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Archive for October, 2008

Live-blogging the Arizona Game

Well, I’m not sure if Jason is going to be able to join me for the live-blog, but I’ll host one from Arizona. I’m back in the press-box tonight. They actually gave me a first row seat! The stadium is still 1/2 empty despite being only 15 minutes before game-time.

7:07 PM (15:00 1st) – Arizona wins the toss and defers so Cal is going to get the ball first. They kick it to the back of the endzone. Wonder what it takes to get a kicker like that? BTW, the stadium is now 80% full with the only place looking a bit sparse being the upper deck on the student side. Cal has one full section on the alumni side. Pretty well represented in my humble opinion.

7:10 PM (13:13) – First few plays looking really sharp. Even the not very productive swingout pass was not bad considering Best made something out of nothing… here’s an important 3rd and 4, I mean 9, nice one guys. That killed that drive.

7:15 PM (12:10) – FUMBLE! What a big break for the Bears. Now let’s see if they can convert!

7:18 (10:22) – What a nice slant by Longshore. Too bad it ended at about the worst spot on the field from a touchdown perspective, between the 8 and 12 yardline.

7:20 (9:19) – TOUCHDOWN. Well, the Bears didn’t let the position bother them. The all-whites are working! Jason says: “It’s actally a pretty good look, I think. They wore the blue shirt and white pants against ASU, and it was much worse than I thought it would be. But it made me think the all-white look might actually be good. The only good Cal looks, I think: Blue shirt and yellow pants, white shirt/blue pants, all white. Notice I didn’t say yellow shirts.” 7-0

7:23 (9:12) – What is it with Tevechio during the games. He looks so good in practice and then he shanks it in the game. Back kickoffs again… ugh!

7:25 (7:50) – The Bears are going to have to tackle better on the edges if they’re going to contain Arizona. UA is really trying to seal off the Bears.

7:28 (6:19) – Jason says: “So little pressure on Tuitama, it looks like he’s waiting for a bus back there… oh my. That’s not how to throw the screen pass.” Apparently he got on the Longshore botched screen pass tour bus. What a gift for the Bears. The way UA was moving the ball, they really needed that.

7:35 (3:38) Tavechio missed a 50 yard field goal. Jason says: “that seemed like a bad idea”. Yeah, but it was pretty darned close. Can’t argue too much. What was a bad idea was going 5 wide on 3rd down and then Longshore not seeing he had 10 yards of running room and 5 covered receivers.

7:37 (3:05) Jason says: “okay, turnover ever series, Wildcats. every single one.” It’s a nice dream, isn’t it?

7:40 (1:10) The coverage schemes that Cal is throwing at Tuitama aren’t fooling him in the least. And they’re so “tricky” there’s lots of open guys. Time to go for something more simple guys. And while you’re at it, how about tackling more than just shoes. Jason says: “Tacking, folks, Tackling.”

7:42 (End of 1st) Well, despite Cal being up 7-0, Arizona is moving the ball all too easily. The only thing keeping them from scoring so far is their own mistakes. If the Bears can’t start tackling a lot better, this could be a VERY long game. As Jason says, “These guys can really move the ball.”

7:45 (14:14 2nd) Touchdown Wildcats. The Bears need a good LONG offensive drive to give the defensive coaches some time to make some adjustments and bang them over the head about good tackling. The Bears are using too many fancy formations and the only people who are fooled by them are the Bears. Jason says: “The old “empty defense” defense.” 7-7.

7:51 (13:04) This could get ugly really quick. The Bears need to TACKLE. And while we’re at it they need to cover their receivers. And while their at it, TACKLE. That was way too quick of a touchdown and the Bears are in a hole, 7-14 far too quickly. Jason says: “TACKLE…I mean, yeah, he’s fast at the start and they can’t touch him. But then they miss the tackle…ugh…Linebackers looking bad…TACKLE…jeez.”

7:56 (11:15) That was Longshore both at his best and worst. His best because he didn’t force a ball he shouldn’t throw. His worst because he didn’t improvise and see that there was 60 yards of running room to the opposite side of the field.

8:00 (10:15) Phil says: “So did Cal take that whole week off thing seriously? Because they are playing as if they never saw a practice field in 10 days.”

8:01 (10:00) Jason says: “Bryan Anger, the second coming of Nick Harris. How I remember the days when Cal’s punter was the best player on the team.” What I remember is how important it was that Cal have an exceptional punter in those days. I’m sure that’s what Holmoe told recruits, “you’ll get a chance to display your talents at Cal like no other school.”

