Pac-12: Devin Bishop

Who will be the big bust in 2012?

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
1:00
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CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy looks at the biggest AP preseason poll busts since 2001, and three Pac-12 teams make the list.

2002: No. 9 Washington (finished 7-6)
2001: No. 11 Oregon State (finished 5-6)
2009: No. 12 Cal (finished 8-5)

Easy to remember each of those teams.

The 2002 Huskies featured quarterback Cody Pickett, who passed for 4,458 yards that season, and wide receiver Reggie Williams. The season began with a last-second loss at Michigan due to a massive coaching blunder that cost the Huskies the game. Said then-coach Rick Neuheisel: "We switched substitution groups, which we're going to kick ourselves about for a thousand years."

The Huskies seemed to lose their mojo, but they then rallied for three consecutive wins to finish the regular season -- Neuheisel memorably created the "Northwest Championship" -- over Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State to earn bowl eligibility.

That Oregon State team was touted -- Sports Illustrated ranked the Beavers preseason No. 1 -- after an 11-1 finish in 2000, with quarterback Jonathan Smith and running back Ken Simonton returning. Things immediately fell apart with a blowout loss at Fresno State. A 1-3 start, in fact, featured a 38-7 home loss to UCLA.

As for Cal, at least one writer [insert uncomfortable cough] celebrated the 2009 Bears as a potential national title contender. (They were stacked with talent: backs Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu, linebackers Mike Mohamed and Devin Bishop, cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, etc.) After a 3-0 start, the Bears headed to Oregon ranked sixth.

SPLAT! Cal goes down 42-3. The next weekend, just in case we didn't get the message, USC ripped the Bears 30-3 in Berkeley. Suffice it to say, there was nothing subtle about Cal's unmasking.

Here's this year's preseason top 10. So who becomes the bust this year?

1. Oklahoma
2. Alabama
3. Oregon
4. LSU
5. Boise State
6. Florida State
7. Stanford
8. Texas A&M
9. Oklahoma State
10. Nebraska

Dallas adds a dose of Berkeley

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
11:52
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Three former California players have signed free agent contracts with the Dallas Cowboys: receiver Verran Tucker and offensive linemen Chet Teofilo and Mike Tepper.

Linebacker Devin Bishop signed with Denver. The Pac-10 blog previously reported -- incorrectly -- that he'd signed with Dallas.

Meanwhile, former Bears safety Brett Johnson signed a free agent contract with Buffalo, while safety Marcus Ezeff will get a tryout next week with the New York Jets, according to a release from the school.

Cal had three players selected in the NFL Draft: defensive lineman Tyson Alualu (Jacksonville Jaguars, 10th overall) and tailback Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions, 30th overall) were both chosen in the first round last Thursday. Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson (Denver Broncos, 225th overall) was picked up in the seventh round Saturday.

A look at California's new depth chart

August, 29, 2009
8/29/09
12:33
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

California's depth chart will be distributed on Monday, but here's a look at some of the interesting changes from spring.

  • Nyan Boateng is now Marvin Jones' backup at Z receiver. He was the No. 1 X -- flanker -- coming out of spring.
  • Verran Tucker is No. 1 at the X.
  • The guards are Matt Summers-Gavin and Justin Cheadle. They were Mark Boskovich and Chet Teofilo after spring.
  • Anthony Miller is No. 1 at tight end because Tad Smith is out with a knee injury.
  • Brian Holley won the fullback job.
  • The depth chart doesn't list a slot receiver as it did before, when Alex Lagemann and Charles Satchell were Nos. 1 and 2. True freshman Isi Sofele is probably in the mix there.
  • The linebackers are Eddie Young and Mike Mohamed on the outside and D.J. Holt and Mychal Kendricks inside. Mohamed was inside after spring and Devin Bishop is now a backup inside after being No. 1 outside.
  • The starting secondary remains the same, but Jesse Brooks is a backup safety -- instead of D.J. Campbell --- and Josh Hill is Darian Hagan's backup instead of Chris Conte, who's now at safety.
  • Giorgio Tavecchio is the No. 1 kicker over David Seawright.
  • Syd'Quan Thompson is the No. 1 punt returner; Jahvid Best will return kicks.

