Aug. 23, 2002
A new era of Cal football opens Saturday, Aug. 31 when new head coach Jeff Tedford will lead his Golden Bear troops onto the Memorial Stadium turf against Baylor.
While Cal may be coming off a 1-10 campaign in 2001, Tedford brings with him a winning attitude from his tenure at Oregon, where he spent the last four years as offensive coordinator. During that stint in Eugene, he helped the Ducks post a Pac-10-best 38-10 mark, including an 11-1 record and No. 2 national ranking last fall.
This season's Bear unit is a veteran group that lists 20 seniors and 11 juniors on the opening two-deep. All but five of the 24 players listed No. 1 on the depth chart possess starting experience, including 10 on the defensive side of the ball and both kickers.
Quarterback Kyle Boller, who has bulked up to 225 pounds (up from 205 pounds last year), leads the offensive attack. Entering his fourth season as Cal's starter, Boller ranks seventh on the Bears' career passing list with 5,165 yards and needs just 17 more to pass Mike Pawlawski (1988-91, 5,181 yards) for sixth place. In addition, tailback Joe Igber, also seventh in rushing with 1,994 yards, has re-claimed his starting role after missing the final four games of 2001 with a fractured clavicle.
The defense features nine seniors in the No. 1 group, headed by end Tully Banta-Cain and rover Nnamdi Asomugha. Banta-Cain ranked second in the Pac-10 with 16.5 tackles for loss last season, including eight quarterback sacks. Asomugha, who has moved from free safety to rover this year, paces all returning players with 134 career tackles. He also picked off a team-high three interceptions in 2001.
Cal and Baylor have played just twice previously, with the Bears from Waco winning both times in Berk eley, 25-0 in 1953 and 7-6 in 1956. The first match-up was a meeting of two Top 20 squads; Baylor entered the contest ranked 20th by the Associated Press and Cal, under head coach Pappy Waldorf, rated 14th. Cal's most recent meetings against Big 12 opponents came against Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Golden Bears lost a pair to the Huskers (45-0 in 1999 and 24-3 in 1998), but swept two from the Sooners (13-12 in '98 and 40-36 in '97).
A Quick Look at Baylor
Baylor opens the 2002 season seeking its first winning record since going 7-4 and tying for second place in the final year of the Southwest Conference in 1995. Under head coach Kevin Steele, the Bears have progressively improved, posting records of 1-10 in 1999, 2-9 in 2000 and 3-8 last fall. All-Big 12 wide receiver Reggie Newhouse leads the 2002 offensive attack. The senior begins the season with career marks of 108 catches and 1,412 yards. On defense, lineman A.C. Collier earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors last year after collecting six sacks and 25 quarterback hurries as a junior.