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Cal Football

Bears Defenseless in 52-40 Shootout Loss to OSU

October 7, 2023
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MEMORIAL STADIUM - Though 7.5-point underdogs, tonight’s game at Memorial vs. #15 Oregon State represented a game the Bears most likely needed to get to bowl eligibility. For a while, it looked like the upset was a real possibility but in the end, horrendous kick coverage and a non-existent pass rush were the Bears’ downfall as they fell in a spirited battle, 52-40.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox was blunt about the impact the play of Cal’s defense had on the game following the loss.

“Well, I think the tape will tell, but at the end of the day, I mean, good God. They do a great job on offense, Jonathan, and Coach Mahler and those guys and their O-line is really good,”  Wilcox said after the game. “The backs are good, the receivers are fast. They use those tight ends and formation you. But I mean, I was trying to think of plays that we made on defense where we got off a block and made a tackle, or we knocked a ball down and one on one situation. I mean, we didn't we didn't do any of that. So we'll find out where the defenders are come next week, because boy, that was...and this is not taking anything away from Oregon State because I really do think those guys do a great job coaching but man, that was bad defense right there by us.”

The game marked the starting debut for redshirt frosh QB Fernando Mendoza who had only played a handful of snaps in Cal’s season-opening blowout win over North Texas in his young career. The rookie starter acquitted himself well, shaking off a somewhat slow start to complete 21-of-32 passes (66%) for 207 yards and 2 TDs with one late INT. He also ran well, picking up 41 yards in 4 carries to keep several drives alive.

"Fernando did a great job," Wilcox said. "He brought energy to the game. He made good decisions in the run game and the RPO game. He made good plays with his feet. For his first start, in that environment, against that defense, I thought he did a hell of a job. 

“Overall, I'm very pleased with what Fernando did for his first start, in that environment against that defense. The offense and Fernando...I mean, they're the reason we even had a chance in the game based on what we did on defense and kickoff team. So I thought he did a hell of a job.”

"I had best time my life out there," Mendoza said of his first start. "I was so happy. I mean, it was just great to play with my brothers and to finally get the opportunity to play and fight alongside them meant the world to me, especially Coach Wilcox and offensive staff giving me a chance. I felt that I needed to capitalize on the opportunity. And it was just great playing with my O-lineman with all five O-linemen out there, with TJ Session, Bear, Driscoll, Bastian, Vati (Sioape Vatikani), who unfortunately got hurt - prayers up for Vati. It was great just playing with them, especially with a really talented running back backfield and our receivers and our tight ends. I mean, it was just really easy for me, honestly."

Unlike last week, where starting QB Sam Jackson only managed 12 completions in their 24-21 win over ASU with half (6) going to WR Jeremiah Hunter, Mendoza spread his targets, completing passes to 9 targets, with receiver Taj Davis (6 catches for 63 yards) and tight end Jack Endries (4 receptions for 66 yards and a 30-yard TD) leading the way.

The game started off favorably for OSU. After winning the toss and deferring the kickoff to the 2nd half, the Beavers forced a turnover on downs at midfield and took the early lead with a 9-play, 52-yard drive capped off with a 4-yard Deshaun Fenwick TD run with 7:42 left in the quarter.

The Bears finally got on the board to start off the second quarter. Taking over at their 43 yard line after forcing one of only two Beaver punts of the night, the Bears drove 54 yards to the OSU 3 where their drive stalled, settling for a 20-yard Mateen Bhaghani field goal to close the gap to 7-3. The slow scoring start was anything but an indication of the scoring flurry that was to come, blowing by the 51 over/under betting line by 41 points.

The Beavers answered right back, with the bulk of their drive courtesy of Cal’s ongoing wretched kick coverage as OSU receiver Silas Bolden returned the kickoff 59 yards to the Cal 41, with an additional 15 yards tacked on with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play whistled on frosh OLB Ryan McCulloch moving the ball to the Cal 26. Four plays later, the Beavers found paydirt as backup QB Aidan Chiles hit Bolden with an 11-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 14-3 with 12:30 left in the half.

