Cal Bears Football podcast with Morris Phillips: Golden Bears look to rebound on OSU after loss in Oregon

photo from calbears.com: The Cal Bears Deandae Johnson sacks Oregon QB Justin Herbert in the October 5th

On the Cal Bears (4-2) Football podcast with Morris:

#1 Morris, Cal head coach Justin Wilcox reflected on the tough loss in their last game October 5th at Oregon (4-1) saying “It’s not one person, the way we meet, the extra work they do” referring to the work ethic of the team was that element lacking referring to the loss to the Ducks on the 5th?

#2 Morris, talk about Cal’s defensive backfield: Ashtyn Davis, Jaylinn Hawkins, Trey Turner III, Treyvon Beck, Josh Drayden, Camryn Bynum, and Elijah Hicks. How much of a percentage you would put on the game in Oregon that defense was there or not there?

#3 How much pressure will be on David Modster to get it done this coming Saturday. He just wasn’t able to get some of the passes he wanted in Oregon last game.

#4  Modster will get a chance to throw against Oregon State (2-4). Oregon State had their heads handed to them in their last game by the Utah Utes (5-1) 52-7 nearly getting shutout. Could Modster have a game like that throwing for scores all day?

#5 Lastly, talk about coach Wilcox’s game plan the Bears need a lot more offense than they got in Oregon and how sore is the wounded Golden Bear that wants to come out with a vengeance on Saturday?

Morris does the Cal podcasts each Monday morning at http://www.spotsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: TMZ reports D. Cousins threatens to put bullet in head of ex-girlfriend; Cal hopes to work towards a bigger bowl game this year; plus more

Photo credit: sportsgossip.com

On Headline Sports with London:

#1 Former Golden State Warrior and now Los Angeles Laker DeMarcus Cousins threaten to put a bullet in the head of his ex-girlfriend Christy West. West filed a restraining order against Cousins. Cousins wanted their seven-year-old son to attend the wedding of his and his girlfriend, but West said she wouldn’t have it, which touched off the argument. Cousins is out for the season with a torn ACL.

#2 The Cal Bears’ Justin Wilcox preparing his team for this Saturday’s game against UC Davis. Wilcox led Cal to a 7-6, 4-5 record last season. They got in the Cheez-It Bowl last season, but are looking for a bigger bowl this season.

#3 Kansas City Royals owner David Glass is close to selling the Royals for $900 million. The deal for $1 billion would go to John Sherman, a Kansas City businessman. Under Glass, the Royals won the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets.

#4 The San Jose Earthquakes picked up a key win after going winless in four of five games they got the victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Quakes’ Judson, Chris Wondolowski, and Andres Rios all scored for San Jose for the 3-1 win.

#5 London has Orlando City at San Jose this Saturday night at Avaya Stadium. The Quakes are looking for their second straight win. Does playing at home give them that chance?

London does Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Cal ends conference road woes with blowout of Oregon State 49-7

By Morris Phillips

Coach Justin Wilcox called Cal’s trip to Corvallis to meet Oregon State a pivotal moment. Apparently, Wilcox’s team adopted the same urgency laid out by their coach.

In their most impressive outing of the season to date, the Cal Bears wiped out the Beavers, 49-7, ending their 14-game conference road losing streak. The win also ended the three-game skid that prompted all the consternation after Cal opened 3-0.

“There was never a question of want-to or desire,” Wilcox explained. “What we ask them to do in practice, they try to do to the best of their ability. We just have to play more consistently, and we got some of that done today.”

The one thing Cal had to address was a rash of turnovers in the three, previous games that ultimately cost Brandon McIlwain his position as the starting quarterback. Wilcox went back to Chase Garbers as the starter against OSU, and the sophomore engineered a high octane attack that produced eight plays of 20-yards or more including a 55-yard pass play to Vic Wharton III that set up Cal’s first touchdown of the game.

