Deflecting Away Defeat–Cal-Wazzu Report Card
As usual, butchering Tightwad’s style of analysis. Forgive me.
Quarterback: C+. Watching Longshore in person for the first time…I feel pretty bad for him, especially getting those scattered boos. That ankle might be closer to healed than it’s ever been, but right now he’s not throwing the deep ball with much confidence. That pick was definitely underthrown, and he compensated by overthrowing most of the longballs the rest of the way.
Nevertheless, anything from the line of scrimmage to about 15 yards was within his means, and there was even distribution between receivers. But the offense had an uneven feel to it, and that filters back to QB play.
Running backs: B-. Would have been a C- before Forsett’s 44 yard TD scamper. It was utterly depressing to see Wazzu’s tepid run D (8th in the Pac-10) completely clamp down on the running game, with Justin hunkering for barely over 2 yards a carry. That fumble at the goal-line (coupled with the earlier bad snap) was certainly costly, as the Bears lost the turnover battle for the fourth straight week. Montgomery was a statue on his one carry. I’m very worried about our running situation next year if he’s the primary ball carrier. Best showed spark on the carries he had.
Receivers: B-. Hawkins had a few drops when he tried to bodycatch and turn upfield rather than hauling it in, but still had a great game (9 catches, 87 yards, plus the onside kick recovery). Jackson, Jordan and Stevens all got their touches. I have to admit though, I’m pretty amused at how many horizontal yards this team has hypothetically gained. Add that in and it’s probably 600 yards a game.
Run blocking: C-. A mess for the first fifty-five minutes, redeemed by one great run block by Mack down the field on Forsett’s clinching TD. The goal-line offense was especially bad, allowing penetration and opening up no holes as the Cougar defense was quick to swarm behind the line of scrimmage.
What looked to a promising year for the O-line has evaporated after being knocked around for three weeks. If they continue their lackluster performance, USC will be really fun.
Pass protection: A-. No sacks, no real pass rush, so in that respect the offensive line has lived up to billing. They will be mightily tested against the Trojans next week.
Run defense: B. Finally an easy game for the D-line. No Tardy, no problem. The backups could do very little in his absence, and only a few early rushes gave the ground game any semblance. Good penetration on the O-line helped as well. They’ll get back to reality when they face USC next week.
Pass rush: B-. Pretty decent for a four-front with only an occasional linebacker blitz. Brink had plenty of trouble getting the ball off before being knocked down. Still far below what I’d like, but I guess I’ll have to take what I can get with this defensive scheme.
Pass defense: C+. Thompson had some great plays, including a breakup of Brink’s best TD-looking throw. Follett was a monster, pretty much roaming the field at will. But still plenty of huge pass plays given up by the secondary, including
Special Teams: B-. Work-man job. Kay is back to form (2/2). Larson didn’t have the greatest day, but he did pin the Wazzu offense deep in their territory late in the 2nd quarter and the middle of the 4th. Cal thankfully didn’t screw up any of the squib kick projectiles (although they came close once), and Jackson never touched the ball on any of his punts. Kicking coverage has been a sore spot so far.
Coaching: C. Again, the playcalling was painfully predictable. Wazzu pointed out wide receiver screens all day long, and the runs up the middle only get easier to stuff every time. There was just too much to notice.
Overall: C+. Probably as slipshod a win as you can find. More dumb turnovers, lots of silly penalties, very vanilla playcalling after a dominating opening drive. If the Bears play like that against USC they can start packing for Vegas–not the most terrible fate in the world. But this team isn’t the greatest at rebound games (as proven by last year’s dud in the Big Game), so I’ll give this one a pass. Let’s hoping we get back to the status quo, at least playing at a Tennessee level, and our game next week will hopefully be an upset in the making. If you can’t play champion, spoiler’s the next best thing.
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