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Goulden Nuggets: How Crucial is Shane Vereen to the Patriots in SB XLIX?

Vereen's role as a running back in the passing game could cause problems for Seattle.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Swimming and Diving

One The Blocks: Eva Greene: Shaking Off the 'Race Rust'

Hello again from Berkeley! Since my last blog post, us Bears have been busy swimming, studying and racking up our frequent flier miles. After going home for the holidays, we made our way to Hawaii for one amazing training trip, and have returned to Berkeley to begin the Pac-12 racing portion of our season.

Last weekend, we traveled down to Arizona to compete against Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. Only a week after returning from Hawaii and in our first week of the new semester, this is always a tight turnaround for us. One of the most challenging things for me this time of year is rapidly readjusting from the training-mode, in which we find ourselves throughout winter break, and shaking off the "race rust." Although we've been training quite a bit since our last meet in December, getting into the mindset of racing can often be challenging. This part of the season is all about competing and getting your hand to the wall first, and for me, it means tapping into the little kid in me who fell in love with swimming in the first place. Playing in the warm Hawaiian waves reminded me how much I enjoy swimming - now to bring that joy into the upcoming races!

Inside the Lair: Magic Man

By Scott Ball, Cal Athletic Communications

Cal senior swimmer Chuck Katis is a magician. Yet this extraordinary student-athlete's accomplishments, both in and out of the pool, are anything but an illusion. A leading breaststroker on coach David Durden's 2014 National Championship squad, Katis has an impressive resume that not only includes being a national champion, but an entrepreneur and entertainer with an enormous desire to help others.

A Falls Church, Virginia native, Katis first joined the Golden Bear family in January of 2014 when he decided to transfer to Berkeley mid-season from Harvard.

"It was crazy," said Katis. "I called my mom (Joanne) and explained that it was time for a change. My coach at Harvard (Tim Murphy) had left to become the head coach at Penn State prior to my junior year and I felt now was the time to look at a bigger goal of competing post graduate, maximizing my swimming potential and giving myself a shot at the 2016 Olympics. When the opportunity arose to transfer to Cal it was like a switch turned on in my head and I had to do it. Harvard was an incredible experience, though. Growing up it had always been my life dream to attend Harvard.

The top-ranked California women's swimming & diving team returns home to Spieker Aquatics Complex for two of its final three dual meets of the year this weekend, with the Golden Bears hosting No. 12 USC Friday and No. 13 UCLA Saturday.

Women's Water Polo

#4 Cal face off against Indiana, UCLA, and Hawaii this weekend at the Stanford Invitational.

Men's Golf

Cal (286-288-283 - 857, +5) tied for fourth at the Arizona Intercollegiate that opened the Golden Bears spring schedule by moving up two spots on the final day of action Tuesday at the par-71, 7,262-yard Sewailo Golf Club.

Men's Tennis

Unbeaten California - ranked 12th in the latest ITA team poll - continues its homestand when it welcomes UNLV to the Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Baseball

Cal baseball fans are invited to join the 2015 Golden Bears baseball team this Sunday, Feb. 1 at Evans Diamond for the fourth annual Cal Baseball Fan Fest.

Softball

California senior Cheyenne Cordes joins the list of 50 softball student-athletes from around the country on the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List.

Women's Basketball

California women's basketball signee Kristine Anigwe has been named a 2015 McDonald's All-American and will represent the West in the 14th edition of the McDonald's High School All-American game.

Men's Basketball

The Bears look to get their conference slate back on the winning side with a tip off against the Washington State Cougars tonight at 8:00 pm.

Super Bowl XVIX

Can Shane Vereen exploit Seattle's linebackers?

FOXBORO - The Seahawks are as good as it comes in stopping running backs on the ground. But might they be susceptible to running backs in the passing game?


Seattle allowed more than 700 receiving yards to running backs this season - 10th most in football. Washington's Roy Helu, San Francisco's Bruce Miller and St. Louis' Benny Cunningham all had big days receiving out of the backfield against the Seahawks.


Some of that damage done against the Seahawks by receiving running backs came while linebacker Bobby Wagner was out with injury. Cunningham's five catches, 46 yards and touchdown in the Rams' 28-26 win over Seattle was Wagner's first game out with turf toe.


Shane Vereen had the fifth-most receptions and receiving yards for a running back in the NFL this season. He expects a tough challenge next Sunday against the Seahawks linebackers.

Vereen provides the quotable quotes to Patroits.com

(on if it's been difficult to stay focused with all of the surrounding controversy) "I've tried to ignore it. I've paid special attention to my TV and my TV channels and I've stayed away from a lot of the ESPN and a lot of the sports channels, but we've done a good job as a team to stay focused and just keeping our eyes and our head on the prize."

(on if the team finds extra motivation from the controversy) "Well you know, you said it - it's the Super Bowl. Literally nothing else needs to be said, no extra motivation. It's the biggest game of the year. It's what we play for. It's what you dream about since you were a little kid. That's about it. That's all that needs to be said."

(on New England's preparation) "We've been working. Some is in. We've still got some to go. We're trying to take this week as normal as possible, so we still have some ways to go."

Super Bowl Matchups: Patriots RB Shane Vereen vs. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner

The 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks is one of the better matchups on paper we've had in a while. Both teams appear to be pretty evenly matched. What will decide the game likely won't be a series of big, momentum changing plays, but instead the continued smaller matchups we may not take as much notice of.

Patriots running back Shane Vereen hauled in more balls and racked up more receiving yards than all but four running backs in the NFL this season. His skills out of the backfield as a consistent receiving option will have to be monitored closely by the Seahawks as they have struggled in that area this season.