Cal Golden Bears

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Kenny Hill #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies chats with quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital during the first half of their game against the Mississippi Rebels at Kyle Field on October 11, 2014 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Jake Spavital’s addition to Cal as OC officially announced

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Yesterday we noted that Sonny Dykes had likely landed the man that will help direct Cal’s offense in 2016.  Today we get the confirmation.

In the expected press release, Cal confirmed that Jake Spavital has been added to Sonny Dykes‘ staff as offensive coordinator.  Additionally, Spavital will coach a Golden Bears quarterbacks room that will be without leading passer Jared Goff for the first time since the 2012 season.

Spavital replaces Tony Franklin, who abruptly left the program last month to take the same job at Middle Tennessee.

“Jake is one of the brightest young coaches in college football and he is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” Dykes said. “We were looking for someone to join our coaching family that shares our vision and has a similar offensive philosophy to what we have used to produce some of the nation’s top offenses for nearly two decades. Jake has gained a tremendous amount of experience by working with some of the top coaches in the game, while he has tutored some of the best quarterbacks in college football history. Both will pay huge dividends for us.”

Spavital had spent the past three seasons at Texas A&M, first as co-offensive coordinator in 2013 and then as coordinator in 2014 and 2015. He also coached quarterbacks all three seasons.

In early January of this year, it was announced that the two parties were “mutually parting ways.”

Reports: Jake Spavital headed to Cal as offensive coordinator

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies chats with his quarterback coach Jake Spavital before the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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It appears Jake Spavital won’t be out of a job for long.

A month and some change after “mutually parting ways” with Texas A&M, Spavital has reportedly found a new home out west. FootballScoop (where I also work) and Fox Sports reported Friday Spavital had found a new home at California, and on Wednesday Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman added that Spavital will receive a two-year deal in Berkeley.

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and his new offensive coordinator have never worked together previously, but each hails from the same school of thought. Dykes rose the ranks while working under Mike Leach at both Kentucky and Texas Tech and under Mike Stoops at Arizona, while Spavital spent the past few years working for former Leach assistant Dana Holgorsen at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia and with former Bob Stoops assistant Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M.

Spavital earned just north of $486,000 in 2015 according to the USA Today salary database while the man he replaces, new Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, made $510,000.

Cal finished the 2015 season ranked seventh nationally in yards per play and 17th in scoring, but Spavital will be tasked with re-tooling the attack without future 1st-round pick Jared Goff at quarterback.

LB Michael Barton leaving Cal for Arizona as grad transfer

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Randall Telfer #82 of the USC Trojans is tackled after his catch by Michael Barton #8 of the California Golden Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Michael Barton may be leaving Cal, but he won’t be leaving the Pac-12.

On Twitter Sunday, Barton announced that he has decided to transfer from Cal and play his final season of college football elsewhere.  Specifically, the linebacker will be transferring to Arizona to finish out his playing career.

As Barton will enter Rich Rodriguez‘s Wildcats program as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

In 2013 and 2014, Barton combined to start 13 games.  Following a 2014 season in which he led the Golden Bears in tackles, he was named honorable mention All-Pac-12.

However, Barton lost his starting job in summer camp last year and didn’t start a game, playing in only 10 of Cal’s 13 games.

 

Cal admits negligence in death of former walk-on Ted Agu

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Nearly two years to the day after his death, a significant development has been uncovered in the Ted Agu case. Agu, a Cal walk-on with sickle cell trait, collapsed and died during a workout on Feb. 7, 2014, and documents obtained by the UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program and shared with the San Francisco Chronicle show the university has admitted negligence in the player’s death.

Agu’s parents, Ambrose and Emilia Agu, are suing UC Berkeley for wrongful death over how Agu was treated in the moments proceeding his death.

Cal told the media at the time Agu died of a heart condition and that head strength coach Damon Harrington and trainer Robert Jackson did not notice signs of Agu struggling to complete an especially arduous workout and that he resisted Cal staffers’ help, insisting, “I’m good.”

But testimony from Agu’s teammates differs significantly from that account.

Writes the Chronicle:

Daniel Lasco, a running back and team captain at the time, was on the rope with Agu during the drill. He said he assigned Agu to lead their group up the hill, which required him at times to pull the other players behind him. Former offensive lineman Matt Cochran, who was injured and observed from the drill route’s periphery, described Agu falling multiple times and showing signs of fatigue beginning about midway through the workout.

After teammates noticed Agu struggling, Lasco took his place at the front of the rope. Lasco testified of his time leading the drill: “It felt like you were pulling three tires behind you. … When I was up there, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I let him do this.’”

Jacobi Hunter, a former defensive tackle who was also injured that day and walked the route, testified that Jackson, the trainer, was looking directly at Agu when he fell, and did not offer aid.

About halfway up the hill on their last lap, Lasco testified, Agu finally stopped, bent over, fell to his knees, then curled into a fetal position. A few players said they helped him up and walked a few steps with him before he fell down again.

“It’s like something just pulled a battery out of him, and he just stopped working,” cornerback Trevellous Cheek said during his deposition.

Players said they threw water on Agu and yelled for team trainers.

Cal football head physician Dr. Casey Batten informed the staff Agu carried sickle cell trait, documents show, and that he should cease activity as soon as symptoms appear.

After Agu’s parents asked then-Alameda County chief forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Beaver to read players’ accounts of the incident, the Chronicle writes, Beaver changed his opinion from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to acute sickle cell crisis for the cause of Agu’s death. “Although UC Berkeley officials say they provided the coroner’s office with the medical records it requested, which included Agu’s sickle cell status, Beaver insists his former office never got any information from the university on the subject,” the paper writes. “Two interviews with football players by the UC Berkeley Police Department, which the family’s attorneys say described Agu struggling, were never sent to the coroner’s bureau, whose personnel declined to discuss the issue.” Dr. Michael Ferenc formally altered Agu’s cause of death in October.

UC Berkeley officially admitted liability in court in an effort to move forward with appropriately compensating the Agu family in advance of a jury trial slated for April, the university said in a statement to the paper.

Checking in on recruiting rankings with one week until Signing Day

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers (C) sings with his team after they defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 56-27 during the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on December 29, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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National Signing Day is one week from today. If you haven’t already taken off work, purchased your food items, laundered your lucky shirt, socks and underwear and hung your decorations, consider this your fair warning.

(Wait, everyone hangs decorations for National Signing Day, right?)

With but seven days between now and the biggest day on the college football calendar until Opening Day, here’s how the top 25 classes stack up according to Rivals.

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Ole Miss
4. Michigan
5. Notre Dame
6. Florida State
7. Florida
8. Clemson
9. Michigan State
10. Baylor
11. UCLA
12. Alabama
13. Texas A&M
14. Auburn
15. TCU
16. North Carolina
17. Georgia
18. Tennessee
19. Kentucky
20. Stanford
21. Oregon
22. California
23. Duke
24. Penn State
25. Houston

A couple teams to watch over the next week are teams that were top-5 mainstays a decade ago — No. 28 USC, No. 30 Oklahoma, No. 31 Miami and No. 50 Texas.

Before any Trojans, Sooners, ‘Canes or ‘Horns fans hit the panic button, consider that each team is still carrying a light number of commitments — USC and Texas with 13, Miami with 14 and Oklahoma with 16. Ten of the top 11 teams claim at least 20, and only Georgia has fewer than 16 among ranked teams.