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Football: Postgame update

I just finished up my duties for the paper and need to hit the road for Portland. I’ll have postgame notes later.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    OK JO. Drive safely. I guess those notes must fill less than one Post It.

  • uh oh.

    So, after settling in on Riley at the start of this season, I am getting the feeling that we are going to continue last year’s quandary at the position. Mansion appears to have fallen by the wayside, but maybe we are going to see a Riley-Sweeney competition? Or maybe Riley lasts thru this season, but then, seriously, who is going to lead us next season? We’re stacked at the position, and the boys are surely chomping at the bit. All while Riley misses open receiver after open receiver. Uhg.

    And my complaints about Jahvid’s running in the 2nd half of the Minn game were continued today. Was it that there were no holes opened by the line, that Ludwig continues to have him run up the middle where lots of people are and not wide where Jahvid can beat them with his speed, or is it that Jahvid is not as dominant a back as everyone thinks. He won’t run you over, just past you. Whatever the case, bye bye Heisman. And NFL scouts have to be downgrading his lack of “every down” capability.

    And where was this great defense? People said the line was improved, the backers were potentially as good, and the secondary even more experienced. But they all looked like crap today. Got beat in every aspect. Wow.

    We have serious questions to answer. And I don’t know how we do that in one week.

  • Larry

    No, I think Riley just had one of those games. Aaron Rodgers in 2003 has something like 38 YDS passing against OSU and we lost. You know what happened after that game.

    That combined with our offensive line was extremely porous and they should apologize to Riley and Best.

    We all know Cal can play better then this and they didn’t. This is their mulligan for 2009.

  • covinared

    Larry: right on!

  • Dan

    Cal was outcoached, period. Did you see all the open Oregon receivers? Open all day. Did you see open Cal receivers? Nope. Did you see Oregon sticking to their running game and having success? Yep. Did you see any room to run for Cal today? Nope. This was a total team (lack of) effort today (coaches and players). But the systems that Cal is running are unimaginative, predictable and tired. The coaches choked every bot as bad as the players today, but they are adults and paid well for their efforts. With Cal’s talent, the debacle today is beyond comprehension. Listen, everybody would be ticked if Cal lost by even a close score today, but the utter domination by Oregon and humiliation for Cal is really beyond excuse. No one is jumping off the bandwagon here, but fans want to understand how this talented a team year after year can lose to less taleneted teams, play so poorly so consistently on the road and get blown out in this case by at best a comparably talented team.
    Does anybody now believe a Tedford-coached Cal team will EVER get to a Rose Bowl or will EVER reach it’s potential or will EVER actually over-achieve? I don’t.

  • GoBears96

    We should keep in mind that Cal has struggled at Oregon for many years. This year Cal goes up there right when Oregon has regrouped. It was a perfect storm … motivated team, coach & fanbase. Cal was outplayed and outcoached. That is very troubling. Riley missing receivers is troubling. however the season is still young. Next week will be a monumental game for Tedford, Riley and the Bears. If they got out and put up another stinker, then maybe the wheels fall off. But i believe Tedford, Gregory and other assistant coaches will regroup the team. Next week should be a great Cal performance.

  • Mack Attack

    This was from ESPN’S Pac-10 blog (http://espn.go.com/blog/pac10):

    “Oregon’s defensive players said they knew what Cal was going to do before they did it. Linebacker Spencer Paysinger called the Bears offense “predictable.”

    And linebacker Casey Matthews said he and his teammates sensed blood in the water early.

    “After we scored our second touchdown, it seemed like they quit,” Matthews said. “I was looking at [Paysinger] right before a play and I said, ‘They’re done.’ It seemed like that even in the second half. They went for it on fourth down and we stopped them. We just knew everything was going from them.”

