Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BIG BOY PANTS

Welcome to a Cal Fan’s Notes, or as the San Francisco Chronicle calls it, Diary of a Sex Slave. Saturday we graduated to another level—on all fronts.

Suddenly, we were them (or is it “they." Mark Shorr would turn over in his grave if he thought this English Major couldn’t remember).

Putting Macbeth in the past tense: Nothing was, but what was not. Everything was upside down. The blue shirts were gold and the gold pants were blue. They were the team that choked—not us. We were the fans which screamed wildly—not them. They were the ones that jumped offsides and were called for false starts—not us. We were playing under the lights—not under the sun. They were the physically weaker—we were the stronger team.

We dominated in every phase—not them. We were the hitters, the terminators, the snot busters, the de-cleeters—not them.

"Wait," you say. This is the Tedford era. We’ve been lots of these things the past four years. And right you are—but never were we so much in so many areas in such an important game. Talk about the “Firstus with the Mostest” That was us.

Sure, maybe there wasn’t a better game than the three overtime win over SC a few of years back. And being on the 9 with a minute twenty-nine down in the Coliseum wasn’t half bad either.

We were playing great teams and played well—as Tedford teams have.

But Saturday we were ugly! We were monsters! We were hitters and interceptors and sackers and blockers and passers and runners and kickers and kick returners and…….

I’m telling’ ya’, it’s never happened before against such a good team. Playing #1 SC, tough, was a compliment to Tedford and his crew—but slaughtering and dominating a very good #11 team brought us to a new level.

I’m not saying this team is better than Pawlowski’s ‘91 squad, or the Muncie/Roth Days, or even selling Kapp, Hart and the boys short in our last Rose Bowl. But this squad has more depth—more superior players than any team anywhere to don the Blue and Gold. (Sorry Coach Smith—but even when you were going undefeated for 5 years straight, and Pappy when you went to three straight Rose Bowls, you never had soooooooooooo many good players to choose from). We may yet, tank. But players we definitely got.

Out of the diapers and into Big Boy Pants. That is us. No one is going to want to play us from here on out, and it says here, we’re favored by 2 ½ to 7 down in the Coliseum on November 18th.

Oh yeah. We can self destruct. We’ve gone entire halves without scoring an offensive touchdown. And we had 60 yards on personal foul penalties, Saturday night. We’ve got some kids who are awfully immature, and whose tongues may cost us the bowl birth of our choice.

But if Tedford and Gregory can keep them in line—and if anyone can—they can---whoooooooooooaaaaaaaa Neeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllly!!

The sheer physicality of Saturday night’s massacre was awe inspiring. For those who love physical football, it was a sight to behold. Our D shut them down. We had three picks, 2 sacks, (Longshore's jersey remained spotless) and held them to 70 yards rushing.

But the poetry was the 4th quarter O line. Even we knew Tedford was going to run and try to use up clock. And we haven’t been a running team this year. Plus, Lynch had re-sprained his ankle and was on the sideline.

The O line was like a group of New York fire fighters, hitching up there coveralls, and climbing up a burning World Trade Center. OK. Bad metaphor. No one compares to those real heroes. But in the world of “games” they rose to the occasion like few O lines have. In the world of “games”, they were men. They were heroes.

Everyone in the stadium knew what they were going to do, and they did it anyway. It was like Mike Tyson winking at your girl. You just hope and pray he wants her more than he wants you.

They were relentless and methodical. Forsett, Mr. 2nd String running back, carried 27 times for 163 yards. On almost every carry, the Ducks, no slouches themselves—and still now technically not out of the game—knew what was coming.

But like my wife in Costco with a credit card, they were totally helpless to stop it.

Oddly, it started with us—the great unwashed. It wasn’t like a Cal game. It was like a game at Notre Dame or (dare I say it) Tennessee. There was electricity in the air. People were everywhere. There may even have been a beer or two.

The Stadium was jammed. It was every bit as good and better than many Big Games. It was so Un-Cal.

We, the blue state, liberal elitists were re-discovering the beauty of College football—and the thrill of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. We the nattering nabobs of negativism were baptized in the holy waters of unashamed and unrestrained boosterism. We were proud. We were loud. We were a force.

The Ducks (foolishly) tried to pass on the first play from their own territory. The deafening noise affected them as they tried to shout at one another (as we did in Tennessee), maybe, foolishly calling an audible. Dixon threw a little high, and Hampton intercepted and was out of bounds at their 7.

Now in the past, we’ve had breaks like that against, Notre Dame, Miami, Big Ten schools. And what inevitably used to happen? We’d get the three and lead for a few minutes.

It appeared like history would repeat itself as we had a 3rd and goal from the one.

We came out with two tight ends. Longshore rolled slightly left—all motion went left, and then Stevens snuck out in the right. He looked like Don Cheney at a Nancy Pelosi party off Zinfandel Lane. No one was near him.

Still, it was only 7 zip and they were running that spread with the 4th most potent offense in the country. Those of us who had watched Texas Tech tear us apart in the Holiday Bowl were not too smug.

Clearly Gregory learned something from that game. (Tedford’s crew learns something from everything). For all game long they were stuffed, picked and pick pocketed.

