James Montgomery is transferring, reports Okanes.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford confirmed this morning that running back James Montgomery is leaving Cal.
“James Montgomery asked for his release and I granted it. He felt like there would be a better situation for him somewhere else. Fortunately for us, running back is a position with a lot of depth. We feel great about our talent at that position with Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen, Tracey Slocum and Covaughn DeBoskie.”
It should go without saying that I wish Montgomery well. I can’t really assess his value to whatever program he chooses, because we only caught glimpses of Montgomery . This is also probably the reason why Montgomery chose to go–he will be facing a real battle to hold on to that top spot in the lineup.
Also, the fact that Montgomery managed so few touches this year seems to indicate Tedford and the offensive staff were less than impressed by his on and off-field performance. His statistics on the field were alright: 36 carries, 171 yards, 2 TDs, 1 fumble lost, 4 catches for 48 yards and a TD. He never managed more than fifty yards in a game, but given the number of carries he was provided, he made do with what he had.
Probably James sensed that he’d have to dogfight for his spot, and he knew there was a good chance he’d lose out. Hence onto other schools that need running backs, like Washington (who nearly took him from the start) or Oregon (Jonathan Stewart moving on).
This pretty much leaves Best as the de facto #1 starter if he can recover from that hip injury. Could we be seeing a repeat of USC 2007, where the offense didn’t kick it into high gear until November because of platoonback troubles?
Outside of Longshore, this offense will be reeally green next year. Michigan State is looking tougher and tougher.
Thanks to the Golden Blogs for the tip.
EDIT: Some comments from Montgomery to the editor of a Husky website:
Montgomery told RealDawg.com that “it never felt right, really” at Cal. Those who know Montgomery’s history are aware that he initially made an oral commitment to Washington but later changed his mind and came to Cal. But he was quoted publicly near the end of his redshirt freshman year that he was happy at Cal and was happy with his decision to come to Berkeley.
“Cal was never my first choice,” Montgomery told RealDawg. “I didn’t feel (Cal) was a (football) school that had a lot of tradition. They were ranked sixth in the country and yet couldn’t sell out that week’s game.”
Her latest one to me this evening said it was her understanding that Montgomery was planning on contacting Washington, Oregon and Florida today. She also said that Montgomery told the RealDawg reporter that “Today I feel like there is a big weight off my shoulders.”
Interesting. Do the hints in these comments point toward possible locker room friction? Or is it just avoiding the burden of a running back starting battle? Because Washington and Florida are notably stacked. I’m guessing Montgomery will sit out his year and hope that things thin out in these other schools.
This could mean that Tedford is higher on DeBoskie (who I think was supposed to start last year, according to Hydrotech) and Vereen then expected. Very interesting. But of course, speculation breeds fantasy, so I’ll get off it for now.
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