Sept. 1, 2008
2008 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, September 6, 3:30 p.m. (PT)
California (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) vs. Washington State (0-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
Pullman, Wash. - Martin Stadium
TV: CSN-West/Fox Sports Northwest. Broadcast Team: TBA.
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) in San Francisco (Joe Starkey, Troy Taylor, Todd McKim) - and affiliate stations KGIL Radio (1260 AM Los Angeles), XSURF Radio (540 AM San Diego), KNTK Radio (102.3 Weed), KCBL Radio (1340 AM Fresno), KESP Radio (970 AM Modesto), KVBL Radio (1400 AM Visalia) and KTKZ Radio (1380 AM Sacramento). The pre-game show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2007 Record: 7-6
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 51-26/7th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 69
Series Record: Cal leads, 39-25-5
First Meeting: 10/25/19, WSU, 14-0
Last Meeting: 11/3/07, Cal, 20-17
Current Streak: Cal win three straight
Tedford vs. Washington State: 3-1
Victorious in their opening game, the California Golden Bears now go on the road to face Washington State on Saturday. The Sept. 6 date is Cal's earliest Pac-10 game since 1993 when the Bears upended UCLA, 27-25, on Sept. 4 in the season opener. That team went on to finish 9-4 with a win over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.
Saturday's 38-31 victory over Michigan State featured 467 yards of total offense, including a solid balance of 203 rushing yards (36 plays) and 264 passing yards (30 plays). The win was Cal's fifth in seven openers under head coach Jeff Tedford. Cal is 11-1 in non-league games in the last three years and 20-6 overall under Tedford in non-conference contests.
A big question entering 2008 was if Cal could continue its stretch of six consecutive seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher. After one game, the Bears are in good shape for that stat, while also showing off Tedford's preference to have two tailbacks handling the load. Sophomore Jahvid Best ran for 111 yards while redshirt freshman Shane Vereen collected 101 yards on the ground - the most yards in a debut game by a Cal freshman in history. Vereen also had an 81-yard touchdown run, the longest run in school history by a freshman.
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley had a strong day in Saturday's win over Michigan State as well, connecting on 17-of-24 passes for 202 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Junior tight end Cameron Morrah was the team's top receiver with five catches (one touchdown) for 93 yards while Best added 63 yards on five receptions and sixth-year senior Sean Young more than doubled his career reception total with four (had three total entering the contest).
Defensively, Cal answered more questions as its 3-4 defense seemed up to the task of battling a smash mouth rushing attack. Michigan State tailback Javon Ringer, who had nearly 1,500 yards on the ground last season, managed just 81 yards on 27 carries (3.0 avg.) on Saturday.
The Bear linebackers combined for 34 tackles led by senior Anthony Felder's 12 takedowns. Junior defensive back Syd'Quan Thompson collected five tackles while interception a goal line pass and knocking down three other balls.
In Cal's last trip to Pullman (10/14/06), the Bears posted a 21-3 victory. However, before that, Cal had not won in the Palouse (a nickname for the eastern Washington/north central Idaho area) since 1979 - posting nine losses in that stretch.
From Home Openers to Conference Openers
With its 38-31 win over Michigan State, Cal improved to 70-39-4 all-time in season openers ... head coach Jeff Tedford improved to 5-2 in season lid lifters ... this will be the earliest that Cal has played a conference game since 1993 when Cal opened the season at UCLA (Sept. 4) ... this is the earliest that the Bears have faced Washington State in their series history (closest was on Sept. 7, 1985, a 20-19 loss) ... under Tedford the Bears are 4-2 in road openers and 5-1 in conference openers ... Cal has won its last five conference kickoffs.
Cal-Washington State Series
Jeff Tedford is 3-1 vs. the Cougars during his tenure as Cal head coach since 2002, including three straight wins ... Tedford is 7-1 against the Cougars if you add his tenure as offensive coordinator with the Oregon Ducks from 1998-2001 ... overall, the Bears lead the all-time series with Washington State, 39-25-5, since 1919.
Last Five Meetings with Washington State
11/3/07: W 20-17 (Berkeley) - Justin Forsett has 44-yard run to ice the victory 10/14/06: W 21-3 (Pullman) - Marshawn Lynch rushes for 152 yards, 2 TDs 10/22/05: W: 42-38 (Berkeley) - Joe Ayoob throws TD in final minute to lead Cal 9/28/02: L 38-48 (Berkeley) - Jason Gesser tosses 4 TDs to lead the Cougars 9/22/01: L 20-51 (Pullman) - WSU scores 17 points off of Cal turnovers
Cal-Washington State Connections
Cal senior linebacker Anthony Felder (Seattle) and freshman DT Trevor Guyton (Woodinville) are the only Washington natives on the Golden Bear roster ... defensive coordinator Bob Gregory played defensive back and linebacker at Washington State - he graduated from WSU in 1987 ... offensive line coach Jim Michalczik lettered for three years at guard with the Cougars and earned all-conference and All-America honors his senior season - he graduated from WSU in 1988. San Jose State, 48-21.
Cal Offense Quick Notes
Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen both rushed for 100 yards against Michigan State, the seventh time Jeff Tedford has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game ... Best currently has 30 plays of 10 yards or more for his career (90 total touches) ... Vereen set the school record for rushing yards in a debut with 101 and also set a Cal freshman record for longest run with his 81-yard TD ... Sean Young more than doubled his career catches in the Michigan State game (from three to seven) ... fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou caught his first career touchdown pass with 5:45 left in the MSU game ... Cal is looking for its seventh straight season with a 1,000-yard rusher in 2008 after Justin Forsett ran for 1,546 yards last year ... five starters return on offense from 2007, including center Alex Mack, tackle Mike Tepper, guard Noris Malele, quarterback Nate Longshore and fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou ... Cal has not been shut out in a school-record 108 straight games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999.
Cal Defensive Quick Notes for 2008
Anthony Felder paced the Bears with 12 tackles against Michigan State, his fifth career double-figure tackle outing ... Zack Follett's eight tackles matched his fourth-best career performance ... cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, who has started every game in his career (27 straight), had three pass break-ups and an interception against MSU ... making his first career start, Darian Hagan had career-bests of six tackles and three pass breakups in the MSU win ... Felder (101 tackles) and Worrell Williams (105 tackles) joined graduated safety Thomas DeCoud to give Cal three 100-plus tacklers for the second time in school history (1983) ... the 52 tackles by defensive tackle Tyson Alualu were the most by a defensive lineman at Cal since 2000 ... and led the team with 10 pass breakups in 2007 ... cornerback Chris Conte had 32 tackles, the most by a Cal true freshman since 2002 ... Williams is the fourth-leading returning tackler in the Pac-10 for 2008 ... Cal returns nine starters on defense from 2007 ... the defense led the nation with three fumble-recovery touchdowns in 2007.
Special Teams Quick Notes for 2008
Brett Johnson blocked a Michigan State punt, Cal's first blocked punt since Nu'u Tafisi blocked a Washington State punt in 2006 ... Bryant Nnabuife recovered the punt for a touchdown - the first blocked punt return for a TD since Justin Forsett had one against Washington in 2004 ... redshirt freshman Bryan Anger had three punts of over 50 yards in his debut last Saturday ... true freshman David Seawright was perfect on five PATs and also knocked home his first career field-goal attempt from 26 yards in the second quarter ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in net punting over 2006 and 2007 at 37.9 net yards per punt ... snapper Nick Sundberg, a three-year starter, was perfect on 128-of-129 (99.2%) snaps last year.
After playing just their fifth game in the month of August against Michigan State (Aug. 30), the Bears can now look forward to the month to September where they have posted a 19-5 record under Jeff Tedford, including nine straight wins.