8:02 (8:35) And the Bears defense actually comes up with a stop!?! There may be hope left!

8:04 (8:04) There’s an attempt to get the wave going here at the stadium. Apparently their amateur fans here…

8:05 (7:51) And the football gods punish AZ fans for their incompetence and arrogance. Best displays why he’s so beloved. TOUCHDOWN! Tie game: 14-14

8:11 (7:11) The defense seems to have made the needed adjustments and the pass coverage looks a LOT better. You’ve got to man up and play those guys close in the spread. 2nd 3 and out in a row for AZ. That 1st 3 and out was a turning point of the game, momentum wise.

8:18 (3:34) TOUCHDOWN… or not as we review. It looks like Morrah held the ball all the way down and this should stand. Sure enough. Jason says: “He is the best receiver on the team. of course, review. sigh.” Bears up 21-14. What a swing of momentum when the Cal defense got their act in gear. More from Jason: “Morrah, really, I’m so impressed by him… When the WR corps is so depleted, having a TE like that… is gold… Get the feeling this is gonna be a shootout, folks.”

8:25 (2:15) Jason says: “Not sure quite what the rationale was for that directional punt. I mean, I like it, because it suggests someone is trying something different… but not sure if it made sense.” Probably true. But it make more sense than Longshore’s arm movement with the ball or running it on 3rd and 22. Now they’ve got to put to AZ with 1:35 left.

8:29 (1:16) OK, AZ spends two timeouts getting the ball back and then runs it up the middle, forcing them to take their last timeout. Huh? And then get sacked, so that Cal can play the same game with their timeouts… what a weird futile end to this half.

8:34 (0:35) Wow. Syd. Jason says, “wow… syd!” That may have been just enough to have a chance at scoring. Field goal is GOOD! Bears up by 10 at the half if they can just survive these last 3 seconds: 24-14.

8:40 (End of 1st half) Now that the 3 seconds have been survived, some halftime thoughts: 1st, the defense really turned the corner there in the early 2nd quarter. They made some significant adjustments and manned up. It looked like the Gregory was really concerned about the long-ball and was doing all sorts of scheming to prevent it as opposed to bringing his men forward to prevent the quick throws. After the Bears proved the could get back with the best of them, the scheming changed significantly and the Bears were in a much better position. The tackling also seemed to improve, although, I still fear that if AZ were to return to their running game, something they surprisingly abandoned in the 2nd quarter, we may see some more troubling misses if they haven’t got their act together. On offense, the unit has been pretty consistent throughout the game. Sure, not every possession was a gem, but overall there was good play-calling and plenty of good execution. Best is still, well Best, when he got in the open field. I expect to see a lot more of that in the 2nd half. If the Bears defense can continue it’s good trend, perhaps making the needed adjustments for AZ’s halftime adjustments, this should remain a very winnable game.

9:00 (14:55 3rd) Tavechio kicks it into the endzone. That’s the first time this season ANY Cal kickoff guy has reached the endzone, albeit only by a yard or two.

9:01 (14:27) See, here comes that running game for AZ again. I bet they realized how one dimensional they got at halftime.

9:03 (13:14) And when you can run the ball, all of a sudden, passing routes open up and Syd can get beat pretty bad on a slant. He should have gone for the tackle, not the tip.

9:06 (13:03) That’s the longest 7 yard run I’ve seen since Marshawn was doing his freaky elusive thing a couple years back. Nice to see the creative running.

9:08 (12:15) And nice to see the refs have NO idea that pass-interference includes climbing over the back of the receiver a half second before the ball gets there.

9:10 (12:00) Coaching update: Stoops face is half way to the obligatory construction sign red he must approach by game’s end after the marking of that punt.

9:15 (10:45) That was a great time for play-action. Everyone knows that Tedford likes to run with the lead in the 2nd half.

9:19 (9:20) Oooo! If only Boateng could have held on to that. It was a tough catch, but it would have been huge. Of course, it’s nice to see Tavechio kicking so well. 2 for 3 now and good on everything inside 50. Bears up 27-21.

