Oct. 26, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State coach John L. Smith sat in his office last week contemplating football -- and life.

He has had plenty of big questions related to both this season, because his wife was diagnosed with cancer.

Diana Smith first got the news this summer, after a large tumor was removed from her colon during emergency surgery. The first diagnosis was that her case was terminal. But better news followed, giving the Smiths hope, and giving the typically upbeat, high-energy coach a new perspective on life.

"Di has kept us positive," Smith said. "And I guess I just refused to believe what we were being told. You go from terminal to a feeling that we can handle this, so you go from a dark day to a sunny day."

Smith, preparing his Spartans (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) for Saturday's game against No. 12 Michigan (7-1, 5-0), has mixed feelings about his archrival these days. It was a University of Michigan medical team that gave the Smiths their best news in four months. Full story

Cal offensive coordinator will miss game
BERKELEY, Calif. -- California offensive coordinator George Cortez will miss this weekend's game against Arizona State after undergoing surgery to repair a detached retina.

Cortez, who also serves as Cal's quarterbacks coach, could miss two weeks while recovering. He didn't make the seventh-ranked Bears' trip to Tucson last weekend for their 38-0 win over Arizona. He won't be in his usual spot in the press box Saturday against the 20th-ranked Sun Devils.

Cortez, a longtime CFL coach, has spent the past three seasons as Jeff Tedford's top assistant in devising and implementing the Bears' powerful offense, which leads the nation with 508.3 yards per game.

"We just have an empty headset up there (in the press box)," said Tedford, who has limited his public appearances this week to spend extra time coaching. "That's the one thing you really miss, is communication from the box."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved