Football: Arizona poses more threats to Cal defense than RB Ka’Deem Carey

A week ago, before his Colorado team faced Arizona, coach Mike MacIntyre joked he developed a headache each time he watched tape of running back Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher for the second straight year.

You have to wonder what kind of restless nights Cal’s defensive coaches are experiencing after Arizona unveiled a potent complement to Carey in its 44-20 win over the Buffaloes.

When Cal (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) faces the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, trying to stop Carey won’t be enough. Colorado ganged up on the star junior, and quarterback B.J. Denker responded with 457 yards in total offense, including 191 on the ground.

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Jeff Faraudo

  • The Wisdom Cow

    From SFGate
    “Despite giving up the two big touchdowns, Dykes wants Buh to continue to call creative plays on defense.

    “When you simplify a defense, the offense can get you into matchups,” Dykes said. “When you can predict exactly where the defense is going to be, you can create matchups that are going to be in the offense’s favor.” ”

    If only someone would have mentioned this sooner . . .

  • covinared

    Coach Wisdom: what is your specific plan to stop Arizona?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I would have stuck with a 3-4 defense. I would have hired a DC that knows how to run a 3-4, or at least ran a defense that is not a dumbed down base defense any PAC 12 offense could manipulate.

    Did you happen to read the sfgate story? It’s been Bearister claiming I have been saying I told you so. Guess what? This is did say ahead of time. Simplifying the D was a mistake, one you can only get away with if you have superior athletes that can win all the individual battles.

    And this was not even prediction type stuff. This is just football. Anyone that has paid attention over the years should know it. There is a back and forth of innovation. Offenses now can take advantage of a D if they can predict the coverage and defensive responsibilities.

    Let me ask you. Do you actually watch and think about the game? There is a chess Mach going on which is played by the coaches. The players must still execute, so the better coaching call does not always win, and is moot given vastly superior opponents, but this is what is going on when you hear about coaches getting players in positions to make plays.

    Seriously. You try to belittle me with some quip as if I have no nothing about the Xs and Os. Is this because YOU don’t pay any attention to such and assume I must be as ignorant as you are? It is not micro-cell biology. It’s not even chess.

    I’m not saying I can coach a team, but I do understand a lot about the game. I bet there are plenty of people that read these comments that know more than I do. I also admit I don’t know things the coaching staff does regarding individuals’ abilities. Regardless, I know what I know.

    If you run a simplistic base defense that is getting abused and tired out each game, you need to change to a riskier paradigm. You need to have a chance at stops and turnovers. Yes, you will get burned sometimes, but the math says it is worthwhile, no? Those blitzes also resulted in some stops the D was not getting before.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    iPhone autocorrect errors notwithstanding. 🙂

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Switched to the comp. Let me say a few things I would do in prep for AZ.

    1) I’d review whatever materials we already have in regards to RichRod’s offense and how they have been defended.

    2) I’d review tape to see what has been successful earlier this season against variuos formations.

    3) I’d look for ways in which AZ adjusted to what had been successful against them earlier and look for ways to both predict what future adjustments were likely as well was any ways we can manipulate the offense into believing they have a specific defense in front of them.

    Now, I personally believe the greater number of options, the more numerous variations, one can execute out of a 3-4 allows for one to better create game plans and adjustments and pre-emptive adjustments than one can with a 4-3. Since I wouldn’t have installed a 4-3, alienating the talented and deep LBs already on the roster in the process, I MAY have been in a better position to implement a D against AZ at this juncture.

    There is no simple answer, though blitze more and from alternating and varied positions is a start.

    And I do believe if I had the resources and the time I probably could do a decent job of assisting in defensive strategy. Is this absurd to believe?

  • covinared

    your points are general and obvious. How is AZ different than Washington? Do we prepare the same? Do we run the same scheme? We gambled a lot against Washington and Stankey ran for almost 300 yards, mostly on long runs. Do we gamble against AZ with Carey, who most consider to be the best back in the PAC 12? Aren’t 4 linemen better than 4 linebackers when we so thin at LB and the DL seems to be getting better?
    As you say, there is no simple answer. You know enough. however, to conclude whatever happens, it is because Buh does not do what you think he should.

