It’s funny with all the attention the Tennessee game received, it seems to me the Arizona game is even a bigger chance at redemption for Cal. Granted, the Tennessee game last season was a blowout and on national television, but the Bears recovered and still were in position to have a special year until they laid an egg in Tucson. I know it eats at the players, especially in light of USC’s loss to UCLA at the end of the season.
It’s too bad the Bears aren’t at full strength, but I still think they will be motivated and handle the Wildcats. Even though defensive linemen Rulon Davis and Matt Malele were termed day-to-day by coach Jeff Tedford, neither has practiced yet this week and it would be a surprise to me if they played Saturday. Linebacker Zack Follett also hasn’t practiced.
I mentioned this on an answer to a comment on another entry, but DeSean Jackson said today that his thumb is starting to feel better. He’s been practicing in a cast to protect it, and it’s really been giving him problems catching passes. Jackson hurt it against Tennessee. He really wants to do well in this game because of his relationship with Arizona All-American cornerback Antoine Cason. Both guys are from Long Beach and worked out together over the summer. Jackson said they’ve been talking some trash back and forth about this game.
Arizona has been a weird, and disappointing, team so far. The Wildcats are 1-2, including a home loss to New Mexico in their last game. Surprisingly, it’s been their defense that has hurt them more than their offense. The defense was excellent last season, and with 10 starters returning, was supposed to be one of the best in the Pac-10 this year. But they rank eighth in scoring defense in the Pac-10 (24.3 ppg allowed).
Arizona brought in Sonny Dykes from Texas Tech to implement the spread offense, and the Wildcats are leading the Pac-10 in passing at 321.3 yards per game. Dykes was at Texas Tech when his offense shredded Cal in the 2004 Holiday Bowl.