Field hockey: Attorneys set to talk on field question

Courtesy of Bay Area News Group columnist Mark Purdy, here’s an update on the Cal field hockey situation, which on Thursday takes its next step when attorneys representing three players will meet with university attorneys.

Here’s Mark’s blog:

The first thing that Shellie Onstead wants everybody to know is this: She is a loyal Cal Bear.

As if there was any question about that. Onstead, the women’s field hockey coach at Berkeley, was the school’s first All-American player in the sport there and has spent virtually her entire professional life on the campus. She has proudly represented the school as a player and coach at the international level. She’s in the Cal Hall of Fame.

That said, Onstead is also frustrated and pained. The situation with her team, which has no home field this season for either games or practices–with no firm prospects for such a field in the future–has reached a crisis point.

“I really went out of my way to try and keep quiet about things,” said Onstead at her office Wednesday afternoon. “I was naïve. I was thinking, ‘No way will they let this happen.’ I wake up every morning thinking, ‘How’d we get here?’ ”

Can’t blame her.

I have learned that Thursday morning, lawyers representing several of her players are meeting with university attorneys. They will discuss whether an agreement can be reached to avoid a Title IX lawsuit against Cal.

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Football: Treggs on facing Bruins — `It’s personal’

For wide receiver Bryce Treggs – who seriously considering switching from Cal to UCLA while in high school and still has numerous friends who play for the Bruins – this is not just another game.

“It’s personal,” he said.

The Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) and Bruins (4-2, 1-2) collide Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, and Treggs finds motivation wherever he looks.

A native of Inglewood, Treggs counts UCLA players Jordan Payton, Ishmael Adams and Jaleel Wadood among his friends.

“I know ‘em very well,” said Treggs, explaining he cuts off communication with his Los Angeles-based buddies prior to meeting on the field. “There’s no texting, there’s no friends during game week. I’ll talk to them after this week and the weeks before this. But game week, I’m with my teammates.

“All games are important,” Treggs said, “but this is the one I really want to get.”

Treggs admits he considered decommitting from Cal for about a week prior to signing day when new UCLA coach Jim Mora made a strong, late bid. The Bears already had seen several top recruits flip to new schools – Shaq Thompson to Washington, Ellis McCarthy to UCLA, Arik Armstead to Oregon – and Treggs was tempted.

“They were pushing a lot. I’m not going to lie, I considered going there, but ended up sticking with my commitment,” he said. “I’m happy with my decision. I’m a Golden Bear.”

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Football: Piatt, Willis latest Cal DBs to go down

Things continue to get worse for the Pac-12 Conference’s most beleaguered pass defense.

When Cal faces UCLA on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the Bears will be without safety Griffin Piatt and cornerback Joel Willis, both gone for the season with ACL knee injuries, coach Sonny Dykes said Tuesday.

The loss of Piatt, a former walkon receiver who started all four conference games, could be particularly troublesome for the Bears, who rank last in the Pac-12, having allowed 402 passing yards per game and 24 touchdown passes.

Piatt, who leads the Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) with three interceptions and 40 tackles, has struggled at times due to inexperience at the position. But at least he was healthy and available until being injured during Saturday’s 31-7 loss to Washington.

“It’s an area we don’t have a lot of depth,” Dykes said.

Starting safeties Stefan McClure (calf) and Michael Lowe (head) sat out the Washington game, with McClure missing the past four outings. Dykes said he expects both to play against UCLA (4-2, 1-2) and star quarterback Brett Hundley.

Avery Sebastian, who missed all but one game last season because of an Achilles tendon tear, sat out two of the team’s first six games this fall due to various ailments. The Bears lost freshman safety Quentin Tartabull to an ACL injury in August.

“It’s just a position where we haven’t been able to stay healthy,” Dykes said.

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Basketball: Ivan Rabb close to naming Final 5

Five-star recruit Ivan Rabb will announce his five college finalists by the end of this weekend, his coach at Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland said.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward rated among the nation’s top-10 prospects, told O’Dowd coach Lou Richie on Tuesday morning that by Sunday he expects to inform coaches at the five schools to which he will make official campus visits.