The Bears also got a 53-yard run from Patrick Laird, who erased a surprisingly slow, first half to his season with a 193-yard rushing performance and three touchdowns. Laird scored on a 29-yard pass play and a 4-yard run in the second quarter as Cal sprinted to a 21-0 halftime lead.

After 15 turnovers in the three, previous games, the Bears only hiccup was a first quarter fumble by Garbers on the 14th play of a drive that brought them to Oregon State’s 2-yard line.

But the Bears defense forced a three-and-out and a short punt put them in prime position in the second quarter, a sequence that ended with Laird’s touchdown reception.

The Cal defense continued to make noise after halftime, finishing with 12 tackles for losses along with seven sacks of OSU quarterbacks Josh Drayden and Traveon Beck.

The Bears improved to 4-3 on the season with five games remaining, all against conference opponents with better records than Cal, starting with No. 15 Washington at Memorial Stadium next Saturday at 3:00 pm PT.

Head Coach Justin Wilcox debuts new era of Cal Football at the Spring Game

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By Morris Phillips

Defense ahead of the offense?  Second stringers challenging the projected starters? Coaching tenets and terminology outpacing player comprehension?  Chase Forrest or Ross Bowers?

Depends on who you ask. This is, after all, Spring 2017 California Football, sporting as clean a slate as anyone on the Division I football landscape.  And the occasion of the Spring Game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium didn’t make things any less murkier.

New head coach Justin Wilcox, the son of former 49er Dave Wilcox, was hired from Wisconsin, replacing the fired Sonny Dykes in January.  Wilcox’s arrival means defense is back in Berkeley, a necessity after the 2016 Bears surrendered more than 40 points per game.  But can a defense featuring holdovers James Looney, Devante Downs and linebacker Cameron Saffold take a jump to the top half of the Pac-12 statistically?

On Saturday, during the controlled scrimmage with pads and physicality, but without tackling, corner Camryn Bynum led the Bears with six tackles and a pass breakup, and Elijah Hicks had an interception, a pass breakup and three tackles. Bynum and Hicks are part of a deep Cal secondary that also features Marloshawn Franklin Jr. and Darius Allensworth.

Offensively, the Bears are attempting to retool without quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Chad Hansen, with both expected to be chosen in the upcoming NFL Draft. Webb and Hansen combined for 11 touchdown passes in 2016 meaning that those manning their spots this season will have big shoes to fill.  Forrest was Webb’s backup in 2016, but didn’t make any game appearances. In 2015, Forrest backed Jared Goff, and appeared in parts of three games, completing 10 of 17 passes, including one touchdown.

Bowers is a third-year sophomore and has very limited experience, taking a handful of snaps in the 2016 finale against UCLA.  On Saturday, both starter candidates played well with Bowers gaining the edge statistically.  Bowers finished 18 of 30 for 168 yards and four touchdowns, while Forrest was 15 of 30 for 168 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall lead Cal’s promising group of returning receivers although neither saw action on Saturday.  Robertson is a sprinter on Cal’s track and field team this spring, and Stovall is recovering from a foot injury. The pair combined for 92 catches and 10 touchdowns last fall. In the spring game, sophomore Kanawai Noa took advantage of the pair’s absence, catching eight balls for 112 yards.

The Bears figure to be plenty experienced in one area: coaching. New defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter joins the Bears after a five-year run as the head coach of Fresno State. Ironically, DeRuyter was replaced by former Cal coach Jeff Tedford at Fresno.  New offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin was the long time head coach of Eastern Washington, where his Eagles engineered some eye-popping results against Pac-12 competition, including last season’s 45-42 win over Washington State.

DeRuyter promises to install a 3-4 look to this season’s defense, although it remains to be seen if the Bears currently have enough talent and depth at linebacker to make it work.  Baldwin should keep the Cal offense in high octane mode, but the look will be different than under Dykes. Baldwin’s offense features fewer spread sets, and the Bears are expected to reintroduce tight ends into their scheme.

The Bears open the season on September 2 at North Carolina, with the home opener a week later against Weber State.