Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN




Sunday morning it was like a death in the Family. Only Edward Albee could adequately describe it.
Friday night in LaLa Land was an orgiastic delight—fit more for Dominick Dunn than Haywood Hale Bruin.
In between came Saturday. The type of day that will try men’s souls and empty their wallets if they followed their hearts and not their heads.
Will we never learn? Are we destined for ever to push that rock up the hill, just about reaching the crest, only to watch it slip away from us and roll back down to the bottom again?
Sisyphus had it easy compared to being a Bears fan.
I guess we are so naive that we set ourselves up for disaster. This was the first time since I was a kid in 1958 that I sat in the stands, secure in the knowledge that, no pollsters, no commissioners, no computers could deny us the Holy Grail. One win. One simple victory and the coveted Golden Fleece would be ours.
Friday night set the tone, and the stars seemed to be in alignment—at least they were all out.
Gary’s son, John Rogers was our host. He seems to own L.A, and just leases it out to the Jack Nicholson’s, Madonna’s and Jay Lo’s.
Like two years ago, when we are out with him, it’s like going on safari. One’s head is on a swivel, looking for “sightings.” The hope is to bag one of the big five, Rhino, Lion, Wildebeest, Cheetah, or Leopard. Remember—the big 5 only come out after dark.
(You have to understand that when you live in a town of 6,000 people, it’s exciting to go to Hollywood, where one can lie on the sand and look at the stars and vice versa).
Well, it was dinner at Il Solei, and sure enough Rod Stewart was dining next to us. (One assumes he helped his date with her homework before bringing her out to din din). It’s not that she was young, but we over heard her ordering a scotch and wah-wah.

Next morning, we bagged Harry Connick Jr. and Neil Young. But the sun was up so they don’t count.
After dinner it was off to the Sky Bar in the Mondrian Hotel.
I’m not sure we spotted any of the big 5 there, but there certainly some big things on the deck—and this before the FDA ruled that implants will be legal again.
The 30 somethings wanted to head off to the uber-exclusive “Hide.” We oldsters hit the sack, satiated with our gawking tourist evening.
Alas, had we tagged along, we’d a-bagged-a-biggie. Paris Hilton showed up and partied on with the group. No doubt she was disappointed we were back closing down the Bel Aire Bar. But let’s face it. We were all wearing underwear that evening. So, I’m sure she would have considered us sooooooooo 90’s.
We awoke wide eyed with anticipation. The victory was ripe for the plucking.
5pm starts are not good for one’s heart. Too much time.
We headed to the Beverly Hills Hotel for some tennis, and then fortunately had the OSU/Michigan game to take our minds off our delayed start.

And was that ever a football game. Two teams rising to the occasion.
How do the players pass the time when they have to wait all day to play?

We drove through Crenshaw (had rarely seen it without smoke) and made it to the Alumni Tailgate.

Memo to Tuck: You’re the best. Congrats. We need you as President. Now, please take note. This is not just from me. No more tailgates where you charge $65 and then charge $5 per beer—and then have only two kegs and long, long lines form. Cal fans deserve better.

Folks like Krepps came from Tokyo, Watson from New York. People come a long way for a good experience. It was great seeing everybody, but the food and beverage has got to get cleaned up.
Anyway, after Oregon, we knew we had more players than SC. After the WSU players were quoted as saying we were more physical than SC we knew this wasn’t just a fantasy of our own making.
We had the coaches. We had the players. We had the physical toughness to emerge victorious.
What happened?
First: Were this game played three years ago, we win. Two plays which were ruled TD’s on the field, were overturned by TV review. The fix wasn’t in. It’s just that the human error which allowed UCLA’s Dennis Dummit to be called in the end zone--when his knees touched at the three yard line back in the day—has been somewhat eliminated.
Bring in Jackson’s questionable sideline tap of the previous week, and without replay, the Bears are suddenly a one loss team.
I know. It goes both ways. It’s just an interesting sidebar to a dreary day.
So what did happen?
Since you didn’t ask, my guess is that the weather beat us.
One couldn’t tell from TV or even in the stands, but a heavy fog had rolled in. I was on the field in the third quarter (Jeans avers that that is what jinxed ‘em) and it was unbelievably wet, dank and soggy. The fog had turned a fast field into a quasi-quagmire. Both QB’s threw wobbly passes, as they were unable to grip the ball. Lineman couldn’t get off their blocks, nor mount a pass rush—and backs seemed to be treading water.
It was equal for both teams, but a slow field always favors the team with less talent, as it “levels the playing field.”
We had two turnovers in the first half (one leading to a safety against them), and still led 9 to 6. We lead in every statistical category.
Then came the dreaded third quarter.
We’ve scored only 51 points in 11 third quarters—4.6 points per game. In fact, we’ve scored only 114 points in the third and 4th quarter all year—10.3 points per game.

A touch and a field goal vs. 21.3 points in the first half. Three touches vs. one.

Are teams in better shape than we are? Are teams making better adjustments than we do? Do we just relax because (with the exception of Tennessee) we are ahead?

