Sept. 17, 2008
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2008 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, September 27, 3 p.m. (PT)
California (2-1, 1-0 Pac-10) vs. Colorado State (2-1, 0-0 MWC)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
TV: CSN West. Greg Papa handles play-by-play while former Cal great Mike Pawlawski provides expert analysis and Kym McNicholas provides sideline reports.
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
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 52-27/7th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 2
Series Record: 1-1
First Meeting: 9/6/03, CSU, 23-21
Last Meeting: 9/8/07, Cal, 34-28
Current Streak: Cal win one
Tedford vs. CSU: 1-1
Coming off their first bye week of the season, the California Golden Bears host Colorado State on Saturday at 3 p.m. for their final non-league game of the year. Against Maryland on Sept. 13, Cal had traveled across the country for the 9 a.m. Pacific kickoff and after falling behind early, it proved too much to catch up. Maryland held a 28-6 lead entering the fourth quarter and despite late-game heroics from sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley, the Bears could not erase the deficit.
Riley completed 33-of-58 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns. The 33 completions is a new Cal record while the 58 attempts and 423 yards both rank third all-time for the Bears. The signal-caller's three touchdowns came on Cal's final three drives as he completed 16-of-25 passes for 235 yards.
Cal's receivers had their top performance of the season against Maryland as well, combining for 19 catches and 293 yards after recording 13 receptions for 179 yards in the first two games. Senior LaRyelle Cunningham, who entered the game with 12 career catches, registered 138 yards on seven catches.
Defensively, junior lineman Tyson Alualu matched his career-high with eight tackles and added a sack while senior linebacker Zack Follett stuffed the stat sheet with five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up.
For the season, Cal is averaging 43.7 points per game while allowing 23.0 points. The Bears have tallied 477.7 yards of total offense per game while allowing just 288.7 - including holding opponent to just 2.5 yards per carry.
Sophomore Jahvid Best is averaging 112.0 rushing yards per game while Riley has completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 676 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception. Best also leads the team with 11 receptions while Cunningham's 157 receiving yards are tops on the team. Five different players have touchdown receptions and five different players have rushed for scores as well.
Senior linebacker Anthony Felder paces the club with his 24 tackles with senior linebacker Worrell Williams second with 17 stops. Junior safety Marcus Ezeff and Follett both have 16 takedowns, while Follett leads the team with 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Junior cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson has 13 tackles and team-highs of three interceptions and four pass break-ups.
In special teams action, Best is averaging 29.8 yards per kick return while redshirt freshman punter Bryan Anger has tallied an impressive 44.5 yards per punt and the team has a net punting average of 38.1. True freshman kicker David Seawright is 4-of-5 on field goals and has connected on all 17 of his extra-point attempts.
Cal-Colorado State Round 3
This will be the third time that Cal and Colorado State have hooked up in their series history. The Golden Bears defeated the Rams, 34-28, in Fort Collins last season and fell to CSU, 23-21, in Berkeley in 2003.
Last season, DeSean Jackson gained 141 all-purpose yards, including a 73-yard end around touchdown scamper as the Bears fended off the Rams, who scored two touchdowns 53 seconds apart to turn a 34-14 deficit into a 34-28 nail-biting victory for the Bears in Fort Collins. Jahvid Best also scored on a 64-yard run in the fourth quarter for Cal.
Cal-Colorado State Connections
Four players from Colorado State will be making a return trip to the Bay Area ... juniors Anthony Hartz and Sevaro Johnson are both from Oakland, while freshman Paul Madsen hails from Pleasanton and freshman Jordan Wood is from Daly City ... Cal starting offensive lineman Chris Guarnero is from Arvada, Colo.
