Are we developing an identity?

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OaktownBear
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I haven't had much of a chance to comment about the Udub game. To be clear, the defense won that game and they will have to keep winning games. But for the first time in a while, I see an actual path to success with an offense that is developing an identity. It isn't good, but it might be good enough.

I think the key might be that Baldwin might be getting his feet under him with the personnel he has and specifically, his QB. I think last year was a definite detour through the wilderness for Baldwin. I think we would have seen a lot of benefit in Bowers staying just in the consistency and the familiarity Baldwin had with him. The coaches then compounded the problem by going with 2 QB's, then going with McIlwain, then settling on Garbers. I don't actually blame them for what they attempted to do last year, but it definitely didn't work and set back the offense. I think largely because Baldwin did not know how to give Garbers his best chance to succeed. I started to see it this last weekend. Hopefully Baldwin sees it too.

Starting with what I see in Garbers. Garbers right now is an upper middle class man's Steve Levy. Not saying that is his ceiling, but that is what he is right now. There's positives and negatives. Garbers, like Levy, is not going to make a lot of plays with his arm. His highest passing yards game was the 238 against Davis. He had 61 yards going into the last drive. He doesn't have great velocity or accuracy. The biggest thing I've seen both last year and this year is he just doesn't pull the trigger. He holds the ball too long, or pulls it down and runs, or both. The biggest positive is that like Levy, he is good at making plays with his feet. That includes improvising on pass plays and turning potential negative plays into positive ones. Especially important given his hesitancy pulling the trigger on his passes. If I were to compare the offensive performance last weekend to another game, it would be the Big Game where Levy was the QB. In that game we passed for 121 yards, a large chunk of it being when Levy chucked the ball up toward Desean and he ripped it out of the hands of the defender and ran in for the touchdown. For the most part, we ran the ball and Levy got key first downs with his feet.

In both games this season, Baldwin has come out throwing the ball. It hasn't worked. Then he has relied on the running game and that has turned the offense around. What we saw in the second half last weekend has to be our offensive identity going forward. Run first. I think our OL is better at run blocking than pass blocking. Brown and Dancey are our best weapons. I was hopeful of this after Davis, but if they can run on UW, they can run on anyone. Our passing game is not very good.

But I saw some hope even with the passing game with that last drive. The key sequence was the three pass plays in a row. Fade to Duncan for 19. Fade to Duncan for 15 yard PI. Screen to Crawford for 27. All three of those passes were basically timing routes that took the decision out of Garbers' hands. His hesitancy was made immaterial.

For the first time since Baldwin got here, for a half of play I felt I saw an OC that understood his personnel and was playing to their strengths. There will be challenges. Is the offense good? No. I expect that defenses will stack the box, maybe put a spy on Garbers and force him to beat them with his arm. And, much like Tedford found ways for Levy to succeed through the air against BYU, Baldwin will have to do the same for Garbers.

But I see an identity now for Cal if the staff wants to take it. Run the ball. Let Garbers make plays with his feet. Give him simple throws when he needs it. Move the chains. Minimize turnovers. Keep the defense fresh. Score just enough to let the defense win the game. Will we win a conference championship doing this? Probably not. But we can win a lot of games and take the next step.
72CalBear
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Our offensive personnel is completely different from last years. Both Baldwin and Garbers were limited if not handcuffed by not having either a power back or one that could break it. Our limited receivers also kept our offense in check - especially on 3rd downs. Did Garbers have a bad throwing shoulder 1/2 through the season?And we aren't switching QBs like we tried last season. I think it's way too early to say we have the "identity" that you mention, but I hope we do get one!!
burritos
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Was Colin Kaepernick a good throwing QB at Nevada. He absolutely destroyed us with his feet. Those feet served him well in the pro level too.
KoreAmBear
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I agree with all of this. Running has to be our identity now. We have Brown, Dancy and Garbers who can all run and obtain chunk yardage on the ground. I also wouldn't mind seeing Collins in there as he's supposed to be our home run threat. And if Garbers/Baldwin can stay in the range of those kinds of passes we had in the last drive, I believe we will be just fine.

