GameDay CAL V. WASHINGTON
saturday, november 27, 2010
Husky Challenge: Cal tries to salvage
bowl eligibility against Washington. prepares for Oregon’s dizzying offensive attack. page 2 Don’t Mess With Texas: Josh Hill and Kendrick Payne have emerged as two tough defenders. page 5
PHOTOS AND ILLUSTRATION BY EVAN WALBRIDGE
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Daily Californian GAMEDAY
Nothing Husky About This Matchup Katie Dowd
Bears and Huskies Battle for Bowl Eligibility by Jack Wang
Daily Cal Staff Writer After the Cal football team’s second Big Game loss in nine years — and at 48-14, its worst in 80 years — one reporter asked if the Bears would have trouble bringing the same level of energy out for this Saturday’s regular season finale against Washington. “So you’re asking are we going to be motivated? We’re not going to be motivated to play next week?” coach Jeff Tedford responded indignantly. “This is a big game, but next week is a huge game as well.” Huge because Cal (5-6, 3-5 in the Pac-10) will need one last win at old Memorial Stadium to qualify for even the most nondescript bowl game — perhaps the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl or the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The fact that the 12:30 p.m. kickoff against the dismal Huskies (4-6, 3-4) is so important is a sign of just how offtrack the Bears have gone this season.
This has been the most trying season for Jeff Tedford during his time at Berkeley. The blue and gold faithful have seen letdowns before, but not quite like this. Cal hasn’t just lost on the road — it’s been torn to shreds. Nevada. USC. Oregon State. Even among that laundry list of losses, it is the latest home embarrassment that marks the pit of the season. With about a fifth of the crowd outfitted in red, it was Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, not Berkeley’s reputed quarterback guru, who had Andrew Luck looking like a future Pro Bowler. Cal likely won’t get much help from its fans. Memorial Stadium will open up for one last game before its longawaited renovations force the team to San Francisco’s AT&T Park. It will try to sustain a 43-game attendance streak of at least 50,000, but the Thanksgiving weekend makes those chances unlikely, to say the least. But a promising sign for the Bears shot at a win — other than the fact that it will get to stay in Strawberry Canyon
— is the fact that Washington may be the only Pac-10 team ringing in a more disappointing year. It needs not only a win this Saturday, but another at Washington State a week later to keep its postseason hopes alive. Huskies quarterback Jake Locker, who would have been a near-lock to go first overall in April’s NFL Draft, has battled through a broken rib, but his numbers have suffered. He’ll probably still go in the first round, but his decision to return cost him millions in guaranteed money. A Washington squad that was predicted to be on the up-and-up has suffered in step. With a less-than-stellar defense, Locker is still the only one who truly guides the Huskies’ fortunes. In its four wins, the Ferndale, Wash., native has thrown 10 touchdowns to two interceptions. In six losses, the numbers flip to four passing scores and five picks. Of course, his Cal counterpart has not exactly struck fear in the hearts of opponents. Junior Brock Mansion, who
now has three starts under his belt, is completing less than 50 percent of his passes. He’s only tossed two scores and has four interceptions in roughly four games of action. In his first Big Game, he fumbled on two of his first three snaps — losing the second to set up the Cardinal’s first three points. What little offense the Bears’ mustered was due more to freshman wideout Keenan Allen. On a fourth-quarter direct snap, he scrambled back and forth across the field before tossing a touchdown to Marvin Jones to prevent the shutout. It’s unsure if he’ll play as big of a role against the Huskies; Tedford denied specifically trying to get the ball into Allen’s hands. “It just happened that way,” he said. “The reads took us there.” Regardless, the players are confident they’ll extend Tedford’s bowl streak to eight — he hasn’t missed one since his
>> Preview: Page 3
>> Dowd: Page 7
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Shane Vereen enters his last home game at Memorial Stadium. The Cal running back is now among the school’s career leaders in rushing yards, touchdowns and all-purpose yards.