    Could it be that most of the guys we have out there would not see the field on most PAC 12 teams and we will get the same result no matter what the scheme?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    You are an ass.

    I have gone into details why the 3-4 is superior in previous posts before the season began.

    Buh is the guy that came in saying the 4-3 is what he knew. He’s the guy that continued with a very rare blitz, with rushing 4 from the same spots over and over again, while becoming the worst D in the country.

    Your last Q is where YOU are the defeatist. This is exactly why the D needs to gamble more. How do you not comprehend this? If you are David going against Goliath, do you use the sling or try your best with sword and shield as he beats the crap out of you?

    And hey, guess what? Dykes is coming around to the realization. It may be 4-5 games later than it should have, but they are going to start blitzing and altering formations in hope of getting the Os off balance every once in a while.

    I am not upset over the results nearly as much as I have been upset over the lack of intelligence in the defensive game plans. I don’t even need signs of brilliance running the D, just some symptoms of intelligence would suffice.

    I can live with a team in rebuilding mode, but they have to be rebuilding, not running around tripping on the jock straps. I was fine with Jackson getting beaten deep so many times. He had good position more often than not. You tip your cap and line up for the next play. With the position he was getting, any pressure on the QB could have resulted in picks.

    Last, if my points were so general and obvious, it sure would have been nice to see some sign that the coaches used this approach on “The Drive” rather than an “it’s what I know” Buh statement. I know they won’t (and shouldn’t) give away actual strategy, but the footage of the coaching meetings remind me of a YMCA teenage staff meeting, not an organized group of professionals.

  • daredevilfan

    I know one thing they should do. Tell the DBs, “if we are in a situation where they have so many receivers that you all need to man cover and there is no saftey playing deep as a last line of defense, then back the “f” off and do not, I repeat, do not, in any situation, I repeat, in any situation, let them get by you”. Should be the most basic thing in the world but somehow it seems we need to say it.

  • covinared

    Wisdom: how many points a game is acceptable to you as a result of a db getting “beaten deep so many times”? Also, in your 3-4, who would make up your 8 linebackers in this week’s 2 deep? Since our most consistent defensive players the last few weeks have been Maoala and Coleman, and they both play inside, which of those 2 moves to the outside in your 3-4? How many long runs should we concede to Carey as a result of a linebacker blitzing away from his usual assigned coverage on a run?

  • Gobears49

    Wonder whether Dykes overruled Buh and told Buh to stop playing no risk defense and to start taking more chances on defense.

    I was one of the early critics of Buh. Still can’t be believe we couldn’t have hired someone who knows how to coach the 3 – 4 defense as well as the 4 – 3. Buh effectively said he couldn’t do the former.

    Dykes is on the record in stating he adjusts his offense to the type of personnel he has. Why he would not hire a defensive coach that has the same philosophy and know how to make adjustments to his defensive scheme if the skill level of available personnel dictated that?

  • rollonubears

    I’ve given up on analyzing this disaster of a season. I want to see a healthy team next year, and a substantial improvement. If that means replacing the turf, or the strength and conditioning coach, or both, fine. If we want to gamble that it’s just “bad luck” and see if doesn’t happen for a third freaking year in a row, fine. But if it happens again, I want Sandy fired next year. If the used car salesman doesn’t get at least 4 wins next year, and take his team to a bowl in year 3, I want him fired as well.

  • Dykes–“Any time your quarterback is involved in the run game, it always creates a numerical advantage for the offense.”

    True, I suppose, only if you actually play the quarterback who is most likely to be involved in the run game.

    Juanco, where are you?

  • *Juancho

  • covinared

    Pete: if I may, is there really an advantage to Kline over Goff when it comes to the run game? I haven’t seen it. Hinder was supposed to be the runner of the 3.

  • Bob Warner

    The defensive alignment 4-3 or 3-4 is not the issue. The big plays given up by the Bear defense appeared to be linebackers and db’s too close to the line of scrimmage. This alignment does not allow for good pursuit angles. Consequently a small seam created by opponents o-line results in a big gain!

    If the linebackers would get more depth, they can still react to direct dive plays. On off tackle or sweep plays they are not tied up in line of scrimmage and can flow to the point of attack and make plays. Better defensive shape would help to create positive results.

