31.Oct.2010 Cal Post-game Thoughts

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It's hard to imagine a less impressive 35-7 win than the Beavers' "thrashing" of California yesterday afternoon. There was one clear improvement–the defensive intensity. How much that intensity had to do with the outcome is debatable. I think the Beavers still win the game even if Kevin Riley played, but a lot of the positive defensive stats were the byproduct of Brock Mansion playing quarterback.

The glaring issue yesterday was once again team attitude or swagger. After taking an early lead, the Beavs let off the throttle, managing just one score in the second half. To say this team "lacks killer instinct" would be putting it kindly. Under Riley, they have never finished teams off, but that doesn't mean fans should learn to accept it or make excuses. What makes Riley's approach doubly frustrating is watching the team in Eugene run over their road kill until it ceases to exist.

Run blocking is another area that showed no improvement. Sure, on the surface Quizz's rushing statistics looked good, but the reality of the situation is that his blocking was horrendous. Cameron Jordan, defensive end for Cal, essentially made fun of the offensive line after the game, calling them soft and not up to par with prior vintages. He is dead on. Rodgers' better runs came when he looked at the point of attack, disliked what he saw, and cut outside. He improvised his way to big gains. If he followed his blocks, many of those better efforts would have instead been 1 to 3 yard dives. What happens when teams realize this, contain the outside, and he actually has to follow those blocks?

Finally, what is Riley thinking putting his starters in with 6 minutes left and a 4 touchdown lead? Not only does this kill team moral and curb future development, it puts the entire season at risk–if Rodgers, Katz, or Wheaton went down early in the 4th there would be outrage. I don't understand it, and think it warrants an explanation. As of this evening, I haven't heard anyone in the media ask the question, though. In fact, they're all writing that the team is now fixed and poised for a Rose Bowl run. It's amazing what those orange glasses can do…

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  • Beavocalypse says:
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    Ugh…Banker has been completely exonerated in one game. God I hate the mindless media and the fans that read their drivel.

    We’re 94! We’re 94!

    So our Defense is getting a slightly better “F” now.

    Yay.

    Cliff Kirkpatrick also gave the O-line an A.

    You know, in a world where many bitch about O-line guys not getting enough credit when they free up a running back I would like to be the first to bitch about a running back that has to save his O-line’s ass.

    Not like there’s much to be done about the O-line. Our personnel sucks and our depth is atrocious, but at least Cav has done his job of keeping Katz from getting killed where Banker has led us to embarrassing stats.

    Oh, and keeping the starters in that game for that long was fucking retarded.

    • angry angry says:
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      I don’t think our D gets a slightly better F. I think the stats looked better, but Cal had Brock Mansion slinging the rock, so what can we draw from that? It’s why I focused on intensity–they seemed more intense (actually, they were pretty intense the second half of the Washington game ignoring the OT, when they were clearly worn out).

      The fact of the matter is they might be intense yet still give up a ton of yards if the opponent has a good QB in there. We simply don’t know yet, and if we are lucky enough to win at UCLA I doubt we’ll learn much from that game either. USC is the next benchmark, and I think they’ll put up 500 yards on the Beavs, easily.

      What is so frustrating is that if the D has solid outings the next two weeks the media will act as if they’re great, and everyone will be shocked if USC dismantles them.

      Fact: the last team with a good, starting QB put up 500 yards of offense. Until THAT pattern changes this defense is bad.

    • SadBeaver says:
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      Its interesting that we complain the Riley let off the gas, but also that he kept starters in too long? I agree with not letting starters take poor return risks, but there is a balance there. We need to learn to finish games before we can start pulling starters sooner. Look at how many teams have come back on us. It is attitude in my opinion and until that changes starters need to be in there and learn to finish.

  • beavers4life says:
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    Angry,

    We can draw from Mansion playing that the turnovers were almost non existent. He didn’t throw bad passes and held onto the ball too long and was confused the entire time he’d been in there. it was apparent that he knew what the plays were when he called them, but had no practice actually running them with the offense. AKA the game was very very slow for him when he went in. Expect call to suck the rest of the season on offense due to KR being out for the season with a knee injury…rumor is torn MCL. Sucks for a Beaverton guy, but mostly cause the ducks have to play there and there’s no offense to be found now. (They should get a frowny face from Ted Miller the rest of the season)

    On the note of Quizz’s runs and “improvising” ….those were designed counter plays where Quizz started going towards the blocking then zoom went the opposite ways…remember the play where Quizz tried to escape from the backfield, but lost 4 extra yards doing so….that’s cause that particular play they ran…caused him to follow his blockers and look what happened…it got blown up. The counter is a GREAT play when your O-line isn’t quite clicking or blocking well.

