As Berkelium reported, the All Pac-10 teams were announced, and three California Golden Bears made the first team. Two were not a surprise. Senior defensive end Cameron Jordan was a no-brainer. Jordan racked up 61 tackles (second most in the conference for a defensive lineman behind Jurrell Casey of USC), 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 5.5 sacks. In his final game as a Golden Bear, Jordan returned a Michael Mohamed forced fumble on Jake Locker for a touchdown, the only time Cal would see the end zone in their final game in Memorial Stadium. His best game came against Arizona, with a sack, a broken up pass, more quarterback rushes that weren't registered, and a forced fumble on Nick Foles that was recovered by the Bears.
Making his second All Pac-10 squad is punter Bryan Anger. Despite having a disturbing trend of shanking a punt every now and then, Anger still finished the season with a net 45.56, second in the Pac-10. The struggles of the Cal offense forced him to punt five times or more in eight games this season, and his overall consistency compared to previous years definitely improved. His best game came against UCLA, pinning the Bruins deep inside their own 20 on multiple occasions, earning Pac-10 special teams player of the week honors.
But there is one notable addition: Safety Chris Conte makes his first all Pac-10 team. Shuffled from cornerback to safety back to cornerback, he finally found his calling card at free safety. Conte finished with 72 tackles and was one of the critical ingredients to shutting down fearsome spread attacks, particularly against Arizona and most effectively against Oregon when spying Darron Thomas. He had eight tackles apiece in each contest, 12 of them solo.
(On a personal note: Yay, I predicted all the Golden Bears right! I should be a coach!)
After the jump, some notes on the second-teamers and honorable mentions.
Four more Golden Bears made the second team All Pac-10. Cal tailback Shane Vereen finished with 1,176 yards (4th in the Pac-10), 13 rushing touchdowns (4th in the Pac-10), and 1,376 yards from scrimmage (4th in the Pac-10). His best performances came against Nevada (19 rushes, 198 yards, three touchdowns) and against UCLA (25 rushes, 151 yards, two touchdowns along with three catches for 51 yards). He also rushed for over a hundred yards on six occasions this season and never averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry per game.
Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks also received second-team honors. Mikey Mo led the Bears with 96 tackles, racked up five tackles for loss and two sacks. He was responsible for two big plays this season--the pick six against Colorado that blew the doors open before halftime, and the forced fumble against Washington that was nearly enough to earn us our final victory of the season. His best game came against Oregon, where he had 16 tackles and a sack, earning Pac-10 defensive player of the week honors.
Kendricks operated as a down linemen on most plays to give Cal more athleticism on the line and some form of pass rush. Him and Jordan were a lethal duo on the weakside, as Kendricks finished the season with 65 tackles (11 against Colorado and 10 against Oregon), 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks (including two apiece against Arizona and Washington). He also had an acrobatic, tip-toe-the-sidelines interception against Arizona State.
Left tackle Mitchell Schwartz was selected as well. Playing out of position from his right tackle spot, Schwartz was the only solid player on an offensive line that was riddled with trouble from start to finish, and generally protected the blind side of his quarterbacks well (and only on occasion was the pressure from the edge Schwartz's fault, as neither Riley nor Mansion recognized the edge rusher).
Five Golden Bears earned honorable mention honors. One was safety Sean Cattouse, who bounced back from being relegated to the second unit by earning his way back into the starting lineup. He broke up seven passes, six in the final six weeks of the season, and averaged over six tackles a game through the final eight weeks of the season. His best game came against Arizona State, with eight tackles, two passes broken up, and a diving interception.
It's nice to see D.J. Holt, Mohamed's battery-mate, get his name in the mix. His stats don't jump off the page at you, but the man was solid day-in, day-out. Holt racked up 85 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three passes broken up, and three forced fumbles, and was the star of the first month of the season with Mohamed injured or playing sparsely. His best game came against Nevada, piling up 16 tackles.
Cornerback Darian Hagan also got mentioned; his highlight this year was a pick-six that bounced into his hands at the tail-end of the blowout of Colorado. His value can really be measured by how poorly the team defense suffered when he was off the field. When Hagan got injured and didn't play in the Big Game and most of the USC game, our coverage schemes just didn't work as well. Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck had their way with the first-year starting corners. Hagan's best game came against the Bruins, racking up two sacks on cornerback blitzes, an interception, a pass breakup, and five tackle, earning Pac-10 defensive player of the week honors.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones did not have the breakout campaign we thought he was capable of having, but he still led the Bears with 49 catches for 756 yards and four touchdowns and was generally good for at least one big play a game. He had his banner performance against Nevada with 12 catches for 161 yards, and had some signature catches against Arizona State and Colorado for back-breaking touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown against UCLA to cap off the scoring.
Finally, senior center Chris Guarnero made the honorable mention list. Despite being in the unenviable position of trying to replace the irreplaceable Alex Mack, Guarnero made the most of it and played as hard as he could from snap to whistle. It's unfortunate he was unable to perform better in his senior season, whether due to poor coaching or poor technique.
Congrats to our Golden Bears!