o the media and in the locker room, I can almost guarantee the Cal football team has said one phrase more than any other over the past week: “This is the most important game of the year.” For the team, it is. End Thanksgiving break with a loss, and it’s good night Bears. No postseason. No final victory in Memorial Stadium before a year in San Francisco. No feel-good ending in any way. For the fans, though, this game couldn’t matter less. There is no “most important game of the year” for a team that may not finish above .500. The most important games have already been played. And they lost them. Last week the Bears didn’t just flop in one of the most lopsided Big Games in its 113-year history. In the process, they played themselves out of relevance. You’ll be able to count the fans on each bench in Memorial this Saturday, and that’s not just because of this game’s unfortunate scheduling. Even steady, loyal fans are being tested by this season. And if your choice is between eating turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwiches while watching LSU-Arkansas and freezing in Berkeley as two mediocre squads battle for a crap bowl game that no one will watch? No one blames you for taking the option that sounds like a good time. Because college football is supposed to be fun. This isn’t fun; it’s torture. Who wants to watch a team that can be as uninspired as the Bears? All teams come out flat once and a while. Cal has managed to come out flat over and over again. The Oregon game only seems more bitter now because of how little Cal brought to the Stanford game. This squad doesn’t lose games. It crushes your will to witness them. Yes, the Bears will probably beat the Huskies. Washington’s defense is bad, and Cal’s is generally pretty good at home. But at the end of the day, will that really make 2010 a success? Will a trip to the MAACO Bowl make you feel warm and fuzzy when you remember this season? If it does, then you’re as easily appeased as Neville Chamberlain.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Daily Californian
Might as well
Hunch and prepare to tackle Jeremy Ross at your own peril. He’ll be a mile above your head. by Ed Yevelev
Daily Cal Staff Writer
CLA’s Rahim Moore, USC’s Cary Harris and Oregon State’s Jordan Jenkins all have something in common. All three players once tried to tackle Jeremy Ross. All three lunged for his legs. And all three ended up playing the role of high hurdle. Cal’s senior wide receiver insists he doesn’t play much Madden these days -- he describes himself as a movie freak, with ‘Hook’ and ‘Bad Boys’ being on the top of the list. But you’re not so sure after seeing Ross hit the proverbial ‘Y’ button to go airborne, game after game. (He even keeps track, estimating 15 hurdles in all.) “Its kind of become his move … a tool that he has, and he’s done a great job of it” wide receivers coach Kevin Daft says. He makes sure to add: “It’s not something we really teach, you know.” f the maneuver appears second nature to Ross, that’s because it is. “It was a just a quick decision,” he says, “pure off of instinct.” Yet he didn’t always carry the reputation of a high flyer. Emulating the likes of Adrian Peterson, he was a physical, down-the-line running back throughout his first two years at Elk Grove’s Laguna Creek High School. Ross relished the opportunity to create plays with the ball early and often, though you usually saw him charge through — and not over — would-be tacklers.
>> Ross: Page 7
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Preview: Tedford Has Never Had a Losing Year from Page 2
inaugural year at the program helm. “We are motivated. The character of this team is never going to be to lay down,” safety Sean Cattouse said. “We are going to come back. We are going to have a great week of practice. We are going to win that game, and we are going to go to a bowl game.” The Bears hope to knock off the Huskies after an embarrassing 42-10
defeat last season that came on the heels of the thrilling 2009 Big Game victory. Despite its 4-6 record, Washington is not incapable of a big road victory. Placekicker Erik Folk keyed an upset 32-31 victory over USC at the Coliseum earlier in the season, the team’s second consecutive win over the Trojans. Jack Wang covers football. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, November 27, 2010 by Jack Wang
Daily Cal Staff Writer
wenty million eyes watched as Colt McCoy landed on a pile of burnt orange and crimson red, projecting hopes and dreams too heavy for the Texas quarterback’s right arm to bear as it hung limp in the cool January air. Two were fixed intently from a couch in Plano, Texas, over 1,400 miles east of the BCS Championship in Pasadena. Cal quarterback Brock Mansion, then still treading
The Daily Californian GAMEDAY at third-string, flashed back to the day he turned down Mack Brown for a school he’d known almost nothing about. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I could be playing in the national championship right now.’” Ten months later, it was Kevin Riley whose collegiate career ended, Oregon State haunting him one last time as he hit the Corvallis turf. This time, Mansion was thrown into the game after less than a week as the official backup. It was loud that Saturday, he remembers.
“I didn’t even know he was hurt at first because I was watching the play progress,” Mansion says. “All of a sudden I got three or four hands on my shoulders, whipping me around. I’m like ‘What? Oh, okay.’ No time to think about what was going on at all. Just kind of complete shock. It was like direct tunnel vision to the center ... “I didn’t even realize I played until like Monday morning after when we watched the film.” his isn’t a Cinderella story. In four games of action, Mansion has completed less than half his passes
and doesn’t own a meaningful touchdown. He’s been victimized by Oregon and Stanford — which, admittedly, are two of the best teams in the country. There’s no feel-good ending in sight because Brock Mansion, three starts into his career, has not looked like a good quarterback. He’s shown glimpses of what could be. He has a cannon of an arm, if not the touch to fully control it. He can scramble out of broken plays, even if he’s sometimes hesitant about when he should or shouldn’t tuck and run.