In managing our new identity I have some thoughts on Chase's role. You are right he seems to be reluctant to make some passes because they have turned out disastrous in the past. It could be a combination of confidence and Baldwin putting him on a plan to only make conservative throws. I believe in the learning curve of a QB you learn what throws to make and what not to make and in which situations.

There was one play on 3rd down during the drive where we settled for our first field goal, where he rolled left and had Remigio wide open for a first down around the 5 yard line early. He didn't pull the trigger and instead ran out of bounds I think for no gain. I have to believe that Baldwin is in his head on that one. I'm not saying that Baldwin's directive to him to be conservative is wrong. There are some times though you can take calculated chances and that was pretty much a pitch and catch type of situation he should have taken where we could have had a chance to get 6 instead of 3 on that drive.

Chase will have to just get a feel for when to take prudent/calculated risks. Overall though, I was encouraged by the second half drives.
OaktownBear
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burritos said:

Was Colin Kaepernick a good throwing QB at Nevada. He absolutely destroyed us with his feet. Those feet served him well in the pro level too.
Kaepernick was an excellent throwing QB at Nevada. Threw for 3000 yards twice. Completed 65% of his passes as a senior and had over a 150 QBR. He did destroy us with his feet. He wounded us pretty deeply with his arm as well. He only threw 15 times against us but had a 212 QBR, completed 2/3 of his passes, 2 throwing TD's, and had a yards per attempt of over 12. He basically destroyed us every way a QB can destroy a team.

If Garbers turned into Colin Kaepernick, we'd be talking about playoffs right now.
OaktownBear
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KoreAmBear said:

I agree with all of this. Running has to be our identity now. We have Brown, Dancy and Garbers who can all run and obtain chunk yardage on the ground. I also wouldn't mind seeing Collins in there as he's supposed to be our home run threat. And if Garbers/Baldwin can stay in the range of those kinds of passes we had in the last drive, I believe we will be just fine.

In managing our new identity I have some thoughts on Chase's role. You are right he seems to be reluctant to make some passes because they have turned out disastrous in the past. It could be a combination of confidence and Baldwin putting him on a plan to only make conservative throws. I believe in the learning curve of a QB you learn what throws to make and what not to make and in which situations.

There was one play on 3rd down during the drive where we settled for our first field goal, where he rolled left and had Remigio wide open for a first down around the 5 yard line early. He didn't pull the trigger and instead ran out of bounds I think for no gain. I have to believe that Baldwin is in his head on that one. I'm not saying that Baldwin's directive to him to be conservative is wrong. There are some times though you can take calculated chances and that was pretty much a pitch and catch type of situation he should have taken where we could have had a chance to get 6 instead of 3 on that drive.

Chase will have to just get a feel for when to take prudent/calculated risks. Overall though, I was encouraged by the second half drives.
Yeah, well, I hope we didn't over learn the lesson with McIlwain. I supported giving him a shot because I think he could be a dynamic QB if he learned to stop making tragic mistakes, and sometimes you just need to give a guy like that a chance and let him grow. Didn't work. But you knew going in he was a turnover machine.

Garbers is not Mac. As I said, I noticed this last year. True, it could be Baldwin. It could be Chase. It could be receivers not getting open (though I don't think that is the case). But whatever it is, ultimately if the offense is going to take the next step, he needs to throw that ball. As I said, though, we could be in a situation where at least we have found an offense that is productive enough. I'll be happy with the step we have taken for now and let's hope we can keep adding on.
OaktownBear
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72CalBear said:

Our offensive personnel is completely different from last years. Both Baldwin and Garbers were limited if not handcuffed by not having either a power back or one that could break it. Our limited receivers also kept our offense in check - especially on 3rd downs. Did Garbers have a bad throwing shoulder 1/2 through the season?And we aren't switching QBs like we tried last season. I think it's way too early to say we have the "identity" that you mention, but I hope we do get one!!
No question our run game is much better as is our offensive personnel overall. My understanding is that Garbers arm issue was more in the last couple games than halfway through. I think much of the year we had okay, not great, receivers (I do think this year's are a significantly better). But we weren't that hamstringed by that until injuries mounted late in the year.

