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Five questions about the Cal Bears

Since I'm not out in San Francisco covering the Emerald Bowl, I figured the next best thing was to give you some insight on the Canes' opponent from an expert out on the West Coast. This week, I got the pleasure of exchanging a few emails with Bears beat writer Demar Richardson, who covers the team for CalSportsDigest.com, which associated with Scout.com.

Here are the five questions I sent Demar about the Bears followed by is responses.

Q: No knock on Cal running back Jahvid Best (he's had a tremendous season), but when you take a closer look at his numbers 511 of his 1,394 yards and 7 of his 13 rushing touchdowns came against Washington and Washington State, the nation's 117th and 119th rushing defenses. He's also put up some stinkers -- 25 yards against Maryland and 30 yards against USC. Is the 5-10, 193-pound sophomore really that special? Or, are his numbers a bit inflated? And, why did Maryland and USC have good days against him?
DR: Best's numbers against Maryland were down for two reasons. Maryland got off to an early lead against the Bears forcing Cal to pass a lot more and the Bears coaching staff made a mistake by completely Jahvid_bestabandoning the running game when they fell behind. Best has shown that he can break off fifty or sixty yard runs on a consistent basis. As far as the USC game goes I would just go with the theory that nobody will have success against that defense this year. Jahvid's numbers would have been better if he didn't miss the ASU game because of injury. One thing Jahvid must do this off-season is add some more muscle in the weight room and get up to 200 pounds. In my opinion Best will be a top five back in the country for the 2009 season. Jahvid is explosive running the ball and he has the ability to make defenders miss tackles. Best has tremendous hands. He finished the regualr season with 27 catches. At the NFL level, Best has the ability to give a team 10-15 carries a game, catch passes and be a very effective kick returner.

Q: As good as Best is, what impresses me most about Cal on paper is their pass rush and their ability to create turnovers. The Bears look like they bring the heat. Is that really the strength of this team? And, if so, has anybody had any real success against Cal's pass rush and pass defense?
DR: Cal is known for being a very good offensive team, but their defense was the strength of the team this Sydquan_thompsonseason. They have a very talented secondary lead by CB Syd'Quan Thompson who is very good in man to man coverage. The opposite corner Darian Hagan is only a sophmore and he is very solid in coverage. The Bears play a 3-4 and not many offenses are use to playing against that front. The linebackers get after the quarterback a lot, but the defensive line has been able to apply consistent pressure all season. The Bears have been very succesful when the get off to an early lead and force teams to become one demensional. This allows Cal to be very aggresive with their blitz packages. The top players on the Bear's defense are LB Zack Follett, DE Tyson Alualu and Thompson.

Q: With true freshman Jacory Harris slated to start at quarterback for Miami, I have to imagine the Bears must be salivating at the thought of knocking this kid out and or getting in his head. Miami's backups are walk-ons for this game. What are you hearing from the Bears this week about facing Harris?
DR: I don't see the Bear's defense being over aggresive, because Jacory Harris is young. If Cal gets up 10-0 or 14-3 that is when the Bears would turn up the heat. This game can remain very close if Miami can contain Best and consistenly run the ball with Graig Cooper. Miami should be more concerned with not turning the ball over instead of worrying about giving up sacks. The Bears defense has been very good at creating turnovers.

Q: How would you measure the excitement out there for this game? The University of Miami used to create a stir when it went out on the road during its championship years? Notice any real excitement from the Bears about facing a 7-5 Hurricanes team?
Emerald_bowlDR: Miami is a very respected program and this is without a doubt the best match-up in Emerald Bowl history. Cal has a very big student following. I'm not sure if the Christmas break will affect attendance or not, but Emerald bowl representatives expect a sell out for Saturday's game. I would expect 80-85% of the crowd to be Bear fans. I expect the Hurricanes to challenge for the ACC over the next few seasons and the Bears should be ready for a big year in 2009. Anytime you can play against a team with the traditon and talent of the Hurricanes I feel it will be a good test for Cal to see where they are as a program and what they need to add to their roster if they want to win the Pac 10.

Q: What's your prediction for this game? And what does Miami ultimately need to do to pull off the upset of Cal in your opinion?
DR: I believe this game will be very close because Cal is not explosive at the reciever position. Cal has very good kick and punt returners, but Miami's speed should contain the Bear's returners. The Hurricanes should have oppurtunities for big kick returns, because the Bears have consistenly left their kickoffs 10-15 yards short of the end zone. If Miami can run the ball they have a great chance to win. I believe Cal will again find ways to force a few turnovers. Final score: Cal 27, Miami 24.

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1st Merry Christmas from Canada Manny

HURRICANES 41
BEARS 17

HARRIS MVP 5 TDS NO PICKS

CANES DEFENSE MATCHES PICKS FOR SEASON WITH 3.

DECEMBER 28TH 9:00 AM.
MARVE DECLARES HIS INTENTION TO TRANSFER TO , WELL WHO CARES!!!

