Michael Duca on Cal

by Michael Duca

Cal football: In the new Cal system with old players and that’s pretty old for people who are seeing this team (1-9) but that’s just how it is. It was the team that former head coach Jeff Tedford left behind and it was not covered at just that and the skill set is somewhat underneath it. So current head coach Sonny Dykes has spent the entire year trying to shave the edges off round things so they’ll fit square holes.

Jared Goff is well on pace to throw for 58,000 yards in his career and it maybe well beyond that. Again it’s a true freshman stepping up and running a system that’s somewhat new to him, not totally new. Goff played spread in high school but he didn’t play spread for Dykes and he didn’t play it with this group of players who were drafted for pro set offense. If you look at last Thursday’s game Cal’s offense played USC pretty even.

Cal hoops: Obviously everybody figures you schedule cupcakes a certain time of the year and I don’t think St. Mary’s scheduled a cupcake at Akron last night and Cal scheduled a cupcake at Coppin State. Coppin State went up the coast up a ways and smoked the Oregon State Beavers at Corvallis. That’s a win that Cal could be pretty proud of.

It gives them an idea of what they’ve got this year, the Bears have to figure out a win without having Alan Crabtree to lean on and they could do real well without him because he was so streaky and so prone to disappearing on defense when he wasn’t hitting on offense so if he had a good game it was a great game and if he had a so so game it turned out to be a poor game.

Cal is going to need David Kravish to produce a low post presence they don’t have a lot of height, they’re very limited on who they have on the team. Head coach Mike Montgomery might go small and by small he basically means playing a four guard offense to draw the other team away from the basket. When they go to the four guard offense Kravish is the man on the island, you’ve come to the lighthouse at the opening of the harbor.

Kravish has developed greatly over the years, he came in a skinny kid with a lot of ball hocking ability and could never tell where the ball winds up on a rebound. He’s beefed up a little bit, he doesn’t get pushed around in the low post like he did a couple years ago. He’s got the potential to be a solid good ball player. It really anchors that low post offense for them.

For Monty coaches are coaches they are always excited about their team and their always looking forward to their next game and their always respectful to their opponents. This is how they are they don’t believe in whacking hornets nests and, they don’t believe in over selling their kids and in front of their kids and underselling them and they have kids playing with a chip on their shoulders and Monty is great at that.

He’s one of those guys whose never satisfied because you can only approach perfection you could never reach it.

 

Michael Duca covers Cal for Sportstalk radio

Cal’s Wallace shot on in season-opening win over Coppin St.

By Morris Phillips

Among Mike Montgomery’s mix of veterans and greenhorns, sophomore Tyrone Wallace may possess the greatest potential for growth.  In the season-opener on Friday, it appeared Wallace may be ready to realize that potential.

Wallace collected 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds in Cal’s 83-64 win over Coppin State at Haas Pavilion.   The still rail-thin swingman looked much improved from his up-and-down freshman campaign in which he played in every game, and started 20 times, but shot just 34 percent, including just 22 percent from three.

“Basketball, 24-7, this off-season,” Wallace said when asked about the growth in his game.  “All the work I put in is really translating over to games and I am really confident right now in my shot.”

Wallace knocked down half of his 14 shots, including three of six three-point attempts on his way to leading the Bears in scoring.  Cal depended on heavily on its starters in dispatching the Eagles, playing them extensively in a first half in which the Bears established a 15-point, halftime lead.  Cal’s shooting and wow-factor improved in the second half as high-flying freshman Jabari Bird put his imprint on the game.

Justin Cobbs added 16 points and six rebounds, and Bird chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.  Coppin State was led by Sterling Smith with 16 points and Arnold Fripp with 10.

The Bears have won all six of their season openers under Coach Montgomery and are attempting to make a fifth NCAA appearance under the watch of the veteran coach.

“There were a lot of bright spots,” Montgomery said.  “We had some really good individual performances…  I thought we lost our attention span defensively a little bit.  There was probably a point in time where we didn’t feel threatened so we didn’t play quite as hard defensively.”

The Bears are picked in the middle of a crowded Pac-12 conference race, primarily because the eight newcomers outnumber the five returners.  Wallace stands out because he’s not quite a veteran, but with 21 starts under his belt, experienced enough to know what Montgomery demands at both ends of the floor.  The Bakersfield native became a natural at the defensive end, but given his statistics, he could make a great deal of growth on offense.  Friday all that was apparent as Wallace knocked down open shots and found his teammates when appropriate.

According to Coppin State Coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell, the Bears offensive versatility gave his Eagles fits, as much as their lack of size made them vulnerable to the Bears in the paint.

“They shot the threes, made us extend a lot more, and then they started taking it in,” Mitchell said. “They did a tremendous job.”

The Bears host familiar opponent Denver on Tuesday in the continuation of a four-game homestand.  Cal may not get its first real test until Thanksgiving when the Bears travel to Maui and open the tournament there against Arkansas.