I love how 1 picture=1000 words. If only SB Nation would pick up on that theme, I wouldn't have to put in actual thought. Onto the links!
Four big questions right now, so give some thought about it in the comments.
The Bear Will Not Quit has an optimistic spin on Coach M's departure. Do you guys concur?
However, despite him being a huge part of what Tedford has built at Cal, I confess I am not as upset as some about this (though I do think he's an excellent coach). First off, if there's ever a time to lose an assistant, it is when you have a good young group of linemen, which Cal does. Its RS freshman and sophomores are very talented and ready to turn the corner. That way if the recruiting stumbles a bit, you don't fall behind in your pipeline.
Second, though they have been injured a bit, I must say I think Cal's o-line has underachieved to a degree in 2006, 2007 and this year. Mack has been great, and Gibson had 1 good season. Otherwise, I think they've been good not great. His best years production-wise were 2004 and 2005. Doesn't mean he won't be missed, but I am not sure another coach won't do just as well.
Third, aside from some gems here and there, Michalczik hasn't exactly cleaned up as a recruiter. Finally, Tedford has mostly chosen great assistants, and I suspect this will be no different. More on possible replacements later.
Next topic. ALAMAR! Wait, huh? I haven't heard about this rumor anywhere but on UW's SBNation blog, but the rumors about Coach M weren't far off the mark:
In other coaching news LB coach Chris Tormey got the word this morning that the stay of execution was over and that he won't be asked to join the coaching staff. Tormey was the only staff member that wasn't let go immediately last week.
With a new LB coach coming on board and rumors of possibly TE coach Pete Alamar joining Michalczik from California the writing was on the wall for Tormey.
Question 2: A lot of people have been mighty frustrated with Pete Alamar, but has he really been that bad?
We continue to build up on the recruiting. JUCOs include Cerritos DE Ryan Davis
Davis had a productive year for Cerritos, compiling 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss, along with 39 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 1 pass defensed.
"As a player, one of the big things coaches talk about is energy and enthusiasm, beyond athletic talent," said Cerritos recruiting coordinator Tom Caines. "When Tennessee came in to look at Ryan, they said he plays like he really loves to play football, which is always encouraging to me.
"He's got great strength and is a very good pass-rusher. He was the only unanimous All-Conference pick on our team and we had seven All-Conference players."
The Bears will look to utilize Davis' agressiveness and pass-rushing ability as a rush end, much as departing senior linebacker Zack Follett was utilized but with Davis likely playing with his hand on the line more frequently with his size.
"I'm basically going to be a hybrid d-end/linebacker coming in," said Davis. "Zack Follett did a great job this year in a similar role, leading the team in sacks and tfl's (tackles for loss). Coach Thompson, Coach Gregory and Coach Tedford said they know how well I rush the quarterback. It will be a bit of a transition when I'm lined up at linebacker but I'm not worried about that at all. I'm real excited about it."
and Jerome Meadows from San Jose City has also committed via rivals ($). There is no official writeup on Meadows, but Moragabear (one of the recruiting writers for BI) does have a few details on the forums:
Meadows was going to wait and take a couple more visits but he really liked what he saw at Cal and ended up committing within an hour or so of our conversation this morning. He said he didn't want to risk putting Cal off and looking around more if he saw what he liked.
Meadows is a nice addition. He brings in very strong pass rushing ability and size and was a JC All-American at a school that doesn't get good pub. He's a very strong student and a leader, too, so he'll help the program in other ways.
Linebacker is a primary position of need and will be filled with a mix of hs players that won't contribute as quickly, like Fanua and quite possibly Lokombo and maybe even Kennard, who is likely the only one of the three that would push to play right away and more physically ready players that may well be an upgrade over Cal's current jc's in Bishop and Johnson. Both made a nice step up last season from '07 but if you can upgrade or produce more healthy competition for immediate playing time when you're losing 3 starters, you do it.
I talked to Quinn today and he's a great kid with a great attitude and he understands perfectly what Cal's position is with the fullback slot. He was told he'd need to come in and earn a starting spot to get a scholarship and he's fully aware of the fact that Cal usually brings in fullbacks as walkons then rewards them with scholarships if they earn a starting spot, either the upcoming season or the following one.
Cal's still very high on his list and don't be surprised if they get a commitment from him in the next week or two.
Allan Bridgford's final stats are most impressive, even if many of his TDs have come when his team was up 20-30. Also plenty of uncertainty surrounding Randall Carroll.
Question 3: How would you grade our recruiting class so far? Needs more depth? Linebackers? Offense?
Of course, the big bear we want is Devon Kennard. He's visited USC ($), he's on his way to Texas, and he has a few more schools (ASU and UCLA) on his list. He's high on academics (4.0 GPA), so that might tilt the action in our favor. Here are some junior highlights to go with the senior ones above.
This would be a huge signing, undoubtedly Cal's biggest defensive signing in the Tedford era. He's so good, I'd implore danzig to create a video of Cal's 2008 3-4 to showcase the rising defensive juggernaut he'd be joining. Hell, I'll help him produce it.
Question 4: If Kennard signs with the Bears, is this Tedford's best recruiting class since 2005? Where would you rank it among his recruiting accomplishments?
Hopefully those four questions are a good start. And for good measure, another thousand words for you.