"Last year, I would kind of listen to the receivers and they'd say, 'He's little,' " Thompson said Saturday, shortly after helping Cal to a 35-21 win at Minnesota. "It was like they were saying it to themselves. I could read their lips."
The 5-foot-9, 191-pound Thompson isn't huge. Solid, muscular and fearless, yes. But logic tells you he shouldn't be hitting like an outside linebacker with that body of his.
"They think I'm little," he said of his opponents, "but I play big."
Without thigh pads, by the way. Thompson likes "to feel quick," so he plays with practically no padding from the waist down. His short uniform pants give him about as much protection as a pair of board shorts.
Any story of Thompson's time at Cal has to recount his first game, as a 19-year-old freshman in front of 106,000 howling fans at Tennessee. Playing with a fractured left thumb, Thompson missed tackles that resulted in Tennessee touchdowns of 45 and 80 yards. Cal fell hard that day.
Afterward Thompson met with the media. Not that a guy should be judged solely by his relationship with the press, but it was a telling vignette. He could have skipped it — it was no secret what he would be asked about. He answered every question. He never used his thumb as an excuse.
There was no telling what kind of player he might turn out to be. But he was an impressive young man that night.
"Syd will be all right," Tedford said at the time.
And so it has come to pass, if by "all right" you mean, "I wish to Pappy Waldorf I knew how we're going to replace him when he's gone."
After the jump we have info on Cal torrents (including an HD Maryland torrent!), post-game quotes and reflections on the game, Duck week information, early looks at this week's spreads (Cal is favored by 6 over Oregon), a recap of all of Cal's sporting events over the weekend, and much, much more. There are just too many stories today. Try not to get winded in today's run through them.
Many thanks to chicagoaubear who, in addition to providing us with Cal-Minn torrents, has uploaded the HD torrent of Maryland at Cal!
- JO has postgame quotes from Tedford, Hagan, Syd, Alualu, Riley, Best, Ross, Ludwig, Mohamed, and Gregory.
- Jahvid Best was named a Pac-10 player of the week for his 5 TD performance. Click here to find out how to vote for him as the AT&T All-America Player of the Week.
- Boateng had a pin put into his foot today. He originally broke the foot on a blocking assignment in the second quarter. He'll be out four to six weeks.
- Tedford is glad they left on Thursday, not because it helped them adjust to the time change but because things didn't feel rushed. Also, D'Amato will take over kickoff duties and is taking extra reps in practice this week to build his confidence.
- Minnesota coach Tim Brewster was disappointed that the helmet-to-helmet penalty was not called when Cattouse leveled Eric Decker. This picture doesn't tell the whole story, but it looks like Cattouse led with his shoulder.
- Jon Wilner is more and more convinced that this year is a Rose Bowl year for Cal.
- Cal inherits the top spot in Ted Miller's Pac-10 power rankings. Tony Barnhart says only Cal, Miami, and Alabama have been impressive so far in the season's first three weeks.
- GopherSports.com has added more photos to its Cal-Minnesota photo gallery.
- Rivals.com looks at how the next pair of games is critical for Cal. The LA Times says the same thing, calling these two of the most important weekends in the history of Cal football.
- Duck week is upon us! Let's take a look at a brief statistical comparison between Cal and Oregon (not that the numbers mean all that much given the disparity in opponents). Don't bother trying to figure out this Oregon team. I'm sure they barely even know what to make of their successes and failures so far. One clear thing, however, is that they need to create some sort of passing game.
- Cal is currently a 6-point favorite over the Quack Attack.
- Jason King of Yahoo! Sports picks Cal basketball to win the Pac-10.
- Field hockey falls 2-1 to Delaware on Sunday and lost 8-0 to defending champion Maryland on Monday.
- No. 3 men's water polo defeats Santa Clara 14-9 and UCSB 12-8, but suffers close losses to No. 2 Stanford and No. 1, 2008 NCAA champion USC.
- No. 13 women's volleyball notches its fourth straight win with a 3-1 victory over Santa Clara. They followed it up with a 3-0 sweep of San Francisco.
- No. 7 women's soccer defeats St Mary's 4-1.
- No. 7/8 men's soccer wins the Bay Area Classic with a 3-0 win over San Francisco on Friday and a 3-1 win over Santa Clara on Sunday.
- No. 24 men's gold won the Spartan Gold Classic with a 5-under par team score.
- Men's tennis picks up three singles wins and a doubles win at the 2009 Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic. Some tournament names roll so elegantly off the tongue, don't they?