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Golden Nuggets: Remembering Mark Bingham and Brent Woodall

A few days late, but I’m posting the BYU post-game press conferences here.

Anniversary Of September 11th Attacks On The U.S. Commemorated At World Trade Center Site Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images


  • The Cal community cannot remember the 9/11 attacks without remembering our former football player Brent Woodall, and also Rugby star Mark Bingham who is believed to have saved lives on that tragic day on Flight 93. The latter Bear is remembered on Cal’s official website and Pac-12 Network.

The recent death of Sen. John McCain, who passed on Aug. 25, is a somber reminder of the kind words the Senator offered at a memorial service for Bingham shortly after the 2001 attacks. ”I may very well owe my life to Mark,” said the Naval Aviator, former prisoner of war, Congressman, Senator and Presidential candidate.

McCain’s eulogy for Bingham continued: ”I never knew Mark Bingham. But I wish I had. I know he was a good son and friend, a good rugby player, a good American and an extraordinary human being. He supported me, and his support now ranks among the greatest honors of my life. I wish I had known before September 11 just how great an honor his trust in me was. I wish I could have thanked him for it more profusely than time and circumstances allowed. But I know it now. And I thank him with the only means I possess, by being as good an American as he was.”

Evidence suggests that instead of allowing the Boeing 757 to reach its intended target, Mark joined several fellow passengers to storm the cockpit and thwart their hijackers. The flight, which met its end in Shanksville, Pa., is memorialized in nearby Stonycreek Township and in New York City, where the names of passengers and crew are etched at the Sept. 11 Memorial. A charcoal impression of Mark’s etched name is framed in the Doc Hudson Fieldhouse on campus at Cal.

And now... about that football team


Wasn’t able to get them on Sunday, so here’s the post-game reaction from Sunday’s win. Quotes come from here.

On How The Defense Played: ”Well, how the team went – we all are. I’m really proud of how the guys competed again – coming into a place like this. It was a hostile environment. It was rocking. This was a real physical team that was well coached. We didn’t play our cleanest, but we found a way to win. We didn’t panic. Guys on the sidelines were always solving problems. Everyone was working on what we needed to do next instead of worrying about the last play and I’m proud of them for that. We’re making strides, and we still have a long way to go. They realize that. It’s hard to win. It’s a good football team we played and we battled. I’m proud of them for that. We’ve just got to play better.”


On battle For Time Of Possession: ”BYU did a really good job keeping us off the field. They’re not a really bit tempo team and you saw that tonight with their huddling. Our opportunities to hold onto the ball for longer than we did in the first half really showed in the second half.”

On His First Collegiate Start: ”Honestly, I just took it as another game. Coach Wilcox always preaches, “It’s just a fancy practice,” and that is how I thought about it, but being in a different environment was really cool.”


On His Confidence Throwing The Ball This Game: ”It worked and it got us a win. We’re going to keep doing whatever we need to do to continue to win. Whatever I can do to keep the ball moving and get the ball back to Chase if I need to. Once they’ve seen a bunch of runs, it opens up a lot of room for our receivers. As a quarterback, I just want to get the ball to our playmakers.”

On Running A Two-Quarterback System: ”We both can throw and we both can run so you have to prepare for a lot. We do a good job at figuring out who is going to be playing at what time and completment each other. As long as one of us is in, we’re going to keep the ball moving and keep doing what we do.”

How much winning under Justin Wilcox there is still remains to be seen, but it is clear the very nature of those victories is not at all like things once were. The games of a regime past were marked for their wild, chaotic nature, fun score-fests that ended up in defeat more often than not.

Saturday’s 21-18 win against BYU was another example of how the victories themselves are tremendous – but the paths to get there so far are rarely as glamorous as we had become accustomed to, usually involving some measure of grit, can do attitude, and generally suffocating offense; even if it’s both offenses that are suffocating.

Hey, it doesn’t say anywhere that they have to do it pretty. And winning ugly feels a lot better than being without a win at all.

Isn’t that right, UCLA?

Josh Yuen of the Daily Cal notes how this Cal football team has completely separated itself from the Dykes era.

Both of the team’s wins have been anchored on the shoulders of its stone-cold, electrified defense, overseen upstairs by Tim DeRuyter and executed beautifully below by every position group in head coach Justin Wilcox’s 3-4 scheme. The former laughingstock of Pac-12 defenses under previous coach Sonny Dykes is now an 11-headed monster dripping with talent that extends well down the depth chart.

After a step in the right direction in Wilcox’s inaugural season at the helm, 2018 looks awfully bright for both the secondary and the defensive front. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins has accounted for three of the Bears’ six interceptions, a number that is currently tied with Syracuse’s Andre Cisco for the national lead.


Enjoy high school Marshawn. Go Bears.