Last year in September
Sept. 29, 2007: W 31-24 (at Oregon)
Sept. 22, 2007: W 45-27 (vs. Arizona)
Sept. 15, 2007: W 42-12 (vs. Louisiana Tech)
Sept. 8, 2007: W 34-28 (at Colorado State)
Sept. 1, 2007: W 45-31 (vs. Tennessee)
Cal-Michigan State: Postscript
Kevin Riley made his second career start and finished 17-of-24 for 202 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions ... Jahvid Best had a career-high 24 carries and recorded a career-long 42-yard reception towards the end of the second quarter ... the contest marked the first time Cal had two running backs go over 100 rushing yards since Justin Forsett (124) and Marshawn Lynch (111) both cracked the century mark vs. Texas A&M in the 2006 Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28, 2006 ... the Bears' defense held one of the nation's elite tailbacks, Javon Ringer, to just 81 yards on 27 carries (3.0 average) ... Sean Young recorded a career long 42-yard reception from Riley in the third quarter which helped set up Cal's second offensive TD of the game ... Syd'Quan Thompson recorded his third career interception at the end of the second quarter to thwart a Spartan scoring drive ... the Michigan State attendance of 62,956 marks the 25th straight home game with over 50,000 fans and the 14th game of 60,000+ fans under head coach Jeff Tedford ... the Golden Bears donned their new look uniforms vs. Michigan State ... since World War II, Cal has sported at least 15 different helmet versions and countless variations on its uniforms ... additionally Cal sported its gold alternate jersey look for the game and improved to a perfect 6-0 in the gold-based outfits (Cal unveiled the gold alternate uniforms in 2006) ... the Golden Bears have now won 23 of their last 27 home games ... Tedford improved to 5-0 against the Big 10 conference.
Sophomore Jahvid Best and redshirt freshman Shane Vereen both rushed for over 100 yards in the win over Michigan State, marking the seventh time in Jeff Tedford's tenure that two backs had broken the century mark in the same game. The last time was the 2006 Holiday Bowl victory against Texas A&M when Justin Forsett tallied 124 yards and Marshawn Lynch collected 111 yards. Forsett and Lynch also had a pair of games in 2005 when both went over 100 yards. In 2004, Lynch and J.J. Arrington both went over 100 rushing yards on two occasions, while Arrington and Adimchinobe Echemandu both hit for 100 once in 2003.
Shane Vereen became just the ninth Cal freshman to rush for over 100 yards in a single game and he is the first Cal freshman in history to turn the trick in his first career game. Vereen, who finished Saturday's win with 101 yards, also had an 81-yard touchdown run to clinch the victory in the fourth quarter. The 81-yard run is the longest by a Cal player since Sept. 4, 2004 when J.J. Arrington broke free for an 89-yard score against Air Force and the longest ever by a Cal freshman. In 1953, sophomore Jerry Drew had a 91-yard run against Penn in his debut game (freshmen were not eligible in 1952) and in 1902, Heine Heitmuller (class information not available) posted a 90-yard gain against the Perris Indians in his first year.
Memorable Bear Tailback Debuts
Shane Vereen, 2008: 9-101 yards, TD (W, 38-31, Mich. State)
Marshawn Lynch, 2004: 7-92 yards, TD (W, 56-14, Air Force)
Russell White, 1990: 16-78 yards, TD (W, 28-12, Wisconsin)
Tim Jenkins, 1988: 20-96 yards (W, 30-7 Pacific)
Vereen: Pontiac Game Changer
After his electrifying 81-yard touchdown run to help ice a 38-31 victory for California over Michigan State, freshman tailback Shane Vereen was nominated for a "Pontiac Game Changing Performance." Fans can log on to pontiac.com/ncaa to vote. Voting ends at midnight on Wednesday. Last season, Anthony Felder was nominated for a Pontiac Game Changing Performance after his interception at Oregon.
