Football: Linebacker Jason Gibson retires

Cal reserve linebacker Jason Gibson retires from football for medical reasons – for web and Monday local digest

Cal junior linebacker Jason Gibson, plagued by injuries throughout his college career, retired from football for medical reasons, coach Sonny Dykes announced after Sunday’s practice.

Gibson had not practiced this fall after undergoing surgery on his right foot after last season. He had surgery on the same foot prior to the 2012 season.

“He’s worked incredibly hard to come back and it’s just been really painful,” Dykes said. “He’s a good kid and I hate it for him. I’m proud of him for working hard and trying to rehab it.”

Gibson came to Cal from Gardena as a linebacker, then was moved to safety before last season, when he played in the only six games of his college career. He was returned to outside linebacker in the spring.

Dykes said he expects Gibson to be granted a medical hardship and kept on scholarship. He is on schedule to graduate next spring.


Football: Goff’s goal is to complete 70 percent this season

As a freshman last season, Jared Goff set a Cal record for passing yards in a season. He also threw more incompletions (211) than any quarterback in school history.

That needs to change this fall, said Goff, who completed 60.4 percent of his attempts a year ago.

“I think 70-something is a good percentage. That’s really high, but I don’t put any limits on myself,” Goff said. “I’m just trying to complete every pass, one at a time.”

Coach Sonny Dykes said this week that Goff’s mid-range accuracy is noticeably better than a year ago, but that’s just part of the equation. The Bear Raid offense utilizes a lot of quick, short passes to backs or wideouts, and those connections need to be as dependable as handoffs, said offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.

“He needs for us to be good, he needs to be between 66 and 70 percent (overall),” Franklin suggested. “He has to be 99 percent on easy throws and where guys are wide open. When he gets an easy touchdown because somebody blows a coverage, he’s got to be about 75 percent on deep balls like that.

“Last year he would make a spectacular throw and miss three easy throws in a row. He has to get better at that, and he has so far.”

Goff will benefit from an experienced receiving corps that is the team’s strongest position group. “We’re freaking loaded,” said Goff, whose decision-making, grasp of the offense, strength, poise and ability to get rid of the ball quickly all have grown, according to Dykes.

Continue Reading


Football: New D-coordinator Art Kaufman not losing sleep as he works to rebuild Cal’s defense

New Cal defensive coordinator Art Kaufman is beginning his 33rd season coaching college football, and he still has the energy for the job because he knows how to get a good night’s sleep.

“By the time I get home, I’ll chill down for 30 minutes or an hour, then crash and get up and go get it the next day,” Kaufman said of the routine that keeps his batteries charged.

Inheriting a defense that allowed 45.9 points per game last season would be enough to disrupt anyone’s REM cycle. After being hired last winter, Kaufman said he didn’t bother to review 2013 game tapes because he’s not here to fix last season but to build from the ground up.

Still less than a week into fall camp, Kaufman is just getting to know his personnel and said he’s installed perhaps 40 percent of his defense. But he has drawn some early conclusions.

Three things contributing to sweet dreams:

1. “The big thing is our kids have some pride about what they’re doing. They want to be good, and they’re willing to do whatever we ask.”

2. “They’ve got some intelligence as far as understanding what we’re doing. I’ve been where we’ve been able to do some pretty good things, and I’ve been where we couldn’t do a whole lot because we didn’t have anybody who could line us up. We’ve got guys who can do that.”

3. “These guys have a chance to be physical. I’m waiting to see that, but if we can be physical at the line of scrimmage and with our second-level people — a safety, a ‘backer, a corner — that gives you a chance.”

Three concerns that could leave Kaufman with restless nights:

1. The Bears were decimated by injury last season, especially on defense. “The big thing is we’ve got to make sure we stay injury free.”

2. “How well do we match up with the people we’re playing? Anytime you go into a new league — and this is my third league in three years — you don’t know how you match up. That’s the unknown.”

3. “How we will handle adversity? We may have adversity the first play of the game, but we will have it in every game. Don’t worry about the last play, play the next play. I don’t think you can know that until you know who your leaders are. Right now I don’t know.”