Still, coaching is about putting your players in the best place to succeed. I don't think we found that last year.
IdahoBear
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I do agree with your comparison of Levy and Garber. How do you think this helps us with recruiting WR's? No one wants a QB who can't throw it to them.....
Another Bear
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A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
OaktownBear
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CalPaTroll said:

I do agree with your comparison of Levy and Garber. How do you think this helps us with recruiting WR's? No one wants a QB who can't throw it to them.....
You say Garbers is a leader who is gaining experience and he is still a sophomore. Experienced QB's learn how to find WR's.

Obviously it would help if Garbers can put up a 300 yard game or two. You have to play off the run and what he does well and give him throws he can succeed with. With Levy, Cal put in an offense against BYU where we ran a ton but we gave Levy bubble screens and fades and he threw for 228 yards on 69% passing. Not saying to do that now, but point being let the run open up the passing game and give the QB something he is confident in.
OaktownBear
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Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.
NYCGOBEARS
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OaktownBear said:

Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.

I agree totally.
KingPosibearII
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KoreAmBear said:

I agree with all of this. Running has to be our identity now.
Exactly! The Golden Bear brilliance of KoreAm is delightful bliss!

Our defense is Chancellor Tien AWESOME, especially the defensive backs due to Captain Wilcox.

Running has always been our serenity now.

So very disappointed J.J. Arrington was not on the recent poll re: running backs. Shame on you, Moraga.
Big C
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OaktownBear said:

Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.
I was totally surprised that we were able to run the ball so well in the second half and am still wondering how we pulled it off (I'm not complaining, mind you!). Figure we were suddenly thin on an already mediocre O-line and figure that our threat to move the ball through the air wasn't exactly drawing much attention. Was it the brilliance of the RBs? Is the UW defense not so hot? Did Baldwin make some adjustments that caught them by surprise?

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
sycasey
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Amen to all of that. The second half of the UW game seems like the way forward. And honestly, we saw something similar in the second half against Davis too, but it was hard to say if it meant anything because it was Davis. Doing the same against a top Pac-12 defense tells you it's sustainable.

Ground and pound with Brown & Dancy and a lot of jumbo, 2-TE sets. Build in lots of options for Garbers to run. Control the pace, let the defense win it with just enough offense to support. Is that good enough to win the conference? No, not unless we get a lot of breaks. But it's good enough to improve on last season's record and get to a better bowl.

The sideline completion on our final drive was a real eye-opener to me. I didn't expect Garbers would be able to complete that throw, but he fit it right in there. Maybe if he can improve with those kinds of throws the offense can open up a bit.
sycasey
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Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
GivemTheAxe
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OaktownBear said:

I haven't had much of a chance to comment about the Udub game. To be clear, the defense won that game and they will have to keep winning games. But for the first time in a while, I see an actual path to success with an offense that is developing an identity. It isn't good, but it might be good enough.

I think the key might be that Baldwin might be getting his feet under him with the personnel he has and specifically, his QB. I think last year was a definite detour through the wilderness for Baldwin. I think we would have seen a lot of benefit in Bowers staying just in the consistency and the familiarity Baldwin had with him. The coaches then compounded the problem by going with 2 QB's, then going with McIlwain, then settling on Garbers. I don't actually blame them for what they attempted to do last year, but it definitely didn't work and set back the offense. I think largely because Baldwin did not know how to give Garbers his best chance to succeed. I started to see it this last weekend. Hopefully Baldwin sees it too.