Currently, Rabb has seven schools on his list, including Cal.

The others are Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA.

Richie said Rabb will call the two schools he is eliminating, then talk with the remaining five to schedule his visits.

“Ivan wants to control the process and wants to do it the right way,” said Richie, who declined to guess whether Cal will be one of the finalists.

He said Rabb could make his final decision on a college destination this fall, but may also spread out his visits and wait until the spring to pick one.


Football: Dykes optimistic safeties will return for UCLA, but Brennan Scarlett is week to week with sprained knee

Coach Sonny Dykes said tonight he expects to have starting safeties Michael Lowe and Stefan McClure back for Cal’s game Saturday against UCLA, but labeled defensive end Brennan Scarlett as “week to week” with a sprained knee.

None of the three played Saturday when the Bears lost 31-7 to Washington.

Scarlett injured the knee early in the fourth quarter against Washington State a week ago but returned to finish the game.

“It didn’t react well this week,” Dykes said. “He’s week to week. We’ll see how he’ll respond this week.”

Later, when asked if it’s unlikely Scarlett will be ready for UCLA, Dykes said, “I think he’ll have a chance. We’ll see how he feels, how the knee reacts.”

McClure, who has missed four straight games with a calf injury, practiced on a limited basis Sunday night and will do a little more Tuesday. Asked if he expects McClure to make his return against the Bruins, Dykes said, “I do, unless he has a setback.”

Lowe, who sat out the UW game with a head injury, has been cleared to do non-contact work and will practice on that basis Tuesday. Dykes believes he should progress through the week and play Saturday.

Safety Griffin Piatt, who was elevated to a starting role after McClure’s injury, hurt his knee against UW. His prognosis is unknown at this point, Dykes said.

Backup running back Khalfani Muhammad sat out Saturday after breaking his left thumb at WSU. He had surgery early in the week and is wearing a cast.

“The biggest thing is him getting used to carrying the football and handling the ball with his thumb in a cast,” Dykes said. “The size of the cast will get smaller and smaller.”

Muhammad is expected to wear a cast on his hand for about four weeks.


Football: Rodgers throws game-winner with 3 secs left

Former Cal star Aaron Rodgers, in his 100th NFL start, engineered his 11th fourth-quarter comeback win, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless with a 3 seconds left as the Green Bay Packers beat the host Miami Dolphins 27-24.

Rodgers threw for 264 yards and three TDs and has thrown 10 touchdown passes during the Packers’ three-game win streak.



Football: Cal-Washington game thread

The nation’s second-highest scoring offense could not find the end zone Saturday until it didn’t matter.

Cal, which entered the day averaging 50 points a game, was shut out in the first half and never threatened Washington in a 31-7 defeat before 44,449 fans at Memorial Stadium.

But none of the Bears, starting with coach Sonny Dykes, was willing to say that Cal was in over its head against a higher-level foe after starting the season 4-1.

“I thought it was more us than it was our opponent today,” Dykes said. “I want to give Washington credit — they played very well and had a good game plan. But we need to own that (loss) more than to say we played somebody better.”

The Bears had scored no fewer than 45 points in their four previous games, but UW’s defense took away quarterback Jared Goff’s ability to throw the ball downfield, and the offense rarely found any rhythm.

“Hold them to seven points?” first-year UW coach Chris Petersen said. “I didn’t think that would happen.”

Tied for first in the Pac-12 North when the day began, the Bears (4-2, 2-2) looked overmatched against the Huskies (5-1, 1-1), who won for the sixth straight time in the series. Goff was sacked four times and the Bears fumbled five times, losing three of them.

“It was us,” running back Daniel Lasco said. “Everybody was saying we can score 50 points easily. I feel like a lot of people bought into it, and they didn’t realize how hard it is to win a football game.”

“We might have gotten a little complacent,” Goff agreed. “We have full confidence in ourselves. We have UCLA this week … go get them.”

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One-time Cal commit Shaq Thompson turned the game in Washington’s direction with one play.

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Basketball: Martin says Bird `has chance to be great’

New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin has no-nonsense expectations for sophomore guard Jabari Bird.

“I think he has a chance to be a great player,” Martin said.