In danger of letting the game out of reach, the Bears rebounded with some special teams magic of their own as McCulloch redeemed himself by grabbing the ensuing onsides kick over his head and returning the ball 26 yards to the OSU 19. Five plays later, Mendoza completed the first TD pass of his career, hitting running back Isaiah Ifanse with a 9-yard score. Ifanse had a stellar game, rushing for 86 yards in 11 carries (7.8 ypc) and 3 TDs, with the additional two scores on the ground. The veteran running back broke tackles all game, refusing to go down at first contact.

"That guy plays so hard. Every time he carries the ball, you just see how much will he has," Wilcox said of Ifanse. "The entire stadium can see it every time he carries the ball that going down is the absolute last resort. I just love the spirit he plays with and how tough he is. He's got a ton of heart."

After MLB Jackson Sirmon forced a Bolden fumble on the first play of the following drive that was recovered by safety Patrick McMorris, the Bears took over at the OSU 49 and their rushing game went to work. 21 and 9-yard gains by Ott and an 11-yard Mendoza scramble keyed the Bears’ next scoring drive as the Bears took their first and only lead of the game on a 1-yard Ifanse waltz into the end zone to go up 17-14 on the Bhaghani PAT with 8:09 left in the half. Ott had a solid game as well before he left with leg issues, rushing for 85 yards in 13 carries (6.5 ypc) as part of a stellar rushing night for the Bears with 241 total yards on the ground.

The Beavers closed out the first half scoring with an 11-play, 75-yard drive culminating in a 3-yard Uiagalele toss to tight end Jack Velling to go up 21-17 at the half. Both players had their way with the Bears on the evening with the big tight end hauling in 3 TDs on the night and the Clemson QB transfer hitting on a stellar 19-for-25 for 275 yards and 5 TDs with no interceptions on the night. A nearly non-existent pass rush gave the big QB all the time he needed to carve up the Bears’ secondary on the night.

In the second half, all pretenses of Cal’s defense went out the window as the Beavers blitzed the Bears’ D for four straight touchdown drives and a final field goal in their five second-half possessions.

Despite the lack of second-half defense, the Bears stood toe-to-toe with OSU for the first four possessions, with both teams hitting the end zone their first two possessions. 

OSU kicked off the second half scoring with a 3-play, 50-yard TD drive with yet more poor Cal kick coverage. A 38-yard TD pass to Jesiah Irish for Uiagalele put the Beavers up 28-17 just a minute into the second half.

The Bears answered back, going 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 5-yard Ifanse TD run to pull back to 28-24. OSU answered back again, driving 66 yards in 9 plays to go up 35-24 with 4 minutes left in the quarter on a 9-yard TD grab by Velling.

Again the Bears’ offense responded, driving 75 yards in 8 plays, with Mendoza hitting a wide-open Endries for a 30-yard TD reception with 2:45 left in the quarter. A successful 2-point conversion pass to Jeremiah Hunter pulled the Bears to within just 3 with little more than a quarter to go.

It was all downhill from there.

OSU started off the fourth quarter scoring, driving 64 yards in 9 plays to go up 42-32 on a 1-yard Damien Martinez run with 14:25 remaining. After an Ashton Stredick fumble gave the ball back to OSU at the Cal 49, the Beavers needed only four plays to hit paydirt again, scoring on a 2-yard completion to Isaac Hudgins to go up 49-32 after the conversion.

Following a Mendoza interception, the Beavers chewed up a backbreaking 9 minutes of clock to extend their lead to 52-32 with 2:55 left in the game after an Atticus Sappington 32-yard field goal.

Not content to lie down, Mendoza led the Bears on a final scoring drive, going 75 yards in 5 plays on the strength of an 18-yard Ifanse run and a 38-yard reception by receiver Trond Grizzell. Frosh running back Jaivien Thomas picked up his first TD of his career, scampering in from 9 yards out for the score. A successful 2-point conversion reception by Grizzell closed out the scoring, with the final 52-40 margin.

The Bears suffered some critical injuries in the game, with Ott remaining on the sidelines much of the second half and offensive guard Sioape Vatikani and MLB Jackson Sirmon exiting the game as well. Wilcox was non-committal on their injury statuses, though Ott’s did not appear as significant. 

