We are back from vacation, and don't have anything planned till the Fall when we start following the Huskies. If you haven't been back to the Northeast before it is a quite a bit different than your perception may be. It is every bit as scenic, as the Northwest. One difference of course is the population, way too many people back there.
Bill Walsh passed away yesterday at 75 from Leukemia. Walsh was one of my favorites as a 49er head coach, but that his star diminished for me when he started talking trash about the Huskies being a mercenary program. I wish Bill, and his family the best despite those comments, and the world will miss him. Ty of course was one of his disciples, and he was able to see him the weekend before he passed. It is tough to find a bigger coaching legacy than the one that was created under Bill Walsh.
Hard to believe but we are only a week away from the opening of Fall camp for the Huskies. there will be plenty of news coming out once camp begins so stay tuned. The Huskies also picked up a pretty big recruit in QB Dominique Blackman who is rated the 15th best QB in the country by Scout. Washington's legacy of treating black QB's fairly was a big factor in his decision to come to UW.
The California Golden Bears (10- 3 overall, 7- 2 PAC-10) proved that they could amass yards and score. They also ably shut down defenses. In 2006, they tied for first in the PAC-10 and went on to humiliate Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl 45- 10.
The offense has innumerable looks and combinations. The Golden Bears are deep just about anywhere, allowing them to rotate players easily and with confidence. Junior QB Nate Longshore (60.2% COMP, 3,021 YDs, 24 TDs, 14 INTs) was one of the best in the PAC-10. Longshore is a sharpshooter who has worked hard on his decision-making and mobility. Top targets include junior DeSean Jackson (59 REC, 1,060 YDs, 18.0 AVG, 9 TDs) and senior Lavelle Hawkins (46 REC, 705 YDs, 15.3 AVG, 5 TDs); the talented duo has plenty of backup. Senior Justin Forsett (119 CAR, 626 YDs, 5.3 AVG, 4 TDs), a solid force, takes over the running back duties after three years of backup work. The offensive line should be effective as long as its members stay healthy.
The offense scored an average of 32.9 PPG, which was great. Even better, the defense kept opposing forces to only 19.3 PPG. The Golden Bears proved to be best versus the run but fairly dismal, rated 103rd, when defending against the air game. This year there's plenty of tough competition for the secondary spots. Two starters return—CB Syd'Quan Thompson and ROV Bernard Hicks (2 INTs). Junior LB Zack Follett gets to start; he's being touted as a major force, while junior All-American LB Anthony Felder is back after nursing injury problems last season. The frontline has plenty of openings and a lot of talent looking to fill the spots.
Over the past four years, the Golden Bears have been for four bowl games, winning three. They will be in a bowl once again. Count on the Bear's to compete once again for a BCS bowl.
The Consensus on California
The Bear's have been the second best program in the Pac Ten ever since Jeff Tedford arrived on campus. Cal has played USC to the wire too, but they haven't picked up that big victory which puts them over the top in their quest for the national championship. When you look at Cal think the University of Washington ten years ago when they were one of the most dominant programs on the coast.
Washington took Cal to the final tick last season with reserve QB Carl Bonnell leading the charge. That gives the Huskies a little confidence after getting thrashed by them a few years in a row after dominating them for around thirty years. You used to circle the Cal game as a victory, but now the roles have been reversed.
For Cal to be successful they need to shore up the defense and get better play from quarterback position in 2007. Despite the numbers which were impressive Cal had no business allowing the point, and yardage total UW was able to put on them last season.