Five Earn First-Team All-Pac-10 Honors
Dec. 7, 2009
WALNUT CREEK - Five Cal football student-athletes - DL Tyson Alualu, P Bryan Anger, LB Mike Mohamed, OL Mike Tepper and DB Syd'Quan Thompson - were selected to the All-Pac-10 first-team in a vote of conference coaches announced by the Pac-10 office Monday. Cal's five first-team selections tied for the second-most in the conference. Oregon State led the way with seven and was followed by Cal, UCLA and USC with five each, Stanford with three, and Arizona State and Oregon with one.
TB Jahvid Best was a second-team selection.
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was named the conference's Coach of the Year, while top player honors went to Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (Offensive Player of the Year), UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price (Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year), Oregon running back LaMichael James (Offensive Freshman of the Year) and Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict (Defensive Freshman of the Year).
Anger, who was a second-team All-Pac-10 choice in 2008, has a 42.8 yard punting average that is the best among punters from Pac-10 teams that have secured a berth in a bowl game and fourth overall. He was the Pac-10's Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 50.0 yards per punt, including a season-long 72-yarder, on seven punts in a 45-26 win at UCLA.
Also a second-team All-Pac-10 choice in 2008, Alualu moved up to his first-team honor by leading the team and ranking among Pac-10 leaders in sacks (7.5, 0.62 per game, No. 6 Pac-10) and tackles for loss (10.0, 0.83 per game, No. 11-T Pac-10). He also paces the club and leads all Pac-10 defensive linemen with 60 tackles (two shy of his career-high of 62 in 2008).
Mohamed leads the Pac-10 with an average of 8.8 tackles per game and the team with 105 total stops. An honorable mention all-Pac-10 choice a year ago, Mohamed was also responsible for one of the most dramatic plays of the 2009 season when he picked off Stanford QB Andrew Luck at the Cal 3-yard line late in the fourth quarter to preserve a 34-28 Cal victory in the Big Game at Stanford Stadium. Mohamed was named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2009 for his efforts at Stanford and on Oct. 31 at Arizona State when he had a season-high-tying 12 tackles in a 23-21 Cal win.
Tepper was honored by the Pac-10 for the first time in his career after starting all 12 games at left tackle. Tepper moved to the position for his final season with the Cal football program after he was granted a sixth-year of eligibility following a pectoral injury that caused him to miss his entire senior campaign in 2008.
Thompson, who was one of only five two-time All-Pac-10 first-team choices and the only one from Cal, started all 12 games this season to run his streak to all 51 games possible over his four-year Golden Bear career. He regularly draws the assignment on opponents' top receivers and contributed 47 tackles, 4.0 TFL, one interception and a team-high eight pass breakups this season. Thompson is also Cal's active career leader in tackles (254), interceptions (7), passes defended (41) and pass breakups (34, No. 2 all-time at Cal).
Best was one of the nation's top candidates for the Heisman Trophy during the early stages of the 2009 season and was well on his way to a second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaign before being injured on a seven-yard touchdown run against Oregon State on Nov. 7. Best has not played or practiced since the injury that required medical personal to attend to him on the field and transport him to the Highland General Hospital in Oakland for an overnight stay. His status for the team's Poinsettia Bowl is uncertain. Despite missing the team's last three games of the regular season, Best still paces the club with 867 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns (12 rushing, 4 receiving) that are only one shy of Cal's modern-era record and two short of the school's all-time mark. His scoring average of 10.67 points per game ranks second in the Pac-10 and third nationally. He also ranks among the conference per-game leaders in rushing yardage (96.33 ypg) and all-purpose running yardage (122.0 ypg). Best was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19 after rushing for 131 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns on a career-high 26 carries to lead Cal to a 35-21 win at Minnesota.
Cattouse came on late in the season and started the team's final five games of the regular season at safety. He has posted 29 tackles, an interception, two pass breakups and 1.0 tackles for loss.
Guarnero has started all 12 games at center after taking over at the position for 2008 All-American Alex Mack.
Jordan is second on the team and among Pac-10 leaders in both sacks (5.0, No. 11 Pac-10) and tackles for loss (8.0, No. 14 Pac-10). He was also second behind Alualu among Cal's defensive linemen in tackles with a total of 44, while leading the squad with five quarterback hurries.
Miller has had a breakout season in his first year as the team's starting tight end in 2009 with 21 receptions for 302 yards despite missing two games with a knee injury.
Schwartz started all 12 regular-season games this season to run his string of consecutive starts over the last two years to 25.
Vereen rushed for 830 yards and 10 touchdowns on 163 carries - all career highs - in 12 regular season contests. He is currently second on the team behind Best in rushing yards and rushing TD's, while also posting two other career highs with 72 points and 12 touchdowns. In addition, he leads the Bears in kick return average (23.0 ypg, No. 6 Pac-10) and all-purpose running yards (1,615, No. 7 Pac-10). His average of 6.5 points per game via touchdowns is fifth in the Pac-10, while his per-game average of 67.1 yards rushing is seventh.
Cal finished the 2009 regular season with an 8-4 overall record and a 5-4 Pac-10 mark to finish tied for fifth in the league standings. The Golden Bears have accepted a bid to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Dec. 23 (5:00 p.m. PT). The Bears will face Utah (9-3, 6-2 MWC), who is ranked No. 23 in the final regular-season AP Top 25 and BCS Standings, as well as No. 24 by USA Today. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
For bowl ticket information, visit CalBears.com/bowl or call (800) GO BEARS.