At least when the Bears lose, they do so at the right time.
The only good thing for Cal about Friday’s loss to Nevada is it comes at a time when the Bears can wipe the slate clean and focus on the beginning of the Pac-10 season. Cal could use a fresh start after Friday’s game, and now the Bears have a new goal in their sights.
“We get a fresh start,” said linebacker Mike Mohamed, who seems optimistic he will play Saturday. “The Rose Bowl is still within reach starting with Pac-10. It’s a clean slate. Now we’re just focused on the Pac-10.”
It also helps that Arizona runs a more conventional offense than Nevada, although the Wildcats are far from easy to defend. Arizona, with efficient quarterback Nick Foles leading the way, feature experience and balance on offense. The defense, meanwhile, despite losing a handful of key players from last year’s team, is aggressive and effective. Arizona currently has the third-ranked defense in the country.
Excitement and confidence will be as high as the Bears have experienced in Tucson on Saturday.
“It’s always been a frenzy there,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “The environment is not something that is going to surprise us because we’ve been there before and we know what they are capable of there. They really feed off of it. They’re playing really, really well.”
Reflecting more on the Nevada game, Tedford said some of the problems on defense were due to lack of execution and some were becasue of Nevada’s unique schemes.
“Everybody has to be exactly in their right gap,” Tedford said. “One time a (linebacker) is not in the right gap, the next play a safety thinks he has to get in there. There are so many phases to it that you have to be perfect with what you’re doing on defense. We had some guys out of position because of the different looks and some of the things they were doing.”
Mohamed didn’t play, but he did review the tape with his teammates. He said Cal had problems on defense because players took turns “messing up.”
“It wasn’t the scheme,” Mohamed said. “It was just individual players. It seemed like every play, somebody took a turn messing up. That’s what Nevada wants. If you have 10 guys doing it right and one guy doing it wrong, that’s all it takes.”