In just his second career start as a Golden Bear, Kevin Riley was extremely efficient against a stout Michigan State defense, completing 17-of-24 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore found tight end Cameron Morrah for a four-yard score in the third quarter and then connected with fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou for a five-yard TD in the fourth quarter. For his career, Riley has completed 66 percent of his passes (53-80), while tossing seven touchdowns against one interception. The Oregon product also likes to throw the deep ball -- Riley has thrown 11 passes for 25+ yards in five career games (he was in for one series against Louisiana Tech and Oregon and only attempted a combined three passes).
Riley's Long Balls
8/30/08: Michigan State 42, 42, 26
12/31/07: Air Force 40 (TD), 25, 52, 31
10/13/07: Oregon State 64 (TD), 35, 29, 37
Sophomore signal caller Kevin Riley was instrumental in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State, especially in crucial situations. After MSU trimmed the deficit to 10-7 with 2:30 left in the half, Riley drove the Bears 70 yards down the field in 48 seconds, as Jahvid Best found the endzone to put the Bears up 17-7. After the Spartans cut the lead to 17-14 in the third stanza, Riley responded again and marched Cal 76 yards in eight plays, before hitting Cameron Morrah for a touchdown, putting the Bears up 24-14. When MSU pulled to within three at 24-21, Riley went right back to work and orchestrated a nine-play, 59-yard drive, hitting Will Ta'ufo'ou for a five-yard touchdown, putting Cal up 31-21.
It's OK to be Anger
Opponents may be a little angry this season after freshman punter Bryan Anger enters the game. The Camarillo native booted his first career punt 56 yards, pinning Michigan State on their own 14 yard line (Cal forced a three-and-out and a punt, which was blocked and recovered for a TD). His second punt went even further at 59 yards, backing the Spartans up to their 17-yard line. MSU went three and out in that series as well. Anger finished the game with an average of 48.0 yards per punt, including three inside the 20.
Syd Shuts `Em Down
A starter in every game he has played in a Cal uniform (27 straight games), junior Syd'Quan Thompson was instrumental in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State. He snared his third career interception at the end of the second quarter near the goal line, thwarting a Spartan scoring drive. The Sacramento product also swatted away three passes while adding five tackles. Two of his tackles came on third down plays and forced punts while one pass break-up came on a key third-and-18 play to force a punt as well. Thompson has 15 career pass break-ups - five shy of ninth all-time at Cal.
Morrah! Morrah! Morrah!
Cal tight end Cameron Morrah, who Kevin Riley described as a "stud," nabbed five catches for a team-best 93 yards and a touchdown in the 38-31 win over Michigan State. Morrah caught passes of 11, 50 (career-long) and 26 yards, while the touchdown reception was the third of his career. His five catches are the most by a Cal tight end since Garrett Cross had six grabs against New Mexico State on Sept. 11, 2004.
Best Knows Best
So far so good for sophomore Jahvid Best who was expected to take on a major role in 2008 after recording a break-out rookie season last year as a true freshman. The product of nearby Vallejo rushed a career-best 24 times for a career-high 111 yards and a touchdown in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State. He also added a career-long 42-yard reception against the Spartans. In all, Best had nine plays of 10 or more yards against the Spartans, bringing his career total to 30 plays resulting in 10 or more yards.
In 2007, Best's highlights included a 64-yard touchdown run against Colorado State and a 54-yard kick return against UCLA. He ranked second in the Pac-10 with 27.0 yards per kick return and also established himself as one of the top gunners in the nation - a position he will not return to in 2008 with his increased offensive role. Best missed the final three games of 2007 and 2008 spring workouts with a hip injury, but is back at full strength.
Cal wide receiver Sean Young, in his sixth year with the Golden Bears, made the most of his first career start when he hauled in four catches for 81 yards, including a career-long 42 yard reception in the second quarter helping Cal set up its second offensive touchdown against Michigan State.