Football: Dykes seeing better attitude, more competition

Day 4 of fall camp brought a smile to the face of coach Sonny Dykes, who praised his team for a much better effort Thursday than he got the day before.

The Bears were in shoulder pads for the second straight day – they go full pads Friday – and the intensity was amped up.

“I was pleased today, very much so. They competed a lot harder. It was really a good step I the right direction,” Dykes said. “ I thought the practice was really intense and physical. It was good to see those guys come out and compete.”

The Bears have 25 more practices before their Aug. 30 opener at Northwestern, and Dykes said the team generally has raised its level from a year ago, Well, certainly they needed to.

“At times last year we had to kind of drag them out here kicking and screaming a bit. They’ve been much more self-starters,” he said. “It’s early still and we’ve got to continue that intensity, but they’re ready to practice.

“I used to hear guys out here talking about other things than football. I don’t hear that anymore. They talk about football, they’re coaching each other, they’re having fun competing against each other.”

Part of the reason there is greater competition in practice is simply there are more healthy players in the mix. And it’s not just the veterans who are creating that atmosphere.

“I think with the influx of the junior college players and the freshmen coming in, a lot of these guys realize they better raise their level or they’re not going to be playing,” Dykes said. “There’s a tremendous amount of competition, pretty much across the board. That kind of brings out the best in everybody.”


Football: Granado states his case for right tackle job

With projected starter Jordan Rigsbee still working his way back after knee surgery last spring, JC transfer Dominic Granado seemingly has the hand at right tackle. At least for now.

Granado has gotten the majority of the first-team reps, and coach Sonny Dykes has been pleased.

“He’s competing well – that’s the biggest thing he’s done,” Dykes said after Wednesday’s workout. “We recruited him because we thought he was a tough football player. We’ve gotten what we hoped to get.

“Quite frankly, he’s been a little more consistent than I thought he would be at this point. It’s still early, but three practices in he’s been pretty darn good.”

Rigsbee, who had his meniscus repaired at the end of spring ball, actually is ahead of schedule, Dykes said, and should be ready to play by the Aug. 30 opener at Northwestern.

Others are competing there too – Brian Farley and brothers Matt and Aaron Cochran. Figure it to come down to Granado or Rigsbee, who also can play center or guard and gives the Bears a versatile player to plug in anywhere on the line.

Dykes doesn’t anticipate naming a starter at right tackle anytime soon. “That’s going to play out for a while,” he said.


Senior center Chris Adcock, who missed the final eight games last season with a serious knee injury, is holding up well so far.

“Adcock’s been solid. He’s held up incredibly well. He feels so good right now, he keeps going,” Dykes said. “We’re talking about backing him off a little bit, just make sure we’re not loading him with too much too soon.


A name you probably haven’t heard: Addison Ooms.

He’s a true freshman walk-on center who has caught the attention of the coaching staff.

“Looks like three practices in he’s got a chance to play,” Dykes said of the 6-4, 295-pounder from Mater Dei High. “That’s a pretty dang good surprise.”


The battle for the vacant placekicker position seems to be down to senior James Langford of Pleasanton vs. redshirt freshman Matt Anderson of Danville.

“James Langford has been pretty consistent. I’ve been pleased with him,” Dykes said. “He’s got a big leg. He hasn’t always been the most consistent guy but so far his consistency is where we want it to be.

“Matt Anderson is stronger. He’s making a little bit of a push as well. It’s encouraging to see. I think it’s going to be a good competition.”


Basketball: Bears to play Syracuse at 2K Classic

Cal will play Syracuse for the third straight season when the two square off in the opening round of the 2K Classic Benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project, Nov. 20 at Madison Square Garden.

Tipoff is 6 p.m. PST and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

Pairings, announced Wednesday, have Texas facing Iowa in the other semifinal.

The championship game will be played Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. PST, preceded at 2 p.m. by the consolation game.

Cal is 0-3 all-time vs. the Orange, including a 92-81 loss last season at the Maui Invitational and a 66-60 setback in the 2013 NCAA tournament at San Jose.