9:24 (7:47) When the Bears blow it on a running play, it’s always pretty ugly. There’s no safety backup and it tends to go a LONG way. A goal-line stand would be HUGE here. No such luck. Bears in a 1-point hole: 27-28

9:34 (6:10) There were two people at fault on that INT. One was Tucker who needs to wrestle that ball away from the defender. The other is Nate who’s double clutching a ton today. You can tell 2006 is etched in his brain and he’s over-thinking it. Too bad he didn’t re-think that one. Thinking more globally, the Bears are doing everything underneath and the AZ secondary is biting on it HARD. We need some stop and gos or one of the many other ways that make corners pay for that.

9:37 (4:09) It’s pretty close to time for Tedford to call a “momentum” timeout. The Bears are realing and they need a moment to re-group. Tedford never does that though.

9:41 (1:29) That’s a really tough play to defend. There were some warning signs early that there could be trouble down the road: The running game of AZ and the “feel” of a shootout. Neither were good for the Bears and both are coming true in the 3rd quarter. The Bears need a BIG turnaround right here. A touchdown drive and a stop would go a LONG way.

9:46 (0:25) OK, I like that the Bears are going down the field, but there still needs to be some semblance of trying to move the chains. These refs are calling the game VERY loose on pass-interference and Cal’s secondary needs to play accordingly.

9:48 (End of 3rd quarter) Anytime you let your opponent score 28 points in one quarter, you’ve got a BIG problem. WAY too many big plays. The problems that were plaguing the Bears in the 1st quarter are back and unlike the 1st quarter where the Bears were gifted a couple of turnovers, AZ converted on all those drives. The defense needs to play very physical to get back in this.

9:53 (13:04 4th) WOW. I just don’t get Tedford these days. I would have NEVER expected this. We’ll see how it goes, but this breaks every Tedford template there is.

9:58 (11:45) This clock is moving awful fast for a team down two TDs. The Bears only have this last punt in them (another great one by Anger) and then they just have to execute and score. There’s not two punts here.

10:04 (8:32) Now we’re at the desperation point. There isn’t time for anything less. For all you Riley lovers… ask yourself, does Longshore over-throw that ball so that it is tipped up for the INT? I don’t think so. Not that Longshore doesn’t have his issues. But my point is that Riley is not savior right now either.

10:17 (3:44) Well, time to go down to the field for the interviews. I think we all know this isn’t going to happen.

Arizona statistical preview

My weekly statistical preview article is posted over at

It is a subscription article.

Arizona Practice Podcast

My weekly press-conference/practice podcast is now posted over at

This continues to be a free feature over at BT so go have a listen.

On TV again tomorrow

Well, it looks like my best impression of a person who’s ferret was lost in a tragic vacuum accident wasn’t enough to keep me off the air. I’ve been invited back on NFL Network’s ‘College Football Now’ tomorrow. It films in the morning and will broadcast later in the day, I believe at 3:00 PM PDT.

The NFL network is on channel 212 on DirecTV and caried on a number of other providers usually in the same range of channels as the “extra” ESPN channels like ESPN classic, etc.

I’ll make sure to post a YouTube of it after I’m done.

Woodworking projects finished

Throughout the last couple months frequent visitors of this blog have heard a number of comments about how I had these bookshelves and desks that I was “finishing up” and that’s why the posting wasn’t quite as heavy as I would like.

Well, they are FINALLY finished.

Not “only varnishing left”. Not “only the drawers left”. Not “only have to bring them inside left”. Not “only have to make the computer baby-proofing covers” left. Not “only have to put the floorboards back on left”. Not “only have to clean-up the garage to get the cars back in left”. Not ANYTHING left. I’m DONE!!!



Note that you can click on the pictures to go to my gallery of pictures for those projects, if you are so inclined. Or if you want to see all of my posted woodworking projects go to:

For those of you keeping track, yes, these ran WELL behind schedule. Originally they were supposed to be done in one week’s vacation from May 23rd to June 1st. When I wasn’t even close to done after that week, I worked weekends until my 2nd week off (and I had to dump going to a sailing regatta to do this) from July 19th through July 27th. When I was closing in on final assembly after that week, I was pretty sure I could wrap it up with a strong effort before heading down for my first fall practice on August 9th. When THAT didn’t happen, the promise I made to my wife was that it would be done before the season started. Then it was a promise ot finish it Labor day weekend just after the season started. After that, there were no more promises, just the knowledge that every day it wasn’t finished was a day I was not in the good graces of my family.

FINALLY, 143 days after the cars were first kicked out of the garage, I put the final touches on the project yesterday, the cars are back in the garage and I am back in the family’s good graces!

…and you’ll start to see more blogging.