The Bears’ special teams unit continues to be a major problem, with this week’s culprits being kickoff location and kick return coverage.

"It was everybody, the kicker and the coverage unit, everybody's involved," Wilcox said of their coverage woes. "We we did not go into the game thinking we're just going to kick it to Bolden on the two-yard line. That was not practiced one time. I mean, we had meeting after meeting and we had a number of different kicks that we were trying to employ. And the very first one didn't go close to where we were trying to get it to go in all honesty, and then the ones that were closer in terms of the kicks, we didn't cover as well. And then he tracked one down off a bounce and ran it up the other sideline. We just didn't do a good job on kickoff, flat out."

The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3 (1-2) on the season and things only get harder from here as they’ll prepare to face Utah in Salt Lake City next weekend.

“I think I played pretty well,” Mendoza said after the game. “But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me is winning. And I mean, you can have your personal accolades and have a good game. I believe that I did decently well for my first start, especially against a solid Oregon State defense. I have to give it out to their defensive coordinator, Coach Bray, who did a really good job, and he was really tough to go against. However, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters to me is winning. And I'm just looking forward to Utah, because I know we're gonna have a chance against them and I just can't wait.”

Discussion from...

Bears Defenseless in 52-40 Shootout Loss to OSU

13,635 Views | 80 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by Strykur
heartofthebear
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What's interesting about listening to Wilcox, is that some of his observations are things he could have easily said last week too. And so clearly he has no clue about how to address them. When you have issues and catastrophically bad performances being repeated week in and week out, you have a coaching problem. Maybe more than one. Maybe that coaching problem is Justin Wilcox himself.

I mean the kick coverage is not just bad. It's pathetic. Not a single pass was defended. The OSU QB could literally pass at will. Why? Yeah the OSU team is good. But, has anyone noticed that this is happening every week. Idaho had passing success. North Texas had passing success. Auburn did not because Auburn has one of the worst QBs in all of college football and we still found away to let him score the winning TD in the 4th Q.

This stuff is obvious, consistent, blatant and costly. It doesn't take rocket science to see the coaching failures involved here.
MoragaBear
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heartofthebear said:

What's interesting about listening to Wilcox, is that some of his observations are things he could have easily said last week too. And so clearly he has no clue about how to address them. When you have issues and catastrophically bad performances being repeated week in and week out, you have a coaching problem. Maybe more than one. Maybe that coaching problem is Justin Wilcox himself.

I mean the kick coverage is not just bad. It's pathetic. Not a single pass was defended. The OSU QB could literally pass at will. Why? Yeah the OSU team is good. But, has anyone noticed that this is happening every week. Idaho had passing success. North Texas had passing success. Auburn did not because Auburn has one of the worst QBs in all of college football and we still found away to let him score the winning TD in the 4th Q.

This stuff is obvious, consistent, blatant and costly. It doesn't take rocket science to see the coaching failures involved here.
The pass defense and pass rush was horrendous tonight but it hasn't happened every week. The UNT QBs were 15-26 (57%) for 184 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INT. The Idaho QB was 28-46 for 279 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. The Auburn QBs were 10-17 (58%) for only 94 yards. But since then, the pass coverage and rush have significantly declined, obviously against better competition with the exception of Auburn.


The league is stacked but the program just can't be where it is now in the 7th year of a head coach's tenure, with the last bowl game 5 seasons in the rearview mirror.
BearoutEast67
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Time to let the team gel around Mendoza. The D will really need to match Utah's energy next week. I wonder if dividing up the CB and S coaching is causing them to play less cohesively.
Donate to Cal's NIL at https://calegends.com/donation/
blungld
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Some personnel decisions seem super questionable. How do you miss Mendoza's ability and attitude? And I get replacing Luckhurst on FGs (we had to) but he was still booting kickoffs into the end zone. Am I wrong, but did he lose lose kick off duty too?