    On another note with coach Riley keeping starters in was, IMHO, he wanted to get one more score that last drive, but that didn’t happen so he went to his backups after that. I don’t have much of a problem with him leaving starters in, especially on defensive ends…cause the TD shows how bad the CB’s are on the depth chart…grant it they can’t get experience without actually playing, but Riley knows that if he doesn’t leave his starting CB’s in for as long as he can, Cal would be able to move the ball on our 2nd string defense and score onside then score again….so he wanted to go conservative to conserve the score…stupid, maybe, but hey hindsight..no ones hurt and we gave up 1 TD to Cal….

    • angry angry says:
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      Those were not designed counters, unless you’re talking about different plays than I am.

      If anyone was hurt in the 4th quarter you’d be mad that Riley left the starters in. It’s not a good move just because nobody was hurt; it was a bad move at the time and now, despite the outcome. Just like going for 2 was the right call at Washington despite the outcome.

  • Alex says:
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    Agree Quiz should have been pulled out sooner. That being said, I do think they did a much better job (before the game became lopsided) of taking the pressure off him by supplementing the run game with fly sweeps, reverses, etc. In my mind that’s a more important change, because I don’t see too many lopsided games in our future. Wash St will probably be the only one.

    Also, while the defense still has work to do, don’t forget that this was the first game ALL season that wasn’t close. They were looking much improved even before Riley went down. Cal with Mansion at the helm isn’t great, but it’s probably better than Louisville. And probably better than AZST, who Cal annihilated.

  • beavers4life says:
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    we must not be talking about the same kinds of plays. here’s an example of Quizz “improvising” to make it look like a counter in game speed, but was a delayed handoff…will Darkins was slow to getting his legs driving to block on this play and that caused Quizz to start outside, but move back inside…

    the game is being replayed right now on FSN.

    Here’s a highlight reel with Mike Parker and Co. making the call..

    http://www.katu.com/sports/106380428.html

  • brownale9000 says:
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    I like the negative angle as much as the next guy, but you’re being ridiculous this week.

    Oregon State looked great. It didn’t matter who was Cal’s QB, Oregon State befuddled both of them this week.

    Yeah, I get it…you’re speaking the ‘truth’ that the ‘mainstream people’ won’t report. Whatever. You’re wrong this week. You just are.

    We ran the ball at will. We passed efficiently. We stopped them on every relevant drive. Oregon State looked damn good even if Cal is a typical marginal Cal team.

    Hard to imagine a less impressive 35-7 win? Really? We scored TD’s on our first 4 possessions and 5 of the first 7. I think that’s fairly impressive. We held a Cal team that had just run-ruled Arizona State to zero first string points. Cal converted 1-12 on 3rd downs. We played pretty well. You know, your negative takes remind me of the boy who cried wolf…it’s more effective when you call us out when it’s deserved, not just because that’s your shtick.

    How’s Ryan Allen doing? You spent FAAAAARRRR too long talking about a marginal punter being run out of town in favor of another marginal punter. Stick with meaningful takes. I enjoy them much more even if you’re mindlessly negative at times.

    Quizz overused? Yep. We don’t recruit very well? Yep.

    But this wasn’t impressive at all? You’re wrong.

    • angry angry says:
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      Ryan Allen is a sophomore starting his first season; Hekker is a junior in his third year as a starter. Allen’s first year average 39.3, Hekkers 39.7. I think this one needs more time before judging. And it’s weird to bring up Hekker after the game he just had.

      As far as being too negative: the positives were defensive intensity and Quizz’s improv. You can throw in Katz’s efficiency, too. But someone has to be the voice of reason when fans and media are acting as if this team is the Steel Curtain. Cal had a terrible QB in there. That guy could not make any of the throws. When the Beavers next face (a) a good team with (b) their starting QB (i.e. USC) they’ll revert to giving up 500 yards per game. How do I know? Because the Beavers gave up 500+ to Washington while playing with the same intensity. This tells me the reason for yesterday’s performance was Brock Mansion, not intensity or “light bulbs going off”. Can they use that mirage to build confidence? Sure, but I need to see it versus a solid opponent before believing it.

      Regarding a “shtick”…I just report what I see. I’d be bored to death writing something I didn’t believe. You don’t have to read it or agree with it, but usually it’s right.

