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Golden Nuggets: Tedford's 100th Game has a very long article on Tedford as he approaches his 100th game with Cal.  Thanks to Kodiak for bringing this article to my attention.

"I remember talking to him throughout the recruiting process and he was always open and willing to tell us the truth when it came to recruiting," described [Derrick] Hill. "A lot of coaches lie when it comes to recruiting. They tell you what you want to hear. Coach Tedford was one of those coaches that didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear but he told me the truth."

And as Hill explained, the "truth" goes a long way.

"That helped bring us here," he said. "If you could handle the truth, great. If you couldn’t, having to deal with those moments helps you become a man and learn how to deal with it."

And in the end, it was Tedford’s ability to connect and relate to many different young men, especially those in the inner city, helped spring Hill down Telegraph Ave and towards the UC Berkeley campus.

"Opening those doors (to the inner city) is the biggest thing," Hill said. "His first recruiting class made a big difference because he got a lot of SoCal guys and a few guys from up here."

"The first thing is to get that initial person from our type of neighborhoods to break that wall down," Hill continued. "With him going to get Brandon Mebane and Dante Hughes, David Gray and Marshawn Lynch, that opened the door for people like me and Chris Little and other guys."

I have more excerpts from this article after the jump.  I was initially disappointed with the lack of articles about the Cal-Stanford game that had been written this week, but today the flood gates have opened. After the jump I have last night's practice report (Miller cleared to play), Harbaugh talking about Cal (and praising our special teams?!) and his QB Luck, a gander at part of the syllabus for Professor Tepper's history course for younger players, a NYTimes article on Best's concussion, the story of how Tavecchio has bounced back this season, a look ahead to men's bball's game at Madison Square Garden tomorrow, and a look back at women's bball's narrow win yesterday.

Of course, Tedford’s relationships with his players extend much farther than just the dynamic he has with his players from the inner city. His relationships and positive influence extends to his entire team, no matter what neighborhood they grew up in.

Sometimes, Tedford is the hard-ass of a coach that demands high precision execution on the field.

Sometimes, Tedford is the teacher who helps his student better understand the nuances of the game.

Sometimes, Tedford is every family’s funny uncle who you try to avoid at all costs because you know a joke about you is coming at you sooner rather than later.

Maybe most importantly though, Tedford is also a father figure to many of his players.

That was most evident after a practice session earlier this season, when Tedford roasted his team about various minuscule responsibilities they weren’t taking care of inside the team locker room and eating area.

"Well, there’s tough love that has to be given, like today," said Tedford at the time. "I don’t like doing that, but it’s something that has to be done to get a point across. It’s no different than my children or in essence they are my kids because I’m here for them in a lot of different areas, as is the coaching staff. That’s definitely part of the job."

As BearTerritory has learned over the years through covering the recruiting world, a coaching staff doesn’t just recruit the young man, they also recruit the families, especially the mother of the young men.

As the saying goes, "If you get the Mom, you’ll get the kid."

Tedford and his entire staff has done an excellent job of not only selling what Cal has to offer as an entire university, but also showing parents and guardians that they - meaning the Cal staff - is both mature and responsible enough to in essence help the young men they recruit continue to mature away from the comforts of home.

There was a point in time where Tedford seriously considered bolting for another job. Those opportunities came early during the Tedford era, fresh off of Cal’s most impressive season to date in 2004. However, one of the main reasons why a lot of Old and Young Blues alike have an adoring respect for Tedford has been because of the coach’s loyalty to the program and his desire to not only win, but win at Cal.

"We just love the Bay Area," Quinn said. "There’s been job opportunities that’s come up in the past but the whole family just feels really comfortable here. There’s everything here. Supportive fans, great area to live, a lot of entertainment around here, all that."

"His hard work has paid off," Quinn added. "He’s been an assistant and now he’s made it. He deserves it because he’s worked really hard."

And while that ultimate goal of a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl appearance won’t happen this season, there’s no reason to not believe it can’t happen in the near future.

"People criticize sometimes about how he may not call a certain play or whatnot, but he spends a lot of time trying to put us in good positions to execute and get to a Rose Bowl," Quinn concluded. "That’s his biggest goal."

"He wants to get to a Rose Bowl."

Cal Football

  • JO reports from the first practice in preparation for the Big Game.  Miller has been cleared to play and was practicing at full capacity.  Derrick Hill was practicing in a yellow jersey and remains questionable for this weekend's game.  Nnabufie, who thoroughly impressed Gregory last weekend, will get his second start on Saturday.  Best visited practice for the first time since sustaining his concussion.
  • Jim Harbaugh speaks of Andrew Luck with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind; he calls him "the country's best quarterback."  With the top passer rating in the Pac-10 (151.8) and second in total offense per game (250.8 ypg), Luck poses a tough challenge to the Cal defense that will already have its hands full with Toby Gerhart.  Even worse: he's only tossed three interceptions along with his thirteen touchdowns.
  • Harbaugh knows Stanford faces a stiff challenge against Cal this weekend.  He might have been a bit too generous with his praise, though.  He said "Their special teams are very impressive to watch."  We'll see just how "impressive" Alamar's unit is when they try to contain Owusu on kickoffs this week.  I wouldn't be opposed to kicking out of bounds on each kickoff.
  • Mike Tepper wants to make sure the younger players understand how important the Big Game is.   So Professor Tepper had freshman center Mark Brazinski write a six to eight page research paper on the Big Game.  Tepper said "no Wikipedia quotations, either - we need good, reasonable sources."  The Axe will be brought to practice later this week, and on Friday Tedford will tell the team a little bit about its history before they head to the bonfire rally in the evening.
  • Giorgio Tavecchio has learned to distance himself from his own high expectations that surrounded him after his surprising freshman season.  He learned this lesson after losing his temper after a practice in September.  In an outburst uncharacteristic of Tavecchio, he was yelling, kicking the bench, and creating a ruckus.  He went to his parents' home in Moraga (where he lives this year to save money) where his dad told him not to let one practice ruin his week.  Tavecchio has since improved and held onto the starting spot, despite Vince D'Amato's full recovery from his shoulder injury.  Some slight mechanical adjustments to his kick have boosted his field goal range, and his confidence.  He'll need to have a great game Saturday when he kicks off to the dangerous Chris Owusu, who has already returned three kicks for touchdowns this year.
  • NYTimes has a story on Best's concussion.  One fact I was unaware of is that second-impact syndrome apparently only occurs in teenagers.

Cal Basketball

  • After landing in NYC yesterday evening, Monty's team is ready to play at basketball's biggest stage: Madison Square Garden.  Only Patrick Christopher has ever been in the building before.  Monty says the building itself isn't special, but it does have a certain mystique.  He also said it has a certain aroma, depending on when you visit.  "We'll go up the freight elevator and it'll smell, depending on what event has been held there recently.  If it's a concert, it'll smell like beer. If the (circus) is in town, it'll smell like elephants."  Farudo gives a history of MSG.  The Bears have three-game winning streak there, dating back to 1957.
  • Disappearing at times in earlier seasons, Alexis Gray-Lawson is looking to be more consistent this year.  She spent much of the offseason studying tape of her favorite player, Kobe Bryant, to understand how she can make sure her teammates are playing well.  She had an off night last night in Cal's narrow 68-65 win over Santa Clara, but Natasha Vital and freshmen Talia Caldwell and DeNesha Stallworth had strong performances.  SFGate recaps the game.