Cal Offense Quick Notes
Cal has the 17th-best total offense in the nation (477.6 ypg) and the 12th-best scoring offense (43.6 points per game) ... Jahvid Best ranks second in the Pac-10 and 15th in the nation in rushing yards per game (112.0) ... he also ranks fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (234.7) ... Kevin Riley set a school record with 58 pass attempts against Maryland ... his 423 yards passing were the third-most in a game in school history and the most single game passing yards in the Tedford era ... the 81-yard run by Shane Vereen against Michigan State and the 80-yard TD run by Best on the opening play against Washington State marked the first time in program history that Cal had two 80-yard runs in the same season - Best extended that mark by adding an 86-yard run as well against WSU ... Best and Vereen rushed for 100 yards against Michigan State, the seventh time Jeff Tedford has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game ... 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 ... the Bears' 391 rushing yards at Washington State are a Tedford-era record and the most by a Cal team since 1991 ... Cal's 66 points at WSU were the second-most scored in the Jeff Tedford era and the third-most for Cal since World War II ... the 63-point margin of victory at WSU was Cal's largest since 1922 ... Cal is looking for its seventh straight season with a 1,000-yard rusher after Justin Forsett ran for 1,546 yards last year ... Cal has not been shut out in a school-record 110 straight games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999 ... Cal has scored 2,659 points, the second most of any other team in the Pac-10 since 2002 (USC, 3,040) ... the Bears have scored 90 total touchdowns at Memorial Stadium since 2004.
Cal Defensive Quick Notes for 2008
Cal has the second-best rush defense in the Pac-10 (93.0 ypg) ... cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson is tied for second in the nation (and tops in the league) in interceptions with three, including two against Washington State ... his 108 interception-return yards against WSU were a school record ... he also is tied for the conference lead in pass breakups (4) ... Anthony Felder leads the Bears with 24 tackles this season ... Zack Follett has a team-highs with 4.5 tackles for losses and two sacks ... he had eight tackles against Michigan State, matching his fourth-best career performance ... Tyson Alualu matched his career-high with eight tackles (five solo) while also tallying his fist sack of the season (and the defensive line's first sack of the season) against Maryland ... 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) last season ... the 52 tackles by Alualu last year were the most by a defensive lineman at Cal since 2000 ... Williams is the fourth-leading returning tackler in the Pac-10 for 2008 ... the defense led the nation with three fumble-recovery touchdowns in 2007.
Special Teams Quick Notes for 2008
Bryan Anger ranks 13th in the nation (second in the Pac-10) in punting at 44.5 ypg ... in the first two weeks of the season, Cal turned a blocked kick into seven points on the board ... Rulon Davis blocked a Washington State field goal and Zack Follett scooped the loose ball and returned it 68 yards for his first career touchdown ... in the opener, Brett Johnson blocked a Michigan State punt and Bryant Nnabuife recovered the ball for a touchdown - the first blocked punt return for a TD since Justin Forsett had one against Washington in 2004 ... true freshman David Seawright remains No. 1 in the Pac-10 with a perfect 17-17 on PATs ... he had a career-long 37-yard field goal at Washington State ... 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 in 2007.
It's Best to Just Give Him the Ball
Sophomore Jahvid Best tallied 225 all-purpose yards against Maryland - his third straight game with over 200 all-purpose yards, despite being held to just 25 yards on 10 rushes. He also had five receptions for a career-high 65 yards and four kick returns for 135 yards, including a career-best 54-yard return.
He racked up a career-best 200 yards (14.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns at Washington State. On the first play of the game, he broke a career-best 80-yard touchdown run, then on his final rush, he topped that with an 86-yard scoring rush. Best's 200 rushing yards was the most by a Bear since Justin Forsett had 235 yards vs. New Mexico State in 2005. The sophomore also became the first player since J.J. Arrington in 2004 to open a season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
The product of Vallejo is second in the league and 15th in the nation in rushing yards per game (112.0). He is tops in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards (234.7/gm). He has gained 358 yards on 48 carries this season with four rushing touchdowns, and also has 40 career plays (of 124) resulting in 10 or more yards.
Expected to take on a major role in 2008 after a break-out true freshman season in 2007, Best responded when he rushed a career-high 24 times for a 111 yards and a touchdown in Cal's 38-31 season opening win over Michigan State. He also added a career-long 42-yard reception against the Spartans.
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 with a hip injury.
Kevin Riley finished the Maryland game 33-of-58 for a career-high 423 yards and three touchdowns. His 423 yards passing are the third-most for a game in school history and the most since Pat Barnes set the school record with 503 yards in a four-overtime win over Arizona in 1996. The 58 pass attempts are an individual record for Cal (the previous record was 57 achieved three times, the last by Barnes against UCLA on Oct. 26, 1996) and the 33 completions are tied for the third-most in program history. combining for 19 catches and 293 yards after recording 13 receptions for 179 yards in the first two games.
