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Golden Nuggets: Jared Goff Pranks Jr. College, and Lots More

Some articles about the general Pac-12 as we look forward to the NFL Draft.

Los Angeles Rams Introduce Jared Goff Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Football

  • Leland posted this in the comments on Tuesday’s Golden Nuggets, via Ohio Bear, but I decided to put it in the main article today in case you follow the general rule of the internet and don’t read the comments.

Recently a new guy showed up at a Ventura Community College football practice. He wasn’t difficult to spot with his long hair, tats a-plenty, gumdrop-sized mole on his right cheek and obnoxious attitude. If you’re of a certain age you might flash on Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

The new guy, a transfer quarterback, sidled up to No. 13. “I want to get those quarterbacks a little nervous,” the new guy said. “What are you, the punter?”

“No,” No. 13 said, sounding a little put out. “I’m a quarterback.”

Two days before the start of spring ball, Cal tight end Ray Hudson learned that he was fully cleared for football activities. There was just one hitch: The sixth-year senior, who found out during winter break that he’d be returning for one more go-around in Berkeley, hadn’t done the offseason conditioning, on account of the foot injury that cost him all of 2017.

Hudson -- the only true catch-and-block tight end in camp with the Bears this spring -- was giddy to get back into his first team meeting, and to put his cleats back on, but he hadn’t counted on how long it would take him to get his legs. As he sat behind the north end zone, waiting his turn to speak with the media, he smiled. “Week five,” he sighed.

Hudson -- who has borne his fair share of old man jokes -- made two big catches over the middle for first downs during the Cal football team’s 12th spring practice, and looks spry as ever, converting four third downs and scoring one touchdown during 11-on-11 periods. Not only did he look like he has his legs back; he looked like he’s in midseason form as the Bears finished practice with a player-run scrimmage period, a unique addition from head coach Justin Wilcox.

  • Trace Travers’ summary of Monday’s practice focused on Taariq Johnson, who has shown some flashes so far in Spring Ball.

Taariq Johnson continued his tear with a fantastic catch off a Bowers pass, getting behind Chigozie Anusiem and making a one handed play during the Bears’ closed practice session.

”We saw Riq make a huge catch in our two minute drill to score,” Bowers said, “if we have a guy like that who steps up, not a lot of guys can guard him. We can use that, and I think they’re starting to see that.”

Johnson has been one of the stars of spring ball, mainly due to his size and fluidity coming out of routes, and his high school teammate, Jeremiah Hawkins, has been waiting to get him going on the field alongside him.

”I’ve been waiting for this, for both of us to be on the field,” Hawkins said, “being able to show our wonderful talents that God blessed us with. From the ground up, playing with each other from Pop Warner to college now, it just shows hard work and trusting in the process”

It was eight months ago and memory has faded, but Cal’s season-opening victory at North Carolina provided the Pac-12 with one of its few uplifting non-conference results of 2017.

A 13-point underdog pegged for last place, the Bears thoroughly outplayed the Tar Heels on the road, at 9 a.m. Pacific, with a rookie head coach, a new playbook, an inexperienced quarterback and an overhauled defense.

That performance, it turns out, was rooted in an ingenious offseason plan hatched by coach Justin Wilcox that formed the backbone to Cal’s season of unexpected competence.

Wilcox and his staff created a workout structure to provide first- and second-stringers with the same number of 11-on-11 repetitions in spring practice and training camp that they would receive over the course of 12 games.

By the time the Bears touched down in North Carolina for the opener, they had, mentally if not physically, already played a full season.

Basketball

  • Recently, Charles Smith IV announced he would commit to the Bears. It is a huge get for the Bears and he talked about his decision with Ben Parker.

“I went up to the school a while back. I got to look around campus, talk to all the coaches and the coaching staff, and it just seemed like a really good place for me,” Smith said. “They’ve been on me for a long time, talking about how much they wanted me, how they could use me, and what I can get from going there and it just seemed like it would be a great spot for me. I know some of the kids that are coming in, some of the kids that are already there, and just the way that the program is moving and the direction that they’re going it just seemed like it would be great for me.

“Being able to play in the Pac-12. That’s always a good thing. Being able to be on the West Coast, going to the number one public institution in the world, there’s just a whole lot of good things about this school. There’s no one thing that I can put my finger on.”

  • Recently, the Commission on College Basketball released their recommendations for what they think the NCAA has to do to improve men’s basketball. It was very harsh.

Baseball

  • Cal is getting ready to play No. 1 RPI/No. 3 (in main polls) Stanford this weekend (series actually begins tonight) and Andrew Vaughn is getting attention from the SF Chronicle.

“He’s one of those guys who does not come around very often, and it’s fun to watch him play every day,” Cal head coach Mike Neu said on the eve of playing a three-game series at No. 3 Stanford. “He’s a hard worker. He really gets after it, he has a great understanding of himself as a player and what he needs to do to be successful, and he’s a very talented hitter.”

Cal recognized Vaughn as an infielder who probably would hit for a high average when it invited him to a prospect camp two years ago out of Maria Carillo High-Santa Rosa. No one could have prophesied this.

Scouts usually say that power is the last of the five essential tools to develop, but after hitting one high school homer, Vaughn tied for the Pac-12 lead as a freshman with 12 and this season is threatening Xavier Nady’s season mark (23) at Cal.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Neu said, “and he keeps developing.”

Misc.

  • As women’s Tennis prepares for postseason, check out the uniforms they’ve been wearing this season.
  • Women’s Lacrosse will begin Pac-12 tournament play soon, take a look back at when they won the MPSF regular-season title in 2004 after scoring 3 goals in 90 seconds to stun Stanford.
  • Get pumped as the Beach Volleyball conference tournament is today as well! Here is the Daily Cal’s preview as the Bears have a good shot at the Pac-12 title.

Awards

  • Grace Campbell and Maddie Micheletti were named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week as they were pivotal in the Bears victories over ranked Saint Mary’s and Stanford in beach volleyball.
  • A three goal performance by freshman women’s water polo player Kitty Lynn Joustra earned her third MPSF Newcomer of the Week award.
  • Jiyoon Jang’s amazing golf campaign was recognized when she made the All-Pac-12 first team for Women’s Golf!

BEAT STANFORD! (In baseball and softball and more!)