>> mansion: Page 7
One year removed from being third-string QB, Brock Mansion looks to lead the Cal offense.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Daily Californian
T e x a s T wo - Ste p A long way from their Houston home, Kendrick Payne and Josh Hill now make plays at Cal. by Christina Jones
and Jonathan Kuperberg
osh Hill wouldn’t be at Cal if not for Kendrick Payne. When Cal was recruiting Payne, Hill entered the Bears’ radar at Payne’s mention. Now, the Texas tandem has combined for 18 starts for the Cal defense. “I knew in high school Josh was always a smart player, always was one of the guys I looked to in the secondary who I knew would come with it every week,” Payne says. “Anybody like that you want to bring ‘em with you and you always want to play with ‘em.” It was more than just a teammate Payne wanted to bring with him to
Berkeley. It was a piece of home. Payne, a nose tackle, transferred from a different district to enter Klein Forest High in Houston, Texas, and Hill took to him instantly. When they weren’t at school or on the field, the two were at each other’s houses, mingling with each other’s families. “It’s been a nice little friendship since high school,” Hill says. “We’ve been cool, just staying connected. We knew we could do great things.” While the Klein Forest team fell short of making it to the championship-level squad Hill and Payne yearned for it to be, the two now play at the highest level of college football. Payne, was able to make it to the next stage first. Having kept a careful tally of
his units, he graduated a semester early to enroll at Cal and take part in spring practices. Hill, a defensive back, may have helped Payne adjust to high school, but Payne returned the favor to get his comrade up to speed in college. The communication didn’t start when Hill stepped on the Cal campus, but rather when Payne was first immersed in the world of collegiate academics and football in the spring. “He was telling me how it was, his chances of playing, the chances of me coming and playing,” Hill says. “He just told me how different it was, what I should kind of look for, being an outsider, everybody kind of looking at me because I’m a boy from Houston or
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whatever.” After all, Berkeley and Houston are not exactly mirror municipalities. About 2,000 miles may separate the cities, but it can seem like there’s a whole universe in between the two. “Berkeley is its own world,” Hill says. “It’s good because you see a different side of the world. But you always like your home and the people that you grew up with and all that.” The distance from their families was difficult, but they had the stability of their relationship to rely on every day. Just as in high school, the majority of those days were spent together. Between practicing, watching film, working out and enjoying down time, Hill and Payne would log more hours together in Berke-
ley than in Houston. “We just kind of got closer,” Hill says. “We’re the only two out here from the same area, so you know, gotta stay together and talk about the good ol’ days.” Their unassuming natures don’t stop them from flashing their more playful sides with teammates. “They’re characters,” senior Derrick Hill says. “We’re always with KP, but when we get with Josh and KP, they’re some funny characters together.” But the similarities between the two don’t end there. In the classroom, both Payne and Hill are considering majoring in social welfare. They are driven not only as students of the game and but also as
>> Hill & Payne: Page 7
The Daily Californian GAMEDAY
Saturday, November 27, 2010
“Having that guy on the other side of me is glorious,” receiver Marvin Jones said. “I can’t put into words how appreciative and happy I am.” Cal, meet Keenan Allen. He’ll be here all year — and maybe a couple more. The five-star recruit ripped off 176 all-purpose yards in his collegiate debut, making Aggies look like Pop Warner kids. The Greensboro, N.C., native almost smashed DeSean Jackson’s freshman receiving record. The mark would’ve come on a long, YouTube-worthy catch that bounced out of his arms as he hit the ground. Allen hasn’t matched his performance yet, but his dynamic skill set should give the Bears a devastating weapon for another season or two. —Jack Wang
“It was a whole team effort,” linebacker Jarred Price said. “The coaches preached all week about getting to the quarterback and bringing him down. They were hyping him up, saying he was a first-round draft pick, so I wanted to put him to the test to see if he was really worthy.” That was the moment when new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s defense arrived. Price added two sacks to the team’s total of six on a day that had to rank among Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen’s worst. In addition to spending much of his afternoon on the ground, Hansen threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. His counterpart, Kevin Riley, threw four touchdowns in the Bears’ romp. —Katie Dowd
“It isn’t quite to the Reno stage yet,” Tedford said of UCLA’s offense. Understatement of the day, indeed. After being torched by Colin Kaepernick and company in Nevada, Cal’s defense feasted the Bruins’ squirtgun version of the pistol. No play was more emblematic of the Bears’ dominance than Mychal Kendricks emphatically lifting up tailback Derrick Coleman and depositing him to the turf. Cal took advantage of UCLA miscues to get on the board early and never looked back at Memorial Stadium The 28-0 advantage forced Kevin Prince to throw 33 times … not the best of signs for Rick Neuheisel and company. People expected a game because of UCLA’s surprise defeat of Texas. Nope. —Ed Yevelev