"The Bear will not quilt, the Bear will not dye!"
82gradDLSdad
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One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
Rushinbear
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82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
maybe you need to practice the 2 point conversion more than you need to practice the 1 pointer?
Trumpanzee
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Isn't Wiclox coaching strength defense.........
oskidunker
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blungld said:

Some personnel decisions seem super questionable. How do you miss Mendoza's ability and attitude? And I get replacing Luckhurst on FGs (we had to) but he was still booting kickoffs into the end zone. Am I wrong, but did he lose lose kick off duty too?
That is puzzling
Go Bears!
82gradDLSdad
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Rushinbear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
maybe you need to practice the 2 point conversion more than you need to practice the 1 pointer?


But you play to win the game. I'm old enough to remember the 1972 SF Dallas game. 49ers up 12 with about two minutes to go. I know we only had about a minute but still. Ironically, Wilcox's dad remembers this game too. He was playing in it.
socaltownie
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Its talent (80-90%). Cal has lacked for a decade an NFL-sniffing edge rusher and thus OSU (and Washington's) QB sat back and ate the defense for dinner. We can't apparently sniff an NLF califber kicker and thus even with all the coachign (which this board beats up) our guy couldn't kick it in the place they wanted to try to limit their return game.

Until the entire program (and I mean DONORS, COaches, adminsitration) do a deep dive on the why this will continue to be the outcome and I will get more saturday's free for Spin class and sprinkler repair.
eastbayyoungbear
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oskidunker said:

blungld said:

Some personnel decisions seem super questionable. How do you miss Mendoza's ability and attitude? And I get replacing Luckhurst on FGs (we had to) but he was still booting kickoffs into the end zone. Am I wrong, but did he lose lose kick off duty too?
That is puzzling


Is it possible that he's just not with the team anymore and Wilcox is covering for him until the end of the season?
oskidunker
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eastbayyoungbear said:

oskidunker said:

blungld said:

Some personnel decisions seem super questionable. How do you miss Mendoza's ability and attitude? And I get replacing Luckhurst on FGs (we had to) but he was still booting kickoffs into the end zone. Am I wrong, but did he lose lose kick off duty too?
That is puzzling


Is it possible that he's just not with the team anymore and Wilcox is covering for him until the end of the season?
He was warming up kicking before the game. He is there. Wilcox originally said Luckhurst would still handle kickoffs. Not sure what changed. He kicked the ball out of the end zone about half the time. Not sure it would have mattered as osu was running the few that made the end zone out and gaining huge yards. They have a plan. We dont .
Go Bears!
Boot
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Special teams and line play on both sides of the ball have been awful for years.
Now you can add the secondary.
Rushinbear
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Trumpanzee said:

Isn't Wiclox coaching strength defense.........
doesn't know offense - check.
doesn't know special teams - check.
now, apparently, doesn't know defense - check.

sad that our hc has to self-report this. at what point does he throw in the towel and save what's left of his dignity? at some point, that will outweigh the money.
Bobodeluxe
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Rushinbear said:

Trumpanzee said:

Isn't Wiclox coaching strength defense.........
doesn't know offense - check.
doesn't know special teams - check.
now, apparently, doesn't know defense - check.

sad that our hc has to self-report this. at what point does he throw in the towel and save what's left of his dignity? at some point, that will outweigh the money.
$20 million buys all the dignity in the world.
Rushinbear
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Bobodeluxe said:

Rushinbear said:

Trumpanzee said:

Isn't Wiclox coaching strength defense.........
doesn't know offense - check.
doesn't know special teams - check.
now, apparently, doesn't know defense - check.

sad that our hc has to self-report this. at what point does he throw in the towel and save what's left of his dignity? at some point, that will outweigh the money.
$20 million buys all the dignity in the world.
new chancellor --> new ad --> new hc. that's how it has to happen. so, it starts with getting a new chancellor who supports sports and, frankly, football as the engine. that means we must wait at least one more year, because the dignity is not outweighing the money, at the moment (and it's not like he doesn't have a big bank account already).
82gradDLSdad
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Wilcox has a career AD job to look forward to. Nice, soft spoken guy who seems like he knows what he is talking about while making mediocre, non boat rocking decisions about everything. He will fit right in at a lot of places. Quitting would be boat rocking. He's not doing that.
heartofthebear
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82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.
heartofthebear
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MoragaBear said:

heartofthebear said:

What's interesting about listening to Wilcox, is that some of his observations are things he could have easily said last week too. And so clearly he has no clue about how to address them. When you have issues and catastrophically bad performances being repeated week in and week out, you have a coaching problem. Maybe more than one. Maybe that coaching problem is Justin Wilcox himself.

