And a Partridge in a (Golden) Bear Tree: Cal Bears Holiday Gift Ideas

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And a Partridge in a (Golden) Bear Tree: Cal Bears Holiday Gift Ideas
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It's a week before Christmas Eve—the special time of year when holiday shoppers begin thinking about reminding themselves to start looking for presents for that special someone. For many, the long, arduous process tests just how closely the giver knows the recipient.

For the purpose of my columnist position at Bleacher Report, my "special someone" happens to be the Cal football team. And this article will be devoted to creating my ideal gift list for the Bears this holiday season, based on how well I have gotten (or think I have gotten) to know their needs.

So sit back and enjoy the list. Bring on the presents!

 

 

Stickum for Jeremy Ross and Michael Calvin

 

Okay, so it may be outlawed, but anything that may help soften the two receivers' hands—which appeared to be made of concrete during the big game—would be much appreciated.

With the departure of Verran Tucker, Calvin and Ross will have to step up and become reliable options downfield for Kevin Riley if the Bears hope to have any semblance of a deep passing game outside of Marvin Jones.

 

 

A Zack Follett tackling demonstration for the special teams coverage units

 

With both kickers struggling to land the ball inside the 10-yard line, Cal will need to minimize return yardage if it hopes to avoid giving opponents a short field. Even if he's up in Detroit, this instructional video from the Pain Train should give some inspiration to a unit that ranked 56th in the nation in opponent's kick returns and 92nd in punt returns.

 

 

The reinstatement of Nnamdhi Asomugha and Daymeion Hughes

Cal's 108th-ranked pass defense will be losing All-American corner Syd'Quan Thompson, as well as starting safeties Brett Johnson and Marcus Ezeff. All but two of their conference opponents return their starting quarterbacks—in particular Washington's Jake Locker is back.

C'mon Larry Scott, make it happen.

 

 

No preseason expectations

 

Sometimes less is more. Cal had a Heisman hopeful and Rose Bowl dreams fly out the window after Oregon and USC, as another formidable Bears team on paper turned out to be just that in 2009. Its' big wins (Minnesota, Arizona and Stanford) were followed by devastating losses.

Perhaps a trip back to the days of 2004 is in order, when Cal was at its best as an overlooked squad (Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Arrington, anyone?). Hey, being written off has worked for Oregon State the past few years.    


An end to the Wildcat

 

Speaking of subtraction, taking Wildcat plays out of the playbook may be in order as well. If any Cal fan remembers the formation (perhaps because it was run in the same quarterback-at-receiver look on four or five plays at a time) ever gaining more than seven yards, please let me know and I will make a correction.

 

Free quarterbacking lessons by Aaron Rodgers

 

Kevin Riley has been a combined 19-for-56 against USC, and he figures to be under center once again as the team heads to Los Angeles this fall. Who better to take tips from than a guy who completed his first 23 attempts at the Coliseum and was one receiver slip in the end zone away from beating the Trojans?

 

 

A decisive depth chart

 

We've seen how the season-long quarterback carousel worked in 2008. So please, injuries permitting, the coaches would be wise to pick a kicker and stick with him. Juggling the linebackers didn't help too much in 2009, either.

 

 

Getting rid of the yellow-on-white unis

 

It may counter the holiday spirit to take away things, but getting rid of these uniforms may very well be a blessing; maybe some trees can be saved by using them to light the Big Game bonfire.

Either way, they should be forgettable even without thinking about the events of the game that debuted them. Personally, I wouldn't mind the team receiving these classics in their locker room Christmas stockings.

 

 

A Martin effect

 

Cal's Christmas may have come early this year, as the team lured Chris Martin, a five-star defensive end (rated No. 3 at his position by Scout.com), away from Notre Dame to fill a much needed pass-rushing void.

In the ever-competitive Pac-10, Cal will have to keep the blue-chippers coming—hopefully Martin's commitment (and progress on the Student Athlete High Performance Center) can help the Bears gain momentum with other top recruits .

 

 

Pete Carroll leaving for the NFL

 

This one's on the table every year. A Cal fan can dream, can't he?

 

 

The best of health for Jahvid

 

It still remains to be seen whether or not Best has played his last season in Berkeley. And while the Blue and Gold would be thrilled to have him back, teammates and fans will no doubt want to see him back on the field eventually—even if it may not be for Cal.

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