The teams’ first meeting was in 2010 at the 2K Classic in New York, where Syracuse scored a decisive 95-73 win over a Cal squad that went on to win the Pac-10 title.


Football: News release from Agu family’s law firm

Here is the news release from Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, The Yerrid Law Firm And Jeffrey D. Murphy, Esq., announcing the wrongful-death lawsuit against the UC Regents in the death of former Cal football player Ted Agu:


Oakland, California, August 5, 2014

The parents of Ted Agu, who was a 21-year-old student athlete and a member of the

University of California Berkeley football team, filed a wrongful death lawsuit today against The

Regents of The University of California arising from Agu’s untimely death following a pre-

season conditioning drill with his football team. The plaintiffs, Ambrose and Emilia Agu, allege

that their son died because of the reckless and negligent behavior of UCB football trainers and

coaches who subjected Agu to a lethal conditioning drill for a player with known sickle cell trait.

Continue Reading


Football: Cal athletics provides response to lawsuit

Here is the response from Cal athletics to Tuesday’s news that attorneys representing former Cal football player Ted Agu have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the UC Regents. Agu died Feb. 7 following an offseason workout with his teammates:

“The members of our football family and our entire campus community remain deeply saddened by the loss of Ted Agu. We recognize how difficult this must be for the Agu family. We will continue to honor Ted in all we do. He will forever be a beloved member of our Golden Bear family.

“When Cal’s medical staff on scene saw Ted show signs of problems, they reacted promptly. But as the Alameda County Coroner’s report states, the cause of death was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which suggests there was little anyone could have done to save him.

“While we cannot discuss any student’s specific medical history, we follow all recommended protocols, including those outlined by the NCAA, for all student-athletes with identified medical conditions. We want to make clear that we are committed to ensuring the care and safety of all our student-athletes and we have great confidence in our athletic department’s staff’s ability to do so.”


Football: Agu family files lawsuit against UC Regents

On the steps of Oakland’s Alameda County courthouse in front of three large family photos, attorneys for the parents of former Cal football player Ted Agu said they filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the U.C. Regents on Tuesday to address “a tragedy that should never have occurred.”

With Agu’s parents and three of his siblings on hand, attorneys said Cal was negligent in its supervision of the 21-year-old defensive end from Bakersfield, who died following a Feb. 7 team training run.

Attorneys Brian Panish and Steve Yerrid said the university was aware that Agu carried the sickle cell trait and that supervising team athletic trainer Robert Jackson did not respond appropriately when Agu began to experience distress.

“The trait isn’t the killer,” Yerrid said. “It’s the failure to safeguard that trait.”

Attorneys charged that Cal has not presented an accurate picture of what happened, that Agu began to struggle much earlier during the session than reported and that the activity “was not an ordinary workout,” according to Panish.

Yerrid said the workout included an activity where eight teammates, all attached by a rope, ran up a hill 10 times.

“Agu was placed in a conditioning drill that was inappropriate and too extreme given his known medical condition,” the attorneys wrote in a news release. They said he experienced dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of balance and other signs of extreme fatigue that were “clearly symptomatic of the sickling process . . . and should have been observed.”

They also said it’s significant that Cal should have known Jackson was an assistant trainer helping to supervise at the University of Central Florida during a 2008 episode in which football player Ereck Plancher, 19, died after what they described as a similar workout.

Continue Reading


Basketball: Can Frayer’s decision influence other prospects?

Could Oscar Frayer be a recruiting domino for Cal basketball?

The four-star class of 2016 small forward from Moreau High gave new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin an oral commitment Monday afternoon, and his decision could influence others to do the same.

Does that include Bishop O’Dowd forward Ivan Rabb, rated by ESPN as the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2015?

Or Moreau point guard Damari Milstead, a promising sophomore-to-be?

“No comment,” said Frank Knight, Frayer’s coach at Moreau.

But all three play for the Oakland Soldiers. And all three are good friends.

“They’ve all been talking,” Knight said. “Now that Oscar’s committed, a lot of other local players will consider it.

“When Oscar decided to come to Moreau, we had like 20 other kids decide to come.”

Continue Reading