I mean the kick coverage is not just bad. It's pathetic. Not a single pass was defended. The OSU QB could literally pass at will. Why? Yeah the OSU team is good. But, has anyone noticed that this is happening every week. Idaho had passing success. North Texas had passing success. Auburn did not because Auburn has one of the worst QBs in all of college football and we still found away to let him score the winning TD in the 4th Q.

This stuff is obvious, consistent, blatant and costly. It doesn't take rocket science to see the coaching failures involved here.
The pass defense and pass rush was horrendous tonight but it hasn't happened every week. The UNT QBs were 15-26 (57%) for 184 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INT. The Idaho QB was 28-46 for 279 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. The Auburn QBs were 10-17 (58%) for only 94 yards. But since then, the pass coverage and rush have significantly declined, obviously against better competition with the exception of Auburn.


The league is stacked but the program just can't be where it is now in the 7th year of a head coach's tenure, with the last bowl game 5 seasons in the rearview mirror.
When you factor in the level of competition, our pass D has been the worst unit on the field consistently all year and going back into last season as well. It's a major coaching failure when you have 2 guys failing to do what 1 guy could do.
Rushinbear
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heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.
I get it. I was just grasping at straws - why, indeed, the 2 pointer, unless he didn't anticipate the non-defense?
82gradDLSdad
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heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.
oski003
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82gradDLSdad said:

heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.


Last week we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.
concordtom
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What a fabulous game summary, and so many videos inserts, Moraga!
You do your town proud!!
Thx!
UrsineMaximus
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82gradDLSdad said:

Rushinbear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
maybe you need to practice the 2 point conversion more than you need to practice the 1 pointer?


But you play to win the game. I'm old enough to remember the 1972 SF Dallas game. 49ers up 12 with about two minutes to go. I know we only had about a minute but still. Ironically, Wilcox's dad remembers this game too. He was playing in it.
You may have missed it but Wilcox's Dad passed away recently.
UrsineMaximus
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blungld said:

Some personnel decisions seem super questionable. How do you miss Mendoza's ability and attitude? And I get replacing Luckhurst on FGs (we had to) but he was still booting kickoffs into the end zone. Am I wrong, but did he lose lose kick off duty too?
Luckhurst not kicking off is dumbfounding given Wilcox, 2 weeks ago, said that Luckhurst would continue in that capacity. And yet 2 weeks ago he didn't nor this week either. Why he didn't kick this week and hit them out of the end zone per his usual needs an explanation. Especially since the staff was concerned and schemed for the OSU kick returner. Big fail.

The only one I can come up with is they are preserving a red shirt? dunno
UrsineMaximus
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82gradDLSdad said:

Wilcox has a career AD job to look forward to. Nice, soft spoken guy who seems like he knows what he is talking about while making mediocre, non boat rocking decisions about everything. He will fit right in at a lot of places. Quitting would be boat rocking. He's not doing that.
I was a supporter of Wilcox before his name was mentioned as a replacement to Dykes. I felt at the time that he would be a good HC. That said there were things about him I didn't know. Specifically his C level management of hiring and firing. He has been an abysmal failure in identifying hires ~ especially at OC ~, hires friends (Sirmon) and mis-manages staff (2 DB coaches, no ST coach). He fails in indentfying these failures and takes way too long firing his mistakes. At this point one of the DB coaches needs to go, Sirmon needs to go and possibly even Toller.