    A bend but don’t break philosophy would be superior to seeing repeated big plays riddle the defense. This unfortunately won’t guarantee success, but in any game, you give yourself a chance to win if you don’t beat yourself. I appears that we are currently beating ourselves!

  • Daredevil fan

    There are a lot of excuses for this year but here is why I think the administration is to blame. Let me start w a chargers analogy. We all know what a meltdown Ryan leaf was. And yes he was a mess. But here was his situation. The chargers started him as a rookie qb (which wasn’t hardly done back then) and surrounded him with rookie/young wrs,a new/first time head coach, and a new system. Who in their right mind would expect a good outcome from that? Well maybe sandy would. She already had a very young and low star team and she brought in a non bcs coach. Maybe that is all fine and a sunk cost but then ur other coaches will be key. So maybe the new coach believes his offense will click w his normal non bcs coaches. Okay maybe. But this new coach knows nothing about defense so surely they will get another dxtremely seasoned self sufficient d coord right? They won’t get someone as d coord that will be learning on the job given all the other changes and inexperience this year right? Yes there are other bad luck factors but the buh decision sank the ship. It makes no sense. Maybe dykes pushed for it but sandy needed to ensure a better transition.

  • Covinared: Fair question. I haven’t seen the practices but would guess that Kline was not inclined to show that ability in the practices, b/c he knew that Dykes/Franklin would deem that a violation of the BearRaid philosophy. Have we seen it in the games (an obvious handicap for Kline, since his playing time has been so spotty)? Well, given the data sets available, I think we know that Goff will run only if the field is entirely clear ahead or he has no other option. I have seen enough to judge that Goff is not a “running quarterback” in the way that Dykes was commenting on the Ariz QB in the quote. As to Kline, I do believe (although have not done the stat check to support this) that in the short time he has a chance to show us, Kline has shown that he views a QB improvised run as an offensive tool and not just a last resort. And, to be precise, I believe that is the way we should be looking at this, since that is Dykes point–that a qb who embraces the run component puts the offense in a position to have a “numerical advantage.” More specifically, I observed in the OreSt game that after Kline used the run/scramble option several times, the Cal running game and (by implication) the passing game opened up. Thus, for example on what I think was the last TD Kline showed the scramble card which drew the OS d player off the receiver who Kline then did a short lob to for the TD. I haven’t gone back and looked at the play (or any of them for the season so far) so I may just be imagining it, but at the time, I thought to myself that what Kline was bringing to the game was a different “numerical advantage” that improved the probability of success in the red zone. Correct me please, if I am misremembering that play or the offensive sequences when Kline was in.
    Now, having said that, I should say that I am a Goff supporter. He has much going for him in terms of accuracy, calmness, decision skills. But, if he doesn’t have the run skill that Dykes complements the Ariz QB as having to provide the “numerical advantage” then is he the “long term solution?” And if he not necessarily the long term solution, then in a miserable season when the team and the fans really desperately need some good moments or at least some more touchdowns, Dykes’ logic for not seeing what the alternative version of the world would look like, even if briefly, with Kline getting a start against UW last week, becomes entirely a house of cards.
    I am of the camp that the coaches see the players from a much broader perspective and that you hire them to make a call based on their best judgment. I think Dykes has tried to do that. But I also expect that the coaches will be straight up with the players and the fans. I like a lot about Dykes, but I don’t particularly care for the way he subtly undercuts Kline after he has played, suggesting that his style is not disciplined enough. My initial post was intended to point out that when Dykes tries to cover his ass in advance of this upcoming game by lauding how the Ariz qb who can both run and pass and how, gee, that really creates a numerical advantage for the offense (and by implication, puts the poor Cal defense at a disadvantage), I reach the overflow limit and vomit.

  • covinared

    Pete: I liked what I saw in Kline against OSU when it came to tucking and running but he really did not impress as being that quick or fast compared to Goff. He actually looked a little clumsy getting going. Still he had swagger that reminded me of Pawlawski. Still I don’t think whatever advantage he may have in this quality outweighs Goff’s overall relative strengths. Also, in a year or two Goff should fill out and run with more power. He already appears faster than Kline.

