Pac-12: Nyan Boateng

Preseason position reviews: receiver

July, 27, 2010
7/27/10
1:30
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Receiver is a difficult position to evaluate this year. Just about every team has a solid (or better) lead receiver back and some intriguing, but inexperienced, talent around him. But, other than Washington, no team should feel completely secure.

There is, however, a lot of potential at the position. Many of the names below who appear as secondary options could end up competing for All-Pac-10 spots.

Note: Tight ends and running backs don't count here.

Great shape

  • Washington: The Huskies entire two-deep is back, topped by second-team All-Pac-10 pick Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar, who ranked seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game in 2009. James Johnson was probably the best freshman receiver in the conference last year.
Good shape

    [+] EnlargeJames Rodgers
    AP Photo/Ben MargotOregon State's James Rodgers caught 91 passes for 1,034 yards and nine TDs last year.
  • Oregon State: James Rodgers is clearly the No. 1 returning receiver in the conference. Markus Wheaton, Jordan Bishop and Darrell Catchings offer promising depth, but they combined for 25 receptions last year (Catchings was injured).
  • Oregon: The Ducks aren't flashy, but they welcome back their top three receivers from last year. By season's end, Jeff Maehl was one of the best in the conference. Things would have been better if Tyrece Gaines and Diante Jackson weren't ruled academically ineligible.
  • Arizona: After Delashaun Dean got himself kicked off the team, the Wildcats must replace their Nos. 1 and 4 WRs, which is why they aren't in "great shape." Still, Juron Criner tops a solid returning crew.
  • UCLA: The Bruins welcome back their top-two WRs -- Taylor Embree and Nelson Rosario -- and Colorado transfer Josh Smith figures to make an immediate impact. Sophomores Damien Thigpen and Morrell Presley also seem poised for breakthroughs.
  • USC: While he was hurt much of last year, Ronald Johnson is a top home run threat. Brice Butler and David Ausberry will have to fight to stay ahead of a talented crew of incoming freshmen.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal welcome back their top-two receivers in Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu. That's the good news. The question is who will become options No. 3 and 4?
We'll see

  • California: The Bears only lose No. 2 WR Verran Tucker and the underwhelming Nyan Boateng, but, other than Marvin Jones, they didn't get much production here in 2009.
  • Arizona State: The Sun Devils lost their top-two WRs, but the cupboard isn't empty, with Oregon transfer Aaron Pflugrad, who would have started for the Ducks in 2009, and JC transfer George Bell, Gerell Robinson, Jamal Miles and Kerry Taylor. Still, it's not a proven group.
  • Washington State: The Cougars went through spring with just four scholarship receivers, a crew topped by Jared Karstetter and Gino Simone. The incoming recruiting class features five receivers, and at least a couple will get on the field. The Cougars are OK here but they did rank last in the conference in passing in 2009.

A-list position battles: California

May, 13, 2010
5/13/10
10:00
AM ET
Third in a series taking a look at top position competitions this fall.

California: Receiver

Why the competition? Though the Bears lost Verran Tucker and Nyan Boateng, they have fairly good experience at the position returning. The problem is that, other than junior Marvin Jones, they lack playmakers, which was abundantly clear this spring. Starting spots are wide open.

Candidates: Jones, Jeremy Ross, Alex Lagemann and Michael Calvin are returning players with game experience. The touted 2010 class includes five receivers: Keenan Allen, Coleman Edmond, Tevin Carter, Kaelin Clay and Terrance Montgomery.

The skinny: Lagemann got most of the first-team action opposite Jones this spring. The junior has 12 career receptions. Ross, a senior, has caught only two touchdown passes. Calvin's promising career has been hurt by injuries. He caught just one pass for the Bears in 2009. So, suffice it to say, that there are opportunities here for the freshmen to play, particularly Allen, a dynamic athlete who was No. 33 on the ESPNU 150. In fact, the guess here is at least two freshman get into the regular rotation.

Pac-10 lunch links: Huskies Pulu pleads guilty to assault

April, 29, 2010
4/29/10
2:30
PM ET
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.

Pac-10 lunch links: Public sentiment a factor for USC with NCAA?

March, 2, 2010
3/02/10
2:30
PM ET
We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore.
We always find things we've never seen before.
That's why every day we're back for more
With your friends, the Backyardigans.

List of NFL combine invitees

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
4:53
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Here's a list of the Pac-10 players invited to the NFL combine, courtesy of The Sporting News.

First of all, it's incomplete. Underclassmen will be added later, such as USC receiver Damian Williams and UCLA DT Brian Price. And a number of seniors also will get invitations.

My immediate guess is that Washington linebacker Donald Butler and Oregon defensive end Will Tukuafu will end up receiving invitations, among others.