Given the above, I doubt Wilcox would be a good AD. In fact Wilcox should never have this much authority again.
Bobodeluxe
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UrsineMaximus said:

82gradDLSdad said:

Wilcox has a career AD job to look forward to. Nice, soft spoken guy who seems like he knows what he is talking about while making mediocre, non boat rocking decisions about everything. He will fit right in at a lot of places. Quitting would be boat rocking. He's not doing that.
I was a supporter of Wilcox before his name was mentioned as a replacement to Dykes. I felt at the time that he would be a good HC. That said there were things about him I didn't know. Specifically his C level management of hiring and firing. He has been an abysmal failure in identifying hires ~ especially at OC ~, hires friends (Sirmon) and mis-manages staff (2 DB coaches, no ST coach). He fails in indentfying these failures and takes way too long firing his mistakes. At this point one of the DB coaches needs to go, Sirmon needs to go and possibly even Toller.

Given the above, I doubt Wilcox would be a good AD. In fact Wilcox should never have this much authority again.
Tommy Holmoe has done well after guiding our Bears.
MoragaBear
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concordtom said:

What a fabulous game summary, and so many videos inserts, Moraga!
You do your town proud!!
Thx!
Thanks, my fellow Miramonte Matador I try to write the reports in a way that people can get a feel for the game if they didn't see it or remember it more clearly if they did.
heartofthebear
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MoragaBear said:

heartofthebear said:

What's interesting about listening to Wilcox, is that some of his observations are things he could have easily said last week too. And so clearly he has no clue about how to address them. When you have issues and catastrophically bad performances being repeated week in and week out, you have a coaching problem. Maybe more than one. Maybe that coaching problem is Justin Wilcox himself.

I mean the kick coverage is not just bad. It's pathetic. Not a single pass was defended. The OSU QB could literally pass at will. Why? Yeah the OSU team is good. But, has anyone noticed that this is happening every week. Idaho had passing success. North Texas had passing success. Auburn did not because Auburn has one of the worst QBs in all of college football and we still found away to let him score the winning TD in the 4th Q.

This stuff is obvious, consistent, blatant and costly. It doesn't take rocket science to see the coaching failures involved here.
The pass defense and pass rush was horrendous tonight but it hasn't happened every week. The UNT QBs were 15-26 (57%) for 184 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INT. The Idaho QB was 28-46 for 279 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. The Auburn QBs were 10-17 (58%) for only 94 yards. But since then, the pass coverage and rush have significantly declined, obviously against better competition with the exception of Auburn.


The league is stacked but the program just can't be where it is now in the 7th year of a head coach's tenure, with the last bowl game 5 seasons in the rearview mirror.
To do a fair analysis of Cal's passing defense over the season, you'd have to compare how Cal did versus how other teams have done versus the same team.
  • In the cases of N. Texas and Idaho, no team is similar enough to Cal in expectation and talent level to make a fair comparison.
  • In the case of Washington, Cal allowed less than what Washington is averaging against quality D1 level competion. They allowed around 389 and Washington is averaging around 450 per game.
  • Washington is the only case where Cal did better than other similar level teams.
  • Against Auburn Cal did worse than Texas A&M. Allowing 94 compared to 56.
  • Against ASU, Cal did significantly worse than the rest of Cal's peers, allowing over 100 yards more than the average of the other competition that played against ASU. Some of that could be due to the fact that ASU had worse QB injury issues prior to the Cal game. But that is hard to determine.
  • Against OSU Cal again allowed over 100 yards more than OSU's passing average against similar teams.

CONCLUSION

One can try to make the argument that, overall, when you factor in INTs, Cal's pass defense held it's own earlier in the season. But since conference play has begun, overall Cal's pass defense has actually gotten worse each week.

When you consider that Cal's secondary was supposed to be better than average, the fact that they started the season at roughly an average level of pass defense, opposition level factored in, and now they have gotten even worse, and when you consider that there are 2 coaches for the unit and that the coaches were tasked with improving problems with big plays over the off-season, and when you consider that big plays have characterized Cal's drop off during the season, and when you consider that other units like the offense are no longer a big problem, it is clear that, other than parts of Cal's STs, the pass defense is pretty much single handedly destoying what would otherwise be a promising season.

When you factor in that the same could have been said for Cal's offensive line and scoring problems over the last 3 years and Wilcox still took 3 years to address it, I find it necessary to pound Wilcox over and over and over again endlessly regarding his DB coaches until he replaces them. Otherwise he might let the next 2 years go down the tubes just like this one is. And we can't afford that.

