Aug. 13, 1997
California Football Preseason Media Notes
- Cal Faces Tough Schedule with 9 of 11 Opponents Receiving A.P. Poll Votes
Cal faces one of its most ambitious schedules in several years as the Bears not only face six Pac-10 teams that are ranked in the Top 31 in the opening Associated Press poll, but the Bears will take to the road for two of their three non-conference games. In all, nine of Cal's 11 opponents received votes in the AP poll. Washington, which is picked by three publications (Street & Smith's, Athlon and Inside Sports) to win the national title in 1997, is ranked No. 4 in the AP poll (it's third in the USA Today/CNN opening poll). The Huskies visit Berkeley on October 11. Other Pac-10 teams ranked high by the AP are Stanford at No. 18, USC at No. 22, Arizona St. at No. 27, UCLA at No. 30, Arizona at No. 31 and Washington State at tied for No. 45. Cal's opening opponent Houston received eight votes in the AP poll, which ranked the Cougars at No. 39. Cal did not receive any votes. The only opponents also to be blanked on the pre-season poll are Oklahoma and Louisiana Tech.
- Coaches Excited about Influx of New Talent, But Four Newcomers Have Injuries
With 13 incoming freshmen and 13 JC transfers, it's clear that newcomers should play a big role in Cal's quest for a bowl berth in 1997. Among the 8 JC transfers who came to Cal during the spring, three (Justin Vedder, Keith Miller and James Gibson) are listed as starters entering fall camp. A new influx of talent arrived in Berkeley last week and several of those newcomers could also have a big impact. The most prominent names are a pair of first team 1996 All-Americans, one from the prep ranks and one from the JC legions. Andre Carter, who earned USA Today and Parade All-America honors at Oak Park HS in San Jose last year, is Cal's most heralded recruit since Russell White eight years ago. He has wowed the coaching staff during the handful of workouts thus far. "He's a phenomenon," says defensive line coach Mike Waufle. "He reminds me of Regan Upshaw, but Regan was barely 220 pounds when he came here and Andre is over 240 pounds. Plus he's much farther advanced in terms of understanding technique. He has everything it takes to be a great one." The other headliner is linebacker Albert Dorsey from Long Beach CC. He looks capable of making a strong run at starting duties this fall. Others who have been impressive thus far are quarterback Samuel Clemons, tight end Corey Smith, running back Marcus Fields and fullback Joshua White. A quartet of new players have injuries, including a pair of JC transfers who were expected to challenge for starting duties. Tight end A.J. Kunkle underwent arthoscopic surgery on his right knee last week and is expected to be out three-to-four weeks. Cornerback Drae Harris had surgery for a hernia earlier this week and is also out for the same time period. While both are questionable for the opener at Houston, each should be able to return by the second game on Sept. 20 against Oklahoma. Also injured are incoming freshmen Dewey Hale, who suffered a broken lower leg during the summer, and offensive tackle Doug Styles, who has a shoulder injury. Both are expected to redshirt this fall.
- Bears Have High Visibility with First Three Games on Television
The Cal Football team will be extremely visible during the first month of the season as all three of the team's games in September are scheduled to be televised. The opening game on Sept. 6 at Houston will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net as part of that network's Conference USA package. The game will air at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) which is 12:30 p.m. in California. There remains some question whether it will air on SportsChannel or Bay TV in the Bay Area, due to previous Fox Net contractual arrangements. Cal's home opener against Oklahoma on Sept. 20 will also be aired by Fox Sports Net beginning at 3:30 p.m. (PDT) and again will be aired locally on either SportsChannel or Bay TV. Cal's final September game against USC on the 27th will be aired regionally by ABC-TV throughout the West Coast with a kickoff at 4:00 p.m. (PDT). Cal's game at Arizona on Nov. 15 is also scheduled for airing by Fox Sports Net at 7:00 p.m. (PST), while games against UCLA, Washington and Stanford are under strong consideration for live telecasts. Cal has reached an agreement with SportsChannel to air the Bears fourth game of the season, at Louisiana Tech on Oct. 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The game will actually begin at 5:00 p.m. (PDT), but will be held for telecast until 6:30 p.m. in accordance with Pac-10 regulations.
- Cal and Stanford Join Forces for Gigantic Celebration of 100th Big Game
California and Stanford have joined forces for a season-long celebration leading up to the 100th Anniversary of the Big Game between the two schools on November 22. On Friday (August 15), an ongoing promotion entitled "100 Days of Wonder" begins with KNBR Radio running daily promos on a different player who has made an impact during a Big Game or in other endeavors after his playing days were over. Last week, Cal and Stanford unveiled a dramatic display of Big Game memorabilia at the San Francisco Airport (near the Continental and TWA ticket counters in the south terminal), which has footballs and programs in the first few years of the rivalry in the 1890s, jerseys and other interesting artifacts from the historical series. USA Productions, a group that has produced previous Super Bowl events, has been hired to coordinate pre-game and halftime activities at the game itself. Eighty thousand seat cushions will be given out at the game to all in attendance. A dinner honoring the 15 living Nobel Prize winners at the two schools will be held the week of the game. The night before the game there will be a huge joint auction at the Cow Palace, with prizes such as a custom Mercedes Benz, walk-on parts to several TV shows, and trips all over the world, all expected to generate over $2 million for the school's athletic scholarship funds. There are several other activities that are being coordinated by the sports marketing firms of Andy Dolich & Co. and Pat Saign & Co. in conjunction with the two schools. Both teams are planning to wear historic "throw-back" jerseys from a design the teams wore approximately 50 years ago.
- Cal Family Fun-Fest Set for Sunday, August 24 at 12 Noon
Cal's annual KGO Family Fun-Fest is scheduled for Sunday, August 24 on Kleeberger Field, adjacent to Memorial Stadium. Festivities will begin at 12 noon and run until 3:00 p.m. A free lunch will be served to the first 2,000 in attendance. Players and coaches will be available for an autograph session and pictures. There will be games available for children and KGO will provide trading cards of fans who get their pictures taken at the KGO booth. Parking and admission are free.
- Miscellaneous Notes; Odds and Ends; Three-Dot Data
A half-hour pre-season Cal Football television special will be aired on SportsChannel on Thursday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. and re-aired on Friday, Aug. 29 at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be hosted by Glen Kuiper and have features on head coach Tom Holmoe and assorted Cal players...1997 marks the 75th anniversary of Cal's 1922 Wonder Team under Andy Smith that finished 9-0 and outscored its opponents 398-32...one position change of note is that defensive back Demetrius Stampley has changed to offense and will play wide receiver; he was a standout running back as a prep at Nogales HS...While Tom Holmoe is one of only two first-year coaches in the Pac-10 (along with Mike Riley of Oregon State), there aren't a lot of veteran coaches in the league as Bob Toledo of UCLA has just one year of experience under his belt while Tyrone Willingham of Stanford and Mike Belotti of Oregon have just two years of experience...Brandon Whiting is a candidate for the National Football Foundation Post-Graduate Scholarship Award as he brings a 3.25 GPA into his senior year; Cal defensive back Je'Rod Cherry won an $18,000 scholarship from the National Football Foundation two years ago...Cal and Ohio State are the only two schools in the nation to produce a pair of Top 20 NFL draft choices in each of the last two seasons...the youngest player on the Cal team is freshman defensive lineman Jacob Waasdorp who will not turn 18 until October 18...the oldest player on the Cal team is senior offensive lineman Kursten Sheridan who is 23 years old.
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