      Sorry.

      • OneEyedKing says:
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        Hecker both has a big boot, and, what nobody talks about, is that he’s excellent at pinning the opponent inside their 20. A highly underrated skill. Yeah, he’s going to have one stupid shank punt per game, but you really can’t have 4 kickers on your roster.

        Quizz sees the bulk of the carries because McCants had his chance and sucked. Remember when he came in, and everyone talked about him being Steven Jackson? Not anymore. Some no-name, 5’4″ dude from Texas stole his job. Jenkins looked good against our spring defense because our spring defense was terrible. Really, there’s just nobody else back there to take those handoffs. That’s why running things like the Fly Sweep is so huge; running plays that aren’t for Quizz, so they are like having a different RB carry it instead. That’s how we get him a break.

        Personally, I don’t care if our defense gives up a thousand yards, as long as they get stops when they need to, and make sure 3rd down is longer than 5. TCU killed us with all the 3rd-and-5s, but it seems like, over the last few games, we’ve gotten better on first and second down (including against Washington, who has an okay QB).

        Also keep in mind our pass rush is much improved over the start of the season, which will help our pass defense a ton. We’ve turned up the pressure a bit, and our front 4 in particular have been much, much better. So that should limit opposing QB’s options (other than Barkley, since USC’s line is crazy good).

        Finally, we scored on 4 straight drives, then scored one more time over a 40 minute span. That’s definitely typical of Riley teams. He lets off the throttle a bit when he has a safe lead in second halves, but so what? I’d rather play conservatively and spare opponents too much embarrassment, than be a douche and run up the score; that WILL come back to bite you (ask Pete Carrol). Every team that UO blows out now is going to have Kelly’s name on the board for every year he coaches. It’s not worth it. Riley and his style are highly respected for his attitude and professionalism; Kelly and his style just reek of the new kid trying to show off to look cool, but that never works out in the end. He just looks like a punk, like the thugs he recruits and coaches (and everyone saw thug #16 taunting a possibly injured player last night. Classy).

        I’m not sure what else we could really have done in that game. We don’t hang 50 on people because we don’t need that ego boost. We pass blocked very well, ran the ball well considering our line doesn’t run block, stuffed Vareen, applied good pressure…what else were we supposed to do?

        • Beavocalypse says:
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          We could have beat Washington, TCU, or Boise State if we had a defense…but we didn’t, and that is the ground upon which those that have their doubts about how we’ll do against teams with talent (USC and Oregon) have a decent case to be annoyed/skeptical with how this outcome is stroking the ego of our fanbase/media.

          Cal is an example of a team that gets undue credit, and that’s been true for a couple years now. Many of those years they’ve been projected to contend for the Pac-10 title and every year they prove to be over-rated.

          Sure, the defense played a “better” game yesterday- but the real play that changed the tide was Kevin Riley’s injury.

          This defense, due to a lack of “intensity” that everyone wets themselves about, lost games for us every time we could have earned some respect. They came alive against Cal…so what? So did Nevada.

          Suffice to say that this defense doesn’t deserve any respect until they put together respectable games for the rest of the season because they are still 94th out of 120. Or maybe it’s the fact Oregon is 43/50 in education that keeps people from understanding that’s fuckin’ terrible.

          • angry angry says:
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            This is spot on.

            But…is Oregon really that low in education? I knew it wasn’t pretty, but jeez.

            Anyway, as you said, the defense has had chances to make statements versus big time offenses. That’s how respect is earned. It’s not earned via a smoke and mirror show versus a backup QB (and a team that has proven they can’t play on the road).

        • tim318 says:
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          Even Mike Riley has been criticized for running up scores or “embarrassing” opponents. Wasn’t WSU a couple years ago? Not that there’s merit, but…

          I’m mixed on the leave-the-starters-in plan. They need extra reps against good comp. to prepare for the future, but when I read the injury report after the game it makes me worried about still having 5 games and no more bye weeks. Linnenkohl, Prince, Halahuni, Wheaton, G. Johnson, M. Phillip all have are hurt to various degrees. Camp sounds more and more to be done for the season.

          Any comments on having Wheaton and Quizz both in the backfield? Sounded like Aaron Nichols was pretty active in the game (based on the radio broadcast).

        • ObjCritic says:
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          What could have happened differently is to have won 42-0 or better.

          OSU needs to finish, which it doesn’t do well. And it matters most against the best teams – TCU early, USC and UO coming up. If OSU doesn’t play well for 4 quarters, they lose those games as they did last year.

