California-Oregon State Report Card

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Quarterback: 11-25 for 117 yards isn’t good. But then again, Riley was getting battered around like a pinball for much of the final three quarters. Getting rushed not only from the edges, but in between the tackles, at the gaps, from the sidelines, whatever. Nevertheless, other than the early Tucker touchdown, Riley only had flashes of competence, overthrowing receivers yet again. This pattern is just as wearisome as Longshore throwing 4th quarter interceptions. Just once can someone throw the ball well for four quarters straight?

It’s going to be very difficult to evaluate this season properly for Riley, who’s been jerked around all season. On the other hand, when he does get ample protection his passes appear to sail. Don’t know. To be continued.

Grade: C-

Running back: Jahvid Best’s most spectacular game of the season, giving us a glimpse of what we hopefully can see behind a healthy offensive line next year. He singlehandedly kept the Bears from getting blown apart with one kickoff return, one beautiful sailing run, and some nice cuts up the middle. So I’ll cut him some slack for dropping that ball. He needed more help and the receievers just couldn’t make the big plays.

*That Washington State game doesn’t count, since the Cougs this season aren’t qualified to suit up against most Division III schools.

Grade: A-

Run blocking: There was one terrible call on Ta’ufo’ou that erased one promising start to a drive. But all in all it was a solid performance in executing the gaps and getting Best into open space on the big running plays. When a makeshift line does the basics right, I have to give them high marks.

Grade: B

Pass protection: Sigh.

Grade: D

Receivers: It’s a sad state of affairs when a well-executed wide receiver touchdown pass just barely puts these guys above passing grade. These guys need mondo trabajo this offseason with footwork and running routes; this isn’t the first season we’ve dealt with slippery hands and forgetful minds. Verran Tucker and Nyan Boateng will be the leaders going into next season, but both aren’t close to being prototypical. At least we know Jeremy Ross has a nice arm.

Grade: C

Run defense: One more victim for the midget. And we get to deal with him for a few more years. Thrilling. Surprisingly, the team’s overall performance eroded even more quickly in the second half. Oregon State’s offensive line lived up to its billing this year as the most physical in the Pac-10, as they’ve now dominated both USC and Cal at the point of contact. 

It’s worth noting that the linebackers (a supposed strength of this team) had huge trouble sealing off the edges. One Rodgers brother went in, the other went to the angles. This is one talented Beaver squad.

Grade: B-

Pass rush: Strong pass rush again early, but the defense was just on the field too much to sustain the attack. After two quarters, Oregon State put the ball in the hands of the running backs and ground up the front seven for the rest of the game. Good night.

Grade: B

Pass defense: The linebackers must not be as good at coverage as I thought they were if they can’t properly play zone on 2nd and 30. That down absolutely maddened me. Just like Chris Turner at Maryland, Lyle Movaeo hung in early and finally got into a rhythm that lengthened drives and provided scoring cushion. Syd’Quan and Hagan turned in their usual yeoman starts, but this was just a case of a quarterback and his receivers outmanuevering the secondary.

Grade: B-

Special teams: This was bound to cost us sometime this season, wasn’t it? Two huge returns put the Bears ahead to stay. Tevecchio directionally kicked properly and it was returned to the house; another punt return. Bryan Anger’s leg seems to be suffering from frosh fatigue, as his kicks have gotten shorter and shorter. Only Best’s spectacular early run keeps this from being outright fail.

Grade: D-

Coaching: All in all it wasn’t a terrible gameplan outlined by Cignetti. The Bears did lessen their tries for the home run ball with Riley under center (consider the USC second half, where all the throws were going for 20 or more yards), but again the execution just wasn’t there. Gregory looks like he might be earning a nice extension for services rendered, although I still think his revamped defense has plenty to work on this offseason.

As for special teams…


(Even Lou Holtz mentioned the meltdown. I’m not sure Lou Holtz knows where Berkeley is.)

Grade: C+

Overall: Let’s be frank, there were some awful, awful penalties in this game, many of which went against the Bears. This was not like the USC game, which was incompetent both ways; there was a homefield advantage.

Did it tilt the game favorably toward Oregon State? Perhaps. But road teams should know that officials (especially in the college ranks) will be affected. You’ve got to play through the tough calls and execute properly. For much of the final three quarter, the Beavers played like the better team. Scarily, they might be the better team next year too. We shall see.

Grade: C

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