Great stuff Manny as always! This is going to be a great game against a very good Cal team. I'm really curious to see if the Canes bring their A-game. They'll definitely need it. I like what I hear about Cal leaving their kicks 10-15 yards in front of the end zone. Hopefully Travis Benjamin has exorcised his ghosts and his ankle is feeling strong. Even at 90%, he can definitely make a major contribution in the return game. Playing on a shorter field than Cal would help win the game. I also hope that Javaris James has a big game. We really need to establish the run to keep control of the ball and to reduce the opportunity for Cal's DB's to pick the ball. We need a strong 1-2 punch from JJ and Coop. I'm psyched for this game. Hope the team is too.

I agree....we need to give JJ the rock. I hope he starts. He needs to be the back getting more carries with Cooper coming in here and there to make some big plays. I just hope that we don't run from the shotgun. We are never successful when we run from the shotgun. And even though I think we should see a steady running game, I want to see us attack. If there is two minutes left in the half and we are our 20...we should go four wide no huddle and try to score. Not give the ball to Cooper and hope he breaks one. I think this play not to lose mentality is one of the things that will hold this program back. So lets go out there and play to win.

HARRIS IS THE CHOSEN ONE BY SHANNON,THAT'S WHY HE CREATED THIS QB MESS.HE'S MORE INTERESTED IN LOCAL RECRUITING THAN LETTING MARVE FINISH WHAT HE STARTED.HE SHOULD BE HONEST WITH THE KID AND RELEASE HIM TO GO WHERE HE'S WANTED.

Spot on analysis by Manny over at Scout.com.

http://miami.scout.com/a.z?s=13&p=2&c=824526

Posted by: xcanefan | December 26, 2008 at 09:42 AM

Complete un-informed idiot! You are the first person I have ever heard of who called himself an "x" Cane Fan! There is no such thing as an "x" Cane Fan! Win, lose, or draw, you are either a fan, or you are not. Please leave your "U" at the door as you leave, loser!

Go 'canes!

"x cane fans" were never really fans. No matter how dissappointed I am after a previous game (or season), and, no matter what the team situation, I ALWAYS get pumped for the next game. I'm ALWAYS a 'Cane.

HARRIS IS THE CHOSEN ONE BY SHANNON,THAT'S WHY HE CREATED THIS QB MESS.HE'S MORE INTERESTED IN LOCAL RECRUITING THAN LETTING MARVE FINISH WHAT HE STARTED.HE SHOULD BE HONEST WITH THE KID AND RELEASE HIM TO GO WHERE HE'S WANTED.

Posted by: xcanefan | December 26, 2008 at 09:42 AM

Shannon knows we need depth at QB just like we need depth at every position. The last thing he wants is to lose a quality player at a critical position. He played both QBs so he knew what he had in each one and so that each would get some much needed experience. I hope Marve finds some humility and realizes that he needs to lead by example and that football, esp. the brand played at the U, is a TEAM sport. I hope he returns with the right attitude. But if he doesn't I believe Taylor Cook with another year of development can be push Jacory and be a solid backup and Hightower looks to be another good one. Then the door would be wide open in '10 to land a headliner QB.

Manny...Happy Holidays!

GO CANES, BEAT DA BEARS!!!

I think Marve should get the message and pack his bags. He's been there a yr longer than Harris and has played worse. Too many interceptions- The few long drives he's had were aided by penalties. I predict a Miami win, at least 28 points and goodbye Marve.
just opinion


HURRICANES 41
BEARS 17

HARRIS MVP 5 TDS NO PICKS

CANES DEFENSE MATCHES PICKS FOR SEASON WITH 3.

Posted by: canethang | December 26, 2008 at 02:01 AM


Must be some pretty strong eggnog. You and my favorite blogger Norm drinking from the same bowl.

That said, Go Canes!


HURRICANES 41
BEARS 17

HARRIS MVP 5 TDS NO PICKS

CANES DEFENSE MATCHES PICKS FOR SEASON WITH 3.

Posted by: canethang | December 26, 2008 at 02:01 AM


Must be some pretty strong eggnog. You and my favorite blogger Norm drinking from the same bowl.

That said, Go Canes!

the beatwriter for CAL must be high or something?? he said this - "As far as the USC game goes I would just go with the theory that nobody will have success against that defense this year." dude!? didn't oregon state's jaquizz rogers ran all over that defense, and i believe that back is smaller and he's even a freshman!!!!! what a way to make excuses for his boy jahvid!

correct me if i'm wrong on that people!!!!

the beatwriter for CAL must be high or something?? he said this - "As far as the USC game goes I would just go with the theory that nobody will have success against that defense this year." dude!? didn't oregon state's jaquizz rogers ran all over that defense, and i believe that back is smaller and he's even a freshman!!!!! what a way to make excuses for his boy jahvid!