Starting with what I see in Garbers. Garbers right now is an upper middle class man's Steve Levy. Not saying that is his ceiling, but that is what he is right now. There's positives and negatives. Garbers, like Levy, is not going to make a lot of plays with his arm. His highest passing yards game was the 238 against Davis. He had 61 yards going into the last drive. He doesn't have great velocity or accuracy. The biggest thing I've seen both last year and this year is he just doesn't pull the trigger. He holds the ball too long, or pulls it down and runs, or both. The biggest positive is that like Levy, he is good at making plays with his feet. That includes improvising on pass plays and turning potential negative plays into positive ones. Especially important given his hesitancy pulling the trigger on his passes. If I were to compare the offensive performance last weekend to another game, it would be the Big Game where Levy was the QB. In that game we passed for 121 yards, a large chunk of it being when Levy chucked the ball up toward Desean and he ripped it out of the hands of the defender and ran in for the touchdown. For the most part, we ran the ball and Levy got key first downs with his feet.

In both games this season, Baldwin has come out throwing the ball. It hasn't worked. Then he has relied on the running game and that has turned the offense around. What we saw in the second half last weekend has to be our offensive identity going forward. Run first. I think our OL is better at run blocking than pass blocking. Brown and Dancey are our best weapons. I was hopeful of this after Davis, but if they can run on UW, they can run on anyone. Our passing game is not very good.

But I saw some hope even with the passing game with that last drive. The key sequence was the three pass plays in a row. Fade to Duncan for 19. Fade to Duncan for 15 yard PI. Screen to Crawford for 27. All three of those passes were basically timing routes that took the decision out of Garbers' hands. His hesitancy was made immaterial.

For the first time since Baldwin got here, for a half of play I felt I saw an OC that understood his personnel and was playing to their strengths. There will be challenges. Is the offense good? No. I expect that defenses will stack the box, maybe put a spy on Garbers and force him to beat them with his arm. And, much like Tedford found ways for Levy to succeed through the air against BYU, Baldwin will have to do the same for Garbers.

But I see an identity now for Cal if the staff wants to take it. Run the ball. Let Garbers make plays with his feet. Give him simple throws when he needs it. Move the chains. Minimize turnovers. Keep the defense fresh. Score just enough to let the defense win the game. Will we win a conference championship doing this? Probably not. But we can win a lot of games and take the next step.

I agree with your analysis in general
Garbers is a better passer than last year. But I would rate him Fair not Good until he plays for the entire game the way he did in the second half.
It appeared to me that the UW game began in the first half with the Cal Offense throwing twice as many passes as runs. In the secon half it appeared the reverse.
IMO the strength of the running game (and maybe some better blocking) slowed down the pass rush and blitzing thereby giving Garbers more time to pass.
NYCGOBEARS
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It seems to me that Garbers practices against the best defense in conference every day. I'm hoping that he'll continue to progress.
KoreAmBear
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Big C said:

OaktownBear said:

Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.
I was totally surprised that we were able to run the ball so well in the second half and am still wondering how we pulled it off (I'm not complaining, mind you!). Figure we were suddenly thin on an already mediocre O-line and figure that our threat to move the ball through the air wasn't exactly drawing much attention. Was it the brilliance of the RBs? Is the UW defense not so hot? Did Baldwin make some adjustments that caught them by surprise?

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Yah are teams going to just stack the box and make Garbers beat them?
sycasey
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KoreAmBear said:

Big C said:

OaktownBear said:

Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.
I was totally surprised that we were able to run the ball so well in the second half and am still wondering how we pulled it off (I'm not complaining, mind you!). Figure we were suddenly thin on an already mediocre O-line and figure that our threat to move the ball through the air wasn't exactly drawing much attention. Was it the brilliance of the RBs? Is the UW defense not so hot? Did Baldwin make some adjustments that caught them by surprise?

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Yah are teams going to just stack the box and make Garbers beat them?
I mean . . . I assume they were already doing that.
KoreAmBear
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sycasey said:

Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
Oregon may be the closest. And they have a way better offense. And that was our worst game last year. They just beat us bad. UCLA we just didn't show up.
sycasey
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OaktownBear said:

burritos said:

Was Colin Kaepernick a good throwing QB at Nevada. He absolutely destroyed us with his feet. Those feet served him well in the pro level too.
Kaepernick was an excellent throwing QB at Nevada. Threw for 3000 yards twice. Completed 65% of his passes as a senior and had over a 150 QBR. He did destroy us with his feet. He wounded us pretty deeply with his arm as well. He only threw 15 times against us but had a 212 QBR, completed 2/3 of his passes, 2 throwing TD's, and had a yards per attempt of over 12. He basically destroyed us every way a QB can destroy a team.

