Sept. 14, 1999
Berkeley - The Cal defense suffered a major blow today when it was learned that senior linebacker Matt Beck suffered a serious foot sprain in the first half of the Nebraska game and would be lost to the team for a significant amount of time.
Beck, who is Cal's 10th leading career tackler and tied for 3rd on the school's career tackles for loss list, suffered the injury on a cut block near the line of scrimmage in Saturday's game at Nebraska.
Examinations by the Cal medical staff confirm the serious nature of the injury. An appointment with an orthopedic specialist is scheduled on Thursday morning of this week.
However, head coach Tom Holmoe said he expects Beck to be "out for several weeks at a minimum, possibly for the entire season depending on the extent of ligament damage.
"It's very disappointing for Matt as I know how much this senior year meant to him. As a program, we'll need to have somebody come in and replace him without missing a beat. It's a shame, but I know our defense will bounce back."
Beck had eight tackles in the season opener against Rutgers, but did not make a tackle last week against Nebraska. He currently has 238 career tackles, including 48 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Counting the two games this season, he has started 31 games in his Cal career.
Holmoe indicated the coaching staff was considering several options in determining Beck's replacement in the starting line-up. Among those who will contend for that spot are Juan Jimenez, who played the bulk of the game at Nebraska, sophomore Jamaal Cherry and redshirt-freshman Matt Nixon.
With a bye week scheduled this Saturday, the staff will have additional practice time to determine how best to fill the void left by Beck.
Holmoe also indicated on Tuesday that LaShaun Ward and Deltha O'Neal would see more time at the receiver position during the Pac-10 opener vs. Arizona State on Sept. 25, and that freshman tailback Joe Igber could see more playing time. "We have to find more ways to get him on the field, because something exciting seems to happen everytime he touches the football," said Holmoe.