A star at Berkeley High School who was ranked among the top players in California in 2002, Young enrolled at Cal and proceeded to battle injuries for five years. He underwent surgeries on both of his feet (severely sprained ligaments in his big toes) during separate years and appeared in a total of 13 games in five years. After discussing his options with his father, the coaching staff and his teammates (including younger brother Eddie, a junior linebacker), Sean applied and received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
3-4 Showcases Linebacker Strength
The California coaching staff changed its base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 to take advantage of its superior talent and depth at linebacker. Recognized among the best linebackers in the nation, the Cal contingent features three returning senior starters in Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams.
Against Michigan State, Felder led the 'backers with 12 tackles - his fourth career double-digit tackle performance, while Follett had eight tackles, including a team-high 1.5 for losses (he led the Bears last season with 12.5 tackles for losses). Williams was also active around the ball, recording four stops and a pass break up.
Junior Eddie Young, who started his first career game against the Spartans, tallied four tackles as well. The rest of the deep Bear linebackers include sophomore Mike Mohamed, who showed his ability in 2007 with 46 takedowns, junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star linebacker Desmond Bishop, sophomore Charles Johnson, redshirt freshman D.J. Holt and true freshman Mychal Kendricks.
Focus on Turnovers
Head coach Jeff Tedford has focused on turnovers as the No. 1 key to football since his arrival in 2002 and for this season, he and his staff have taken it a step further. Every practice in preseason camp featured a turnover circuit with each payer on the team working on drills related to protecting the football, recovering the football and forcing turnovers.
Those tutorials paid off in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State, especially late in the first half when Michigan State drove 69 yards to Cal's 12-yard line with 20 seconds left on the clock. MSU quarterback Brian Hoyer was forced out of the pocket on 1st-and-10 and tried to hit a target in the end zone, but Syd'Quan Thompson made a leaping interception at the five-yard line, preserving a 17-7 Cal lead.
A look at the stats in Tedford's tenure backs up his assertion of the value of turnovers. In his seven years at Cal, the Golden Bears are 27-2 (.931) when winning the turnover battle and 12-18 (.400) when losing that statistical comparison (as well as 12-6 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive, as Cal is 17-1 (.944) when winning the turnover battle and 6-16 (.272) when losing it (7-3 when turnovers are tied). Cal lost the turnover battle in each of its six losses in 2007.
Who is That Guy?
Fans might have been wondering just who was No. 40 for Cal for the opening kickoff against Michigan State. The answer is Giorgio Tavecchio - a freshman from Moraga who joined the Golden Bears midweek during preparation for Michigan State. The 5-8 kicker from Campolindo High School had five kickoffs, netting a total of 257 yards. A native of Italy, Tavecchio joined the team too late to appear in the media guide, the game program and the flip card for the opener.
50,000 Fans Again
The Michigan State attendance of 62,956 marks the 25th straight home game with over 50,000 fans - every home game over the last five years. The game was also the 14th game of 60,000+ fans under head coach Jeff Tedford; Cal had nine 60,000+ games in the 12 years prior to Tedford's arrival.
The Price of Gold Just Went up Again
Cal sported its gold alternate jersey look against Michigan State in the home opener and improved to a perfect 6-0 in the gold-based outfits (Cal unveiled the gold alternate uniforms in 2006).
There were plenty of "firsts" for the Golden Bears in their game vs. Michigan State. Defensively, Eddie Young and Darian Hagan made their first career starts. Young tallied four tackles, while Hagan had six tackles, batted down three balls, and nearly intercepted multiple passes in the fourth quarter. Offensively, Shane Vereen, Mitchell Schwartz, Sean Young and Chris Guarnero made their first career starts. Vereen gobbled up 101 yards rushing, while offensive linemen Schwartz and Guarnero helped pave the way for two 100-yard backs while allowing just one sack. Young hauled in a career-best 81 yards receiving, including a career-long 42 yard reception.
Hidden Offensive Gems
Did you know that California has scored 2,566 points, the second most of any other team in the Pac-10 since 2002? (USC, 3005). Cal also has not been shutout in a school-record 108 consecutive games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999. The Bears have scored 90 total touchdowns at Memorial Stadium since 2004.