I know that I have ended up with a reputation as very negative. Actually I am impressed with this Cal team. I think we have an excellent running game, a pretty good red zone defense and now we have found a QB to open up the passing game. Wilcox has made some needed changes, most noteworthy at PK. And the OL is much more serviceable now. Cal is becoming a fun team to watch again. And we are so close to getting back to where we want to be. We have good quality personnel and depth almost everywhere on the field.

So it is much more costly to let a few bad coaches ruin the whole situation. Cal doesn't get the opportunity to compete to get to a good bowl very often or to be ranked. But Cal has the capacity to do that with their current roster and most of their coaching.

When you are that close to turning the corner, you don't hesitate to make the needed changes to get the rest of the way. There are 2 changes. Hire a quality ST coach and replace the DB coaches. THAT'S IT!!! THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING FOR. IT'S BOTH REASONABLE AND DO-ABLE. SO WHY NOT DO IT NOW!!

Last year Wilcox fired the offensive coaches mid-season and the offense improved. So why not do that this season.
UrsineMaximus
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heartofthebear said:

MoragaBear said:

heartofthebear said:

What's interesting about listening to Wilcox, is that some of his observations are things he could have easily said last week too. And so clearly he has no clue about how to address them. When you have issues and catastrophically bad performances being repeated week in and week out, you have a coaching problem. Maybe more than one. Maybe that coaching problem is Justin Wilcox himself.

I mean the kick coverage is not just bad. It's pathetic. Not a single pass was defended. The OSU QB could literally pass at will. Why? Yeah the OSU team is good. But, has anyone noticed that this is happening every week. Idaho had passing success. North Texas had passing success. Auburn did not because Auburn has one of the worst QBs in all of college football and we still found away to let him score the winning TD in the 4th Q.

This stuff is obvious, consistent, blatant and costly. It doesn't take rocket science to see the coaching failures involved here.
The pass defense and pass rush was horrendous tonight but it hasn't happened every week. The UNT QBs were 15-26 (57%) for 184 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INT. The Idaho QB was 28-46 for 279 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. The Auburn QBs were 10-17 (58%) for only 94 yards. But since then, the pass coverage and rush have significantly declined, obviously against better competition with the exception of Auburn.


The league is stacked but the program just can't be where it is now in the 7th year of a head coach's tenure, with the last bowl game 5 seasons in the rearview mirror.
To do a fair analysis of Cal's passing defense over the season, you'd have to compare how Cal did versus how other teams have done versus the same team.
  • In the cases of N. Texas and Idaho, no team is similar enough to Cal in expectation and talent level to make a fair comparison.
  • In the case of Washington, Cal allowed less than what Washington is averaging against quality D1 level competion. They allowed around 389 and Washington is averaging around 450 per game.
  • Washington is the only case where Cal did better than other similar level teams.
  • Against Auburn Cal did worse than Texas A&M. Allowing 94 compared to 56.
  • Against ASU, Cal did significantly worse than the rest of Cal's peers, allowing over 100 yards more than the average of the other competition that played against ASU. Some of that could be due to the fact that ASU had worse QB injury issues prior to the Cal game. But that is hard to determine.
  • Against OSU Cal again allowed over 100 yards more than OSU's passing average against similar teams.

CONCLUSION

One can try to make the argument that, overall, when you factor in INTs, Cal's pass defense held it's own earlier in the season. But since conference play has begun, overall Cal's pass defense has actually gotten worse each week.

When you consider that Cal's secondary was supposed to be better than average, the fact that they started the season at roughly an average level of pass defense, opposition level factored in, and now they have gotten even worse, and when you consider that there are 2 coaches for the unit and that the coaches were tasked with improving problems with big plays over the off-season, and when you consider that big plays have characterized Cal's drop off during the season, and when you consider that other units like the offense are no longer a big problem, it is clear that, other than parts of Cal's STs, the pass defense is pretty much single handedly destoying what would otherwise be a promising season.