Offense

Z 1 Marvin Jones (6-2, 190, So.)
   8 Nyan Boateng (6-2, 211, Sr.)

LT 79 Mike Tepper (6-7, 319, Sr.)
    53 Donovan Edwards (6-5, 285, Jr.)

LG 75 Matt Summers-Gavin (6-4, 291, RFr.)
    70 Mark Boskovich (6-4, 304, Jr.)

C 54 Chris Guarnero (6-2, 275, Jr.)
   65 Dominic Galas (6-1, 281, RFr.)

RG 61 Justin Cheadle (6-2, 299, So.)
    58 Chet Teofilo (6-3, 329, Sr.)

RT 72 Mitchell Schwartz (6-6, 317, So.)
    53 Donovan Edwards (6-5, 285, Jr.)

TE 80 Anthony Miller (6-3, 258, So.)
    83 Skylar Curran (6-4, 256, Sr.)

    45 Spencer Ladner (6-7, 253, RFr.)
    19 Jarrett Sparks (6-2, 230, RFr.)

X 86 Verran Tucker (6-1, 204, Sr.)
    3 Jeremy Ross (5-11, 216, Jr.)

QB 13 Kevin Riley (6-2, 221, Jr.)
     10 Brock Mansion (6-5, 237, So.)
      9 Beau Sweeney (6-2, 226, RFr.)

FB 33 Brian Holley (5-10, 235, Sr.)
     22 Will Kapp (5-10, 216, So.)

TB 4 Jahvid Best (5-10, 195, Jr.)
   34 Shane Vereen (5-10, 198, So.)

Defense

DE 44 Tyson Alualu (6-3, 295, Sr.)
     92 Trevor Guyton (6-3, 285, So.)

NG 76 Derrick Hill (6-2, 302, Jr.)
     96 Kendrick Payne (6-2, 300, RFr.)

DE 97 Cameron Jordan (6-4, 287, Jr.)
     95 Ernest Owusu (6-4, 268, So.)

OLB 9 Eddie Young (6-0, 239, Sr.)
     43 Charles Johnson (6-2, 232, Jr.)

ILB 3 D.J. Holt (6-1, 250, So.)
    55 Jerome Meadows (6-3, 240, Jr.)

ILB 30 Mychal Kendricks (6-0, 230, So.)
     10 Devin Bishop (6-1, 239, Sr.)

OLB 18 Mike Mohamed (6-3, 237, Jr.)
       47 Keith Browner (6-6, 268, Jr.)

CB 5 Syd'Quan Thompson (5-9, 191, Sr.)
   15 Bryant Nnabuife (6-1, 190, Jr.)

S 29 Marcus Ezeff (5-11, 219, Sr.)
   11 Sean Cattouse (6-2, 206, So.)

S 25 Brett Johnson (6-1, 194, Sr.)
   20 Jesse Brooks (5-11, 197, Sr.)

CB 26 Darian Hagan (6-0, 186, Jr.)
    23 Josh Hill (5-11, 194, RFr.)

California spring wrap-up

May, 8, 2009
5/08/09
9:35
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

California Golden Bears
2008 overall record: 9-4

2008 conference record: 6-3

Returning starters

Offense 7, defense 8, kicker/punter 2

Top returners

RB Jahvid Best, LT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Nyan Boateng, CB Syd'Quan Thompson, DE Tyson Alualu, DE Cameron Jordan, LB Mike Mohamed

Key losses

C Alex Mack, FB Will Ta'ufo'ou, TE Cameron Morrah, LB Zack Follett, LB Worrell Williams, LB Anthony Felder

2008 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Jahvid Best* (1,580)
Passing: Kevin Riley* (1,360)
Receiving: Nyan Boateng* (439)
Tackles: Anthony Felder (93)
Sacks: Zack Follett (10.5)
Interceptions: Syd'Quan Thompson* (4)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule
Sep. 5 Maryland
Sep. 12 Eastern Washington
Sep. 19 at Minnesota
Sep. 26 at Oregon
Oct. 3 USC
Oct. 17 at UCLA
Oct. 24 Washington State
Oct. 31 at Arizona State
Nov. 7 Oregon State
Nov. 14 Arizona
Nov. 21 at Stanford
Dec. 5 at Washington