Cal 52 UC Davis 3
Cal 52 Colorado 7
Cal 35 UCLA 7
“They ran it right at us with Vereen,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “Cal, when they can run the football … can run their play action fake stuff with Riley and they made some plays. It was ugly.” After an embarrassing loss to USC the week before, Cal came back with a vengeance over hapless Arizona State. The wide receivers put on a show at Memorial Stadium—freshman Keenan Allen hauled in a touchdown and junior Marvin Jones had four catches for 110 yards. Workhorse tailback Shane Vereen added two TDs on the ground. The defense feasted on Sun Devils’ quarterback Steven Threet, sacking him twice and forcing three picks. It was the Bears’ last complete effort of the year. —Katie Dowd
“I probably looked at the sideline two or the times to see what we we’re doing,” Brock Mansion said. “All of a sudden, it’s still going, it’s still going.” The junior quarterback was referring to a fourth quarter scrum on 3rdand-20, out of which Jeremy Ross emerged for crucial a first down. Mansion could have easily been talking about Cal’s road woes, which nearly continued in Pullman. Instead, his senior receiver churned out eight extra yards to set up the team’s game-clinching touchdown against lowly Washington. Ross’ heroics spared Cal the humiliation of losing to Pac-10 cellar dweller, and secured the Bears’ lone road win of 2010. Perhaps this should have gone in the Hyde section given the struggles. —Ed Yevelev
“Oregon knows what’s up,” Mychal Kendricks told reporters after the game. It was a verbal jab, certainly, but one that the Bears backed up on the football field. Infused with confidence at Memorial Stadium, Kendricks and the rest of Cal’s defense solved and shut down the Ducks’ high-powered attack. Despite playing without their top two corners for half the game, the Bears surrendered just 317 yards of offense and a single offensive touchdown to a club that came into the contest averaging over 50 points per game. Ultimately, a sputtering offense and a pair of special teams blunders denied Cal the upset. However, the Bears gave the country a blueprint for success. —Ed Yevelev
Cal 50 Arizona state 17
“The quarterback has been playing in it for a long time and is excellent at what he does,” Jeff Tedford said of Colin Kaepernick. It was the diplomatic way of saying “We had absolutely no answer for this guy.” Nevada’s dual-threat signal-caller triggered the Wolf Pack’s pistol attack to perfection, accounting for 329 total yards and five total touchdowns in the Friday night affair. And despite the best efforts of Shane Vereen and Marvin Jones, the Bears did not have enough fire power to keep up. After the final whistle sounded in Reno, Cal’s defense had given the program’s largest total in eight years and the Bears suffered another defeat as a ranked squad. —Ed Yevelev
“I’ve never been part of a football game that hurts more than this game,” safety Chris Conte said. “Not in my life, ever. This is the worst I’ve ever felt after a game.” Conte struggled to fight back tears as he stood outside the locker room at Arizona Stadium, his voice cracking as jubilant Wildcat fans stormed past him. Those are the two sides of last-second decisions, and for the Cal football team, it was the heartbreaker of the season. The Bears defense had held stout for nearly the entire game, but a 9-3 lead couldn’t withstand Nick Foles’ late heroics. A 51-yard bomb followed by a touchdown strike to Juron Criner with just over a minute left sealed Cal’s fate. —Jack Wang
Nevada 52 Cal 31
Cal 20 Washington st. 13
Oregon 15 Cal 13
Arizona 10 Cal 9
“I was really proud of our kids in the second half …” coach Jeff Tedford said. “They came back and won the second half.” There wasn’t much else for the Cal football team to take solace in after USC stomped it into the largest halftime deficit in school history. Matt Barkley threw five touchdowns in the first half alone, tying a Trojan record while building an insurmountable 42-0 lead. Kevin Riley didn’t have a chance, even against a pass defense that was among the nation’s worst entering the game. The Bears’ offensive line was penetrated relentlessly, giving Cal’s senior quarterback little to no time to get rid of the ball. He finished his career against USC 34-of-85. —Jack Wang
“We didn’t protect the passer very well. We didn’t block very well,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “Too many penalties. Just a poor effort.” This may go down as the seminal game of 2010 for the Bears. It was, of course, the last game of senior quarterback Kevin Riley’s Cal career. When Riley crumpled under Beaver defensive lineman Brennan Olander, the season changed irreparably. With Riley still at the helm, a win over No. 1 Oregon might have come back in reach. Additionally, the blowout loss, Cal’s third on the road, solidified the trend that lasted the duration of the regular season—flat, uninspired road play. That will probably be the enduring legacy of this squad. —Katie Dowd
