Football: Ohio State post-mortem

No. 4 Ohio State showed Cal how far it has to go to become a prime-time player in college football with a 52-34 rout Saturday that never was close.

The Buckeyes (3-0) led 21-0 after six minutes and were unfazed by every offensive gimmick the Bears threw at them. A flea-flicker, a hook-and-ladder pass and lateral, a fake punt — none of them covered up what has become a painfully clear Cal deficiency.

The Golden Bears (1-2) have two weeks (after a bye) to figure out how to play some semblance of defense before they open Pac-12 Conference play on the road against No. 2 Oregon. The Ducks are scoring more than 61 points a game.

“We’ve got to start better,” first-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “With the schedule we’re going to play, we can’t get down 21-0.”

Click here to read the rest of my story.


Cal notebook: Ohio State exposes issues in secondary.

Columnist Monte Poole: A fast fix is needed.

Jeff Faraudo

  • rotfogel

    This article mentions Cal didn’t surprise Ohio St. offensively. Ummm, offense wasn’t the problem…at all.

    That was the worst defense I’ve seen, maybe ever? Tom Holmoe era was pretty bad, but wow, our defense sucks, really badly. It seemed every play went for exactly 8 yards. They ran it down our throat and there was absolutely nothing Cal could do to stop it. Embarrassing really.

    After that performance, I remembered one good thing about the Jeff Tedford era; Cal’s defense was never that bad and I doubt if Cal still had Clancy Pendergast, Cal D wouldn’t/couldn’t have been that bad.

    A lot of the failures lie directly with Andy Buh. Worst defense I can remember, at least since the Tom Holmoe era, Buh, after that performance, he’s gotta go. That was the definition of pathetic.

  • SteveNTexas

    I’m trying to be objective. Eric made some apt replies to my concerns showing La Tech did improve while Dykes was there. Would that improvement translate to a major conference team like ourselves? I still don’t see how we have improved over the 3games.

    I share Wisdom Cow’s sentiments- of course we should hope for an upset at home -the closest game to an upset was Portland State and its us who would have been upset.

    We played better last year v OSU on the road.

    I am not calling for Dyke’s head if he can recruit. Juancho predicted a top 25 class- let’s see. This does not mean I’m satisfied, its more like who could we attract? Tony Gonzalez next year?

  • Joshiemac

    Take a look at the rest of the Pac 12 and then look at Cal. It’s going to be a long year. Very long and depressing. I don’t see how we’re going to have such an awesome recruiting year after yet another 3 or 4 win season. With the state of the D, we may only have 2 more wins in us ( WSU at home is even going to be a problem) . And even that may be a stretch.
    I still feel positive about Dykes, but not as much as I did 3 weeks ago. There’s really no excuse for play this bad on one side of the ball. Even on O, we won’t win on a consistent basis if we can’t run the ball.

    Tedford or Dykes–the song remains the same. Maybe in 2 years we might go to a middling bowl game and get excited about it.

  • Eric

    Yes, Joshiemac, it is going to be a long year. By the end of the season, I think there is a very good chance we will have played six teams in the top-15.

    Oregon, Ohio State, Furd, UCLA, Washington, and Northwestern.

    If that happens, has that ever happened to a team in the BCS era? Ever?

    But it has been, and will, an exciting year.

  • Joshiemac

    Yes Eric, it will be exciting. But to “enjoy” it I’ll have to get myself into an almost Buddhist mindset of having having absolutely zero expectations about everything.

    I’ve been a fan for 30 + years so I’m not stopping now.

  • Joshiemac

    One more point about playing 6 teams in the top 15–this program desperately needs an upset. We have to beat one of those teams for this to be classified as a successful year. When was the last time Cal pulled off a genuine upset? Luck’s first year at the ‘Furd? That’s a long time.

  • Larry

    I was at the game yesterday. It felt like an Ohio State home game. Their fans were a bit annoying. Not U$C douche bag annoying, but ‘the universe revolves around everything Ohio State’ annoying.

    We got torched badly on defense, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I did notice that a 3rd/4th stringer Willis was in as well as Lapite at corner, so that is obvoiuly a depth issue there.