          The last “complete” game I remember OSU playing was against Stanford last year, and even then they let Stanford get back into the game, score 3 rushing td’s, while their own offense stalled.

          After about 5 minutes in the third quarter, OSU did nothing on offense. How did that play out in last year’s civil war? UO has a killer instinct; confuse opponents and defeat them physically, then take the heart out of them and beat them emotionally, then score some more.

          Credit Quizz for calling out the team and challenging them while Riley asks them to “find their identity…”

          If OSU doesn’t start playing for 4 quarters, at best they’ll be in some meaningless bowl game.

  • ean says:
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    It was a step in the right direction. As long as we keep improving we can win more. The goal really should be one game at a time and trying to set up another Civil War for the roses. Then it should be to play our best game and try to get lucky. Because if UofO plays their best game we lose… so we have to get lucky.

    To me the biggest difference on D was play calling. They were bringing guys from all over the place keeping Cal guessing. Multiple corner blitzes or a different linebacker all the time. I think some of the slow starts can be attributed to the vanilla play calls that start the season. No turnovers for the first 4 games tells me we are not taking enough risks. Also that 3rd down conversion rate of opponents tells me not enough risks on D. Sometimes you got to risk giving up the big play.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Well after watching the game, I must say that I was underwhelmed at best. Cal is terrible, and we didn’t seem all that interested in dropping the hammer on them. No fire on offense in the second half. Dissapointing.

    I was more impressed with the defense, particularly the play up front and by Pankey – he played with great intensity agains UDub, and followed that up with another great effort on Saturday. He’s starting to make plays to go along with the effort. I’m becoming more optimistic about him and the rest of the D.

    However…it’s difficult to get too excited about the Beavers knowing that an embarrassing beat-down looms in one month and three days. We don’t stand a chance…our best bet is to win out and end up at the Holiday bowl, with either TCU or BSU winning out and taking the P10’s spot in the Rose Bowl.

    El Paso anyone?

  • UofDuck says:
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    To my furry foes (especially oneeye and greatwhite):

    This is going to sound more harsh/arrogant than I intend…

    How does it go… you don’t have to like us, but you better respect us?

    Look, if the tables were turned, I would not like it one bit to see the Beavs getting soooo much ESPN/national love and I bet it turns a beaver stomach inside out to watch it. HOWEVER, look at it this way. When have you ever seen ESPN give a Pac team so much love? Sure it might gross you out, but what it really means is that there will be a lot of extra dollars rolling in for every Pac 10 team because we now have a team other than SC that the media moguls LOVE – AND that means when the TV negociations transpire for the Pac-10 soon, I can assure you that the Beavers will love the extra cash that comes from all the hoopla the Ducks create – the very things you hate about us and rag on. “Kelly runs the score up, they have a million uniforms….etc.” A little short sighted on your part if you ask me. I bet you don’t turn away the extra money with your “lunch pail/awe shucks” mentality you love to brag about. Remember a few years ago when you guys ripped on us because some of our kids had dreads? Now look at your stars. Too funny. So, for as much as you bag on Chip and Nike…etc. at least recognize our brand might pay off in cash for you all too.

    Have a nice day now.

    • ean says:
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      What are you talking about? I like the Ducks and am glad they are doing well. It is great just like it was great when USC was a football factory. I could care less what uniforms they are wearing or how many points they score and it has always been that way. I think you have people here confused with the people on EDuck.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Dreads? Someone was ragging on hairstyles? Where?

      The only thing I question is some of their pre-snap movement on the line when in hurry-up. There are rules against what the Ducks are doing, and someone will eventually call them on it. But that’s just sloppy play. It’s not something that will take more than a just a few adjustments on their part. Opponents still have to stop them during the play itself.

  • UofDuck says:
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    Really ean? Look, you are a good contributor for the Beaves. I read your comments on ESPN/Miller’s blog, but how about this – from a post above – in this very blog entry….

    Finally, we scored on 4 straight drives, then scored one more time over a 40 minute span. That’s definitely typical of Riley teams. He lets off the throttle a bit when he has a safe lead in second halves, but so what? I’d rather play conservatively and spare opponents too much embarrassment, than be a douche and run up the score; that WILL come back to bite you (ask Pete Carrol). Every team that UO blows out now is going to have Kelly’s name on the board for every year he coaches. It’s not worth it. Riley and his style are highly respected for his attitude and professionalism; Kelly and his style just reek of the new kid trying to show off to look cool, but that never works out in the end. He just looks like a punk, like the thugs he recruits and coaches (and everyone saw thug #16 taunting a possibly injured player last night. Classy).