LC Steps Up
With the Cal receivers beginning to gel each week, senior LaReylle Cunningham stepped up and produced the corps' first 100-yard performance of the season against Maryland. After entering the game against the Terrapins with two receptions for 19 yards on the season, Cunningham tallied career-bests of seven catches and 138 receiving yards. His previous best had been five catches for 112 yards at Washington State on Oct. 22, 2005. He also had a season-best 29-yard reception in the second quarter.
As a group, the Cal receivers entered the Maryland game with 13 receptions for 179 yards in the first two games. Against the Terrapins, the unit had 19 catches and 293 yards.
Syd Snares `Em
Junior Syd'Quan Thompson is fast-developing into a true lockdown corner for the Golden Bears this season. Now in his third season as a starter (29 straight starts, five career INTs, 16 career PBUs), the junior is tops in the Pac-10 with three interceptions. He picked off two passes against Washington State, becoming the first Cal player since Daymeion Hughes in 2006 to have two interceptions in a game. He returned the second INT 90 yards (fifth-longest in Cal history) to set up a five-yard TD. Overall, he set a school-record with 108 interception return yards.
He was also instrumental in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State. He intercepted a pass 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.
A Dash of Vereen Goes a Long Way
While Jahvid Best has received the bulk of the attention, redshirt freshman Shane Vereen solidifies Cal's 1-2 punch in the backfield. For the season, Vereen has racked up 204 yards on 23 carries (8.9 average) and two touchdowns. His rushing scores came on an 81-yard burst to ice the Bears' victory against Michigan State and a 39-yard tackle-breaking score against Washington State.
In the opener, Vereen became the first Cal freshman in history to rush for over 100 yards in a single game and just the ninth freshman overall to break 100 yards on the ground. His 81-yard touchdown run is the longest run 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.
Lightning and Lightning
While many teams with two talented backs employ them in a "Thunder and Lightning" style attack, the 2008 Golden Bears are using sophomore Jahvid Best and freshman Shane Vereen in more of a "Lightning and Lightning" attack, as described by former Cal quarterback and current tv analyst Mike Pawlawski. In three games, the tandem of Best and Vereen have amassed 540 yards and six touchdowns and they have tallied three 80-yard runs between them. Best won the California High School State Championship in the 100-meter dash in 2007 with a time of 10.31 seconds, while Vereen's top 100 time was "only" 10.4 seconds.
I Love the 80s
The tailback duo of Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen are dazzling on the field and on the Cal record books. After Vereen's 81-yard touchdown run against Michigan State, Best logged an 80-yard touchdown run at Washington State to mark the first time in program history that Cal had two 80-yard runs in the same season. Best's 86-yard TD rush later in the WSU game extended that record, while obviously marking the first time two 80-yard runs had happened in the same game.
Best and 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.
Mack and the Ground Hogs
Senior center Alex Mack continues to anchor Cal's offensive line - for the third consecutive season. Since Mack stepped into the starting center role for the 2006 opener, Cal has allowed just 30 sacks in 29 games, the third-best mark in the country in that time. And this year, the o-line is opening up some major holes for its running attack. Against Washington State in its 66-3 win, Cal tallied the most rushing yards (391) in the Tedford-era at Cal and the most by a Bear team since the 1991 season.
Cal fell out of the top 25 polls this week following their 35-27 loss at Maryland. Cal was ranked No. 23 entering its matchup with the Terrapins - the first time the Bears had been in the top 25 since Nov. 3 of last season when it was ranked No. 24.
The 2008 season marked the first time since 2003 that the 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.
September Scoring Sweepstakes
After putting up 66 points on the road against conference foe Washington State, California is now averaging 38.96 points per game (974 points/25 games) in the month of September since Jeff Tedford took over as head coach in 2002.
Kevin Riley's 423 yards passing were a career-high and the third-most for a game in school history and the most yards thrown by a quarterback in the Tedford era ... Riley's 58 passing attempts was a school record and his 33 completions tied for the third most in school history ... LaReyelle Cunningham had a career-high with seven receptions for a career-high 138 yards ... it was the second career 100-yard game for Cunningham and the first time a Cal receiver topped the century mark in 2008 ... Darian Hagan recorded his first career forced fumble (Zack Follett's recovery was the third of his career) in the second quarter ... Follett registered his ninth career forced fumble (Keith Browner, first career fumble recovery) in the third quarter ... Jahvid Best tied his career-long with a 54-yard kickoff return in the first quarter ... Syd'Quan Thompson registered his first career sack in the second quarter and recorded his fourth pass break-up of the season in the first quarter ... Jeremy Ross had his first career rush go for 13 yards in the second quarter ... Tyson Alualu matched his career-high with eight tackles and tallied his first sack of the season in the second quarter ... Bryan Anger recorded a career-long 63-yard punt in the second quarter ... Marvin Jones and Tad Smith recorded their first career receptions in the fourth quarter ... Cameron Morrah hauled in his second touchdown of the season (fourth of his career) in the fourth quarter ... Smith and Verran Tucker recorded their first career touchdowns in the fourth quarter - both on their first career catches ... the five sacks allowed by the Bears were their most since also giving up five against Arizona on Oct. 1, 2005 ... the loss snapped Cal's 10-game winning streak in the month of September ... Cal fell to 3-7 in its last 10 trips to the East Coast.
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.
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 28-3 (.903) 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 18-1 (.947) 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.
In his first year as the starting quarterback, Kevin Riley ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (136.0) while his six passing touchdowns are tied for the third-most in the conference. For his career, Riley has completed 60.5 percent of his passes (92-152), while tossing 11 touchdowns against two interceptions.
The Oregon product also likes to throw the deep ball -- Riley has thrown 15 passes for 25+ yards in seven career games (he was in for one series against Louisiana Tech and Oregon and only attempted a combined three passes).
Riley's Long Balls
9/13/08 Maryland 29, 29, 27, 34
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
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.
Felder, who leads the team with 24 tackles, led the 'backers with eight tackles against Maryland. He also tallied 12 stops against Michigan State - his fourth career double-digit tackle performance. Follett had another busy day for the Bears against Maryland as he had five tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a pass breakup, bringing his total tackles for losses to 4.5 for the season. He needs three more tackles for losses to rank tenth in program history in that category. Williams has been active around the ball all season, recording 17 stops (second on the team), two tackles for losses and a pass break up.
Other Bear 'Backers have contributed as well in 2008. Junior Eddie Young, who started his first career game against Michigan State, has 10 tackles on the young season. Sophomore Mike Mohamed led Cal with seven tackles (1.5 for losses) at Washington State. Junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star linebacker Desmond Bishop, has four tackles, while sophomore Charles Johnson (six total tackles), redshirt freshman D.J. Holt (six total tackles) and true freshman Mychal Kendricks (six tackles, and recorded his first career sack at Washington State) all are contributing as well.
Cal continued its impressive record at Memorial Stadium with 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).
50,000 Fans Again
The Michigan State attendance of 62,956 marked 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.
Opponents may be a little angry this season after freshman punter Bryan Anger enters the game. The Camarillo native, who ranks 13th in the nation in punting average (44.54), 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.
In his third career game against Maryland, Anger had four punts travel 189 yards for a 47.2 yard average. He is second in the Pac-10 in punting average and the Bears are second in the league in net punting at 38.1.
Youth is Served
Offensive linemen Alex Mack and Noris Malele are the odd men out when it comes to the youth movement on offense for the Golden Bears. The two elder statesmen have a combined 55 starts on the o-line, while the rest have a combined nine starts. Still, the o-line has given up just six sacks and has paved the way for 632 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns this season. Defensively there are fewer first time starters, with most of the experience coming from the linebackers and secondary. Syd'Quan Thompson, who has the most starts of anyone on defense, leads the team with three interceptions.
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 nine newcomers in 2008 -- Anthony Miller (TE), Donovan Edwards (OL), Bryant Nnabuife (DB), Marvin Jones (WR), Mychal Kendricks (LB), David Seawright (PK), Kendrick Payne (DT), Giorgio Tavecchio (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 wide receiver Sean Young added another memorable moment in his sixth year with the Golden Bears when he caught his first career touchdown in the first quarter at Washington State. He finished the game with 23 yards on two catches.
In the season opener against Michigan State, Young 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.
For the season, Young has seven grabs for 108 yards and a touchdown. He had entered the season with three catches for 27 yards for his career.
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.
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 has 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 52-27 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): 52-27 (.657) - 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 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). Cal has not posted seven straight winning season since Andy Smith's Wonder Teams registered eight straight winning years from 1918-25.
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.