    This game was a pure massacre. After the field goal, Cal was never in this game, and the lack of execution with a team as talented as this one is utterly dumbfounding. We didn’t just lose. If we had just lost, but put up a fight I would say, “Ok, Oregon’s a good team and we put forth our best effort, but you can’t win them all. However, there’s still hope. We still emit a certain capacity to fight and could, perhaps, win because we were in the game.” Unfortunately, in the game against Oregon didn’t just lose. We were destroyed. We looked like Eastern Washington…actually we looked worse than Eastern Washington because I went to that game, and they actually put up a fight up until the 3rd quarter. Here’s a question: How could a team fail in all phases of the game? The inability of Tedford-coached teams to win on the road is a huge roadblock for the progress of the Cal football program. I think what he’s done up to this point, for the program, is great. He’s taken a team that was a perennial no-show, to a team that has consistently been ranked in the top 25 and can compete. However, I feel as though the team, under his guidance, has reached a plateau. This reoccurring trend of choking/losing on the road is something that needs to be addressed and resolved, mostly because dealing with the stress/depression/disappointment is taking years off of my life. When an opponent states that your play calling is “predictable”, and states that the team “quit” after the second touchdown (and the score reflects these assertions), I can’t help but to demand some answers from the coaching staff. And let’s be honest with the lack-of-execution argument here. Even if the team executed to the best of its ability, Oregon would’ve still been able to stop our attempts given our “predictability” in play calling. In other words, it’s not that the players just had to execute to win (although you could argue that they did against the past three teams we played). When playing against a team that is comparable in talent and speed, you HAVE to scheme. You have to look at the team, assess their weaknesses, and exploit those weaknesses knowing full and well the capacity on offense, defense and special teams of the team you’re coaching. And hats off to Chip Kelly & Co., because they did this impeccably on offense: Short, 5-10 yard passes coupled with some effective outside running moved their offense down the field slowly. Why slow? Because you don’t want Cal’s passing offense to develop confidence in it’s abilities to move down the field and you limit the amount of touches Jahvid Best. Cal’s coaches were out-coached in the most embarrassing way (Ludwig, Marshall and Gregory…I’m looking at you). Every coach should cough up a weeks pay for taking a vacation this past week, and hand it over to the faculty and students in light of the protests that went on this past week. At least, in that regard, we could one-up Chip Kelley’s $480 invoice expense.

    I also wanted to complain about the zone defense Cal runs because opposing teams who have accurate QB’s can easily pass to the seams of the zones and move the ball down the field without any real problems, but I’m too tired for that right now.

    Go Bears.

  • kyle

    its always real easy to say “we knew what they were going to do” after you throttle a team by 39 pts. At the end of the day Cal didn’t execute. The O, D, Special teams, and coach nobody did there job this week. If your a cal fan or even if your not you know this team was not the same team we saw on saturday. All of this goes away with one win next weekend and I have a feeling that is coming. Inside word is Cal will be dropping to about 16 or 17 in the polls. Roll On!!

  • uh oh.

    Oh, Kyle – you have the “inside word” on the polls?

  • rollonubears

    you nailed it, mack attack.

  • Eric

    I already posted yesterday to the point of obsession, but Mack Attack’s post is absolutely dead-on. This is on the coaching staff, pure and simple. To summarize a lot of what has already been written:

    - The o-line’s problems at Minnesota in the second, third, and part of the fourth quarters were terribly exposed today. No pass protection, and no inside runs.

    - Compounding the error with the o-line, Vereen on short yardage, inside runs is a disaster. There were no power runs by the FB, which worked very nicely in games 1 and 2, but disappeared last week and disappeared this week. There were no options. There were no toss sweeps. There were no counter-treys. Nothing imaginative on the runs.

    - In a game where Riley needed to step up, he didn’t (unlike last week). While not excusing him, the complete lack of designed roll-outs or moving pockets plays straight into Riley’s weaknesses. He is best when he is on the move, because he does not over-think, and he is a threat to run.

