Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fire Cal Coach Jeff Tedford, Fire...

Fire Jeff Tedford, fire Jeff Tedford, fire Jeff Tedford, fire...

How many times can I say it? The Cal football coach has got to go. At this point I'd even advocate bringing back Tom Holmoe, the incompetent coach Tedford replaced in 2002. By comparison, even Holmoe is looking good now. And he, to put it mildly, was pathetic.

After looking at a tape of Saturday night's debacle in Salt Lake City, you wonder why Tedford is still the head coach. The Bears were beaten by, let's face it, a lousy team. Quite simply, Utah stinks. Their offense is just plain dreadful. Yet, it breezed through the disinterested Bears, who offered  minimal opposition. Don't let the final score, 49-27 fool you. The game was over at  halftime. Actually by the end of the first quarter, the Bears were toast.

Look at Utah. Their offense is loaded with Grade C talent. Their quarterback, Travis Wilson, has no touch and has consistently demonstrated his inability to read defenses. Yet the Cal defense, which should have clobbered him with a steady stream of blitzes, was putty in his hands. He may be the worst quarterback in the Pac12. No, wait, that title belongs to Cal's Zach Maynard, who was shamelessly  padding his stats in garbage time against the Utah scrubs. When it counted, he was throwing rotten pass after rotten pass. Of course, it didn't help that the offensive line was providing pitiful protection.

No question, Tedford has lost the team. Just look at the tape of the loss to Utah, which I labored through twice. It was like watching a horrible horror move. What jumped out at me, time and time again, was that the Bears were playing half-heartedly, with very little passion. By comparison, if you watched Georgia play Florida on Saturday, you saw two teams playing their hearts out for their coach. You don't see that kind of intensity in Cal players. Sure, in post-game interviews, they say all the right things, supporting their coach.
Hogwash! Just watch them play. You'll see a team that's dogging it, that's not putting out for their coach.

Tedford should be fired just for his mismanagement of the development of RB Brandon Bigelow. Oh, the kid isn't quite ready, Tedford keeps saying. How about getting him ready?. What are you saving him for? What have you got to lose by giving him most of the RB carries, at least 20 a game? He's a home-run threat who causes defenses to adjust when he's in the backfield. If he's in there most of the time, that will loosen defenses and open up lanes for the passing offense. A good coach would have realized what a gem he has in Bigelow and would have made him game-ready a long time ago..

So what's going to happen? Probably nothing. Athletic director Sandy Barbour, who's a real wimp, should buy out Tedford and send him packing. Certainly some wealthy alums would foot the bill if it meant giving Tedford the boot.

But we're stuck. Cal could lose all three of its final games. They do, however, have a chance to beat Washington on Friday night in Berkeley. The Huskies are the better team but they don't play well on the road. Cal is favored by three but smart money will be on Washington. No way, however, does Cal whip either No. 2 Oregon or No. 13 Oregon State. So no bowl game for the Bears this season.

Who's fault is it? Who should be fired?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Lakers--Likely Victims of Age and Injury

Hey Laker fans!

Get your heads out of the sand. Take off those rose-colored glasses. Get rid of those blinders. Face reality. That vision you have of the Lakers  methodically mowing down rivals on the way to an NBA championship may turn out to be a fairy tale. Things may not happen the way you expect.

Since the Lakers signed center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash in the off  season, all their fans, bursting with glee, can think of is what damage that fabulous starting five can do. These rapturous fans imagine Howard, the league's secretary of defense, flanked by first-rate forwards Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, in front of a dream backcourt--Nash and shooting guard Kobe Bryant. Who can stop them? Fans get giddy envisioning this offense rampaging through the league.
But wait a minute.

There's another side, a dark side, which Laker  fans either ignore or place in the unlikely category. Age and injuries can ruin this team. So can its weak bench. These are real dangers. Lakers fans, though, act like they don't exist or are remote possibilities.

But it's quite possible that Howard, coming off back surgery, may miss a lot of games or be ineffective in some when back pains flare up. His back simply may not hold up for a full season. It's very likely that, come playoff time, he'll be far less than 100%. And what about Nash, who's nearing 90?. They need him to play like a 25-year-old, for about 35 minutes a game. That may be too much. At his age he needs more rest and is more prone to nagging injuries. The Lakers, though, don't have the luxury of resting him.

What about Kobe? He's no spring chicken. Right now he's out of the lineup, nursing a banged-up foot. He has more mileage than just about any player in the league. He's definitely slowing down and, like Nash, is  more vulnerable to injury.

But age and injury issues are less scary when you have a strong bench to rely on. That's another problem. Last year, the Lakers had arguably the worst bench in the league. They've upgraded, adding Jodie Meeks and Antewan Jameson, but it's still not a great bench..So far it's been mediocre. The lousy bench is a big reason the Lakers are winless in seven pre-season games. If any of the stars is out for a while that offense isn't nearly as potent.

Last night the Lakers lost 97-91 to the Clippers. Neither Howard, who's still not in game shape, nor Bryant  played. Without the stars, the Lakers just weren't good enough. During the season, Howard, Nash and Bryant are bound to be out here and there with injuries, derailing the offense.

Lakers fans, though, don't want to hear that unsettling scenario, which is just as likely to become a reality. They prefer the glorious vision of the starters, that Fab Five, all healthy, playing 35-40 minutes a game.

Dream on, Laker fans, dream on.