1. On the run: California will again be one of the best rushing teams in the Pac-10 next fall with tailback tandem Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, who combined for nearly 2,300 yards last year, even though two starting offensive linemen are gone, including All-American center and first-round NFL draft pick Alex Mack. All five of the linemen topping the depth chart after spring practices have previously started games, with mammoth 6-foot-6, 335-pound sophomore tackle Mitchell Schwartz stepping in for Mack as the designated star. Best, the conference's top Heisman Trophy candidate, sat out spring practices recovering from foot and elbow surgery, but he's expected to be full-go well before fall practices begin.

2. Is this the Pac-10's best secondary? While USC's secondary should be exceptional in 2009, Cal's might be every bit the Trojans' match. All four starters are back from a crew that ranked sixth in pass efficiency defense last year and intercepted 24 passes (third in the nation). Moreover, the depth is strong with youngsters pushing for playing time.

3. Bears up front: This could be an exceptional defensive line. Few teams in the country will have a better pair of defensive ends than senior Tyson Alualu and junior Cameron Jordan, and nose tackle Derrick Hill is no stiff either. Further, the play of the backups this spring suggested this crew could go six or seven deep.

Fall questions

1. QB still undecided: The post-spring depth chart featured two "Ors" between junior Kevin Riley, sophomore Brock Mansion and redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney, though the general belief is Riley finished spring ahead of the other two. While it may be Riley's job to lose, those "Ors" mean coach Jeff Tedford doesn't want him to feel secure just yet.

2. Replacing the big three: The spring question on defense was obvious: How will the Bears replace linebackers Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams, the anchors of their successful transition to a 3-4 defense in 2008? After the linebacking corps -- Mychal Kendricks, Devin Bishop, Mike Mohamed and Eddie Young -- turned in a strong spring, that question lost some urgency. Still, how well those linebackers perform when the games begin likely will determine if this is a great or merely good defense.

3. Who will receive? Strong springs from sophomores Marvin Jones and Alex Lagemann mean the receiving corps, which returned intact, will be highly competitive for playing time. The post-spring depth chart lists seven names and all seven are in the running for significant action, but it's unlikely more than four or five will see many passes.

Pac-10 lunch links: Cougars lose a linebacker

April, 2, 2009
4/02/09
1:34
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

If you're going to San Francisco. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. But that won't fly in Oakland.

Spring football Q&A: California coach Jeff Tedford

February, 25, 2009
2/25/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

A lot has been going on at California during the offseason.

Running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Jahvid Best will sit out spring practices while recovering from foot and elbow surgery, though neither injury is considered serious.

 
  James Lang/US PRESSWIRE
  Jeff Tedford is comfortable with the high expectations for his team entering the 2009 season.

Accomplished offensive line coach Jim Michalczik left to become Washington's offensive coordinator -- and then bolted for a post with the Oakland Raiders. He was replaced by Steve Marshall.

And, finally, offensive coordinator coach Frank Cignetti, after just one season in Berkeley, was hired for the same post at Pittsburgh.

Coach Jeff Tedford then quickly replaced Cignetti with Andy Ludwig, who'd just been hired away from Utah by Kansas State.

With all the transition on the offensive coaching staff, Tedford decided to delay the start of spring practice by four days, with practices now beginning on March 14.

Still, it seemed like a good time to check in with Tedford and get his thoughts on things heading into spring.

First, tell us about new offensive line coach Steve Marshall: How might his approach be different than the man he replaced, Jim Michalczik?

Jeff Tedford: Steve brings some great experience and knowledge from some of his college stops -- Tennessee, Virginia Tech, UCLA -- and then moving into the NFL, so he brings a great deal of knowledge and experience from all different backgrounds of offense. It's a great fit for what we're doing. Being a two-back offense, he comes from that background. I think it's a natural fit for him and for us. I also think he's going to bring an added dimension to our offense. Anytime you get new guys coming in there are going to be new ideas.

Same with Andy Ludwig: What does he bring to the staff that might be different?

