Today’s Bay Area Buzz will take on a slightly different format. As you might have noticed, we’ve been gone for a little while because of some behind-the-scenes trouble with our servers. Things are back to normal and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Rest assured, we’re happier than anyone that we’re able to bring you the Bay Area sports news and opinion you crave. So, with that, let’s play a little bit of catch-up, throw up a Hail Mary and sort through what’s gone on while we were away.
Terrelle Pryor was a full participant in practice for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday and the quarterback appeared to be pain-free four days after he left Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at the O.com Coliseum. The Raiders visit the New York Giants on Sunday. (h/t San Jose Mercury News)
Darren McFadden, however, did not practice. Oakland’s starting running back left the Eagle game in the second quarter because of a hamstring strain. Offensive lineman Andre Gurode was back at practice from his knee injury and wide receiver Andre Holmes (hamstring) also participated. Sitting out were wide receiver Juron Criner (shoulder), tackle Matt McCants, tackle Tony Pashos (hip) and linebacker Kaluka Maiava (ribs).
Ray Willsey, a former Cal quarterback and defensive back who later coached the Golden Bears, died Monday at his home in Hailey, Idaho, at the age of 85. (h/t San Jose Mercury News)
Willsey coached at Cal for eight seasons and was 40-42-1, including a 7-3-1 mark during the turbulent 1968 season. The campus was a hot bed for student protests of the war in Vietnam.
The 1968 Cal squad won three games by shutout and held eight opponents to 12 points or fewer, earning the moniker “The Bear Minimum.”
After graduating from Cal, Willsey played two years for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League before turning to coaching, working for the legendary Darrell Royal as an assistant at both Washington and Texas. He was also a co-head coach for the St. Louis Cardinals for two games in 1961 and returned to Cal as head coach in 1964. As an NFL assistant coach, Willsey earned a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Raiders from 1978-84 and was a head coach in the World League of American Football for the London Monarchs in 1992.
Police are still investigating a fight between two Cal football players that resulted in freshman running back Fabiano Hale being hospitalized. (h/t San Jose Mercury News)
UC Berkeley police said the investigation should be complete by late next week. The other player involved has yet to be identified by the police, who has not released any further details about the incident.
Hale told the Santa Cruz Sentinel he sustained a concussion and needed stitches in his ear.
San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith, renowned for his trash talk, says he plans to tone it down this week when the Spartans face San Diego State and Smith’s former high school teammate, running back Adam Muema. (h/t San Jose Mercury News)
The Spartans (5-3, 4-1) can become bowl eligible with a win over the Aztecs (4-4, 3-1), who have won four of their last five after a horrific start that included a blowout loss to FCS Eastern Illinois.
The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, two teams that are looking for someone to stabilize the back of their bullpens, are reportedly interested in free-agent Grant Balfour, who saved 62 games for the Oakland A’s the last two seasons. (h/t San Francisco Chronicle)
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin at Stanford and recruited him to the Cardinal, stayed away from the Dolphins problems on Wednesday, but said he supported his former player. (h/t Sacramento Bee)
“There’s only one thing that I can intelligently comment on and that’s knowing Jonathan Martin,” Harbaugh said. “I know him to be a fine person … [who] epitomizes the student-athlete model and is a personal friend. I support Jonathan.”
To that end, safety Donte Whitner said the 49ers have a standing policy—they don’t haze rookies. (h/t Sacramento Bee)
“It came from coach Harbaugh,” Whitner said. “Said it from Day 1: ‘We’re not going to do it.’ The players, we really don’t care to do it. We care more so about incorporating a rookie into our system and helping us win football games. And everything else that really goes on we don’t care for.”
Tommy WIngels of the Sharks shoved the puck across the line under Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller in overtime, but referee Mike Leggo waved the play off. Yes, it’s the dreaded “intent to blow the whistle” call.
While a single point from a game in November might not seem to be the biggest thing in the world, the Pacific Division is a meat-grinder this season, with four of the division’s teams (Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix and Vancouver) among the top seven teams in points in the league. A single point in the Pacific could prove precious come playoff time.
Topics: Cal Bears, College Football, Donte Whitner, Fabiano Hale, Jim Harbaugh, Jonathan Martin, Keith Smith, NFL, Nfl Hazing, NHL, Oakland Raiders, Ray Willsey, San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks, San Jose State Spartans, Terrelle Pryor