The Golden Bears of Cal State Berkeley

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The Golden Bears of Cal State Berkley had a good year last season, going 9-4 overall with 6-3 in conference play, finishing fourth in the Pac 10. Cal received a bowl game berth, where they defeated Miami in the Emerald Bowl 24-17, as Jahvid Best rushed for a bowl-record 186 yards and two touchdowns. Best underwent two surgeries in January, one to repair his left foot and one on his left elbow.

The surgery on his left foot was to relieve irritation of an extra bone on the right side of his foot caused when Best bruised the foot midway through the 2008 season, while the elbow surgery was to tighten a ligament that was injured when Best dislocated the elbow vs. Colorado State September 27. Best is expected to make full recovery but will most likely miss spring practice.

Although the recruiting season didn't go as well for the Golden Bears as most of Coach Jeff Tedford's seasons, they did beef up their offensive line. California only had an 18 man recruiting class, but four were offensive linemen including Mark Brazinski, who was rated as the number two center, and tackles Charles Siddoway and Charles Ragland and guard Brian Schwenke. Tedford was still very pleased with who he was able to pick up, despite losing Stan Hasiak, a guard from Hawaii who was rated in the top 10 in the nation. Hasiak had originally committed to UCLA, and then switched to Cal only to re-commit to the Bruins.

Cal State also brought in a good Quarterback in Allen Bridgford from Mission Viejo, Ca. Bridgford is an accurate passer who threw for 3,058 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior, and was ranked 10th in the nation among pro-style quarterbacks. Bridgford will be complemented by Markish Jones of Spartanburg, S.C., a Junior College transfer who played one season at Compton Community College in California. Although the Golden Bears still have Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, they deepened their strong group of running backs with the addition of Dasarte Yarnway from San Francisco, CA.

Yarnway is a good between the tackles runner who has a burst in open space who rushed for 2,180 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Sacred Heart High. With star Zack Follett leaving, California brought in Ryan Davis of Norwalk, Ca, a Junior College transfer who will be a good fit as a rush outside linebacker in the Golden Bear's 3-4 scheme.

The Golden Bears could've had a better recruiting season if they'd had more scholarships to offer. Despite this, many expect a good season out of California and look to see them finish higher in the Pac 10 rankings this coming season. With the talent they have kept and the group they were able to recruit this year, California definitely has an opportunity to meet those expectations and could very well keep the program turning heads and bringing in talent for years to come. Of course anyone would be hard pressed to dethrone the Trojans as the Pac 10 champions.

Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of college football. Check out his Golden Bears Gear or his Alabama Store

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