If Garbers turned into Colin Kaepernick, we'd be talking about playoffs right now.
I think the thing was that Kap wasn't that good a passer until that year, but he put it together as a senior and that got him to the NFL.
sycasey
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KoreAmBear said:

sycasey said:

Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
Oregon may be the closest. And they have a way better offense. And that was our worst game last year. They just beat us bad. UCLA we just didn't show up.
Right, my point is that there aren't many better defenses than Washington (unless they have suffered massive dropoff from last year and we just don't know it yet). So why the argument that we won't be able to execute this game plan against better ones?
Beardog26
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As do I.
Big C
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sycasey said:

Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
Probably not many, but I'm afraid that we were playing over our heads in the second half Saturday. I'd love to be wrong on this.

Regarding using two tight ends and all that, I don't think we have too many good blocking tight ends. And then there's the O-line. Not sure we are capable of doing anything remotely close to what Furd was able to do, a few years back.
Another Bear
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OaktownBear said:

Another Bear said:

A stout run game compliments a stout defense very nicely, and vice versa.
I will get a lot of argument from some, but I firmly believe the offense we put on the field in the second half gave Cal a better chance of winning that game than if we joined the defense up with Spavital's offense.
No argument here. Big offense is fun to watch...harder to control all aspects of the game, unpredictable side issues. Kind of a rollercoaster existence.

Running the ball and good D can seem boring...unless you're good at both. That's what we saw against UW, at least in the second half, not boring...just winning and that always beats big numbers but a sucky record.

As wide open offenses proliferate, it was only time before the counter was figured out: good D and a running game to slow down the ball. What's particular to Cal is we've seen both, back to back. I'll take a winning.
GBear4Life
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question is what happened in the 2nd half? Was it execution? Was it playcalling? Was it both? Did we make adjustments Lake wasn't ready for? Because til then, it was 2018 all over again
KoreAmBear
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GBear4Life said:

question is what happened in the 2nd half? Was it execution? Was it playcalling? Was it both? Did we make adjustments Lake wasn't ready for? Because til then, it was 2018 all over again
Well I would say 2018 in that it was somewhat similar to the SC game. We looked pretty inept on offense and D kept us in the game. Then second half we came out strong and hung on. We didn't have that signature drive to end the game, but we made adjustments in the second half and got a key turnover.
Cal89
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Timely thread OTB. As stated in another discussion, I'm having that same sense too. Feels good.

I actually feel the offense can approach that of an average the Pac-12 one: a little under 6 yards per play, about 400 yards of offense a game, about 27 PPG.

If our run game begins to evaporate, based upon what I see of our passing game now, I don't think the above is doable. However, with any semblance of an offense, one with "acceptable" ball security, the offense will be improved over 2018. A couple more wins are on the table, the way I see it...

With the Mean Green coming to town, this is a good opportunity for the offense to break-out, produce in all four quarters and build more confidence. The MG is 123rd in yards per play allowed, pretty much equally bad against the run and pass. Would like to see the offense score at least 30 this Saturday...
OaktownBear
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Big C said:

sycasey said:

Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
Probably not many, but I'm afraid that we were playing over our heads in the second half Saturday. I'd love to be wrong on this.

Regarding using two tight ends and all that, I don't think we have too many good blocking tight ends. And then there's the O-line. Not sure we are capable of doing anything remotely close to what Furd was able to do, a few years back.

I had mentioned last week that the run game looked really good and the question was whether that was just something they were able to do because Davis was overmatched. But the thing is they weren't just productive, but they looked good. Seeing them do it against what has been the best defense in the conference is pretty good evidence of their capabilities. You only have 12 data points in a year. I could dismiss the first as "Davis isn't good". If they had played poorly against Davis and well against Washington, I could dismiss it as playing over their heads. I think it is tough to dismiss both. And this isn't meant as an insult, but I think you are having some Cal fan-itis. I don't think a neutral party would look at our running game the first two games and have many questions.