    Our DL is a concern. their QB had ALL day to wait for a WR to get open. We get absolutely no pass rush on the opposing team.

    Tom Holmoe had way better defenses than this. If you remember, Holmoe was a defensive guy and our offenses always sucked.

  • 707 Bear

    Our defense is already as thin as Taylor Swift after a weekend fast.

    Is our hurry up offense making the situation worse? Our D faced 80 plus plays yesterday. Our D barely has time to get a drink when our O goes three and out.

    Would our D be better if we ran 65 plays instead of 95?

    Thank the gods for this bye week.

    Go Bears!

  • Juancho

    You know, maybe Buh can turn it around.

    The offense sure is fun.

  • covinared

    Rot: Holmoe had good defenses. Guys get over it. We played the third best team in the country with almost half of the 2 deep on defense out running a scheme we have not recruited for. We had third team dbs in for most of the game. This is a rebuilding year. Snyder only won about 4 his first year. The Bear abides.

  • Juancho

    Brethren, how is it that each of you will gauge success for the remainder of the year?

    Me: recruiting.

  • Eric


    5-7 with a win over U$C or Stanford, and no dumb losses.

  • wehofx

    1) Improving week to week 2) recruiting

    Juancho – as JF’s COO in charge of recruiting – what is your feeling/hunch about the aOSU game’s affect on the 150 visiting recruits, esp Mixon and the 4/5 star db’s?

    Mine: POSITIVE. Mixon had to think he can thrive in the Bear Raid and will get lot’s of carries.

    Gotta be appealing that on D&O we are not afraid to start/play true frosh. True meritocracy.

    from what I could tell on tv, it seems like this team is truly a team. Great attitude/chemistry has to be appealing to recruits.

    Observation on Bigs: he is not the rb he was last year. .5 step slower. Not as balanced. Can’t break tackles. seems like KM and Lasco are now 1A and 1B in the rotation.

    Andy Buh might be the problem on D but you have to give him at least a year. SD is not afraid to make ballsy decisions. If, at the end of the season, he thinks a change is needed, he will not hesitate to pull the trigger.

    However, as has been mentioned, this team is YOUNG. I count 10/9 true frosh playing on D yesterday.

    Moving/playing true fr walker at safety slowed osu in 2nd quarter. osu adjusted. Their first and second drives of 2nd half relied heavily on option between tackles. walker is too small to shed tackles and get to rb. nickerson – true fr – was fooled/too green for middle.

    in front 7 – dl and lb – i count 7 frosh.

    not to mention soph’s like jefferson, lopa and McClure

    Good news is that all pt these young guns are getting will yield painful days like yesterday but will also – with patience – yield big dividends in conf play and, esp, next year.

    3 – Jackson, Kam JR
    5-Lowe, Michael,JR
    6 – logan, alex SR (falls to end of rotation/emergency)
    7 – jfferson, jalen SO
    9-Gibson, Jason, SO (lb converted to safety)
    10-King, Lucas, JR
    13- Key Kragen JR
    14-Walker, Cameron, FRESHMAN – 5’11” CB playing Safety
    15-Lee, Adrian, JR
    18-Willis, Joel, So – WR playing CB
    20 Lapite, Issac JR – Former walk on (great story but falls to end of rotation)
    21 – McClure, steffan – SO
    24-Davis, Antione, – SO
    25-Whitener, Chad,- FR
    27 – Drew, D – FR (redshirt?)
    28 – Ragin, J – FR
    31 – Davison, ray FR
    32-Tandy, Edward, FR
    33-Fadelli, Dan, FR
    37-Dozier, Cedric, FR
    40-McCain, Chris, JR
    41-Barr, Todd, SO
    43 Campo, Dan SR
    47-Nickerson, Har, FR
    55 – Moala, Fili JR
    75-Lopa, Puka, SO
    91 – Coleman, Deandre SR
    95-Hunter, Jacobi, FR
    99-King, Gabe JR

  • bigdruid

    Re OSU fans – the ones I met were quite gracious and friendly. Of course its easy to be gracious when you are winning by 3 TDs.

    My expectations for the rest of this year? Improvement on D week over week. Continued hard play and no giving up. 4 more wins. An upset would be most welcome. Plus good recruiting.

