There will be family ties all over the field when the Cal football team kicks off the 2020 season on Saturday night against Washington inside California Memorial Stadium.
Cal defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon will be focused on stopping the Husky offense, but also may get a chance to see his son play when the Golden Bear offense is on the field.
Jackson Sirmon is a sophomore linebacker for the Huskies and is set to see a lot of playing time this season. There also could be a chance Peter is charged with stopping his nephew, Jacob Sirmon, who has been in a battle for the starting quarterback job throughout Washington's fall camp.
Football is in the Sirmon family DNA. Peter was a four-year starting linebacker at the University of Oregon before playing seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans in the NFL. His father, Gary, played Division I football at Washington and his three older brothers also played college football.
Peter and Jackson talk on the phone often. Peter is a Dad and a coach, and is used to mentoring young athletes. It's a big part of his life.
According to Jackson, they talk football a lot. But this week is a little different.
"We don't talk about Cal/Washington ever," Jackson said with a sly smile. "We talk football, but we don't focus on our teams and playing each other too much. We focus on being father/son. I'm excited for the game this year. It'll be fun."
Washington has yet to name a starting quarterback for the first game of the season, and it may be a game-time decision for the Huskies. But in scheming for the UW offense, Peter has had to look at his nephew, Jacob, as the possible starter for the Purple and Gold.
"I'm pretty interested in it (the UW quarterback competition) with both my work life and my personal life," Peter Sirmon said. "I've had a pretty good eye on it. Unfortunately, Jacob is my brother's son, so when we do talk, that's off limits. And when we don't talk football our conversations are usually pretty short. As a family member, obviously, I hope Jacob reaches his goals of what he set out to do there. I'm rooting for him because I love him. And I'm interested in who's going to play, so when the Cal Bears play them we play our best football and give our team an opportunity to win."
There could be another family rivalry on the field Saturday depending on what Washington first-year head coach Jimmy Lake decides to do with the quarterback competition. Cal junior quarterback Chase Garbers has younger brother Ethan coming to town with the Huskies, trying to win the starting job as a freshman.
"If he is playing, hopefully Zeandae (Johnson) and Cam Goode can knock him out a little bit and give him a taste of college football," Chase said. "We don't have anything special planned. We're going to see each other before the game. When that's over. it's back to our teams and it's a war down there, so the brotherly thing will kind of be on pause for about two-three hours."
It will be all in the family Saturday night as the Golden Bears' 2020 football season gets underway.