Oh, You Pesky Little Beaver (Quick Hits, Cal-Oregon State)
Now that we’re all back from therapy, here are the leftover thoughts from the Beaver breakdown (please do not take my seven post madness as actual analysis–it’d be like using any of Bill Simmons’s articles as hard-hitting analysis). Keep in mind I’m still not 100%, so if this is rambling, so be it.
–Fantastic game for the Hawk, and definitely retook the mantle of top receiver this week. His 4th down and 17 saving catch and lunge would have immediately become my favorite play in Bears history if we won–there’s talent, and then there’s heart. It’s hard to judge his incremental value because his pal Jackson gets all the hype.
–Other than the fumble (which has been curiously redacted from some box scores) and the goal-line stand (we have to give credit to the Beaver front seven, who had a spectacular game and shut down the playmakers), Forsett still stumbled along for 150 yards and a TD. Very solid effort in the loss, especially considering the penetration the OSU D-line put on the normally stout Cal O-line.
–Because of the hype surrounding DeSean, I still don’t know what to think of his value. Yeah, he was being double-teamed with a safety covering him deep and a back shadowing him on the line of scrimmage, but he has only had one signature game at Oregon. Whatever, not really something to dwell on right now. The tape tells the tale, I’ll look at it play-by-play.
(Yeah, you heard me. Play-by-fucking-play. I’m going through this fiasco and dissecting it to the last number. I have no idea when it’ll be done. Maybe this week, maybe by December. Although for therapy I’ll even it out with Cal-Tennessee.)
–Credit to Yvenson Bernard to breaking out in that 2nd half, accumulating another 106 yards in total offense and 2 TDs after being held for only 57 in the first.
–Other than finding Bernard, Canfield did have two crucial plays–the 3rd and 15 scramble to find Rodgers, and the 3rd and 9 throw up the middle to Brown. So he did step up when need be, as the O-line swatted aside our defensive line and empty pass rush.
–If there’s anything concerns me about the rest of the schedule (especially the next two weeks), it’s that the fast defense of OSU overpowered the fast offense of Cal. All the little tricks we employed (reverses, snaps to the tailback) were quickly snuffed, and the O-line did look vulnerable against mobile defenders. UCLA and ASU have similar defensive models. Let’s say the response at the Rose Bowl will be telling to the strength of this team. I’m not worried about our character, that’s never been a problem–just coming out and showing it (USC last year anyone? Bouncing back on the road has not been our strength).
–People chanting “We’re #1!” while losing to Oregon State? You people took the wrong lessons from LSU’s reaction to USC’s loss. Talk about a supreme jinx, right up there with the Red Sox painting the World Series banner on Fenway during the Grady Little game.
–I flew off the handle with the defensive playcalling a little bit (I’m not starting up firebobgregory.com anytime soon), but I stand by the majority of the criticism. Sticking stubbornly to ONE defensive alignment of dropping seven back into deep coverage has never ever EVER worked on the college level through an entire season. It’s just not wise strategy that EVERYONE knows what your defense alignment will be weeks coming in–it’s just too easy to exploit. Any given Saturday, you can be beaten if you come up with the right game plan, and Mike Riley proved that.
–Although I know we don’t have the most talented defense in the world (despite our tendency to make plays, many of the turnovers we’ve forced have just fallen into our laps), I still think you have to take it to the weaker Pac-10 teams (and while OSU is not a weak team, they are certainly middle of the pack). You have to be ruthless with those below you, or you will never gain respect. Let our players make plays every now and then. Otherwise, this will not be the last time Cal goes down this season.
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