“I just try to go out there and give it my all,” wide receiver Keenan Allen said. “But when we lose, I feel like I did it for no reason.” Any year with a losing record can be salvaged with a Big Game victory. This edition wasn’t even competitive. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck sliced and diced the Cal defense, and the Bears’ Brock Mansion-helmed offense stagnated in the most lopsided loss by Cal in the Big Game since 1930. Luck finished the game with 235 passing yards and a team-high in rushing yards too. Mansion barely completed half of his pass attempts. The lone highlight was Allen’s touchdown pass to Marvin Jones — the most exciting offensive play from Cal over the last few games. —Katie Dowd
USC 48 Cal 14
Oregon state 35 Cal 7
Stanford 48 Cal 14
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Daily Californian
ROSS: A Wide Receiver
mansion: Quarterback Remains Enthusiastic from page 4
There is also a constant, guileless enthusiasm about him, one that’s likely helped him endure those ups and downs through the depth chart. Words tumble out of his mouth quickly, soaked with the infectious effusiveness of Pop Warner kids. You can’t help but like him, to root for him even if you know better. “I’ve got a picture of him when he was in third grade putting his football uniform on for the first time,” says his father, Hans. “You know, putting the helmet on, his pads and standing out in front of the house to take his picture with his uniform on. And he just thought that was the best thing, getting that helmet and everything. Had the biggest smile on his face. “I wish I could show you that picture.” That uniform doesn’t fit him anymore, although the smile still does. he junior now stands at a statuesque 6-foot-6, his 232 pounds wrapped around his frame as if the football gods crafted him to be QB1. A three-sport high school athlete— football, basketball, baseball — he was gifted with tailor-made genes. The son of a Texas Tech tight end, the grandson of a German Olympic soccer player. Even as a child, he was always bigger than everyone else. And so the letters poured in, littered with names of big-time powerhouses. Texas. Oklahoma. Alabama. Ole Miss. Wisconsin. The Bears? He didn’t even know they played in the Pac-10. “I didn’t know anything about Cal, to tell you the truth,” Mansion says. “I had no idea there was a Big Game, like the Big Game … That clip you always see on ESPN of the Play, it never rang bells that that was Cal. So when I came out here, I just had a huge, like, ‘Wow, whoa, I had no idea!’” He took a visit because, hey, he’d never been to California before. And so there he was, standing by the west wall at the top Memorial Stadium, one of the greatest vantage points on this side of the bay’s blue waters. The region’s full splendors are laid out here like a gourmet spread — the Campanile to whet your appetite, the San Francisco skyline the hearty main dish, the rolling hills of Marin County the sweet dessert. “One of the coolest things ever,” he calls it. “He wasn’t off that plane an hour before he was telling Jeff (Tedford), ‘I’m staying, I’m coming here,’” his father says. “He called me on the phone and I could hear him hooping, hollering back there.” A later push from the Longhorns
which had just been spurned — by John Brantley, now the starting quarterback at Florida — was rebuffed. Mansion had no plans to renege on his word. But even those breathtaking views can hold some stomach-turning surprises. And for Mansion, the dark clouds weren’t far off. His father, who convinced him to transfer high schools for a more passheavy offense, drew up a blueprint for him as he headed west. “He’d go in there with the mentality like, ‘You’re the guy. From the first day,’” he says. “What he doesn’t know is the freshmen don’t get reps in fall camp. So like, ‘Yeah, Dad. I’m acting like the guy. Just don’t have any reps.’” He enjoyed his scout-team run nonetheless, soaking in the simple opportunity to throw the football. The following fall, he had what he thought was one of his best fall camps. That was 2009, when Riley earned his first full year as the starter. The disappointment likely carrying over, Mansion dropped behind now-sophomore Beau Sweeney to third-string. He stayed there for the better part of the next year. “I stuck with it. I prepared as much as I could, but there was just something that wasn’t there,” Mansion says. “And then I got moved down to No. 3, I was just like, ‘Oh man, wow. This is a pretty humbling experience.’” He describes his quick turnaround into the starting spot as “just the reverse.” t’s been a long time since Cal has sent a quarterback off gracefully. Joe Ayoob could barely fit into half of Aaron Rodgers’ shoes before being ushered out the door. Nate Longshore filed in one brilliant season before a bone spur and jeering fans sank him. And in Kevin Riley, Mansion follows perhaps the most maligned figure in recent program history. There aren’t many shots left to make an impression. Next spring, Berkeley will open up its most unpredictable quarterback competition yet, and he’ll fight to avoid the fate of his predecessors. He welcomes it, in part because he hasn’t known life here any other way. “You’re always on your toes, you’re always cautious, you’re always absorbing things, making sure you’re sharp,” he says. “I wouldn’t want anything else, especially since I’ve never had a fall camp or spring where I haven’t been competing.” Maybe he’ll win in the end. Maybe he won’t.
Jack Wang covers football. Contact him at email@example.com.
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With a Runner’s Mind
from Page 3
Kendrick Payne and Josh Hill are two of three Houston natives on the Cal roster. Both lightly recruited out of Klein Forest High, they have shot up the depth chart and have received significant playing time on the defense despite being just sophomores.
HILL & PAYNE: Houston Duo Adept at Studying Film from Page 5
students in the classroom. “(Payne) made it clear that he wanted to success on and off the field – he had a lot of places recruiting him – and attend a university that offered both academics and good football,” says Tosh Lupoi, the Bears’ defensive line coach. For Hill, however, attaching importance to the student aspect of studentathlete came after coming to college. And that approach has only aided his play, helping him to take a more academic approach to the game. During film sessions, both Payne and Hill see things that many upperclassmen don’t. The two are known as two of the most keen analysts of that week’s opposing team. For Payne, that fine attention to detail has resulted in an adeptness against double-teams that has warranted the praise of his teammates. “His ability to look at film and evaluate plays and be able to focus and know certain things and see certain tendencies makes him a better player,” Derrick Hill says. Josh Hill’s expert film review has helped him smooth this season’s transition from cornerback to safety. “(Josh) is really one of the most technically disciplined guys I’ve got,” defensive backs coach Al Simmons
Dowd from Page 2 Regardless of this outcome, the story of the season has already been written — blowout, humiliating losses mixed with blowout, hollow wins over bad teams. Throw in close losses to Oregon and Arizona as positives if you want — although defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast would remind you that there are no moral victories — but those only look like exceptions rather than the rule now. Some people would say to look at this season in the scheme of the “big picture.” Sure, Jeff Tedford turned this program around. Sure, their graduation rates are up. But let’s face it — things aren’t getting better. Three of the worst finishes in Tedford’s reign are in the last four years (this one includ-
says. “He’s a guy that can also take a coaching point from the classroom to the field without having to get a rep on the field.” “He doesn’t need an individual drill to walk through what we talked about. Most people do, but he doesn’t.” Despite sharing so many experiences together, the two don’t always react to everything the same way. Their first major test was having to sit out during the 2008 season. Payne saw action in the first two games of 2008 after a solid spring before sustaining a season-ending knee injury that would force him to medically redshirt. Hill didn’t have a medical reason barring him from playing, he just needed to grow into college football. While Payne saw the season off the field as an opportunity to further adjust to Cal and emerge even hungrier for playing time, Hill wasn’t so keen on sitting on the bench every game while his teammates played. But both realized that the time off made them better players. And enduring the hardship together — it made them better friends. Contact Christina Jones and Jonathan Kuperberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
ed). The offense, which was once cutting edge and thrilling to watch, has been largely stagnant and boring for years. And with an uncertain quarterback situation, there’s no guarantees that next year will be better (some would argue it’s going to be worse). This isn’t to discourage people from supporting their team. If there’s anything I hate, it’s bandwagon fans who don’t endure the bad to get to the good. But if you have any shred of sanity left, don’t pretend like this game matters. And for those of you who think this column is too harsh and condemning, I have this to say: That content, “at-peace-with-whathappened” feeling in your gut? It’s not the turkey. It’s resignation. Resign yourself with Katie at email@example.com.
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“I was never really a running back that would make a lot of juke moves or cut across the field,” Ross says, “or stop or make a lot of guys miss. At most I’d make like one or two moves and get up field. If people were in my way, then I’d run over them.” With his athletic frame -- Ross now stands at 5’11 and over 200 pounds -- defenders avoided hitting him high. A player who set weight room records as a freshman at Cal, and who prides himself on persevering through hits, he rarely succumbs to shoves or arm tackles. Opposing players became quick studies, and started to dive low. Ross adapted along with them. “Most people want to hit low, and a lot of people close their eyes when they’re about to hit,” Ross says. “And so I’m like, ‘I know, I’m going over this guy.’ I can see how they’re gonna position their body before I even get to ‘em.” That anticipation enabled Ross’ first ever leap for glory in Berkeley. Taking the ball on a reverse against the Bruins two years ago, he saw Moore close in to try and trip him up. Because of a block-in-the-back penalty, Ross’ highlight play was erased from the record books, but the image remains: UCLA’s safety got nothing but air. So did Ross. avelle Hawkins was the football team’s hurdling entrepreneur. Now of SportsCenter and YouTube fame for his aerial antics as a member of the Tennessee Titans this preseason, the former Cal wide-out turned his share of heads when he cleared defenders from Washington State and Air Force in 2007. It may not be surprising that Ross latched onto him as a young receiver for the Bears. The two would go back and forth about each other’s on-field theatrics. “He called me after I did my little hurdle, saying ‘you trying to be like me?’ It was a little joking around with one another,” Ross says of his former teammate and roommate. “He also kind of helped me out a lot with his skills and techniques. Lavelle took me under his wing.” Indeed, becoming a full-time receiver posed its challenges for a player who still harnesses a running back mentality. Though the natural change of direction carries over into route-running, judging passes in the air and tracking down deep throws has been a major adjustment through Ross’ career. In his style, he is less Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald and more Anquan Boldin or Steve Smith — wide-outs who create more plays after, and not during, the catch; receivers who turn into running backs when they get the ball. “I run some deep routes, too, those are cool,” Ross says. “But I think my bread and butter is the reverses … screens and the slants, 10 to 15 yards so I can get the ball in my hands really quickly. You only get the ball so many times, so you really try to make the best of it.” All too often, that has involved climbing the aerial ladder. But even a proud player like Ross admits that his most memorable moments at Cal have stayed on the ground -- with the team benefitting as a result. Against Minnesota last year, Ross kept a game-winning drive alive by dragging a trio of Gophers after a 3rdand-16 reception. One season later in Pullman, Shane Vereen iced a 20-13 nailbiter -- but only after Ross’ Herculean effort to push the pile eight extra yards on 3rd-and-20. “I felt like ‘man, I gotta keep my legs pumping,’” Ross recalls of his heroics against Washington State. “I knew I was gonna be able to carry a couple of guys … The biggest thing on my mind was just to hold the ball tight and to keep driving.” On those plays, certainly. But when the opportunity presents itself, it’s no secret what Ross’ move will be. “People say ‘one of these days, they’re gonna cut you in the air,’” Ross says. “I know its pretty dangerous, but I can feel it out pretty good. I just feel like hey, you live on the edge.”
