Thursday, November 10, 2011

BEARS CURE SINISTROPHOBIA VS. COUGARS

             


How good was the Bear D on Saturday?

                So good, that Mayor Michelle Quan (a Bear from my Day) publically apologized to the Washington State Cougars for the hard hits applied during Saturday’s 30 to 3 victory.  She assumed the poor Cougars were aged bar flies being maliciously mauled by over-sexed college kids.  As befitting her wit, she was half right.

                She is against all violence unless it is conducted by ski masked youths dressed in black, and directed against shop owners of color, who happen to have glass storefronts in Oakland—but I digress.

                Cal played its finest game of the season Saturday.  It matters not that the opponent wasn’t up to snuff.  One must measure improvement against oneself, not the opposition.  (i.e., compared to myself, I’m a great spouse).  Compared to my wife I have the grace and class of Ahrnoooooold, interviewing English speaking challenged au pairs.
                But the real beauty of Saturday’s win in the rain, was that the coaching staff adapted to Zach Maynard’s skill set, rolled left constantly and let him succeed, BY FINALLY PUTTING HIM IN A POSITION WHERE HE COULD BE SUCCESSFUL.

                That’s what teachers are for.

                (Regular readers of A Cal Fan's Notes--both of you--might recognize a theme that has been touched on before).
                                Maynard’s first pass (to his bro) was an easy swing pass to the left and then he rolled left throughout the entire game.   He continued to roll left and before throwing down the middle (one was a beaut to Miller) he looked left first.  By my count he only threw right twice (incomplete) and once complete.  (We even tried a roll out right just to keep the D honest).  In fact, Maynard finally threw his first incomplete pass in the past three games while going left.  One game does not a season make, but he’s got more talent than people are giving him credit for.  I think he’s a winner, by nature.

                It is true that thrice he had wide open receivers deep down field, and thrice he overthrew them.  But that was most likely due to premature jaculation (google it before you let your dirty mind think impure thoughts).  He was so unused to men being wide open (and having so much time) that (just like us at that age) he got excited and threw too early and too hard.     

Look for at least two long TD throws this week against the Beavers.   If the coaches stick with the game plan and let him go left (conquering their Sinistrophobia—fear of left-handedness),   OSU should be another resounding W.

                Apparently, Chip Kelly made some comment about the Bears being the best (or one of the best looking) teams in the Pac 12.  (It’s possible he was referring to the white helmets, but I doubt it).  

                He may yet be proved right if the coaches continue to let the kids play to their strength.  It’s easy to Monday morning QB, but (as the occupiers’ chant) “Give credit where credit is due,”  Fits this game to a Tee.

                This was far and away the best coached game of the year.

                What did he do to offend his lineman?  Tavecchio is such a good kid and everyone played such a complete game that it seems a shame to even bring up the fifth, (5th), numero cinque, blocked extra point of the year.  That does not count the three missed field goals.  This is fixable.  Buy your linemen a beer—or cappucino—whatever!

                MFB (My Favorite Bear): Will Kapp got the thrill of a life time when he took a hand off trying to pick up a yard for a first, and leveled a DB, en route to a 43 yard touchdown run.  He now leads the nation in touchdowns per carry (he scores once every 6 times he touches the pigskin).  Of course he only has six carries this year, but let’s not nit pick.

                Who’s Mike Manuel?  7 carries 29 yards.  Looked good—don’t remember his name ever being called.  Do Bears have too many good runners?  Sofele, Anderson, DeBoski and now Manuel—all fighting for playing time—and the one who may be the best of the bunch, true freshman #5 Bigelow didn’t touch the ball from scrimmage at all.  How can one be good enough to start and return kicks, but not carry the ball from scrimmage?

                The D:  Those kids can play—when put in a scheme that utilizes their talents.  Great effort all day long.

                Accademics.  Still waiting for the Athletic Department to publically explain why we came in 11th out of 12 Pac 12 schools in one academic rating regarding graduation rates.  I assumed it can’t really be that bad as Tedford has made a real commitment to get his kids on a path to graduation.

                Now I get all my knowledge through rumor, but here’s what one “Deep Throat” (we’ll call her Dumpster Muffin) sent me to clarify it a bit.  She gave me permission to print the following.  I’ve edited it a touch to protect the guilty:

                …..You call attention to that embarrassing stat in order to make a very important point:  we need to know more about this embarrassing statistic -- Cal is 11th out of 12 in Pac-12 academic ratings…

The data is based on the entering class of Fall 2004:    
                      
There were 13 freshman admitted in that cohort.   Apparently, the NCAA does not include JC transfers or other transfer students in that calculation.  (I'm not sure why, and I'll resist the temptation to over-interpret that point.)

 Of the 13 freshman in the 2004 cohort,  4 graduated; 5 went to the NFL (after 3, 4 or 5 years), and 4 did not graduate.  All told 4 of 13 graduated after 6 years, or  31%

 The 4 year football Graduation Success Rate (Entering classes 2000-2004) is 54% .  This includes 2 [out of 4] of Jeff Tedford's recruiting classes.

 The overall Student Athletic Graduation Success Rate is 79%.

I need to find out what the overall student graduation rate is.  I THINK (unverified) that it is quite comparable.

My take away is that the percentage will vary greatly from one year to the next in football, depending on the number who leave early for the NFL.  I'm not condoning or explaining away the 54%, but I am trying to contextualize it.  There's no question -- at least in my addled brain (what's left of it) -- that we must continue to press the leadership at Cal to be diligent about CREATING THE CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS at Cal -- on the fields and in the classroom.  This is an important form of responsibility / accountability that I believe Tedford takes seriously.  (I believe this based on my many conversations with him about this subject over the past 10 years.)  I THINK the position coaches have clauses in their contracts re graduation rates……

            This subject bears watching.  

            The Stanford State Game:  This is personal with me—I don’t ask others to agree.  I want the Indians to win against the Ducks this weekend and to defeat LSU in the BCS championship game.  The only thing I want more than that is for the Bears to Clobber Stanford State next week and deny the Indians the trip to that game.  Schadenfreude is a bitch.

            The end of an Era:  One wants to say that what happened in Happy Valley (Pennsylvania, not Lafayette) is a tragedy—one that began in Memorial Stadium when Rip Engle was the Nitney Lions’ coach and St. Helena’ Jimmy Hunt was the Bears QB with one second left on the clock.  Hunt threw it to the endzone and the bird (Jerry Bradly)—he swears he never pushed off—caught the ball for the winning TD.  Engle was fired and a kid named Joe Paterno was hired.

            Always admired Paterno and the program he ran, but firing him was absolutely the right thing.  We all love our college teams, but some things have to be kept in proportion, and sadistic criminal acts against children should never, ever be covered up to protect anybody or anything.  Especially a football program. 
BTW when you google my name and Warren Jeffs pops up—that’s the other guy.  Honest! 

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

P.S.  Remember:  Men's lunch next Friday before we play the Indians.