Now that Colorado made Cal’s pass rush disappear and tore up its secondary, future opponents have a visual aid — the tape of the game — to aid in formulating a game plan against the Bears.
The Buffaloes did three things Saturday to neutralize Cal’s pass defense — make effective use of screen passes, use quick drops and quick passes, and leave extra blockers in for pass protection.
If future opponents employ the same tactics, it will be up to the
Bears to counter.
“We’re going to have to be better,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “We’re going to have to spy the screens better, understand what’s going on with the screen game, notice what’s going on around us. The quick game, you can’t really do much about. If they’re going to run a three-step drop, we have to get our hands up, we have to have tight coverage, we have to force them into hard throws.
“If they’re going to max protect everybody, that doesn’t give them a lot of people out in the routes. We just have to mix it up on defense. Everybody is going to do some different things to you.”
Colorado had an excellent game plan against the Bears, using those techniques and running other plays to get quarterback Tyler Hansen out of the pocket to buy him time.
The end result was a difficult day for Cal’s secondary, especially cornerback Marc Anthony, who was matched up much of the day on Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson. Richardson caught 11 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns.
Tedford said there will be no changes to the two-deep depth chart in the secondary this week.
“They executed really well,” he said. “The quarterback threw the ball great and the receiver ran great routes and the ball was right on the money. So you have to give them a lot of credit for what they did.”
A couple of storylines that got lost amid the overtime excitement Saturday were the performances of tight end Anthony Miller and wide receiver Michael Calvin. Miller made two highlight reel touchdown catches, one a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone and another catching the ball in the flat and dragging a defender a good seven yards to paydirt.
On the flip side, Miller also had a couple dropped passes that could have gone for substantial gains.
“We like to have consistent play there,” Tedford said. “He did drop a couple balls that would have been big plays. We have to get that squared away. But it’s always nice to have everyone involved.”
Calvin by far made his biggest contribution during his roller coaster career. He caught three passes for 42 yards, including a huge 27-yard reception on a 3rd-and-10 play that kept alive a drive that led to a late touchdown.
“That 3rd-and-10 he caught on the sideline was really a nice catch,” Tedford said. “That was a huge conversion. It’s nice to see him step up and get some action.”
Less true freshman played Saturday than in the opener. Cecil Whiteside, Brennan Scarlett and Stefan McClure are not listed on the participation chart, although Tedford said Whiteside played a little.
“From week to week, depending on what the schemes are and how you’re going to utilize guys and things like that, it’s up and down for different people,” Tedford said.
A few other notes:
- In addition to the personal foul call on Trevor Guyton I referenced in an earlier post, Tedford said he also discussed the incomplete pass intended for Coleman Edmond with Pac-12 coordinator of football officiating Tony Carrente. Tedford said he understood official’s call on what was a spectacular, one-hand attempt by Edmond. “After looking at it, I can see what they saw,” he said. “The tip of the ball hit the ground.”
- Tedford said the coaching staff “was all over” the players today to make sure they paid attention to detail and had a sense of urgency with FCS opponent Presbyterian coming on Saturday. “It’s about us getting better and improving and taking every opportunity to get better at some things we’ve been struggling with,” he said.
- DL Aaron Tipoti injured his right ankle against Colorado and is doubtful for Saturday, according to Tedford. Tedford also said Tipoti is now getting more reps at defensive end than nose tackle.