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Cal Football Wednesday Report

November 18, 2020
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According to the head coach and the players, the Bears are out to erase the memory of Sunday’s loss to UCLA by taking out their frustrations on the practice field. Head coach Justin Wilcox addressed the media after Wednesday evening’s workout and was enthused.

“Practice has been really spirited,” he said. “Everybody came out yesterday and we had our traditional Tuesday practice and it was physical. A lot of spirit in practice yesterday. I thought they did a great job, one of our best practices of the year if not the best. Followed it up with another good day today.

“The test for that is on Saturday (at Oregon State). We’ve got to carry that over. We know we’ve got a challenge ahead of us, we’ve got to improve. I thought our players' mentality today is right where we needed it to be.”

“I think the intensity of practice has definitely been there,” linebacker Kuony Deng said. “The focus has been there, the competitiveness, the physicality…..Focusing on finishing. Getting the uptempo work we need.”

Safety Cam Bynum was also all in.

“I’ve seen practices being a lot more energetic,” Bynum said. “After a loss, you’ve got to go back and evaluate everything you’ve been doing. One thing the energy at practice needed to be stepped up. I think the energy and focus at practice is a lot higher. People jawing at each other and that’s what we need as a team to be more competitive 

“We are tackling a lot more. Not really tackling but instead of tagging up on people we are setting up and making contact because our tackling wasn’t good enough. That alone will bring energy.”

Ah, the tackling. UCLA repeatedly slipped through the grasp of would-be Cal tacklers, sometimes more than one on any given play. Ever since the Bears began practicing last month defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon has been decrying the sorry state of tackling in current football at all levels. He stressed the Bears would constantly work on their tackling skills. 

After Sunday’s game, they are going at it even harder.

“We tackle in practice and we continue to work on tackling in practice,” Sirmon said Wednesday morning. “Yesterday we worked on some big tackling drills in a lot of space, finding ways to find some more contact within the structure of practice. We have to get our legs underneath us. It is good to get everybody back together. We are going to continue to emphasize tackling. We’ll find new ways to emphasize tackling. The misses kind of showed themselves and we will try to find the best way to correct those.”

Was it a case of players being out of position, or poor technique stemming from lack of live practices?

“Probably a little bit of both,” Sirmon said. “Sometimes when there are tackling issues there are also space issues. A couple of them it was just getting guys on the ground. I can think of a couple of them off the top of my head when some of our better players were in as good a position as you are going to find yourself in. We just need to continue to stress finishing plays.”

Under the current COVID restrictions, the Bears have not been able to stage “live” situations very often.

“We have drilled it,” Wilcox said. “Sometimes to simulate a live game it’s really difficult. We had some scrimmage situations, and a couple of those live tackling drills. We’ve been walking the tightrope this last month. Getting prepared to play with kind of where we were physically and the numbers on the roster. We didn’t tackle well in the game, We continue to work on it in practice,,,I expect us to improve in that area.”

Freshman nose guard Stanley McKenzie, who was scratched from Sunday’s game is practicing and should be ready to play against Oregon State in Corvallis Saturday.

“Stanley got cleared by the medical team, and we expect Stanley to be able to play,” Wilcox saId. “How much remains to be seen. ...We expected Stanley to play a lot last week, but he wasn’t able to. He’s still a young player. He hasn’t played in a college game yet. But he’s built for the position, he really likes football he plays hard.

“I don’t know if he’ll be perfect but I know he’ll go out there and compete. We are looking forward to having him out there. He’s been thrust into a position based on roster attrition. We are going to continue to work with Stanley daily. We think he’s a good player.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said having the defensive line back at practice helped not only the defense but the offense as well.

“You’ve been to football games and football practices. It’s a physical game, 11 on 11,” he said. “Best to train that way in preparation for something you are going to do on game day. So it was a good practice and we’re looking forward to having another one.”

And he anticipates improvement for the woeful offensive showing against the Bruins.

“We are looking to make big jumps from week one to week two. That goes for any season, especially this season. We’re a new group on offense and we finally got on the field, which was great. So many people worked long and hard to get us on the field. And to get some experience, it was invaluable. We are looking forward to applying those lessons learned this Saturday in Corvallis.”

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Discussion from...

