While you were on vacation ... California

August, 3, 2011
8/03/11
7:13
PM ET
The third of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

California in a sentence
  • The Bears suffered through their first losing season in nine years under coach Jeff Tedford in 2010, and some fans who once celebrated Tedford are growing restless as they grumble that the program might have reached a plateau under his leadership.
The big issue
  • While there are holes to fill on both sides of the ball, the Bears only have one big issue: quarterback play. If the Cal gets solid quarterback play, it will exceed expectations.
Quick hit news
  • Because Memorial Stadium is undergoing renovations, Cal will play its "home" games at AT&T Park this fall. It will practice on Witter Rugby Field.
  • Just like Oregon, Cal also employed controversial "scout" Willie Lyles' recruiting services. Tedford was asked at media day if he was worried about the NCAA looking into his program's relationship with Lyles: "I'm not concerned one bit," he said.
  • The Bears had significant staff turnover in the offseason: Andy Ludwig was replaced at offensive coordinator by Jim Michalczik -- a Bears assistant during Tedford's glory days -- who also will take over the offensive line for Steve Marshall, who was hired at Colorado. Marcus Arroyo takes over at QBs coach, which was Ludwig's job. Tedford, by the way, will call offensive plays and help with the quarterbacks. Also, another former Bears assistant, Eric Kiesau, is back to coach receivers after the departure of Kevin Daft. On defense, Ashley Ambrose replaced Al Simmons in the secondary. Finally, Mike Blasquez replaced John Krasinski as the strength coach.
  • Tedford announced after spring practices that Zach Maynard had won the quarterback competition with Allen Bridgford and Brock Mansion. While Maynard still has to perform, the new competition is for the backup job with Bridgford and Mansion. That's not a small matter, considering Maynard, a transfer from Buffalo, is unproven against Pac-12 competition.
  • While Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Dasarte Yarnway and Trajuan Briggs each appear ready to return to practice after missing spring with injuries, the Bears have issues at running back. The good news is touted incoming freshman Brendan Bigelow is ready to practice after suffering two major knee injuries, including one that ended his senior year of high school football.
  • But Bigelow is just one member of a touted recruiting class, from which the Bears expect a handful to contribute immediately on both sides of the ball, but particularly at running back, cornerback and on the D-line.
  • DB Josh Hill, who missed spring due to academic issues, is back with the team.
  • The only major injury news is backup TE Spencer Ladner, who won't be available at the beginning of preseason camp because he's still recovering from a knee injury.
  • Cal plays two Thursday games (at Oregon on Oct. 6; USC on Oct. 13) and a Friday game (at Arizona State on Nov. 25).

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