They marched down and got a field goal. Then after a couple of punts, Jackson caused the poor DB to fall down with a move which left him wide open for a 36 yd. TD. To bring us to 14 to three.

Bishop intercepted a pass to start the 2nd quarter. The ducks returned the favor. Them Mabane caused a fumble, recovered by Abu Ma'afala.

Lynch picked up 24. Forsett got one, then with a third and goal from the one, Longshore took it in on a keeper for his first rushing TD of his career.

It was 21 to 3 when Oregon made the mistake of punting to Jackson. The started right, went left, then reversed it back right again. Someone made an outstanding crack back block, and like Deon he was history. 28 to 3.

Oregon had an 11 play 69 yard drive to keep in the game 28 to 10 at half.

Half time was an only at Cal event. Noble Prize Winner, Cosmologist George F. Smoot, was on the “jumbo tron” (Ok, Munchkin Tron) leading the stands in a “Go” “Bears”—“Go Bears” yell. How can you not love that?

In the 2nd half, Schnieder hit a 44 yarder (he’s not getting the notice he deserves) to make it 31 to 10.

After a punt, we took 6:43 off the clock with an impressive 80 yard, 15 play drive ending in Longshore’s third TD pass, this time to Jordan to “put it away”, 38 to 10.

“Not so fast Kowalski.”

They drove to our 29. 4th down. A fellow pretended to run to the sidelines, stopped in bounds (we didn’t see it either), and then the field goal kicker took a direct snap and tossed him a Touch Down. That did bring up talk of SC two years ago. On 4th, if we’re ahead, we seem to be vulnerable to the fake. That should be easily curable.

Forsett and the O line were the story in the 4th quarter, and it was a thing of beauty which would have brought a smile to Ray Willsey, Woody Hayes, and all lovers of grind it out football.

The game ended. It was dark, but light in our hearts. No one wanted to leave. We headed up to the Napa Valley, realizing we’d witnessed a transformative moment. Finally—we were the Big Bad Bears!!

Unless you’ve seen ball elsewhere, and many of you have, you can’t really understand what Tedford has wrought. Saturday was a Sea Change.


Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren '70
www.jeffwarren.com


A couple of Notes from the Web site:

Cal has scored 171 points in the first halves of those five victories, and the Bears have scored at least 40 points in five straight games for the first time in school history.

Bellotti said. "It was not what I anticipated. ... It's the most crowd noise I've ever heard here, too. Sometimes there hasn't been a crowd here."

Pac-10 rushing leader Jonathan Stewart managed just 25 yards on 18 carries for the Ducks

Cosmologist George F. Smoot, who won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday, was introduced before the game to the cheering student section, which chanted "Nobel Prize! Nobel Prize!"



From Jeans: Tedford’s Solution to The Personal Fouls:

This is an excerpt from and e-mail from Mike Tepper (#79) to his Dad:

"Just got done doing 60 up downs for 60 yards in personal fouls."

Not exactly what one would expect for a Sunday night team treat after a huge win over
Oregon.

I am convinced Jeff Tedford is building a world class, totally accountable organization."

What are "up downs?:

You run in place... then the whistle blows. you drop to the ground do a push up then immediately stand up and keep running in place.

From Doug:

This quote in USA Today yesterday was an extraordinary event.

"It [even] came up during Saturday's football game between California and Oregon, two nationally ranked teams. When GEORGE SMOOT — A PHYSICS PROFESSOR AT BERKELEY and one of this year's Nobel winners — was introduced at halftime, the home fans chanted "Nobel! Nobel! Nobel!" much as one might expect them to chant "Defense! Defense! Defense!"

Its called "brains AND brawn!" No other university in the country, forget "public university", no other university who is a true football powerhouse is also the top in academics. Ohio State, for example, has never even had one Nobel Prize winner. Go down the list. Cal has more Nobels than any of them.

Now let's look at the opposite. Harvard, MIT, Cal Tech, Princeton, Yale -- absolutely great academics, but they are not even close in top 10 in football.

It was often said in my day in college that being on top in both was not possible. The objectives were diametrically opposed. You could be great in one but not the other. What was urging us on was that we were starting to get close. Cal won the NCAA basketball championship in 1959 and lost the championship game 1960. Meanwhile, we went to the Rose Bowl with Joe Kapp at quarterback. We came out in 1962 and 1963 and 1964 in the top three academic rankings race with Harvard and Yale, even beating Harvard once. In football coaching, we had Marv Levy, a Phi Beta Kappa himself, and Craig Morton as a quarterback. We were going somewhere! As in the fight song "...brains and brawn will win the day.."

Then the Free Speech movement hit and the whole thing blew up. Of course, on Rally Comm, we knew who was the best. We knew the Bear spirit would persevere. Someday we would make the top of both. We always thought that no other school could even have a close shot. If there is one we thought, it would probably be Stanford State, but, hey, we'll give them the number 2 slot and that'll make it a double whammy for the Golden West.

So if you get a chance again as you are working up some yells and card stunts and half time pageantry, including THE band, to combine the two messages, do it.

For the Bears!

Doug Patterson


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