Tedford: Not a whole lot is different to tell you the truth because there is a lot of familiarity there in our backgrounds. He followed me [as offensive coordinator] at Fresno State; he followed me to Oregon. We've been in touch a lot over the years. And, obviously, being a guy who just went 13-0 at Utah and beating Alabama in the bowl game, there's a couple of things that he brings -- some spread concepts -- that we've dabbled in a little bit. But the familiarity of our offense to him; he's not starting from scratch. More than anything he's going to bring some stability to the offense.

Any regrets about how things went at quarterback last year between Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley?

Tedford: I don't think there are regrets. I just wish one of them would have taken it over. There were plenty of opportunities for one guy to take it over, here and there. But we didn't play consistently enough at that position for that to happen. We ended up having to go back and forth through the season.

(Read full post)

Opening the mailbag: Perspectives on the Lobbestael arrest

February, 24, 2009
2/24/09
5:45
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Just like the Pac-10 coaches, you've got questions heading into spring.

Eric from Pullman writes: Some more information about the [Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael] alcohol incident has been brought forward and it appears that the initial reports from [The Daily Evergreen] were not correct. Cougfan.com has some updated info on the incident (although I'm sure you have probably figured that out by now. I figured i would send it to you since I'm sure multiple Cougs have already emailed you calling you an idiot for posting misleading information, but it wasn't your fault and I just wanted to say thanks for doing a great job covering the Pac-10 this season!)

Ted Miller: Eric thanks for the link. And the compliment is even better.

My inclination was to avoid this question. But we may be able to learn something about "news events" that could be valuable.

First, the second story corrected the other in one significant way, revealing that that Lobbestael, 19, was arrested for "minor exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol" instead of "minor in possession of alcohol."

Sounds like splitting hairs, but it's about being correct.

Other than that, however, no set of "facts" was established with a firmer foundation.

Clearly, we two versions of an event: 1. The Pullman police; 2. One that could be termed coming from Lobbestael's camp.

The Daily Evergreen story included this:

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said the police found Lobbestael passed out in a Dodge pickup parked in front of the Pullman Police Department.

"He was slumped over with a grocery bag of vomit between his feet,” Tennant said.

The rebuttal story said Lobbestael was not passed out and added this:

A different news report later quoted a Pullman police officer saying Lobbestael was "slumped over with a grocery bag of vomit between his feet." CF.C has since learned it was instead a car trash bag, similar to what someone might put on a stick shift that contained some McDonald's wrappers and other garbage, but no "vomit."

The second story cites "reliable independent sources," who appear to be saying Cmdr. Tennant isn't telling the truth.

What really happened?

We don't know.

In general, it doesn't seem that hard to fill in some blanks here, but we're going to stay away from speculating.

Getting caught drinking when you are underage has consequences. Getting caught drinking when you are underage and you play for a BCS conference football team means those consequences include news stories.

Is underage drinking the worst crime known to man? No.

I talked to Lobbestael just a few weeks ago. Seemed like a great kid. I've only heard good things about him, too. You might even read into this arrest story that he ended up getting in trouble because he was trying to help the girl in question, who I've been told is his out-of-town girlfriend.

When I finish typing this, I really won't think any less of him. My guess is you won't either. And he'll probably still start at quarterback for the Cougars in 2009.


Ryan from Atherton, Calif., writes: I just read your article about "big shoes to fill". I was surprised that you did not mention the three pairs of linebacker shoes that need to be filled in Berkeley. How do you think Cal's young and inexperienced linebackers will perform this season? Also, any ideas on who the starting linebackers will be besides Mohamed?

Ted Miller: It might sound silly, Ryan, but I just said to myself, "Bigger shoes? Center Alex Mack or those three LBs?"

Mack, at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, seemed like he had bigger shoes.

But, seriously, it seems to me that replacing a center as good and as smart as Mack with a player who's seen little to no time at the position will be a bigger challenge than promoting three linebackers, particularly when the potential replacements saw action last season.

Talked to coach Jeff Tedford today for a Q&A that runs Wednesday. Not to bite off my own feature, here's what he said when I asked him about the LBs.