Arizona: DT Earl Mitchell, CB Devin Ross

Arizona State: DE Dexter Davis, LB Travis Goethel, OT Shawn Lauvao, WR Chris McGaha, WR Kyle Williams

California: DE Tyson Alualu, WR Nyan Boateng, CB Syd'Quan Thompson, WR Verran Tucker.

Oregon: RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Ed Dickson, CB Walter Thurmond, S T.J. Ward.

Oregon State: QB Sean Canfield, OLB Keaton Kristick.

Stanford: TE Jim Dray, RB Toby Gerhart, OT Matt Kopa, DE Erik Lorig.

UCLA: OLB Kyle Bosworth, CB Alterraun Verner.

USC: OT Charles Brown, C Jeff Byers, RB Stafon Johnson, S Taylor Mays, TE Anthony McCoy, G Alex Parsons, CB Josh Pinkard, CB Kevin Thomas.

Washington: DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

Quick injury report

October, 12, 2009
10/12/09
5:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Some injury notes based on news reports.

Arizona
Guard Conan Amituanai sprained his knee against Washington. He won't play against Stanford. Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell was hurt in a freak accident on Oct. 9 -- he was knocked out by a door and required stitches -- and didn't play Saturday, but he might return this week. Receiver Bug Wright (knee), defensive end Brooks Reed (ankle), running back Nic Grigsby (shoulder), running back Keola Antolin and defensive end D'Aundre Reed (hand) are all questionable.

Arizona State
The Sun Devils got two player back at Washington State -- guard Garth Gerhart and safety Ryan McFoy -- and didn't suffer any additional injuries. Receiver Kerry Taylor (hamstring), guard Matt Hustad and cornerback Omar Bolden (knee) each missed the Washington State game and are questionable this week.

California
After taking the weekend off, the Bears may get guard Matt Summers-Gavin (shoulder), wide receiver Nyan Boateng (foot) and tight end Spencer Ladner back for the UCLA game. On the downside, receiver Verran Tucker is battling a calf injury and backup nose tackle Kendrick Payne, who didn't play against USC, is doubtful with plantar fasciitis.

Oregon
The Ducks only practice Wednesday and Friday during their bye week. It's unclear if quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (knee) or safety T.J. Ward (ankle) will be ready to participate. Offensive tackle C.E. Kaiser sat out all last week with a shin injury but he played against UCLA.

Oregon State
Offensive guard Gregg Peat bruised his knee against Stanford but he should be able to play after the bye week at USC. Running back Ryan McCants (knee) has yet to play this season but he is questionable for the USC game. Receiver Darrell Catchings (ankle) isn't expected to be ready by Oct. 24.

Stanford
Defensive end Erik Lorig didn't play at Oregon State because of a groin injury. Safety Delano Howell is nursing a quad injury. Both are questionable for the visit to Arizona.

UCLA
Linebacker Reggie Carter played through a sprained knee against Oregon but he's questionable for the Cal game. Tailback Johnathan Franklin and safety Glenn Love are both nursing sprained ankles. Defensive end Korey Bosworth bruised his ribs but is probable for Saturday.

USC
Receiver Ronald Johnson (collarbone) and defensive end Armond Armstead (foot) are expected to be cleared to play at Notre Dame.

Washington
Offensive guard Greg Christine broke his fibula against Arizona and is likely done for the year. He was replaced by sophomore Nick Wood. Running back Chris Polk played through a sprained shoulder against Arizona. Linebacker E.J. Savannah and defensive tackle Cameron Elisara are nursing stingers.

Washington State
It's good news and bad news for the Cougars. Cornerback Daniel Simmons may be done for the season after breaking his leg against Arizona State. On the plus side, guard Zack Williams (ankle) should be ready for the visit to California after the bye week. Tackle Steven Ayers (ankle) and guard B.J. Guerra (knee) are questionable, as are defensive tackle Bernard Wolfgramm (hip) and linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis (staph infection).

Pac-10 lunch links: Arizona and Oregon State at crossroads

September, 22, 2009
9/22/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea.
I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me.
On board, I'm the captain, so climb aboard.
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore.
And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try to carry on.

Pac-10 lunch links: Arizona moves on without Gronkowski

September, 21, 2009
9/21/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

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.

Riley leads, but California QB competition will renew in August

April, 20, 2009
4/20/09
12:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Here are two thorough reviews of California's final scrimmage of spring practice: One & two.