We’ve actually been outscored in the last two quarters 118 to 114 points—against 106 points vs. 235 in the first two.

How do we score over twice as many points as our opponents in the first have, and get outscored in the second?

Note that (statistically) the D has performed consistently for all 4 quarters.

I have no answers, but were I a staff, I’d try to figure that one out.

So what did happened?

Fans bitched (and Tedford remarked) that we couldn’t make less than a yard on two plays in that all important third quarter.

Fans around us wanted razzle dazzle. They questioned whether Tedford had lost his audacity.

Those of us who are old school, like taking it straight to ‘em. It shows confidence in the line and in your team. And if you are the most physical—which we were, we should have made it—either by Lynch or on the QB sneak.

On the other hand, with 4th and one, Carroll threw for an audacious TD.

We weren’t out coached as so many said. Reverse it, and we’d have been screaming for smash mouth football.

Both are proper calls. Why one work and the other did didn’t? My guess is the weather. It was too slippery to make the short yardage, and the slipperiness did not work against the play action pass. Take it for what it’s worth.

They blanketed Jackson. Often a third DB moved towards the centre third of the field so that someone had him short—deep—and down the middle to the post. That did mean that down the middle towards the off side was wide open—and I was sure we’d see one of those—but if it was called, it wasn’t executed.

The only true breakdown from an armature’s point of view, was the TD to Jarret. We all saw him in single coverage near the goal line. Though the safety put a monstrous hit on him—it came after the catch!

Where was he earlier? Wouldn’t one have been shading that side and doubling on him?

This is not Monday morning quarterbacking. We all remarked on it before the ball was snapped.

Longshore had a tough day. But he was hurried.

An interesting visual: Terrified of Jackson returning a punt for a score, in the 4th quarter, the SC punter faced the sideline at a 45 degree angle to the line of scrimmage. He punted 10 yards and 19 yards—but the ball went out of bounds and Jackson never had a chance.

Lynch ran some 60 yards for a score, late in the game, but the review showed that his knee had touched. It appeared to be correct, but pre-replay?

Lynch also dove for a first down when it was all but over. He showed a lot of heart, and as an aside, the paper said he’s got a 3.0 and is awfully proud of that—as are we.

As a further aside, apparently after the game he said “They” when referring to the team next year—a dead give away that he won’t be back.

Thompson has come a long way from the Tennessee game. Not only can he cover, he’s a hitter.

Well, we (the fans) brought it upon ourselves.

We are not worthy. We let our expectations get too high. It was a down, down day. However. At least, we’ll always have Paris.

Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ’70

www.jeffwarren.com


Here’s a nice bit from the website regarding academics:

BERKELEY - Eight members of the California football team have been selected for the Pac-10 All-Academic Teams, the league announced on Thursday. Senior fullback Byron Storer and senior cornerback Randy Bundy were both first team honorees for the Golden Bears. To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant substitute.

In addition to Storer and Bundy, sophomore center Alex Mack, junior defensive lineman John Allen and junior linebacker Greg Van Hoesen were honored as second team picks. Three Bear offensive linemen collected honorable mention honors: seniors Erik Robertson and Scott Smith and sophomore Noris Malele.

In Tedford's five years at the helm of the California program, 50 of his players have been recognized by the conference for their combination of athletic and academic excellence. Storer, Mack, Robertson and Smith were also among the eight players honored last season. Storer, Robertson and Smith were also among Cal's nine in 2004 while Storer is the lone active player to have also earned the honor in 2003.


From “Jeans”

Cal was ahead of the Condoms while Gary was with us on the sidelines. We lost the lead and then the game after you took his place. Coincidence or cause and effect?


From Don

As for the game, we are -- literally and figuratively -- a year away. . . . Then the problem will be how do we deal with the fact that this year USC is loaded with freshmen and sophomores?

USC will be a nail-biter for as long as Tedford is at Cal and Carroll is at USC. It will be a classic test of skills and wills -- as it should be.


From Hal on the Stanfurd band

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/16039382.htm?source=yahoodist&content=sjm_news


From John (Is there a theme here?)

Warren I did not get your e-mail before the Arizona game and blame the lose completely on you, I feel much better this week. See you Sat., one thing about blue collar college graduates you have to be optimistic.


From Dave Bush (regarding the out of bounds hit on Bates back in the 50’s)

Mike McKeever......doing the bidding of the SC line coach Al Davis.....
have a blast...db


Monday, November 20, 2006

A CAL FAN’S NOTES OFF TO SC


It doesn’t get much better than this. Of course, I’ve said that each weekend this year. But here we are. Leaving the land of Eldridge Cleaver—headed for the land of Elder Cleavage.

Pundits think it’s Tedford vs. Carroll. DJ vs. Jarret. Longshore vs. Booty. But we know better.

This is class warfare. A study in opposites. Public school vs. Private. It’s Mao, Che and Fidel vs. Biff, Buffy, and Binky. Where Levis meet Louis Vuitton. It’s the unshaven vs. the shaven—and that’s just women’s legs.

