Sunday, September 10th, 2006 at 8:01 pm in post game.
Well, I would imagine that Cal fans are a bit more relaxed today (Sunday). The team that was supposed to be a national power looked like one in dispatching Minnesota without much trouble.
Obviously, quarterback Nate Longshore looked much better. He had a bit more time and he side-stepped the rush very well. Longshore is not quick footed, but he is strong and he showed on Saturday that he has the strength to pull out of a tackle. He often bought himself more time by brushing away defenders. Longshore would be the first to admit, though, that he missed some wide open receivers and threw a few fairly short passes into the ground well short of his target.
Cal fans did get to see the kind of threat that those three wide outs — Lavelle Hawkins, DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan — can be. One of those guys is going to line up against a corner that simply won’t be up to the job. I would imagine they will take turns having big games.
Bears tailback Justin Forsett was very impressive with the way he changed direction and bounced outside to open holes.
A big surprise was the play of Cody Jones and Tyson Alualu at defensive end. A stinger suffered in last week’s game by Abu Ma’afala, one that probably affected his play in that game, opened the door. Junior college transfer Rulon Davis was ill all last week, so Jones stepped into the starting spot and Alualu moved out from his tackle slot. Defensive line coach Ken Delgado talked about how impressed he was that Alualu learned all his duties in such a short amount of time. Great stuff for a true freshman. Both players held their ground and allowed Cal’s linebackers to make a lot of plays. Ma’afala is due back this week as is Davis.
For those of you thinking ahead, Portland State ripped Northern Colorado 45-3 a week after beating New Mexico. New Mexico rebounded with a win over New Mexico State. The Vikings feature Danny Ferrigno’s son, Brendan, at wide receiver. Coach Tedford said he is very impressed with the Vikings’ size along the defensive line and the overall defensive speed of the team. That defensive line strength could be a problem for Cal, which might be without offensive tackle Andrew Cameron, who sprained his ankle against Minnesota.