The main points:

  • Kevin Riley continues to lead the quarterback competition because he's done nothing to lose his perch, nor have Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney done anything to advance ahead of him. Riley's lead, which will be contested again in fall practices, would be more decisive if Mansion hadn't rallied late in spring.
  • Running back Jahvid Best, probably the West Coast's top Heisman Trophy candidate, is running again after elbow and foot surgeries. It appears he'll be ready to play by the beginning of fall practices.
  • The competition at receiver will be intense in the fall, particularly after Marvin Jones and Alex Lagemann asserted themselves this spring. With Nyan Boateng, Verran Tucker and Jeremy Ross the leading returning players, and talented Michael Calvin returning from injury, there are six possibilities for primarily three lead spots.
  • The defense generally dominated spring practices and this unit could end up as the best in the Pac-10, despite the loss of three of four starting linebackers. As for the LB corps, the plot may thicken there when a trio of touted JC transfers arrives in the fall, led by Ryan Davis.

Some notes from Cal: Few questions other than at starting pitcher

April, 1, 2009
4/01/09
6:48
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

BERKELEY, Calif. -- There will be no thunder clap at the end of spring practice at California.

In other words, the quarterback competition between Kevin Riley, who was the starter for most last year, and sophomore Brock Mansion won't end this spring.

"There will be no key decisions made after spring ball on who the starter is," coach Jeff Tedford said.

At this point in the story, Tedford and new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig would hasten to add redshirt freshman Beau Sweeney into the mix, because that's what both did when only asked about Riley's and Mansion's progress.

Ludwig said he thought things would start to heat up during the first spring scrimmage Saturday, but it's clear he, too, isn't eager to reveal a pecking order, if there even is one.

So question No. 1 with the Bears isn't going to be answered anytime soon. (We had interesting chats with both quarterbacks and will post a story on that Friday.)

And, to be honest, this team doesn't have many questions other than that. Tedford listed fullback as his biggest concern.

"We didn't lose a lot," he noted.

Those three departed linebackers from the Bears 3-4? Worries are few about Eddie Young, Mychal Kendricks, Mike Mohamed and D.J. Holt. All four played last year, with Young and Mohamed logging starts.

Receiver? Everyone is back, so this will be a far more seasoned group than 2008. And there are new names -- youngsters and players returning from injuries -- making the list of potential contributors long.

Nyan Boateng, Verran Tucker and Jeremy Ross top the list, but it seems like everyone has a favorite to add to the mix.

Sophomore Marvin Jones? "He's a guy if you ask who stood out the first week, it was Marvin Jones," Tedford said.

Mansion praised sophomore Alex Lagemann, who also earned a note from Tedford. A couple of practice kibitzers expressed esteem for redshirt freshman Charles Satchell. Sophomore Michael Calvin, who's sitting out spring while still recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2008 season, might be the most talented of the lot.

Ludwig, meanwhile, gushed about the depth and athleticism at tight end.

Ludwig likes to talk about playing "pitch and catch." The Bears didn't do that very well last year, ranking seventh in the Pac-10 and 83rd in the nation in passing.

There seems to be plenty of catchers. The issue that likely will decide if Cal is a top-10 team is the pitcher.

Some other notes:

  • Tedford's special project with Riley during the offseason was shortening the junior's throwing motion. After watching film of 2008, Tedford said that as the season wore on Riley developed a bigger wind-up that hurt his passing accuracy.
  • While the secondary returns intact -- and was very good last year -- cornerbacks Josh Hill and Mark Anthony, both redshirt freshmen, have made an impression and could work their way into the rotation.
  • It appears that Mike Tepper and monstrous sophomore Mitchell Schwartz, a budding star, are set at left and right tackle, and Chris Guarnero leads in the competition to replace Alex Mack at center. The prime competition is at the guards.
  • Tedford raised a few eyebrows -- or was it panic? -- among Cal fans when he talked about running back Jahvid Best being out of his wheelchair. Best was in a wheelchair because he'd had both elbow and foot surgery, so he couldn't use crutches. Tedford said neither was a major procedure and he's confident Best will be 100 percent by the fall. "He's on track," Tedford said. "This week he's going to start running." Tedford added that it's actually been hard to keep Best in check: "He has so much energy bound up in him. Even with his boot on when he's out there, you'll see him start to jog and you'll go, 'Wait. Woooh. Are you supposed to be jogging in that boot?'"

Who's going to catch the ball? Rating the receiving corps

March, 11, 2009
3/11/09
4:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

I wrote yesterday that defensive ends were our last position to rate, but I forgot receivers and linebackers -- or, actually, I thought this entry and this entry did the trick but they didn't.

Whoops!

So there are two more...

The gist of that entry on receivers tells our story here:

Quick: Name the Pac-10's marquee receivers in 2009?

Don't look to the All-Pac-10 list. All four first- and second-team receivers are gone (Mike Thomas, Sammie Stroughter, Patrick Turner and Michael Jones).

And on the honorable mention list there's only USC's Damian Williams and Washington's D'Andre Goodwin.

