Repetition Is Bad (3rd and Goal vs USC)

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

(It wasn’t planned for me to diagram gamefilm about Montgomery the day after he decided to transfer. So consider this summary an unintentional coincidence.)

Now, some of you might think that I was too complimentary toward Tedford in this week’s earlier gamefilm summary. Well, for every good call, there is a bad call, and there was a pretty bad call later in that USC game.

Later in the game, 3rd and goal, game tied at 7, crucial down for the Bears to maintain the advantage. Montgomery is in the backfield rather than Forsett. And they’re lined up in the SAME formation as they were on the Forsett TD run (Take a look at it yourselves: Two wide receivers set up top, one on bottom, tight end to the left).

Now, USC has made adjustments–instead of the standard 5-2 intent on pressuring the QB or stuffing the run at the point of attack, they’re in more of a conventional 4-3, designed against the pass to keep Cal from entering the end zone and forcing a dump pass over the middle. A run up the middle is not going to work unless the Trojans decide to blitz immediately–and considering that Montgomery is in the ballgame, a run for nine yards is dubious at best. It’s common sense that this should be a straight-forward passing down.


What the…why are the Bears rushing up front and giving the ends the slip, especially with the linebackers staying in position?



Let me just point out that there are NINE Trojans on the screen, seven in near vicinity of Montgomery and two more coming in from up top (no way Jordan and Jackson can block them off in time). Like Forsett, Montgomery doesn’t have the power to run up the middle into traffic. Unless all the blocks go right, this will be only a marginal gain. In this case, you’ll see Mike Tepper (focused on by the yellow arrow) leave Mike Cushing and give him the inside angle to Monty.


Ruh-roh. Say goodnight.


Also you can see if Montgomery had managed to avoid Cushing, C.J. Gable (blurry figure) was coming in pretty quick without guard and got the final hit on the play. Short of goalline, field goal time, and the momentum pretty much shifted from there.

As you can see, Coach decided to be a little bit too clever, believing he could catch the defense off-guard by running the same play twice in the same formation. But Pete Carroll, “The Man Who Never Sleeps”, doesn’t miss defensive lapses that often, and the USC defense was ready this time to meet the press. There were plenty of instances I saw of repetitive formations during the year for Cal, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. We’ll get to some of them through the offseason.

Thoughts on this gamefilm analysis? What other playcalls have you noticed that seemed a little forced from Cal this past season?

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