Ed Yevelev covers football. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Look at Washington
Player to Watch
• Senior LB Mason Foster, who led the Pac-10 in tackles in 2008, continues to sit atop the league in that stat again in 2010 with 12.8 tackles per game (more than four tackles per game ahead of second), good for second in the nation. • Washington has three of the top four tacklers in the conference as Nate Williams is second with 9.0 per game and Cort Dennison is fourth with 8.1. • Senior LB Victor Aiyewa leads the Pac-10 and ranks No. 5 in the nation in tackles for loss with 1.70 per game. • With 25 scores in 27 trips, the Huskies rank No. 3 (tied) in the nation in red-zone offense.
• Washington has given up only 12 turnovers, sixth fewest (tied) in the nation. • Sophomore TB Chris Polk now has nine career 100-yard rushing games, which includes four this year.
Player to Watch He was projected to be the first quarterback taken in the draft. He could have been the top overall pick in the NFL Draft. But Jake Locker returned to college, and instead of leading Washington toward the Pac-10, he must lead his team to victory if he hopes to play in a bowl game. Locker has struggled with his accuracy, but his one consistent target has been wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. The junior is averaging 74.6 yards per game and has compiled three games of over 100 yards receiving this season. Not well-known because of Washington’s struggles, Kearse may be one of the most underrated wideouts in the Pac-10. He put together one of, if not the top receiving performance in the conference this season when he hauled in nine catches for 146 yards and an astounding four touchdowns in the Huskies’ 35-34 victory over Oregon State. Despite some monstrous numbers in the beginning of the season, Kearse’s production has dwindled the last couple of weeks. He has only caught five balls for a total of 23 yards in the team’s last two games against Stanford and UCLA. Kearse’s brother Jamaal is a true freshman that is currently in his redshirt season.
Cal fans talked about him all summer. What would he bring to the program? He’s the first five-star recruit since DeSean Jackson and the first lauded player from the East Coast to come to Cal. Yep, everybody was really excited about Keenan Allen. And people still have reason to be excited about what he could bring to the program in his remaining years on campus. Despite losing handily against Stanford, the Bears used Allen regularly and in all parts of their offense. Maybe the most memorable part of the game for Cal fans was Allen’s touchdown pass after a busted play out of the Wildcat formation. The pass was just a glimpse into Allen’s unbelievable athleticism and abilities. The Greensboro, N.C., product has been on and off this season, battling some minor injuries and receiving fewer balls than he probably should because of inconsistent quarterback play. But today might be Allen’s day. Washington’s pass defense is not the finest in the nation, and Allen’s athleticism presents problems for any Division-I defense. Last week showed Allen’s versatility, and if he is used properly he could become one of college football’s most dangerous weapons. With only one game left in the regular season, this may be Allen’s finest opportunity to put himself back in the national spotlight.
A Look at Cal • Today marks the final game in Memorial Stadium before it undergoes a retrofit for the 2011 season. Cal defeated Stanford, 9-0, in the first game played in Memorial Stadium on Nov. 24, 1923. The Bears have compiled a 317-212-16 (.596) in the 88 seasons the venue has been home to Cal football. The 546th game played in the venue against Washington will be the last in the current configuration of the stadium since it opened in the fall of 1923. • Cal comes into the game with back-toback losses to top-ranked Oregon and No. 7 Stanford on the last two Saturdays at Memorial Stadium. The Bears had won their first four home games in 2010 and five straight in Berkeley overall. • Cal’s defense features some of the best numbers in the Pac-10, ranking first in pass defense (182.5 ypg) and second in total defense (316.4 ypg).
washington media relations/courtesy
Points Per Game 27.0 21.4 Points Allowed Per Game 33.3 23.2
FR SO SO JR SR SO SO JR SO SR JR SR SO SR SO FR JR FR JR FR SO SO SO SO JR SO JR FR SO SO SO JR FR FR JR SO SR SR JR FR FR SR SR SO JR SO FR JR JR SR FR JR JR SR SO SR JR SR SO JR FR FR JR SO SO SO SR SR FR JR FR JR JR SR FR SO SR
Passing Yards Per Game 191.0
Rushing Yards Per Game 154.3
182.6 Total Offense
345.3 Total Defense
DE: CAMERON JORDAN NT: KENDRICK PAYNE DE: ERNEST OWUSU
TALIA CHRICHTON ALAMEDA TA’AMU CAMERON ELISARA DE’SHON MATTHEWS
OLB: VICTOR AIYEWA CORT DENNISON
RB QB: JAKE LOCKER RB: CHRIS POLK RB: JESSE CALLIER
C RG RT TE
RB LG: RYAN TOLAR C: DREW SCHAEFER RG: MYKENNA IKEHARA RT: CODY HABBEN
RG RT TE WR
WR: JERMAINE KEARSE DEVIN AGUILAR TE: CHRIS IZBICKI LT: CODY HABBEN
JR FR SO JR JR SR FR JR FR FR JR JR SO JR JR JR SR SR SR SO SR SO SR JR SO SO FR JR JR SO FR FR FR SO SR FR JR SO JR JR SO FR SO JR SO JR JR SO SR FR FR SO JR SR SO SO SO JR SR SR SR FR SO FR FR JR SO FR JR JR SR SO SO JR SO FR JR FR SR JR FR JR JR SO SR JR FR
CB: QUINTON RICHARDSON FS: NATE FELLNER SS: NATE WILLIAMS CB: DESMOND TRUFANT
MLB: MASON FOSTER
WR DB DB WR LB WR WR WR DB DB DB DB QB QB WR DB LB QB DB K DB WR LB P TE RB WR LB FB DB RB TB DB RB DB DB LB DB FB RB RB LB LB RB LB LS/LB K DL LB LB LB TE K LB FB LS LB OL OL OL DL DL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL TE WR TE WR WR TE TE DL DL DL DL DL TE DL
Marvin Jones Steve Williams Marc Anthony Coleman Edmond D.J. Holt Jeremy Ross Kaelin Clay Alex Lagemann Michael Coley Alex Logan D.J. Campbell C.J. Moncrease Beau Sweeney Brock Mansion Michael Calvin Sean Cattouse Jarred Price Kevin Riley Bryant Nnabuife Vincenzo D'Amato Chris Conte Quinn Tedford Mike Mohamed Bryan Anger Jarrett Sparks Isi Sofele Keenan Allen Ryan Davis Will Kapp Josh Hill Dasarte Yarnway Trajuan Briggs Vachel Samuels Langston Jackson Darian Hagan Tyler York Mychal Kendricks Tyre Ellison John Tyndall David Aknin Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson Nick Forbes J.P. Hurrell Shane Vereen Robert Mullins Clark Porter Giorgio Tavecchio Aaron Tipoti Jerome Meadows Steven Fanua David Wilkerson Spencer Ladner David Seawright Keith Browner Eric Stevens Matt Rios Kameron Krebs Justin Gates Donovan Edwards Chris Guarnero Michael Costanzo Keni Kaufusi Brian Schwenke Chris Adcock Ed Johnston Justin Cheadle Dominic Galas Mark Brazinski Sam DeMartinis Mitchell Schwartz Richard Fisher Matt Summers-Gavin Tyler Rigsbee Anthony Miller Ross Bostock Jacob Wark Ian Albrecht Spencer Hagan Garry Graffort Solomona Aigamaua Deandre Coleman Trevor Guyton Ernest Owusu Kendrick Payne Cameron Jordan Savai'i Eselu Gabe King
LE: DT: DT: RE:
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When Cal Has the Ball
When Washington Has the Ball
CB: MARC ANTHONY FS: JOSH HILL SS: CHRIS CONTE CB: DARIAN HAGAN
ILB: D.J. HOLT MIKE MOHAMED olB: KEITH BROWNER MYCHAL KENDRICKS
S TB WR TE CB CB CB WR CB S WR QB DE WR WR S WR QB PK TE S TB LB TB S DB TB TB CB CB S LB LB LB S S LB LB FB FB WR P FB LB DE OL DE OL DE LB DT OT LS OL OL OL OT OT C DT OL WR WR TE TE LS DL FB DT DE DE P P DL DT DT DL
Sean Parker Chris Polk James Johnson Chris Izbicki Vonzell McDowell Jr. Anthony Boyles Desmond Trufant Cody Bruns Anthony Gobern Nate Williams Devin Aguilar Jake Locker Talia Crichton D’Andre Goodwin Luther Leonard Will Shamburger Jermaine Kearse Erik Wilson Erik Folk Marlion Barnett Justin Glenn Cole Sager Jordan Wallace Demitrius Bronson Jonathan Clark Laroy Chase Johri Fogerson Jesse Callier Adam Long Quinton Richardson Nate Fellner Cort Dennison Tim Tucker Garret Gilliand Marquis Persley Greg Walker Mason Foster Victor Alyewa Tobias Togi Kimo Makaula Anthony Tokunga Will Mahan Austin Sylvester Jonathan Amosa Kalan Aldrich Mykenna Ikehara Hau’oli Jamora Nick Wood Pete Galbraith Brandon Huppert Sione Potoa’e Senio Kelemte Brendan Lopez Gregory Christine Daniel Kanczugowski Ryan Tolar Skyler Fancher Cidy Habben Drew Schaefer Alameda Ta’amu Erik Koehler Din Kuses Jordan Polk Michael Hartvigson Marek Domanski Peter Becker Peter Follmer Dorson Boyce Chris Robinson Everrete Thompson Andrew Hudson Kiel Rasp Evan Steinruck De’Shon Matthews Lawrence Lagafuaina Semisi Tokolahi Cameron Elisara
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SIDE BY SIDE
Saturday, NOVEMBER 27, 2010
QB: BROCK MANSION FB: WILL KAPP TB: SHANE VEREEN
WR: MARVIN JONES KEENAN ALLEN TE: ANTHONY MILLER LT: MITCHELL SCHWARTZ
LG: MATT SUMMERS-GAVIN C: CHRIS GUARNERO RG: BRIAN SCHWENKE RT: DONOVAN EDWARDS