UCLA game to be at 12:30 PM on ABC

Well, it’s two Monday’s before a Cal game, which means that it’s time for the TV announcement.

Drum roll please…

It’s ABC at 12:30 PM!

Since the Oregon at Arizona State game has lost a lot of its luster with ASU on a 4 game losing streak and Oregon getting killed by USC last weekend and then looking uninspired against UCLA, it’s not a big surprise that ABC went with the game that has the big TV markets (LA and the Bay Area) particularly with Cal back in the rankings.

It’s a relief since that’s all that was available for TV coverage unless Cal could swing another CSN-West deal at the last minute.

As a reminder, here are the remaining games and their TV coverage:

Date Opponent Current TV TV Options
10/18 Arizona FSN @ 7:15 n/a
10/25 UCLA ABC @ 12:30 n/a
11/1 Oregon decision 10/20 ABC @ 12:30 or FSN @ 3:30 or ?
11/8 USC ABC @ 5:00 n/a
11/15 OSU decision 11/3 ABC @ 12:30 or FSN @ 7:15 or ?
11/22 Big Game ? ?
12/6 UW guaranteed decision 11/24 FSN @ 12:00 or ESPN(2) @ 5:00

It seems like the Cal vs. Oregon game would get ABC as well with the main competition being ASU at OSU, but with the UCLA game getting that same slot, perhaps not. It’s hard to believe it won’t get picked up at all with two slots availabe and it being the biggest billed game of the weekend.

That just leaves the OSU game which has a couple options and the mysterious Big Game which seems to have no options and no activity on a pick-up by CSN-West. There’s got to be something going on behind the scenes there.

Bye Week Podcast

My podcast for the bye week is posted over there:

It’s a free podcast, even though it’s posted on BearTerritory, so have a listen.


In addition to the obvious pushing violation on the 2nd ASU drive, there was the earlier on the same drive, drive-extending, “leaping” penalty on the blocked field-goal . I looked up the rules for this a couple days ago (and michias was nice enough to post the rule as well in the comments). It reads as follows:

No defensive player, in an attempt to gain an advantage, may step, jump or stand on an opponent. No defensive player who runs forward from beyond the neutral zone and leaps from beyond the neutral zone in an obvious attempt to block a field goal or try may land on any player(s). It is not a foul if the leaping player was aligned in a stationary position within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

So, just so we’re clear on the play, here’s what happened:

  1. The Cal player of note is 5 yards (approx) behind line of scrimmage
  2. Ball was snapped
  3. Cal player takes 1 step forward
  4. Cal player leaps straight up, still well behind the neutral zone
  5. Cal player blocks kick
  6. As Cal player is coming straight down when ASU player comes flying out from line of scrimage and knocks legs out from under Cal player as he’s about to hit the ground.
  7. Penalty called on Cal player

So let’s break it down clause by clause to see if the Cal player broke the rule:

No defensive player who runs forward from beyond the neutral zone

OK, the Cal player in question does meet this requirement of the rule in that his step forward can be considered “running”, albeit a bit of a stretch, and he started from behind the neutral zone.

and leaps from beyond the neutral zone

Here’s the rub, right here. It’s the use of the word FROM. Generally speaking, the word ‘from’ is used when going ‘to’ some where. This is not always the case. I can call someone on the phone ‘from’ Ohio and it doesn’t indicate that when I’m done I’ll be somewhere else. However, the way this reads, it makes me think that the implication is that the leap must start ‘from’ behind the neutral zone and ends in the neutral zone. The idea being that all the linemen will be in the neutral zone when this forward (since he was running) leaping guy falls on top of them. However, taking the most broad definition of ‘from’ here, technically speaking, that’s not a requirement that he land in the neutral zone, so our poor Cal player continues to meet the clauses for the rule even if it wasn’t intended.

in an obvious attempt to block a field goal or try

No one would debate that the Cal player was attempting to block the kick so this clause is also satisfied.

may land on any player(s).

And sure enough, the Cal player did land on someone. Now, the ‘catch’ here is that he didn’t land on them because his jump took him into that person but because that person effectively ran under him while he was in the air. There was nothing our poor Cal player could have done to avoid coming down on him nor could he have anticipated that the ASU player would be under him when he started his vertical leap as the ASU player was caught up in the line at the time. So, as much as we’d like to excuse this clause, the reality is that it is indeed satisfied in this case.

