It was telling to listen to some of Cal’s defensive players after Saturday’s game. Many of them spoke of it being “gut-check” time. Once again, the Bears allowed an opponent to put together sustained drives against them. And even though the numbers show that it wasn’t the defense’s worst performance, some of that was because of the unforced mistakes UCLA made on offense. Penalties, overthrown passes and some questionable coaching caused some of the Bruins’ drives to stall.
The discourse coming from Cal’s players shows the difference between winning and losing in terms of attitude. The Bears didn’t necessarily play any worse on defense than in some other games this season, but it obviously becomes more magnified in a loss. Whatever the reason, it’s probably a good revelation for the Bears, because their defense is not playing at a championship-caliber level, and it hasn’t for most of the season.