    - The pass plays are worse than my 12-year old’s flag football team: everything was deep outs. The two pass plays in the first drive of the second half (to end the drive) were exactly what I predicted, and were entirely wrong. Just like 2007, except that Riley was overthrowing into coverage, whereas Longshore would underthrow, leading to INTs. Where are 5-7 yard button hooks or TE square ins (I think I saw only one of those).

    - I am a true believer in the TMQ (espn.com) theory when a team is in the “maroon” zone. When in doubt or unless you are kicking the FG to win the game, go for it. I can’t stand the guy, but Petey Carroll goes for it on 4th and whatever 95% of the time when he is between the opponent’s 30 yard line and 41/42 yard line. We hardly ever do it, and, to make matters worse, we usually throw on third and long, rather than run to set up a shorter yardage fourth down. Oregon, of course, went for it twice, and made it.

    - On the defensive side, the run defense was good until it got worn out, which happened quickly because our pass defense (see below) was terrible, and the lack of offense compounded the problem. We didn’t get any real pressure on Masoli, but because the Oregon game plan was generally quick strike throws, there was no opportunity to pressure him.

    - Unlike last week, no help from the linebackers. Our defense lives and dies with the linebackers. If we don’t get picks, or stops on third downs, from the linebackers, we’re in for a long day.

    - The worst are the defensive backs. Squid dropped a pretty easy INT on Oregon’s first drive (if you are an all-american candidate, you need to make those). The rest were simply awful. Even the fumble recovery was terrible – our safeties are not running backs; hit the deck! This was supposed to be a strength. It isn’t. EWU exposed it. Minnesote exposed it. Oregon feasted on it.

    - Please fire the special teams coaching staff. This game, we actually had good kick off returns (lots of practice), but when Anger is that bad, in light of all of the problems all season, I’d rather start fresh.

    - As I have previously posted, the game was lost in the first 10 minutes of the game, even though we were winning for most it. Too many lost opportunities, and we gave Oregon all of the momentum. Once Oregon started rolling, zero was done to adjust. Instead, it only got worse. That’s coaching (or lack thereof).

    Everything above aside, we absolutely can beat U$C next week. I watched most of the WSU game. U$C is just not that good this year. The defense is obviously a strength, but even WSU led by a freshman had decent drives. U$C effectively did nothing until a 2-minute stretch in the second quarter, and did nothing thereafter. For U$C, after losing to Washington, to have a ho-hum game at home against the worst Pac-10 team is positive for us. Unfortunately, the rest of the Pac-10 looks good. Arizona winning at OSU? ASU giving away a game at Georgia by having its game-winning FG blocked? Stanford destroying Washington (uh, too bad Petey Carroll didn’t script that game plan, eh?). God I hope the coaching staff does something to be imaginative and aggressive, unlike 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

  • rollonubears

    eric, you said what needs to be said. this is what needs to be in the newspapers. these are the questions Tedford and his staff need to answer on tuesday. That showing yesterday was inexcusable. The Bears came up with new game plan for this one, trying to catch Oregon off guard. But you don’t catch a team off guard, in their house, with an average quarterback and less-than-average receivers, running 20+ yard pattern after pattern. And you don’t beat them in their house, when you don’t make adjustments to a plan that isn’t working. That was a disgusting waste of 3 hours of life. I want my life back. Beating U$C next week would suffice. It was unrealistic to think this team was going to go 5-0 with Oregon on the road and U$C, back to back. I was hoping for 4-1, so maybe it’ll happen. A loss is a loss. Probably better that it was a beatdown than some brain fart like Oregon Sate, anyway. At least it’s a wakeup call. But seriously, Tedford. Wake up! Either mix up the offense and take advantage of the skills your QB brings to the table, or leave. Interestingly, if Best gets shut down in a few more big games, he may HAVE to stay next year, setting up yet another QB controversy, and the potential for a “special” season. This year has been a “special” season alright. The short-bus variety.