So, when one takes the most broad definition of ‘running’ and the most broad definition of ‘from’ and the most broad definition of ‘land on’, sure enough, the Cal player did, as much as it is a stupidly written rule, commit a personal foul.

But here’s my gripe (in addition to the overly generous interpretation of the rule):

If we’re going to have this sort of a nit-picky call of the rules, then where THE HECK is the pushing call later in the drive. I’m OK that some refs are more sticklers for the letter of the law than others who take a more “intent” based perspective. What I’m not OK with is such wreckless inconsistency. It would have been the same ref who called the leaping penalty who would have been in perfect position to call the pushing penalty. And if that ref is going to be an AMAZING stickler for the leaping penalty when it is clear when you read the rule that while he may have JUST BARELY violated the letter of the law, he did not in any way shape or form violate the intent of the rule, then he’d better stinking call pushing in a case where not only was the letter of the law broken but also the intent AND the very strick interpretation that generally limits the use of the the rule in the modern era.

That’s the way I see it anyway. It was a bad call because it was a ridiculously broad reading of leaping and completely inconsistent with both the calling of the rest of the game and of how modern officiating is called these days.

ASU On The Road Podcast

I know, I know. You must all be falling over with heart attacks. It’s only Monday. Ken doesn’t post his ridiculously late podcast until at least Thursday. But today is a new day!

Have a listen to my post-game thoughts on Nate vs. Kevin, our awesome defense, who looks tough in the coming weeks and much more.

Pushing RB’s into the endzone

It seems that the topic of pushing other players forward seems to be getting more attention with every passing year. Starting with the “Bush Push” in 2005, each year more and more controversies errupt about whether some play was legal or not.

Everyone agrees that the rulebook is pretty strick about disallowing any type of pushing on the player. The debate always swirls around the “current interpretation” of the rule and whether this play or that violated the standarding being used today.

What many forget is it is NOT illegal to push a would-be tackler off the runner. So, not only do we have the vagarities of the “current interpretation”, we also have the subjective issues of whether the fellow offensive player is pushing the runner or pushing the tackler. Sometimes it is clear. Other times, particularly in a scrum, it’s not so clear.

All of this is background for the ASU’s 2nd touchdown on Saturday. The fans around me, I sit in the portion of the stadium closest to that particular play, were all up in arms about the pushing. I scoffed at it because I generally take a narrow interpretation of the rule and didn’t see anything unusual there.

That is until I got home and watched it on Tivo… HOLY SMOKES!

I’ve never seen a more blatant example of pushing that this. Herring’s feet were LIFTED OFF THE GROUND for the last two yards of the touchdown run. There were two ASU offensive line guys who literally picked him up and effectively used Herring as a battering ram to get into the endzone. If you’ve got a copy of the game, watch that section again. It was MUCH more blatant tha it seemed from the stands.

That should have been called. If there’s ever a time the pushing rule should be called, that was it.

Colorado State Podcast

It’s Friday night before a Cal game, what is the last item on everyone’s agenda to prep for the Cal game the next day? Why finish up all of their unfinished business!

OK, I know my publishing of the podcasts are getting to be just a bit tiresomely consistently late, but hey, it’s not like anyone is paying me for this. So while I do wish I was getting these published on time, I also know those stinking bookshelves are still unfinished in the garage (ARG!?!) and work is pretty busy too.

In any case, have a listen.

Statistical preview of ASU game

My weekly statistical preview article has been posted over at

As always it is a subscription article.

Examiner Best Of

The San Francisco Examiner is doing a ‘best of’ series and Cal Blogs got its turn yesterday. Excuse Me For My Voice was amongst the 6 picked. They had this to say about us:

The name might tip you off, but if it doesn’t I’ll just say that this is not your standard blog. When it comes to the writing, it’s definitely done with flair. Not only do they hit you with great informative articles, they do it in a way that is never dull. They also do podcasts to go along with their great commentary and photos from the game. This is a great site to live vicariously through these fanatics. Once you’ve read an article or listened to a podcast, you’ll be hooked.

Huh, I never thought of us as a blog that is “definitely done with flair”. If anything I though we were the stoggy old-timers who were the last to fly off the hook. But perhaps it’s our ‘flair’ for the sarcastic and the jovial nature of our podcasts that gives the best of writer that impression. Or perhaps it’s just the name.

The other blogs picked, with the exception of ‘The Bear Will Not Quit’ that I only learned of this fall, and so was not in contention when I picked the blog-roll for this year, are all on the blogroll.