Ted Agu

Cal’s first Pac-12 win inspires emotional postgame celebration

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The last time California won a Pac-12 game was October 13, 2012 against Washington State. The last time the Bears celebrated a conference win at home came the previous week with an upset of UCLA. Nearly two years of frustration ended Saturday with an overtime victory at home against Colorado. Cal kicker James Langford booted a 34-yard field goal through the uprights for a 59-56 victory in double overtime. That set off an emotional victory celebration for the Bears, who had come so close to a win last week against Arizona.

“It was just a huge rush of happiness,” Langford said after the game. “Being around your best friends and teammates for one of the best moments of your life is just totally priceless. My cheeks kind of hurt from smiling so much.”

“I think I aged like 100 years in the last two weeks,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “After last week’s loss, it’s certainly nice to be on the other side and win a hard-fought, tough football game. I give our players a lot of credit for bouncing back.”

The emotions poured over in the locker room postgame celebration, with Dykes telling his players he felt as though former Bear defensive end Ted Agu was right there with them in some key moments. Agu passed away during a conditioning run in February.

Report: Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Cal

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The family of Ted Agu, a former Cal football defensive tackle, is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the school.

A press release from the Agu family’s lawyers, Panish Shea & Boyle, states (via ESPN.com), “Despite the symptoms which clearly could and should have been observed, UCB coaches and trainers failed to immediately come to Agu’s assistance. It was only after Agu struggled and encountered obvious difficulties for a significant period of time that intervention occurred and he was placed on a cart and taken back towards the stadium where he collapsed for the last time.”

Agu passed away in February after collapsing during a conditioning run. Agu was rushed to a nearby medical center and passed away at the hospital while receiving treatment. It was later determined Agu was the victim of a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition is known for excessive thickening of the heart muscle, making it difficult for blood to pump through the heart. It is usually undiagnosed due to a lack of symptoms and is generally more dangerous to athletes requiring increased blood flow.

When it comes to stories like this, it is difficult not to feel for the family. Whether there is a case here or not will be up to a judge to decide. Cal representatives have said everything that could have been done to assist and treat Agu was done, including taking him out of the run, transporting for medical assistance and administering CPR.

Report: Cal’s Ted Agu died of heart failure

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Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu collapsed during an offseason workout earlier this spring and died as a result of a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition, according to a report by San Francisco Chronicle, is a relatively common cause of death among athletes.

Victims of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have excessive thickening of heart muscle, which makes it more difficult for blood to pump through the heart. In most cases the problem is undiagnosed because there are few symptoms that can be picked up on even during a careful medical exam. The condition can lead to normal lives for most people, but athletes tend to see the most sever problems due to the increased physical activity requiring a more efficient blood flow.

Agu collapsed in February while working through a training run. The Cal medical team attempted CPR on Agu but he died while being transported to a nearby medical center. The school has since started up a memorial scholarship fund in Agu’s name and honor.

Agu’s death was the subject of arguments by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema when discussing up-tempo offenses. Bielema’s comments were scolded by Cal AD Sandy Barbour and Bielema later apologized for his comments.

Helmet sticker to Dr. Saturday.

Cal AD scolds Bielema for “death certificate” comment; Bielema apologizes

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On Friday the California football family celebrated the life of Ted Agu, who recently passed away after collapsing during a conditioning drill. Agu’s death was referenced by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema when asked about the evidence to support a rule proposal designed to slow down the tempo of the offense in college football. As you may have heard by now, the comment did not exactly go over with much grace. This we expect from Bielema though.

Bielema’s comments were addressed Friday by California Athletics Director Sandy Barbour, who scolded Bielema for taking advantage of a tragedy to further his agenda.

Bielema has since offered an apology for his comments.

“It was brought to my attention that remarks I made yesterday evening while discussing a proposed rule change were unintentionally hurtful,” Bielema’s statement reads. “My comments were intended to bring awareness to player safety and instead they have caused unintended hurt. I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family.”

Bielema certainly did not mean to offend anybody with his comments referencing Agu’s passing, but sometimes in the heat of a moment a coach can say something without having much of a filter. Bielema has always spoken freely when asked for his opinions. This is just the latest example of it coming back to bite him. The Razorbacks head coach took plenty of heat for his comment, both in our comment section, on Twitter and from multiple reporters and other members of the media. In an interview with Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, Bielema attempted to explain in more detail what he was trying to say when he brought up the death certificates comment.

“I’m talking about the concussion crisis, sickle cell trait. This one [sickle cell trait] really scares you because you don’t know when it’s coming. The kids have difficulty breathing. They don’t want to come out of practice or the game. All the ones I’ve ever been around, they want to stay in because they don’t want their teammates to think they’re quitting or stopping. What we began to rationalize is that when these players pass when they’re involved in these conditioning drills, they pull themselves out of it or the trainer pulls them out of it because they’re having difficulties. What if you’re in the middle of the third or fourth quarter and you know that the kid standing 15 yards away from you or on the other side of the field has this trait. He’s got this built-in possibility of something happening. Your doctors have told you about it. Your trainers have told you about it. He looks at you through those eyes or maybe the trainer even says, “Hey coach, you need to get him out of there.” And you can’t. You have no timeouts. He’s not going to fake an injury. He’s not going to fall down.”

The defensive substitution rule proposal would prevent an opposing offense from snapping the football for the first ten seconds on the play clock. This allows defenses to substitute players on every play before getting caught in a rushed tempo by the offense. Player safety was one of the primary reasons for the proposal when it was reported, but it is being criticized as an attempt to hurt teams that have found a winning formula with an up-tempo offensive style. It does not seem as though the rule will have enough votes to be passed, but Bielema is going to continue to stand by his opinions anyway.

Whether you agree with him or not, let us just hope Bielema handles arguing his case with some better examples moving forward.

Bret Bielema cites player’s death to support defensive sub rule

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Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has finally had his chance to address the proposed rule that has sparked plenty of controversy since it was first reported. Odds are some of Bielema’s comments will not go over too well.

The NCAA’s Football Rules Committee is proposing a rule that would prevent an offense from snapping the football for ten seconds, to allow defensive substitutions. The initial stated intention for the rule was to focus on player safety, but many have been quick to suggest it is more about slowing down up-tempo offenses. Bielema was in the room when the rule proposal was discussed, although he was on hand as a representative of the American Football Coaches Association of America and not as a committee member. His being in the room though has been perceived to have some say on what was going on. On Thursday night Bielema was asked publicly to comment on the proposal.

Earlier this month Cal defensive end Ted Agu collapsed during a conditioning run and died at a local hospital. If Bielema is attempting to make a point about player safety in a game, referencing a tragedy off the playing field may not be the best way to go about addressing a concern. still, Bielema’s focus on player safety should not be overlooked. This is juts a poor way of doing it.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Bielema also said he could not care less about how people perceive him and his opinions.

There is no arguing that there are a number of risks to football players every time they take the field. Would slowing down the snap pace make that much of a difference? Maybe to some extent, but the concrete data has yet to be shared to suggest it would. It is easy for a coach to suggest that fewer plays will decrease the chances a player gets hurt. That is just simple number crunching. Fewer plays means fewer opportunities to get hurt.

But pointing out a player falling to his death in practice in February? That’s not the best way to make your case.