Bird arrived at his father’s alma mater last season with glittering credentials. The 6-foot-6 guard was a McDonald’s All-American at Salesian High and coach Mike Montgomery’s most decorated recruit.

Over his first six games, Bird averaged 14.3 points and looked the part of future star.

Then he sprained an ankle in late December. He missed four games, and struggled to regain his rhythm and confidence. Over his first 16 games after returning, Bird scored four points or fewer in 11 of them.

The postseason arrived in the nick of time for Bird.

He scored 50 points in three NIT games, including games of 20 against Arkansas and 19 against SMU. Bird shot 15 for 21 in those last two games, and was 5 for 9 from 3-point range.

Bird said his strong finish sent him into the offseason feeling good about himself.

“It was a huge help for me, boosting my confidence a lot,” Bird said. “It reminded me that I can still play at this level. It did a lot for my confidence coming into my second year. I just need to build on it.”

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Football: Cal vs. Washington game facts

Cal vs. Washington

KICKOFF: Saturday, 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

TV/RADIO: Pac-12 Networks; 810-AM.

RECORDS: Cal 4-1, 2-1 in Pac-12; Washington 4-1, 0-1.

SERIES HISTORY: Washington leads 51-38-4. Washington won 41-17 in 2013 and has won five in a row in the series.

STORYLINES: With a win, the Bears would move within a single victory of being bowl eligible. Since 1980, only one of nine Cal teams that started the season 4-1 or better has failed to reach a bowl game. That was the 1998 squad that finished 5-6. . . . For the first time in four weeks, Cal faces a team that doesn’t appear determined to exploit the Bears’ defensive secondary woes. Arizona, Colorado and Washington State combined for 1,709 passing yards and 18 TD passes against the Bears. By comparison, UW averages 48 rushing attempts per game and ranks last in the Pac-12 at 162.6 passing yards per game. . . . UW’s Marcus Peters, a junior from McClymonds-Oakland, is expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out the Illinois game for a sideline outburst and then the first three defensive series vs. Stanford for unspecified reasons. Regarded as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks, Peters has three interceptions this season and 11 for his career.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: RB Khalfani Muhammad (thumb) and WR Darius Powe (shoulder) are probable; S Stefan McClure (calf) is questionable; LB Edward Tandy (concussion) is out. Washington: S Kevin King (illness) is probable; OT Ben Riva (knee) is questionable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s offense vs. Washington LB Shaq Thompson. A one-time Cal recruiting commit from Sacramento, Thompson has developed into a game-changing star for the Huskies. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound junior has forced three fumbles, recovered two, intercepted a pass and shares the team lead with four touchdowns, including one as a running back. “He’s kind of all over the place,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “He’s always around the ball.”

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal quarterback Jared Goff, No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency rating at 188.45, is coming off a school-record 527-yard performance at WSU. Goff needs just 87 passing yards to move ahead of Aaron Rodgers into ninth on Cal’s career list . . . Washington ranks second nationally in turnover margin at plus-2.2 per game. The Huskies have 12 takeaways and just one giveaway, a lost fumble. . . . First-year UW coach Chris Petersen, who won 92 games in eight seasons at Boise State, leads all active FBS coaches with a career winning percentage of .885.


Football: Bears focusing on UW, not the bowl math

Cal fans may be doing the postseason math, but quarterback Jared Goff said worrying about a bowl game in October is not on the Golden Bears’ to-do list.

“People talk about it outside our locker room, but we’re not concerned with that at all,” said Goff, who will lead the Bears (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) against Washington (4-1, 0-1) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

“We know six (wins) is most of the time a bowl berth, but we’re not thinking of that at all. That’s something an immature team would do. I think we’re so far past that. We’re so much more disciplined than we were before.”

While Old Blues have the luxury of scanning the schedule of seven remaining games and trying to earmark two that will make Cal bowl eligible, coach Sonny Dykes said his team has done a good job of avoiding that distraction.

“Way too early,” he said. “The big thing we’ve tried to preach from Day 1 is the process. To me, if you start talking about who’s in first place or how many games to this or that, you start to destroy the process. The good thing is I haven’t heard one player talking about it.”

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