Cal continued its impressive record at Memorial Stadium after its 38-31 victory over Michigan State. The Golden Bears have now won 23 of their last 27 home games. Overall, Cal has out-scored opponents 1062-531 in these contests, including 258-145 in the fourth quarter. The only losses suffered in Memorial Stadium were to Oregon State (Oct. 15, 2005 and Oct. 13, 2007) and to USC (Nov. 12, 2005 and Nov. 10, 2007).
The 2008 season marked the first time since 2003 that the Golden Bears were not ranked in the preseason polls - Cal was "Also Receiving Votes" in the AP preseason poll with 59 (28th overall) and No. 32 in the Coaches Preseason Poll. Last year, the Bears entered the season No. 12 in both polls -- Cal's fourth-highest preseason ranking of all-time. Under Jeff Tedford, the Bears have been No. 13 (2004), No. 19 (2005), No. 9 (2006) and No. 12 (2007) in the AP Preseason Polls. Cal was picked No. 4 in the Pac-10 in the preseason media poll for the league.
Early Action Guys
Head coach Jeff Tedford has been very pleased by the performance of many of the newcomers on the squad this year. So far, the Bears have played five newcomers in 2008 -- Bryant Nnabuife (DB), Marvin Jones (WR), Mychal Kendricks (LB), David Seawright (PK) and Robert Mullins (LB). Last year, Cal played four newcomers (true freshman Jahvid Best, Chris Conte and Cameron Jordan and Zach Smith, a transfer from Duke).
Cal's Sean Young (WR) and Eddie Young (LB) are not the only brothers currently starting together on the same college football team this season. For the season opener, eight sets of brothers, including the Youngs, were projected to start together on the same Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division IA) team. Below is the most recent listing of current brothers starting for the same college team.
School: Brothers (Positions)
California: Eddie Young (Jr., LB) and Sean Young (Sr., WR)
Ole Miss: John Jerry (Jr., OL) and Peria Jerry (Sr., DT)
Rutgers: Twin brothers Devin McCourty (Jr., CB) and Jason McCourty (Sr., CB)
San Jose State: Carl Ihenacho (Jr., DE) and Duke Ihenacho (So., LB)
Temple: Twin brothers Elijah Joseph (So., OLB) and Elisha Joseph (So., DT)
Utah State: Twin brothers Caleb Taylor (Sr., FS) and Joshua Taylor (Sr., CB)
Virginia Tech: Cam Martin (Jr., OLB) and Orion Martin (Sr., DE)
Wyoming: Marcell Gipson (So., CB), Tashaun Gipson (Fr., CB)
Talent Is Never Enough
Despite having six players selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Golden Bears slipped to 7-6 during the 2007 campaign. In the midst of a thorough review of the program, Jeff Tedford picked up a book that Athletic Director Sandy Barbour had distributed to all of Cal's head coaches and senior staff members - "Talent Is Never Enough" by John C. Maxwell.
"I started reading it and I found myself highlighting half of pages, or full pages. It was so relevant to what our situation was," Tedford told the Contra Costa Times. "I felt like we needed to spend time on a lot of the things in the book and go back and redefine who we are."
The book focuses on 13 things which affect talent and allow a team to go beyond its talent: Belief, Passion, Initiative, Focus, Preparation, Practice, Perseverance, Courage, Teachability, Character, Relationships, Responsibility and Teamwork.
Running Back Replacements
While replacing running back Justin Forsett and his 1,500+ yards may seem like quite a challenge for the Golden Bears, it has become nearly an annual occurrence for Jeff Tedford and running backs coach Ron Gould. In 2002, senior Joe Igber became Cal's first 1,000-yard rusher in nine years. With his departure, senior Adimchinobe Echemandu stepped into the primary back role and surpassed Igber's rushing total. For 2004, Cal simply handed the ball to J.J. Arrington, who promptly led the nation in rushing with over 2,000 yards on the ground. After Arrington's early departure to the NFL, local product Marshawn Lynch tallied a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and then jumped to the NFL himself, leaving the Bears to rely on Forsett. Prior to his own move to the NFL, the Texas product produced his big year, recording more rushing yards than any other back in Cal history besides Arrington. For 2008, Cal will look to sophomores Jahvid Best and Tracy Slocum and redshirt freshman Shane Vereen to fill the latest void.
