Hey, the last time I made this article political (using The Daily Cal’s article on player protests) I got a lot of clicks and over 50 comments, so lets do that again!
Also, I have some words about the (great!) news regarding Ryan Gorcey... after I post some more of his articles.
- Ryan Gorcey’s latest Spring Practice article focuses on incoming freshmen Chigozie Anusiem and his journey to Cal, where he enrolled early for Spring Ball. A great write-up in Gorcey’s last week as beat writer for Cal.
With last year’s early-enrollee cornerback Elijah Hicks on the shelf with an injury, Anusiem has taken on a larger role in a young secondary that got a lot of experience last year.
“Obviously, we have people here, whether they’re coaches, prospects or whatever, and he’s one of the first guys who introduces himself, saying, ‘Hey, how you doing?’” Alexander said. “You don’t see that with a lot of guys. A lot of guys are just trying to figure out how things work. He’s a special kid.”
Before he enrolled, Anusiem and his parents came to an agreement: No matter what, he comes out of Cal with a degree.
“We are from a place where education is not free -- Nigerian education is not free,” Blessing said. “My parents are not educated, and they had to make sure that we all went to school and we all graduated in my house.We came from a culture where your parents tell you that without education, you are nobody and you’re not going anywhere. With that in your mind, you have to give it your best to be where you want to be.”
- Another defensive back, Camryn Bynum, is looking to improve this season.
While playing for renowned Corona Centennial (Riverside County) and national 7-on-7 power Ground Zero during his high school days, Bynum developed a work ethic that included 5 a.m. workouts before school.
That type of effort continues today in Bynum’s sessions with Xclusive Speed — a fast-twitch training program that is emerging in the Bay Area and was the architect of his spring-break video.
“He’s got a high ceiling because he’s got some really good physical tools and the want-to,” Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said. “He’s a quiet guy, but he’s got that inner intensity that you want. He loves to compete.”
Off the field, Bynum is pretty buttoned-up and proper. His plans for last weekend comprised spending time at the house with his girlfriend and writing a 15-page paper.
On the field, Bynum verges on flamboyant. He struts with an obvious swagger, talks trash to receivers and emphatically celebrates with teammates.
- Hopefully a future Bear, Trace Travers talked to Miles Williams (like Bynum and Anusiem, a DB) who visited the campus on Cal Day.
“I really liked it a lot,” Williams said, “I mean you can’t pay for the weather, can’t pay for the views, it’s a lot, I like the direction that they’re going in. You’ve got a first year head coach (last year) that was only supposed to win one game, and they won five games, and three games that they lost, they were within seven points. So you’re giving yourself a chance at winning, I like that. I like coach GA of course, he’s the type of DB coach I would like to play under, simply because he’s been there. He can teach me how to perfect my craft even more, and he would always have my back.”
- Jon Wilner says that the success of the Pac-12 could hinder on one of Cal’s 2018 opponents in BYU. The Cougars play several Pac-12 teams over the next five years, and would be a great strength-of-schedule boost if they can put it together.
The Daily Cal has a couple retrospectives on environmental controversies regarding Cal Football, as last weekend we celebrated Earth Day.
- Let’s start with last season when the tragic North Bay fires had a lot of people calling for the cancellation or postponement of Cal’s game against Washington State. That Ross Bowers flip TD in your head tells you that obviously didn’t happen. This article is more about how Cal prepared for that game with the tragedy in mind, plus the air pollution.
At 3:30 p.m, approximately four hours until scheduled kickoff, Cal Athletics released an official statement outlining that the AQI had not exceeded the 200 level standard outlined in the NCAA guidelines at any time throughout the week, and that after consultation with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, medical staff, the Pac-12 and others, the game would be played on schedule.
Fortunately for both teams, all players from Washington State and a handful of Cal players questioned about the matter at the conclusion of the game did not exhibit any negative health effects from the air condition.
As for the actual game, the Bears appeared to put aside all the discussion happening off the field. While many fans, band members and students alike sported face masks to shield themselves from falling particles, their moods were certainly raised by an inspired effort on the field.
Cal’s defense was as good as it had been all season, ignited by redshirt freshman Camryn Bynum’s two interceptions off Heisman-hopeful quarterback Luke Falk.
When the handful of fans remaining at the conclusion of the Bears’ 37-3 win embraced each other on the field, it was hard to remember that the game may not have been played at all under more severe circumstances.
- Another article goes back to 2007 with the tree-sitting controversy. I’m sure the comments will be civil. The article was published just as I started GN so I don’t know about the state of the comments in the actual article by the time of this article’s publication.
The protesters may not have been able to achieve the ultimate goal of preserving the oak grove, but [Zachary] RunningWolf is “very proud” of what he and his fellow protesters were able to achieve.
“Now, you see with (Colin) Kaepernick and a lot of sports movement there, we’re seeing a lot of stuff that came out of the tree sit, but it was amazing because we were (an) inspiration to the modern occupy movement,” RunningWolf said.
Interestingly enough, RunningWolf believes DeSean Jackson, Cal’s star wide receiver at the time of the protests, left Cal early for the NFL because of the university’s treatment of the burial site.
“In fact, DeSean Jackson, DeSean came to us — he was the wide receiver — and he said, ‘What’s up with this?’ ” RunningWolf said. “I said, ‘It’s an Ohlone burial site; we’re really against the university desecrating our ancestors.’ I believe that prompted DeSean Jackson to leave early for the NFL.”
Jackson could not be reached for comment.
- Andrew Vaughn hit three home runs this week, and had a .647 hitting percentage, against Santa Clara and Washington (unfortunately the Bears only went 2-2 in those games) and that was enough to earn him three awards from his school, conference, and the nation: The Cal Athletics Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week, the Pac-12 Player of the Week, and the National Player of the Week (according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper).
- Here’s one of Gorcey’s last articles on Andrew Vaughn and his love of fishing, which was published on Friday and I pretty sure I forgot to put in the last GN. (I posted a more recent one)
- Kathleen Baker is Cal Women’s Swimming’s MVP for 2018. Well deserved and Congrats!
- Congrats to men’s gymnasts Yordan Aleksandrov (High bar) and Kyte Crigger (Floor) as well as women’s gymnast Toni-Ann Williams (All-Around) for their NCAA All-American honors during Championship weekend for both programs.
- Congrats to Ryan Gorcey who has accepted a position with the San Francisco Examiner as a Sports Editor and will no longer be on the beat at Cal Athletics events. Last night marked his final day, which he spent at Football’s practice, and said his goodbyes at Evans Diamond on Sunday. Obviously his articles have been a huge portion of my Golden Nuggets articles as I mainly use the same 6 sources (SF Gate, East Bay Times, Rivals, Scout, Daily Cal, and Cal Athletics) with links I usually find prowling the @GoldenBlogs twitter account and mentions, and various Cal varsity team twitter accounts. While all six sites regularly pump out great articles, Gorcey has always had good features on the two revenue sports, as well as some of the best Cal baseball coverage in the business (Heck, maybe the ONLY baseball coverage, aside from occasional articles from Ruey and livetweets from myself). He will be sorely missed but we know he will still be around and will be attending various Cal games as a fan now. Ruey, myself, and hopefully others (along with whoever Gorcey’s TBA successor will be) will try and pick up the slack as the baseball team tries to get on the right side of the bubble heading into a stretch featuring No. 1 Stanford and some other solid competition.
Go Bears! Beat the Hornets!
(and happy birthday dad!)