LACANEFAN: Thanks for that post.

I think the Canes are at the mid point of this rebuilding process.

Last year they were looking up at the mediocre teams in the ACC. This year they climbed up to the same level with them. Next year I expect them to jump above the middle of the pack. In 2011, I believe this team will be going looking for National Championship again.
tj

I am disappointed that Robert Marve does not want to stay and compete. He should not be backing away from the challange.

word at the SS blog is that Orson Charles came down and helped Marve clean out his locker...[?]last week-end...

U SUCK!!!!!! go gators!!

The Cal reporter isn't wrong about USC, their defense is excellent. Really the best defense I've seen since our 2001 team. Youtube it and you'll see how good USC is. Oregon St. put up lots of yards on gadget plays and USC had an off day. Even the 2001 Canes had bad games, remember Ed Reed saving us at BC and VT.

Check out Cal-USC on youtube, you'll see that Cal can play. Cal is phyiscal on both ends of the ball and they're backs run downhill. They rush the passer very well and blitz from the corners frequently.

We are playing the type of team that gives us problems. Add on the fact that they are playing at home...we might get blown out if we're not sharp.

I really hope we're not about to witness another nationally televised blowout.

i can only wish this was shannons last game. but 1 more year of hype and no hope wont matter. lousy recruiting, bad coaching{if you call that coaching}, and probably more rules for the team. time outs arent working. probably 0-1 to start '09 season, shannons said this was the new season. what a moron- cal 38- UM 17 1 more year of this pathetic coaching staff. marve should leave and go where there is an offense. maybe a receiver that can catch- probably why shannon didnt recruit them. only the ones that cant catch he recruits

please god...not another nationally televised embarrassment....

I cant takesit..

Tomorrow is the day! PLEASE, PLEASE show up to play. LIke M.H. said do not get blown out. A big win will totally help recruiting! Lets go CANES!

Emerald Bowl Game Watch Party

December 27th, 8:00 Kickoff

Bar Louie-City Place-West Palm Beach

Join the Palm Beach 'Canes Club to cheer on your Miami Hurricanes as they challenge the Cal Golden Bears. Complimentary buffet and 'Canes drink specials. For more information see www.561canes.com.

GO 'CANES!

Just win Canes!!!! And play well Jacory!!!!!

Just win Canes!!!! And play well Jacory!!!!!

These guys better come to play tonight. There is absolutely no excuse to get blown out tonight. Cal has talent, but so do we. The only way we get blown out is if we are outcoached or if we are not mentally prepared to play. Either way....that is a reflection of Randy. Get these boys to play tonight Randy and if we can win this game then South Florida's perception of the Canes will be positive before they kick things off in August.

There is no such thing as an x-cane fan. You loser. You are no cane fan anfd never were. You are probably some soft, hippie "green" burnout who cringes at the sight of adversity and now you are a gator fan. Great, good riddance, because when the gators lose tebown, it will be all over. The natural order of things will return to the state:

1-UM
2- FSU
3- UF (maybe 4)

There's no doubt now!

By JORGE MILIAN

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, December 26, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of Miami ends the 2008 season tonight in the Emerald Bowl against California.

But for freshman Jacory Harris, it could be the beginning of a long tenure as the Hurricanes' starting quarterback.
More on the Hurricanes
Inside UM
Cal joins UM in QB switcharoo
SAN FRANCISCO - UM isn’t the only team in the Emerald Bowl with an uncertain quarterback ...
Harris' goal: Win game, starting job
Long snapper Chris Ivory is fifth 'Cane to be benched for bowl game
UM's youth movement born of necessity, not design.

Harris makes his second career start tonight in place of fellow freshman Robert Marve, who is suspended for the second time this season for violating team rules.

Rumors that Marve intends to transfer have been raging for the past couple of weeks.

UM coach Randy Shannon said this week he has not talked to Marve since informing the quarterback of his suspension.

Marve has not requested a release from his scholarship, but Shannon said Marve "is probably going to transfer."

Attempts to reach Marve and his father, former NFL linebacker Eugene Marve, were unsuccessful.

Goodluck Jacory!

Go 'canes!

The Nut Bowl Watch Party has been moved from Bar Louie to Cheeburger Cheeburger.

Miami beat St. Johns....70-56...A good sign!

RS had to play both QB's this year.....with that being said...the cream rose to the top...Go Jacory!

Anybody watch the UNC VS WV game? It was a good game. The old coach looked very frustrated after he lost the game. They anouncers are predicting UNC to be a top ten team for next year.

I hope Miami can pull the upset tonight. I'm kind of curios to see what Nick has in store for this game.

Saw the UNC game...yikes. What happened to their defense? I thought that was the side of the ball Butch knew best. I almost mistook Pat White for a pocket passer.

I have no idea what to expect from our offense tonight, but hope our defense can hold Cal to the low 20s.

GO CANES!!!

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