Cal Football Wednesday Report

1,720 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 3 days ago by SFCityBear
heartofthebear
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Glad they are taking OSU seriously.
OSU is no pushover under Smith.
Last year they almost ruined the Cal season in Berkeley.
Last week they played Washington hard, losing only 24-21.
They have a lot of new guys on offense but their LB core is one of the best in the country and their front 7 overall is stout.
Plus it's never easy in Corvallis, although 12th man shouldn't be as much of a factor.
Temps will be around 50 degrees for the duration of the game.
calumnus
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heartofthebear said:

Glad they are taking OSU seriously.
OSU is no pushover under Smith.
Last year they almost ruined the Cal season in Berkeley.
Last week they played Washington hard, losing only 24-21.
They have a lot of new guys on offense but their LB core is one of the best in the country and their front 7 overall is stout.
Plus it's never easy in Corvallis, although 12th man shouldn't be as much of a factor.
Temps will be around 50 degrees for the duration of the game.


Wilcox is 2-1 against OSU
Dykes was 2-2
Tedford was 3-8

In the years from1999 to 2013, Cal was 3-12 against OSU.

Since then we are 4-2 Including a loss in OT in Corvallis in 2016.

Strangely Tedford never beat OSU in Berkeley. His only home win against them was 2011 when we played at AT&T in San Francisco.

We beat OSU at Memorial in 1997. Holmoe's first year. Our next win at Memorial against OSU was 18 years later in 2015, in the third year under Dykes. Bizarre.
upsetof86
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calumnus said:

heartofthebear said:

Glad they are taking OSU seriously.
OSU is no pushover under Smith.
Last year they almost ruined the Cal season in Berkeley.
Last week they played Washington hard, losing only 24-21.
They have a lot of new guys on offense but their LB core is one of the best in the country and their front 7 overall is stout.
Plus it's never easy in Corvallis, although 12th man shouldn't be as much of a factor.
Temps will be around 50 degrees for the duration of the game.


Wilcox is 3-0 against OSU
Dykes was 2-2
Tedford was 3-8

In the years from1999 to 2013, Cal was 3-12 against OSU.

Since then we are 5-1 with the only loss in OT in Corvallis in 2016.

Strangely Tedford never beat OSU in Berkeley. His only home win against them was 2011 when we played at AT&T in San Francisco.

We beat OSU at Memorial in 1997. Holmoe's first year. Our next win at Memorial against OSU was 18 years later in 2015, in the third year under Dykes. Bizarre.


Isn't Wilcox 2-1 vs Oregon State?
calumnus
How long do you want to ignore this user?
upsetof86 said:

calumnus said:

heartofthebear said:

Glad they are taking OSU seriously.
OSU is no pushover under Smith.
Last year they almost ruined the Cal season in Berkeley.
Last week they played Washington hard, losing only 24-21.
They have a lot of new guys on offense but their LB core is one of the best in the country and their front 7 overall is stout.
Plus it's never easy in Corvallis, although 12th man shouldn't be as much of a factor.
Temps will be around 50 degrees for the duration of the game.


Wilcox is 2-1 against OSU
Dykes was 2-2
Tedford was 3-8

In the years from1999 to 2013, Cal was 3-12 against OSU.

Since then we are 4-2 including a loss in OT in Corvallis in 2016.

Strangely Tedford never beat OSU in Berkeley. His only home win against them was 2011 when we played at AT&T in San Francisco.

We beat OSU at Memorial in 1997. Holmoe's first year. Our next win at Memorial against OSU was 18 years later in 2015, in the third year under Dykes. Bizarre.


Isn't Wilcox 2-1 vs Oregon State?


Yes, thanks. So, I think Wilcox is the first Cal coach to have a winning record against OSU since Mooch?
heartofthebear
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Do you think it is motivation?
Seems like a great deal of Cal kids come from SoCal and get up for UCLA and USC and not so much for some of the other games. It's just a theory but we've played some of our worst games against OSU (need I mention the Riley games?). OSU should not have even been close in that game.
SFCityBear
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heartofthebear said:

Do you think it is motivation?
Seems like a great deal of Cal kids come from SoCal and get up for UCLA and USC and not so much for some of the other games. It's just a theory but we've played some of our worst games against OSU (need I mention the Riley games?). OSU should not have even been close in that game.
"The Riley Games"? My memory is a little fuzzy, I'm sure, but as I recall, the first "Riley Game", was where Kevin Riley (who was a freshman) was the QB. He played a helluva game and nearly brought the Bears back at the end to win it, when he made a wrong decision. Imagine the pressure on a freshman without a lot of game experience, having to deal with maybe a hundred plays or more, all printed on a hunk of cardboard which had grown to the size a of big screen TV, being thrown at him by a control freak of a coach, Jeff Tedford, who screamed at him after the loss, blaming him for making a decision costing us the game. It was a valiant effort by Riley and the Bears, not one of our "worst games". If anything, Tedford should have shouldered some of the blame for the loss, for not fully preparing his QB as to what decision to make in that final play situation, and not ripped his player with a show of temper on television for all to see. It was one of Tedford's worse games, not one of Riley's, IMHO.
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