It’s the bra-ed vs. the bra-less. Brainy vs. the brainless. It’s the “lumpin prolatariet vs. the bourgeois. Where the sustainable's meet the disposables.

This isn’t just a football game. It’s what Bill O’Reilly’s been writing about—a true Culture war.

For a thousand years, it’s been the dumb jocks vs. the athletes who had to go to class (even if it was Professor Belquist’s Speech class or Hurst’s grade yourself ed class). The scholarship athlete whose job was to make sure the parking place didn’t move vs. the scholarship recipient who had to pine tox the toilets and rake up the garbage in Memorial Stadium.

This is the game where recruits who meet bunnies at Hef’s joint, take on recruits who met Earl at the Fern.

This is the game we too often almost win—only to lose it in the last second—or fall short in the waning moments.

It’s Pete Canamella breaking Johnny O’s leg or the McKeever twin (I forget which one—all those yuppies look alike) breaking Bates’ jaw after he was out of bounds.

It’s for all the marbles (or as they say at mummy’s country club: “Point milkshake.”)

My favorite writer said after the Oregon game that Cal would be favored by 2 to 7. Alas, he believed that song “There is no Arizona

SC is favored by 6. It ‘s their field. It will be nosier than the Pi Phi sleeping porch late on a Saturday night as they compare dates.

They’ve got the Mo.

But they haven’t been slowly boiled alive in Tennessee. We have. It says here that that horrible afternoon will put us in the Rose Bowl tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Power to the People!!!

If you need to get psyched up listen to James Bethea

From Dave Bush, some corrections to keep idiots like me honest

This shows that I am reading.....When cal played Illinois in '74, Mike White
was our coach...he didn't go to Illinois until `1980.....The only "planes''
of Champaign" fly over it...I think you meant to say "plains''....And Rip
Engle didn't "lose his job'' after Hunt to Bradley. He was an institution,
and left on his own terms ...but you are correct that he quit at the end of
that year,and the idea of getting beat on what was obviously offensive pass
interference was a factor in his decsion. Also, Mike McCaffrey tells me that
as an assistant in the "Bradley" game, Joe Pa was abusive to opposing
players....See you next weekend

From Greg, some awards:

California's 2006 Award Semifinalists
Daymeion Hughes - Jim Thorpe Award (Top Defensive Back) - three finalists named Monday, Nov. 20
Daymeion Hughes - Ronnie Lott Trophy (Top Defensive Player) - three finalists named Monday, Nov. 27
Daymeion Hughes - Chuck Bednarik Award (Top Defensive Player) - three finalists named Wednesday, Nov. 23
DeSean Jackson - Biletnikoff Award (Top Wide Receiver) - three finalists named next week
DeSean Jackson - Randy Moss Award (Top Return Man) - finalists announced Wednesday, Dec. 13
Nate Longshore - Davey O'Brien Award (Top Quarterback) - three finalists named Tuesday, Nov. 21
Marshawn Lynch - Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back) - three finalists named Tuesday, Nov. 21
Marshawn Lynch - Maxwell Award (Top Player) - three finalists named Wednesday, Nov. 23
Jeff Tedford - George Munger Award (Top Coach) - three finalists named Wednesday, Nov. 23
Jeff Tedford - Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year (Top Coach) - winner announced Saturday, Dec. 16

Eight Golden Bears Earn Pac-10 Football Academic Honors Eight members of the California football team have been selected for the Pac-10 All-Academic Teams, the league announced on Thursday. Senior fullback Byron Storer and senior cornerback Randy Bundy were both first team honorees for the Golden Bears. To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant substitute. In addition to Storer and Bundy, sophomore center Alex Mack, junior defensive lineman John Allen and junior linebacker Greg Van Hoesen were honored as second team picks. Three Bear offensive linemen collected honorable mention honors: seniors Erik Robertson and Scott Smith and sophomore Noris Malele. In Tedford's five years at the helm of the California program, 50 of his players have been recognized by the conference for their combination of athletic and academic excellence. Storer, Mack, Robertson and Smith were also among the eight players honored last season. Storer, Robertson and Smith were also among Cal's nine in 2004 while Storer is the lone active player to have also earned the honor in 2003. 2006 California Pac-10 All-Academic Selections
Byron Storer, RB, Sr., Mass Communications (First Team)
Randy Bundy, DB, Sr., American Studies (First Team)
Alex Mack, C, So., Legal Studies (Second Team)
John Allen, DL, Jr., Political Science (Second Team)
Greg Van Hoesen, LB, Jr., Art Practice (Second Team)
Noris Malele, OL, So., Social Welfare (Honorable Mention)
Erik Robertson, OL, Sr., Scandinavian Studies (Honorable Mention)
Scott Smith, OL, Sr., English (Honorable Mention)

.

Jeffrey Earl Warren
James Warren & Son
1414 Main St.
St. Helena, Ca.
94574
707-963-2748