    Bob W.: I agree with you 100%. Too many times against Washington as soon as the back was past the line it was nothing but open field ahead.

  • Covinard: Don’t know relative speed; that is an incremental issue. Point is that if Goff never runs then Kline’s relative speed is much faster.
    No question that we would all like to see Goff a legitimate 215 and muscled next year.

  • covinared

    But Goff does run sometimes, and has some nimbleness.

  • does run sometimes (when he absolutely has to); has some (i.e., somewhat limited) nimbleness (but shows no Pawlawski determination).

  • Gobears49


    I am also a big proponent in having a QB who can run well, and not just when there is a breakdown in the pocket but also for designated runs. Makes the defense’s job much more difficult, as there is another person to defend against. I haven’t seen Kline play but although I think Goff can run some, he is only average at best in doing that.

    Cal’s QB situation next year could become more interesting when Luke Rebenzer comes in as a freshman. He is another in the long list of Cal Elite 11 QB’s (Cal is tied with USC as having had 10 of them once Rebenzer arrives). He is a runner as much as a thrower, hopefully of the Johnny Manziel type (my favorite player to watch). Hope he comes in early, as I’d like to watch him play in spring practice.

    Here are Rebenzer’s stats. I think he may have a few games left to play this season if his team is in the Arizona playoffs.


  • CalBearister

    Just watched The Drive on my DVR. And it may be a few glasses of Blue Label talking, but anyone who thinks Dykes is passive, or doesn’t care, or isn’t trying his hardest…well, I don’t know what you want.

    The man is trying. It’s a horrible situation. But I’ll say one thing – if he turns it around, if we start to win, then the Wisdom Cows, the Hysterionics Bears, and the rest of you Dykes haters…don’t pretend like you were with him all along. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  • Steve W

    I watched Washington State get spanked by ASU last night in their house and couldn’t help but think I was watching a glimpse of next season with Cal. Dykes is straight from the Mike Leach coaching tree and runs the same kind of offense. And while Sonny is stubbornly sticking to the running game this year, Leach seems to have given up on that idea. His team threw the ball 89 times in the Oregon game.

    The good PAC 12 defenses are just hammering WSU this year. Too many three and outs and not giving a pretty good defense time to recuperate. Sound familiar? Passion or no, I think Dykes and his system will be a 3-year failed project that will keep Cal in the basement for a long spell. The conference is just too good right now.

  • #24–let’s leave the strawmen gambit out of the conversation. Dykes thought he would have a run game (BB and an ok O-Line). But we all thought that, until we could assess BB other than on the basis of one game last year and the assumption that the knee would be alright. So SD is working through that now (thumbs up for moving Ervin up) and the O-line is also a work in progress. No doubt that Dykes wants to have a strong run game. Not so with Leach. Didn’t the WSU backs carried less than 10 times last night? When I tuned in briefly at end of 1st qtr it was 21-0, so even if Leach wanted to run, he had long dropped that for the night in any event. The most likely reason you couldn’t help thinking that you were seeing a view of Cal next year last night was that you need some help thinking.

  • Steve W.

    Pete Bear,

    Don’t need help thinking, and certainly don’t need your logic. If you had watched the game, which obviously you didn’t, you would have noticed that Leach didn’t try and run when the game was still close. I think he would love to run, but knows he can’t. Hence 89 passes in a game.

    I don’t see anything about Cal that is going to make them a running team next year unless they get Mixon, which they won’t. The problem with these “Air Raid” offenses is that they use too little time, stall too often – particularly in the Red Zone – and leave their defenses on the field too long against the good teams. WSU has a good defense, much better than Cal’s, but those players are wearing out every game.

    Since WSU is two years evolved into Leach’s system, I think I see how Cal is going to look next season. A few more wins…sure. What we as Cal fans hope and wish for…no.

  • SteveW–Are you trying to look stupid? My point was that you were not seeing Cal next year last night in WSU because Leach’s form of the AirRaid does not use a running game, whereas SD’s does. Then you reply that my logic was off because if I had watched the game I would have seen that Leach did not try to run when the game was still close. Read that back again will you buddy. Doesn’t that demonstrate my point exactly! Heaven help you in your day job, if you can manage to figure out how to find one.