  • Joshiemac

    4 wins, one of them an upset a bonafide upset, and it’s a successful year. This fan base and this program really need a huge unexpected victory to regain some positive momentum.

  • Rob Bear

    I heard some names that I have never heard of before playing defense last night. We are razor thin on defense and for those looking for a defensive miracle with freshmen, redshirt freshmen and inexperienced upperclassmen lining up opposite the opposing quarterback, it’s not going to happen. Portland State alone proved that, much less Northwestern and Ohio State. We knew that we were young entering the season and that there would be some growing pains. Couple that with a host of injuries and subpar performances from returners (Coleman, McCain, etc), it is safe to say that we are in the middle of the growing pains. Our offense will literally have to outscore other teams to win. Put simply, we cannot rely on the defense. You can replace Buh with Lombardi, Harbaugh and any other defensive genius you can think of and we would be in about the same place with this defensive personnel.

    This may sound ultra-optimistic and almost altruistic, but perhaps this depletion in defense is a blessing in disguise for the coming year. Next year, we will have a boat load of returners with multiple games of starting experience.

    On to Oregon. With EXTREME PREJUDICE BEARS! WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE and thank God you do not have to live in a place that smells like hot dog water (Ohio). A collective bunch of blatant cheaters regardless if the head guy is in a vest or not.


  • Woj

    he Cal Defense (word used loosely) is horrible, awful, abysmal. I was there at the game yesterday. This level of utter stink is not achieved by personnel alone. It IS Andy Buh and his lack of coaching talent. He was canned by Harbaugh after year 1 at Stanford and floated around as a position coach thereafter. The fact Dykes re-promoted him to be a D coordinator at a Pac12 school after he already failed at that level is on Dykes and on Buh. Should not have happened. The players were undisciplined, safety bit time after time on the play action, & tackled the wrong ball carrier or NO ball carrier repeatedly on the read option runs they knew were coming from the Buckeyes. That is all on Buh. Terminate him – the D only improves when a real D coordinator is in place. Oregon will torch Cal for 70.

  • Woj

    @ rotfogel Says:
    September 15th, 2013 at 6:16 am

    This article mentions Cal didn’t surprise Ohio St. offensively. Ummm, offense wasn’t the problem…at all.

    That was the worst defense I’ve seen, maybe ever? Tom Holmoe era was pretty bad, but wow, our defense sucks, really badly. It seemed every play went for exactly 8 yards. They ran it down our throat and there was absolutely nothing Cal could do to stop it. Embarrassing really.

    A lot of the failures lie directly with Andy Buh. Worst defense I can remember, at least since the Tom Holmoe era, Buh, after that performance, he’s gotta go. That was the definition of pathetic.

    AMEN. Andy Buh was canend by Harbaugh for being a lousy D coordinator after year 1 at Stanford (a 4-8 season if I recall). IF Dykes doesn’t do the same thing, Cal fans better get used to giving up 50+ points per game against EVERY team in the top half of the Pac12. That ‘D’ is embarrassing. Ohio St. fans in my section were laughing at how easy it was to get up 21-0. LAUGHING at Cal’s ineptness. That’s pathetic.

  • Woj

    I was at the game yesterday and found the Ohio St. fans to be a proud group who travel super well to support their team. I found their fans to be respectful but boisterous for their team’s success. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone of their fans was wearing the scarlet and silver colors and some women had the Buckeye logo painted on their faces. THAT’s what a storied football power with tradition gets from the fanbase. 30,000 Buckeye fans invading a road stadium 2000 miles away along with the full complement of band members.

    Cal has little football success and tradition so it’s best to watch Ohio St. fans and learn how it’s done so in the Rose Bowl 2034, Cal fans can go to Pasadena, Mexico and wear their blue and gold colors proud.

    Also, huge props. to the Ohio St. ban who played the CAL fight song twice during their performance. Loved that. Cal’s band in turn played the Ohio St. fight song at least once to the delight of the Buckeye fans. Great sportsmanship.

