: Honors, Rugby | No Comments »
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Football: Ted Agu candlelight service Wednesday

A candlelight service honoring former Cal football player Ted Agu will be held Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza adjacent to Memorial Stadium.

Agu, 21, a junior defensive end, died Friday morning shortly after a routine team training run. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death.

The ceremony will be led by Agu’s Omega Psi Phi fraternity brothers and Golden Bear student-athletes. Gates 3 and 5 at the stadium will open at 6 p.m., and candles and special wristbands will be available to the first 1,000 participants.

A separate on-campus memorial service will take place on a date and location to be determined, and those details will be provided once they have been finalized.

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014
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Football: Jeff Tedford reacts to Ted Agu’s death

Both of Ted Agu’s head football coaches Cal felt profound sadness at the news the 21-year-old died on Friday.

Former Bears coach Jeff Tedford, now offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, called it “a pretty sad day, for sure.”

Agu arrived at Cal as a walkon when Tedford coached the Bears, and last spring was awarded a scholarship by current coach Sonny Dykes.

“You can’t respect or admire anyone more than him,” Tedford said of Agu. “He was such a driven, passionate guy. He came to Cal with a vision and a goal for academics and football.”

Tedford called Agu a great “team guy” who was admired by everyone on the team.

“He had a very rigorous academic schedule but he also wanted to compete a high level,” Tedford said. “He was going to prove his worth. It was mission accomplished 100 percent.

“Not only did he earn a scholarship, but along the way he gained the respect and admiration of his teammates, which is far more important than football. My heart goes out to the Agu family and the Cal players.”

Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014
Under: Football | 10 Comments »
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Football: Statement on death of Ted Agu from Dean of UC Berkeley School of Public Health

The following is a statement on the passing of Ted Agu from Stefano Bertozzi, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Ted was a public health major at Cal and a second-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection this past fall.

“Ted’s untimely death is a great shock; not only was he a star athlete on the Cal football team, but he was also a strong student with plans for medical school. Those who knew him have commented that despite having the impressive physicality of a football player, he had a charming warmth of character.

“Ted demonstrated strong leadership skills, serving as an informal peer adviser for incoming freshman football players. He was passionate about using the influence of football players and coaches to improve healthy behaviors among youth in our community and was planning to work with the School on a project related to this.

“He will long be remembered.”

Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014
Under: Football | 1 Comment »
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Football: Ted Agu dies during workout

Click here for my latest, updated story on Ted Agu.

*****

Ted Agu, a 21-year-old member of the Cal football team, died Friday morning during a conditioning workout.

“This is a very difficult time for our football family,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “Ted was a remarkable young man and a member of this family who was highly respected and loved by his teammates and coaching staff. He had an incredible passion for life and will be deeply missed.”

Greg Kragen, a former NFL player with the Denver Broncos and the father of Cal defensive end Kyle Kragen, said his son told him a player passed out during a team run on Friday morning.

A separate tip received by this newspaper said he died at a local hospital.

Agu, a senior-to-be from Bakersfield, was a backup defensive end for the Bears. Originally a non-scholarship player at Cal, he was was surprised by Dykes at a team meeting last March with the news he was being put on scholarship.

In a video interview last spring with CalTV, Agu called that “an unbelievable experience.”

A public health major at Cal, Agu earned Pac-12 All-Academic second-team honors after compiling a 3.28 grade-point average last fall.

He played in seven of Cal’s 12 games last season, totaling six tackles.

Reaction from his teammates was swift.

Freshman teammate Cameron Walker said on Twitter: “You left too soonBut ur in a better place now. & we all have another guardian angel watching over us. I love you, Ted. I miss you already.”

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Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014
Under: Football | 23 Comments »
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Football: Ex-Cal players get NFL combine invites

Former Cal players Deandre Coleman, Khairi Fortt and Richard Rodgers have received invitations to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Feb. 19-25.

 Here are thumbnails on all three (courtesy of Cal athletics):

* Deandre Coleman, DL, 6-5, 315, Seattle, WA (Garfield HS)

Coleman played in all 49 games possible with 25 starts during his career at Cal over the past four seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2009. He finished his career with 125 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss (-89 yards), 7.5 sacks (-39 yards), three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and four quarterback hurries. Coleman was a third-team All-Pac-12 selection of Phil Steele and an honorable mention All-Pac-12 choice by the league’s coaches as one of three Cal players to start all 12 games in 2013. He led the Golden Bears in tackles for loss (career-high 9.0) and tackle for loss yardage (-27 yards), while ranking third in sacks (2.5, -4 yards) and first among defensive linemen in tackles (40). Coleman played in the 2014 Senior Bowl following his senior collegiate season and contributed two tackles and a half tackle for loss for the winning South team.

* Khairi Fortt, LB, 6-2, 240 (Seattle, WA/Garfield HS)

Fortt was one of 12 national semifinalists for the 2013 Butkus Award at the collegiate level for the award given annually to the nation’s top linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. Fortt started the first nine games of the 2013 season at Cal in his first and only year of action for the Golden Bears after redshirting in 2012 following his transfer from Penn State. Fortt, who missed the final three games of the 2013 campaign due to injury, recorded 64 tackles to rank third on the team after leading the squad for most of the season. He was 18th in the Pac-12 with an average of 7.1 stops per game. He added 3.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards) and 0.5 sacks (-1 yard). In two seasons at Penn State from 2010-11, Fortt played in 22 contests and compiled totals of 50 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss (-23 yards) and 2.5 sacks (-16 yards). Fortt was an early entry for the 2014 NFL Draft who is foregoing his final season of collegiate eligibility.

* Richard Rodgers, TE/WR, 6-4, 245 (Worcester, MA/St. John’s HS)

Rodgers played in 35 of 37 possible games while starting 11 contests during three seasons at Cal from 2011-13. He finished his career with 59 receptions for 896 yards receiving (15.2 ypr) and two touchdown catches. Rodgers had his best campaign as a junior in 2013 when he totaled career highs of 39 receptions and 608 yards receiving to rank third on the team in both categories. He had 20 catches for 288 yards as a 2012 sophomore. Rodgers was an early entry for the 2014 NFL Draft who is foregoing his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Under: Alumni, Football | 3 Comments »
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Football: Coaching position assignments on defense leave Cal staff still unsettled

Cal football coach Sonny Dykes called the hiring of his latest two defensive coaches “a make-it or break-it deal” for the future of his regime, but stopped short of confirming that movement on his staff is done.

Still left to sort out are position assignments, and currently there is no one on the staff who is a clear choice to replace the departed Barry Sacks as interior defensive line coach.

Dykes said he expects to announce position assignments on his staff within two weeks.

He was less definitive about the future of Andy Buh, demoted last month from his role as defensive coordinator after the Bears’ 1-11 season. Two weeks ago, Dykes hired Art Kaufman to handle that assignment.

Asked specifically whether he expects Buh will be on the staff by next fall, Dykes said, “We’ll see. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

It’s a tricky situation because Buh still has two years on his contract, which pays him a guaranteed $500,000 per season.

But Buh handled linebackers last season, and that’s been Kaufman’s specialty while also serving as coordinator at Cincinnati, Texas Tech and North Carolina.

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Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Under: Football | 6 Comments »
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