Capitals

Tedford plans thorough evaluation at Cal

Tedford plans thorough evaluation at Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) California coach Jeff Tedford said he expects to meet next week with athletic director Sandy Barbour to discuss his future after the Golden Bears finish their worst season during Tedford's tenure.

Tedford said Tuesday he will begin a thorough evaluation of what went wrong for the program as soon as the season ends Saturday night at No. 15 Oregon State.

``The first place I will look is in the mirror,'' Tedford said. ``We'll do a deep dive and figure out where we can improve.''

Tedford said he will meet with assistants and each player to get their input on how to improve the situation at Cal. The Bears (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12) are having their worst season since finishing with a 1-10 mark in 2001 that led to the firing of Tom Holmoe and the hiring of Tedford.

After a bright start to his tenure with seven wins his first year, a school record-tying 10 wins in 2004 and a share of the conference title in 2006, things began falling off the rails during what started as a promising 2007 campaign.

The Bears won their first five games that season and were poised to move into the top spot in the AP poll before losing at home to Oregon State. Starting with that loss, Tedford has a 34-36 mark over his last 70 games.

Cal failed to become bowl eligible for the first time under Tedford in 2010 and has been even worse this season. The Bears have lost four straight games - the longest skid since Tedford arrived - capped by a 59-17 loss last week to Oregon that was the most lopsided for the school since 1999.

``Teams go through adverse moments,'' defensive back Steve Williams said. ``This is one of our adverse moments. Coach Tedford has been here a long time. He's been with us a long time. I'm behind him 100 percent.''

The recent struggles led Tedford to this thorough evaluation, where he said he will look at every aspect of the program from recruiting to academics to practice format and scheme.

``We'll evaluate all of that and take coaches' input and all the coaches and figure out where we feel like we can improve in every phase,'' he said. ``You really have to put a microscope on it. How can I be better as a head coach? What can I do to help the staff? What can I do to help our players?''

Whether Tedford will get that chance remains to be seen. If Cal decides to get rid of Tedford, the school would owe him $6.9 million for the final three years of his contract.

With recruiting season picking up in December, a decision on Tedford's status would likely come soon after the season ends. For now, Tedford is operating as though he will be back and is ready to start looking in depth at recruiting needs next week.

``We're moving forward as we have work to do,'' he said. ``We're moving forward making plans to get where we need to be and do the things we need to do.''

While Tedford acknowledged that recruiting off a down season can be difficult, he said he believes potential recruits will see an opportunity to play immediately at Cal and look at the improved facilities he helped get built.

The Bears finished their first season at renovated Memorial Stadium, which underwent a $321 million facelift. There is also a $150 million on-campus High Performance Center attached to the stadium that has modernized outdated facilities.

That is just part of Tedford's legacy, which also includes a school-record 85 wins.

``He's one of the hardest-working guys you'll ever be around,'' senior offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee said. ``He's kept a great attitude and kept this team together, which is not easy to do, especially this year with some really tough losses. Teams will disintegrate or guys will start bickering at each other. He's done a good job keeping us as a family. He's going to go back to the drawing board and work as hard as he can to get us in the position to win games.''

There are also questions about the future of another key figure at Cal, star receiver Keenan Allen. Tedford said he expects Allen to decide next week whether to return for his senior season or leave early for the NFL.

Allen is the career record holder in receptions at Cal with 205. He has 2,570 yards receiving and 17 career touchdown catches. He will likely miss his third straight game this week with an injured left knee.

Allen is considered one of the top receivers eligible for the draft and Tedford said he will research where Allen would be projected to go if he decides to leave school early.

``That's important information,'' Tedford said. ``I will try to gather as much information for him and sit down so he can make an educated decision. I'll support him in whatever he wants to do, but it's really important we get him all the proper information.''

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

usatsi_10850115.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

Quick Links

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!