  • Wehofx

    re: harbaugh firing buh. Some people/coaches improve And learn w experience/set backs/defeats. $c and Ucla alum howled when Petey and mora were hired because they were failed hc’s fired Not once but twice.
    Re: Pendergast. he is/was a bad recruiter. A big reason for last year’s D fall to bottom of conf was Recruiting is beneath cp.
    cp is benefitting from, To state obvious, Orgeron and lame being great recruiters – and the ‘ho, too.

    D that buh inherited- ESP w injuries – is much thinner than O sd inherited. Thus the need to
    play so many frosh.

    Again, buh might need to b fired. But u can’t fairly judge his perf until stretch of games after PKU to furd. Do frosh and soph improve in buh’s scheme? If not, bye bye buh.

  • Gobears49

    The D was principally bad yesterday because of playing so many young guys who would normally be redshirting this year. That was what I heard on Joe Starkey’s postgame show. Sounded convincing to me. Actually, after the initial 21- 0 stomping we played OSU even and never gave up (per Dykes postgame interview, which I also think is valid).

    I love, love, love our offense. Light years ahead of Tedford’s, who years ago had fallen behind the times offensively. And I think we have found a big, fairly fast, and dependable back in Lazlo, though he doesn’t seem to have the big play potential as Bigelow. Pretty good top three backs in Lazlo, Bigelow, and Muhammad. Also, clearly, our best receiving corps since Jackson and Hawkins. Our offensive line, for now, seems about average.

    The defensive line was and has been disappointing. Not likely any future NFLers there, like we have had awhile ago. Tosh recruiting (though the guys we now have were wholly or largely recruited under his watch) certainly helped us there, overall.

    Surprised that Boehm played and ran four times. I thought Hinder was third string and a good runner. and was considered to be a good runner. But putting in Boehm signals to the defense that a run is coming, which it did all four plays Boehm was in. At least it confirms that I have been saying for a couple of years on this blog that Boehm was a runner, after watching him in high school. Wait till we get Rebenzer in next year — based upon his film clips, he could be another Johnny Manziel — a good passer AND a runner But maybe Goff can run — he pulled off a nifty run out of the pocket once. But we sure could add to the potency of our already high-powered offense if we could add the wrinkle or running a well-executed QB option plays, which I don’t think we have done once this season. Specifically designed running plays out of the QB position is something that has made the Oregon offense so great over the past few years.

    Was very disappointed that Dykes didn’t put in Kline for the last series. The game was over and Kine has no more redshirt seasons left. I think he should have played. Playing Goff then achieved nothing.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Daddy said he had never seen so many fans from another school as he saw yesterday. He said this is the worse defense he has ever seen since being a Cal fan since 1946

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    HAHAHA… Both Lynch and the other guy mentioned their high schools in their intros on TV. They are ashamed to mention their college

  • Will

    It’s really sad when a supposed football school that has little else going for it has such a pathetic turnout at its games:

    “Remember when USC was the hottest ticket in town? Yeah, well those days are long gone as evident by the sparse turnout for Saturday’s contest at Boston College. It’s too bad, too, because the Trojans actually played their best game of the season and found the offense that had been dormant all year. If you weren’t in attendance on Saturday (and very few of you were) you might not see this kind of production again.”

  • Gobears49

    Addition to post #21 above —

    From watching it on TV, it looked like there was an excellent chance that Treggs catch in the corner of the end zone in the 3rd or 4th quarter was good. Treggs eventually lost possession of the ball after he left the end zone, but that could have been because, I believe, he crashed into the wall. All you need is possession of the ball when you run out of the end zone, and even before that (I believe there is, or used to be, a one second rule).

    I think the play was repeated on TV. I’m not up on the technicals as to how many challenges a team is allowed, but that one should have been challenged by Cal if they had any challenges left.

    Just checked, and here is one web site’s rule on NCAA football challenges (not sure it’s accurate)– “A team will never receive more than two challenges per game. If a coach challenges a call and is not successful, he is charged with a time-out and cannot challenge any call the remainder of the game. If a coach’s challenge is successful, he is not charged with a time-out and may challenge one more time during the game. Even if a second challenge is successful, a coach will not receive a third challenge.