We're Men, We Won 40
The Bears won 43 games over five seasons (2002-07). It is the most victories by California over a five-year period since the 1948-1949-1950-1951-1952 teams combined to win 44 games.
The California football team will have a new look for the 2008 season. Head coach Jeff Tedford, the players and the staff worked with Nike to develop an overall new look, which incorporates aspects of the previous uniforms with new stream-lined patterns.
"I think the new look will help us build a new image," Cal senior linebacker Worrell Williams said. "It keeps us up to date and it shows the dedication that our coaches, administration and Nike have to the Cal program. A change in uniform always adds excitement to the team."
Cal, which has changed its uniforms periodically over the years, will still easily be recognized by the script "Cal" logo on the helmets, as it has been in one form or another since 1979. Since World War II, the Bears have sported at least 15 different helmet versions and countless variations on its uniforms. Last year, the Golden Bears battled USC in a driving rainstorm while wearing throwback uniforms, replicas of Cal's 1976 uniforms as a tribute to former Bear All-American Joe Roth.
The Tedford Era
Jeff Tedford, now in his seventh year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another "Golden" Age. The Bears' seven-year record of 51-26 is among the best-ever at Cal.
Era (Years): Record (Pct.) - Highlights
The Wonder Teams (1920-24): 44-0-4 (.958) - Three National Titles
The Thunder Teams (1937-38): 20-1-1 (.932) - One Championship
Pappy's Boys (1947-52): 53-9 (.855) - Three Rose Bowls
The Tedford Era (2002-current): 51-26 (.662) - Five straight bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
Cal had a few new faces in place for the 2008 spring practice slate. A pair of its 2008 signees graduated high school early and enrolled at Cal in January, taking full part in spring drills. Running back Covaughn DeBoskie was a high school All-American for Hamilton HS in Chandler, Ariz., rushing for over 2,000 yards with 42 touchdowns in his last two years. Kendrick Payne is a powerful defensive lineman from Houston, Texas, who was his district's co-MVP after leading Klein Forest High to a 9-2 record. In addition, junior wide receiver Nyan Boateng, a transfer from Florida who sat out last year, was in action this spring and is eligible for the fall. Linebacker Robert Mullins and offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin, who signed in 2007, did not enroll in school until January and participated in spring action as well.
California rallied from a 21-0 deficit behind quarterback Kevin Riley's 269 yards and three touchdowns to defeat Air Force, 42-36 in the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Golden Bears got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when DeSean Jackson made an acrobatic 40-yard grab for Cal's first touchdown. Robert Jordan had an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter, then a 52-yard catch to set up the go-ahead 1-yard TD run by Justin Forsett with 1:33 left in the third quarter. The Bears put the game away on a 21-yard TD run by Forsett on their next drive. Forsett ran for 140 yards and two TDs on 23 carries. Riley was named the Offensive MVP of the game.
Cal Posts Sixth Straight Winning Season
Cal's sixth straight winning season in 2007 marked the first time the Golden Bears have reached that level of consistency since Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52. Since posting the worst record at Cal in 104 years (1-10) in 2001, the Golden Bears hired head coach Jeff Tedford and have rolled to marks of 7-5 (2002), 8-6 (2003), 10-3 (2004), 8-4 (2005), 10-3 (2006) and 7-6 (2007).
In 2007, for the first time in program history, every Cal football game was televised. In Jeff Tedford's six years at the helm of the Bears, 60 Cal football games were televised; in the six years prior to his arrival, 35 Cal games were televised. National television broadcasts have more than doubled in that time.