I don't agree on the tight ends and "then there's the O-Line"? Not sure what to make of that, but what I've seen is an O-line that has been blowing holes open for the RB's. And I would point out that we have a very good OL coach that has now had 2 full years to teach his guys.
hanky1
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The game plan since the middle of last year has been the same:

Shorten the game!!!

Keep it close in the 4th quarter and do just enough in Q4 to win. This gives us the opportunity to beat any team. Unfortunately it also allows us to be beat by anyone.

Cal only ran 50-something plays versus UW's 70-something plays last week. The time of possession favored UW, but not nearly as much as you would think from looking at the play count. I suspect it will be like this for almost every game this year. We're running the clock down on every play and preventing the other team from being on the field.
UrsaMajor
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Two quick comments:

1. I never buy the comment "we played over our heads." There is no such thing as over-achieving. By definition, if one achieves something he/she was capable of doing so. It may be that we performed at the very apex of our capability, but not above. Thus, we can do it again.

2. I also disagree in part that fans prefer high-octane offense. While poor offense is boring, if you notice, it is the big hits--tfl's and sacks that generate the biggest cheers. A dominant defense is a crowd-pleaser.
Big C
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OaktownBear said:

Big C said:

sycasey said:

Big C said:

I would LOVE to see us continue to run the ball like that, but I'm not counting on it happening, especially against stronger defenses, unless we can keep defenses honest with the pass. For those who like to note that the Air Raid isn't as successful against stronger defenses, well, this will be a similar situation... given our O-line struggles and -- again -- unless opponents fear our ability to pass downfield.
Granted it's early in the season so we don't know exactly how good anyone is yet, but . . . how many better defenses than Washington do you expect to see?
Probably not many, but I'm afraid that we were playing over our heads in the second half Saturday. I'd love to be wrong on this.

Regarding using two tight ends and all that, I don't think we have too many good blocking tight ends. And then there's the O-line. Not sure we are capable of doing anything remotely close to what Furd was able to do, a few years back.

I had mentioned last week that the run game looked really good and the question was whether that was just something they were able to do because Davis was overmatched. But the thing is they weren't just productive, but they looked good. Seeing them do it against what has been the best defense in the conference is pretty good evidence of their capabilities. You only have 12 data points in a year. I could dismiss the first as "Davis isn't good". If they had played poorly against Davis and well against Washington, I could dismiss it as playing over their heads. I think it is tough to dismiss both. And this isn't meant as an insult, but I think you are having some Cal fan-itis. I don't think a neutral party would look at our running game the first two games and have many questions.

I don't agree on the tight ends and "then there's the O-Line"? Not sure what to make of that, but what I've seen is an O-line that has been blowing holes open for the RB's. And I would point out that we have a very good OL coach that has now had 2 full years to teach his guys.
I might well have a case of Cal-fanitis. I've certainly been exposed long enough to have a chronic case.

Indeed, the O-line looked GREAT on the run blocking against the Huskies. At halftime, was anybody expecting that second half? My pessimism is based on what we were anticipating two weeks ago, based on the perceived skill of the personnel and its supposed lack of depth... then we lose Gentle Williams, then we lose Will Craig. Daltoso had a little injury there, too, right? So, are we doing it with mirrors, or what?

Believe me, I am fine with the way the offense is playing, the past two quarters. Cure my Cal-fanitis!
UrsineMaximus
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I agree, once again the defense was phenomenal albeit can we stop having the opposition with their + 10 play drives (stress)? But holding them to field goals is part of the plan, so good job lads.

I do think that the procedural call on Udbub with 4th and one from the 2 yard line was a game changer. There was plenty of time to overcome it had it not occurred, but I'm glad it occurred and that Coach Pete went for the FG.
UrsineMaximus
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We've lost 2 starters on the OL. That will test the team going forward and their performance going forward will be key to the success and identity of the team. In terms of losing players the OL unit is probably the toughest to overcome.

We will need a lot of Thunder and Lighting (Brown / Dancy) storms going forward.
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