    You don’t very often see many challenged calls in college football because every play is reviewed in the booth, and if the replay official needs to stop the game, he calls down to the officials on the field. Honestly, why a coach might ever have to use a challenge makes no sense to me.”

  • Steve W

    Dispense with the talk about all the freshmen playing in the secondary and out of their true positions. The reason that Cal’s defense stinks to high heaven is along the D-line. All those highly rated d-line recruits over the past several years has amounted to nothing. The reason that Cal lost nine games last year was the D-line and their inability to generate a pash rush. Mostly the same guys this year, and they are displaying the same lack of talent. One guy half as good as Will Sutton might make a difference, but that guy doesn’t exist. And you can’t blame that on Buh or Pendergast.

    Oregon will hang 70 on Cal at Autzen, so go to Vegas and bet the over.

  • Gobears49

    Cal and Oregon both play extreme uptempo, so maybe they will set a record for most total plays from scrimmage in a game.

    I’d like to see the spread, but I think Cal is getting into their groove on offense, where they some very talented guys at the skill positions (worst skill position is RB). The Oregon QB is VERY good. The biggest difference between the offenses is Oregon may have better running backs and they run the option, which if done right is very tough to defend. Still, depending on the game spread, the under may be the smarter play.

    Maybe Jeff could run a column asking for votes on the over versus under and also ask for the actual winner and actual margin of victory. The winner in the last vote would get a mythical trophy from Jeff.

  • Dan

    Just thinking … Wondering on certain offensive series we don’t go fast for either the first 3 plays or after the first first down of that drive. Maybe that gives the D just slightly a longer stay on the sideline to catch their respective breaths when the offense has 3 and outs.

  • Gobears49


    What is more important, getting the other team’s tired by running all of our plays as fast as possible, or slowing things down some which gives our defense more rest but also gives the opposing team’s defense more rest too? I say ram it down the throat of the other team and score as fast as possible. Our defense will certainly get some rest after we score, as there will in almost all cases be a break for a TV commercial. Could also happen if we get a few first downs and then are stopped, as commercials are often run right after a punt when there is a change in possession.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Eric, you have been critical of negative posts. I have to to rip you for the “has that ever happened in the BCS era?,” hinting how tough the schedule is. How long have you watched college football? and have you ever looked outside the Pac? Many an SEC team has faced 6 or more teams in the top 15.

  • covinared

    Steve W.: you make a good point. Our D line needs help. I think a lot has to do with the switch over to 4-3. Last few years we often had only 2 guys in 3-4 point stances. Now its four on every play. McCain is not built for a down DE and Camporeale is not a natural there. Perhaps with the return of Jalil things will get better, but I think we need focus on recruiting for the DL next year with some JC transfers a la Ryan Riddle or Morgan Breslin.

  • 707 Bear

    Hello, this is Brandon Meebane speaking from Seattle.

    I’m sure glad I’m no longer at Cal on the D line.

    Last night, our defense faced 51 plays against the Niners. I hear the Cal defense is facing close to 90 plays per game.

    And they don’t get paid. It’s good to be a pro.

    Go Bears!

  • covinared

    Brandon: when you were at Cal you spelled your name Mebane.

  • Woj

    Touchdown Oregon!!!
    Oregon 73 Cal 38.
    Worst defense I’ve ever seen from Cal. Lack of a legit D coordinator + lack of talent = torch city coming up against Oregon. Gonna be ugly.

  • SteveNTexas

    Covina – busted! Good work

  • Eric

    @Woj – at least we scored 38. Oregon easily could have scored 77 on Tennessee or Virginia had Mariota played passed the midway point of the third quarter.

  • Easy Ed

    I looked at the Oregon Tennessee game Saturday and must say the Ducks look impressive. So did Cal’s offense. If the Ducks expect the same old 3 and out from Cal I think they will be surprised. Having said that we can’t beat them but we can play hard and gain valuable experience. Keep an eye on Goff, Oregon is a dirty team and I still remember a cheap shot on Nate Longshore (broke his ankle if I recall) when we played them and beat them in Eugene. Phil Sugar Daddy can build what he wants for the Ducks and they can win but Oregon is still a back water university and winning football games won’t change that.