    So you see ean, there are a lot of Beavs takin shots at everything Chip does – even here. And almost every post oneeyedking and greatwhitehunter comes combined with a shot at Oregon even if it has nothing to do with the Dux whatsoever. And I actually kind of get it, but…. I know happens both ways with some idiot Duck fans. I just wanted to point out that there is some value added to the Pac 10 with the tact the Dux take, and even the Beavers are benefactors of it when it works out.

    • angry angry says:
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      Good point regarding money. Also, a rival doing well is good for the worse team in the rivalry. Fans care, and it forces them to improve.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        I understand the points about the Duck program helping the league and I guess the Beavers, but on a pure visceral level, I hate everything about them, so it is hard for me to set aside the emotion. I am an equal opportunity hater. I have always hated them…. Casanova, Brooks, Belloti and Kelly it does not matter. I hated them when they were bad and I hate them when they are good. They are so much better now than the Beavers that I feel the bile rising from my liver. For ten years,the Beavers battled them to a stand still and years of futility and now that has slipped away. Yes, I do have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow morning!

    • BeaverBill BeaverBill says:
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      Of course I want the Beavers to kick the feathers off the Yucks… I have had generations of brain washing for that. But when season ends and Pac-10 is playing outside of conference it is Pac-10 all the way baby…. even rout for the Yucks… why? Because it benefits everyone in the pac-10!

  • angry angry says:
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    Locker out vs Oregon. Everything is lining up for the Ducks (not that Washington had a chance to win, but now they’ll be able to tack on style points).

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    @angry — C’mon. Washington was not going to beat the Ducks — with or without Locker. Locker’s absence doesn’t matter at all.

    As for the Cal game, I was there in the north endzone, again watching a couple of guys closely, esp. my man, Brandon Hardin. OK, Hardin finally got a sack on a blitz. That’s good. But I also watched Hardin again lose his man in coverage on most slants or routes over the middle. And I saw Hardin’s silly “throw down” of a receiver ala Wrestlemania. Typical Hardin — attempting to show how strong and tough he is. He’s just asking for a penalty with stuff like that. And no doubt he’ll get flagged at a crucial time in a game later this season for similar nonsense. I just hope it doesn’t end up costing the Beavs a game. In Q4 Poyer played a lot of CB, and looked much better than Hardin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. OSU should start Poyer at CB and relegate Hardin to special teams and backup roles.

    One other comment on the Cal game. I was surprised and disappointed that Quizz played so much in Q4. I think Riley was letting Quizz play so Quizz could roll up more yards and stats. Huge mistake. Luckily Quizz didn’t get hurt. But we still lost the opportunity to give McCants some much needed playing time, and to give Quizz some R&R. If we ever need McCants down the road, we’ll be sorry that McCants didn’t get more time in games like Saturday’s blow-out win over Cal.

    • angry says:
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      I’m not sure what part of “not that they had a chance” made you think I was saying they did. Basically, they’ll win 60-7 now instead of 48-24. Again, style points. ESPN broadcasters love style points, whether the poles care or not.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        Angry,
        I do not get all the accolades being heaped upon the defense by the media either??? I think it is lazy journalism, looking for an easy storyline that only exists because the defense has been so horrific this season. This Cal game proved very little after the Riley injury. Think what the Beavers would be like if Katz went down? Beavs beat a schizo road team that lost one of their best players, not much to analyze there. As you pointed out, Stanford and USC will be true tests. If they hold either team under 400 yards and 28 points, I will concede real improvement.

        • angry angry says:
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          I don’t think it’s lazy journalism. It’s more…taking things at face value.

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            Face value would be to say this game does not prove much except that OSU can beat a Cal team at home playing against a back up quarterback without the tools to play in the P-10 yeat. Lazy journalism is to say that the defense got serious and made a profound statement.

          • angry angry says:
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            Yeah, it probably is lazy journalism.

          • OneEyedKing says:
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            When UO beats up on 6 teams with losing records, it proves they’re the best team in the nation.

            When we knock a starting QB out of the game, then shut down a super-dangerous RB, it proves nothing.

            It’s fine to be a skeptic. It’s not fine to be ridiculous.

          • angry says:
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            Right, because the QB was knocked out early, and everyone knew the RB was getting the ball. That game proved the intensity from the second half of the Washington game carried over. Nothing more. Sorry.

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