In other words, everyone in the conference, other than USC, has a bit of the ole "We'll see."

Great shape

  • USC: Damian Williams is an All-American candidate and Ronald Johnson is a marquee athlete. They combined for 17 touchdown receptions last year -- no other returning combination in the conference is even close. And there's good young depth.
  • Arizona: Mike Thomas is a big loss, but Delashaun Dean and Terrell Turner combined for 86 receptions last year. While depth is an issue, word is David Douglas and William Wright could break though.
  • UCLA: Terrence Austin, Taylor Embree and Domonique Johnson combined for 127 receptions -- but only two touchdowns -- last year. Toss in talented sophomore Nelson Rosario and some touted incoming freshman and the Bruins have the "catch" side of pass-catch mostly covered.

Good shape

  • Arizona State: Michael Jones is gone, but Chris McGaha, Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams are a good troika to welcome back. They combined for 81 receptions last year.
  • California: This is a case of experience and potential trumping production. Just about everyone is back and the crew, led by Nyan Boateng and Verran Tucker, has a lot of talent. Much depends on guys like Michael Calvin and Marvin Jones breaking through. Injuries are an issue this spring for Calvin and maybe Boateng.
  • Stanford: Starters Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin are both back. They combined for 64 receptions in the Cardinal's mostly anemic passing offense. There are high hopes that sophomore Chris Owusu adds some athleticism to the unit.

We'll see

  • Oregon: The Ducks didn't throw that well last year and their two best receivers, Terence Scott and Jaison Williams, are gone. Jeff Maehl -- 39 receptions, five touchdowns -- is the only returning receiver with double-digit receptions. Hopes are high for Chris Harper, Drew Davis, Jamere Holland and the incoming recruits, but that falls under "we'll see."
  • Oregon State: Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales were the Beavers' receiving corps last year -- see 124 receptions, nearly 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns. They're gone. Slot James Rodgers is mostly a fly sweep guy. The hope is young guys will step up.
  • Washington: The good news is the entire crew is back, led by D'Andre Goodwin, who ranked among the Pac-10 leaders with 60 receptions for 692 yards. But the Huskies only had six touchdown receptions in all of 2008.
  • Washington State: Brandon Gibson's 673 yards and two touchdowns represented a third of the Cougars' passing offense last year. He's gone. Jeshua Anderson caught 33 passes a year ago, but there's a lot of youth and inexperience after him.

First half update: OSU 17, Cal 14

November, 15, 2008
11/15/08
5:17
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Lots of sloppy play here.

Bad tackling. Dropped passes. Special teams miscues.

Oregon State leads 17-14 because of some good special teams play.

It seems like whichever team gets more from its quarterback in the second half will end up on the happy side of the scoreboard.

But both QBs struggled in the first half.

Cal's Kevin Riley was 5 of 14 for 63 yards with a short TD pass.

The Bears two best pass plays came on the same drive. The first required a missed tackle from Beavers safety Al Afalava, which allowed LaReyelle Cunningham to turn a short pass into a 35-yard gain. The second was a trick play, with receiver Jeremy Ross connecting with Nyan Boateng for a 30-yard touchdown.

Oregon State's Lyle Moevao was 8 for 18 for 96 yards with an interception in Cal territory. He doesn't seem to be showing ill-affects from his shoulder injury, but he doesn't look in sync either.

Any chance either coach might look to his bench, Jeff Tedford for Nate Longshore or Mike Riley for Sean Canfield?

California bounces back; Craft doesn't

October, 25, 2008
10/25/08
7:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

A workmanlike effort for California, with the defense getting the gold star for the 41-20 win over UCLA a week after Arizona made it look like milquetoast.

Cal (5-2, 3-1) was the better team. UCLA is struggling on offense, its line is simply not up to Pac-10 play with just 16 yards rushing and three sacks surrendered.

What's got to be a relief for the Bears and their fans is the bounce back after the dispiriting loss at Arizona. Considering what happened during last year's second-half slide, it was not unreasonable to wonder if Cal was an emotionally vulnerable team.

This was a solid performance, even if the re-insertion of Kevin Riley as the starting quarterback didn't exactly jump-start the passing game. The only big highlight through the air -- at least until things got out of hand -- was a 53-yard touchdown to Nyan Boateng on a flea flicker.

The Bears will need more next weekend when Oregon comes to town for what likely will be a significant separation game in the Pac-10.

As for UCLA (3-5, 2-3), there were no fourth-quarter heroics from quarterback Kevin Craft this time. He was pretty much off target all game, with two of his four interceptions returned for touchdowns.

At some point, a clearly frustrated Rick Neuheisel is going to yank Craft and probably insert redshirt freshman Chris Forcier as the starter.

The Bruins have a bye week to mull that and other issues.

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