We have some guys, thankfully, who got a lot of playing time last year. Those guys who left us are big-time players, who were very productive for us, especially when we went to a 3-4. But Eddie Young started at an outside linebacker last year. Devin Bishop moves inside and he's a guy who's ready to step up. Mike Mohamed played a lot for us last year. Mychal Kendricks, who was a true freshman, played a lot. We feel pretty good about those guys. And giving us a little bit of depth there are some of our junior college guys, Ryan Davis and Jarred Price and Jerome Meadows are three JC linebackers coming in to give us a little bit of depth, too.

And a guy I forgot to mention is D.J. Holt. He's inside and he played quite a bit last year as well. We're not starting from scratch. These guys have been on the field and have a lot of ability.

So my guess is Mohamed and Young can be penciled into two spots, with Bishop, Kendricks and Holt and the JC guys competing for the other two voids.

Honestly, I think Cal will be fine at LB.


Aaron from Ocala, Fla., writes: What is the big deal about Mike Thomas running a faster 40 time than Percy Harvin? ... Also, Harvin's main attribute was never his straight line speed anyway. Anyone who paid attention to Florida knows that RBs Will Demps and Chris Rainey are faster than Harvin, and that WR Louis Murphy is only a hair behind Harvin (as the combine proved). What makes Harvin such an effective football player is his quickness, explosiveness, and change of direction.

Ted Miller: Aaron wrote a lot more about Harvin, but you get his point.

The big deal to me was that, until the combine times were published, it would never have occurred to me that Thomas was faster -- any which way -- than Harvin.

Did any of you think Thomas would run a better 40 than Harvin?

Harvin is a wonderful, thrilling player and will be picked well before Thomas. And rightfully so.

But I'm a Thomas fan -- both as a player and person. I think he's going to help a team smart enough to take him off the board on the first day of the draft.


Mitch from San Jose writes: Ted, I think I would enjoy your perspective on guys like Nick Reed at Oregon who were outstanding college performers (even on a national level), but don't even get an invitation to the NFL Combine. How do these guys cope? What must that be like for them? And what are their options?

Ted Miller: I could answer this, but I'm going to do you a favor and turn you over to the best NFL writer in the nation (who doesn't work for ESPN.com, that is).

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News talked to Reed
about not getting invited to the combine and explains why the NFL went that direction.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Reed. I have to admit every time I interviewed him I thought, "How does this guy do it?" Defensive ends are supposed to look like Jevon Kearse or Julius Peppers.

Reed ain't much to look at. But production is production and he's gotten past a lot of offensive linemen in his career who are now playing in the NFL.


Joseph from Everett, Wash., writes: With Sark bringing in a new, pro-style offensive system, do you think Jake Locker's skills will be under utilized because he will no longer do what he does best (run) or do you think Sark will instill some running plays for Jake to continue to use his athleticism on the ground? P.S. You said it will take Huskies @ least 3 years to get back to .500? You are scaring me, Sir!

Ted Miller: Without question, the best offense for Washington in 2009 with Jake Locker would be a spread-option that features lots of Jake Locker right and Jake Locker left with a mix of Jake Locker up the middle.

He knows that offense. He's good at it. It works with the Huskies personnel.

And Jake Locker is a baaaaad man with the ball in his hands.

That said, it will be better for Locker's NFL prospects and, in my opinion, the Huskies program in the long run, to adopt more of a pro-style offense.

Sarkisian can help Locker prove he can play QB in the NFL. And, along the way, a message will be sent to all the golden-armed prep passers on the West Coast that they don't have to fret about the proliferation of the spread-option scheme.

And I promise Locker will run plenty next year, even from pro sets.

As for three years to .500... I thought I typed -- during a ESPN.com chat -- that the Huskies would get there within three years.

My guess is there's a real shot for .500 by Locker's senior season in 2010.


Robert from Seattle writes: Simple question Ted - is it good for USC to be so dominant in the pac ten?

Ted Miller: Not if you're UCLA.

Or Arizona. Or Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington or Washington State.

But if you're USC, it's great.

If you're asking if it might benefit the conference to have another team win the conference and play for a national title, I'd say absolutely without a doubt.

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