When you factor in that the same could have been said for Cal's offensive line and scoring problems over the last 3 years and Wilcox still took 3 years to address it, I find it necessary to pound Wilcox over and over and over again endlessly regarding his DB coaches until he replaces them. Otherwise he might let the next 2 years go down the tubes just like this one is. And we can't afford that.

I know that I have ended up with a reputation as very negative. Actually I am impressed with this Cal team. I think we have an excellent running game, a pretty good red zone defense and now we have found a QB to open up the passing game. Wilcox has made some needed changes, most noteworthy at PK. And the OL is much more serviceable now. Cal is becoming a fun team to watch again. And we are so close to getting back to where we want to be. We have good quality personnel and depth almost everywhere on the field.

So it is much more costly to let a few bad coaches ruin the whole situation. Cal doesn't get the opportunity to compete to get to a good bowl very often or to be ranked. But Cal has the capacity to do that with their current roster and most of their coaching.

When you are that close to turning the corner, you don't hesitate to make the needed changes to get the rest of the way. There are 2 changes. Hire a quality ST coach and replace the DB coaches. THAT'S IT!!! THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING FOR. IT'S BOTH REASONABLE AND DO-ABLE. SO WHY NOT DO IT NOW!!

Last year Wilcox fired the offensive coaches mid-season and the offense improved. So why not do that this season.
During his post game interview, several games ago, Sirmon said that he went too vanilla. Seems to be his M.O. Sirmon makes mediocre QBs look good e.g. the ND QB last year. DJ at OSU was very average prior to this game and Cal gave him confidence when the scouting report on him was to pressure him.
01Bear
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Bobodeluxe said:

UrsineMaximus said:

82gradDLSdad said:

Wilcox has a career AD job to look forward to. Nice, soft spoken guy who seems like he knows what he is talking about while making mediocre, non boat rocking decisions about everything. He will fit right in at a lot of places. Quitting would be boat rocking. He's not doing that.
I was a supporter of Wilcox before his name was mentioned as a replacement to Dykes. I felt at the time that he would be a good HC. That said there were things about him I didn't know. Specifically his C level management of hiring and firing. He has been an abysmal failure in identifying hires ~ especially at OC ~, hires friends (Sirmon) and mis-manages staff (2 DB coaches, no ST coach). He fails in indentfying these failures and takes way too long firing his mistakes. At this point one of the DB coaches needs to go, Sirmon needs to go and possibly even Toller.

Given the above, I doubt Wilcox would be a good AD. In fact Wilcox should never have this much authority again.
Tommy Holmoe has done well after guiding our Bears.

Is that what we're calling it now? Guiding? That guy ruined my college experience re Cal football. He was the head coach all four years I was an undergrad. I learned to be apathetic about Cal football because of how poorly he coached. I doubt I was alone. Fortunately, Tedford was hired when I was a young alumnus and still lived in Berkeley so I was able to develop into a Cal football fan.
calumnus
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oski003 said:

82gradDLSdad said:

heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.


Last week we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


We beat ASU.

The comparison is the week before against UW we were driving for what would have been the 4th TD in 4 drives with Jackson at QB completing over 70% and potentially Javian Thomas' first career TD, first down on the UW 33 with 40 seconds left…but instead we ran twice into the pile to run out the clock….

oski003
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calumnus said:

oski003 said:

82gradDLSdad said:

heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.


Last week we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


We beat ASU.

The comparison is the week before against UW we were driving for what would have been the 5th TD in 5 drives with Jackson at QB completing over 70% and potentially Javian Thomas' first career TD, first down on the UW 33 with 40 seconds left…but instead we ran twice into the pile to run out the clock….




Two weeks ago we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.
calumnus
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oski003 said:

calumnus said:

oski003 said:

82gradDLSdad said:

heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.


Last week we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


We beat ASU.

The comparison is the week before against UW we were driving for what would have been the 5th TD in 5 drives with Jackson at QB completing over 70% and potentially Javian Thomas' first career TD, first down on the UW 33 with 40 seconds left…but instead we ran twice into the pile to run out the clock….




Two weeks ago we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


We went from the Cal 26 to the UW 33 in 3 plays, then ran out the clock running the Jet into the pile twice and letting the clock run. Why not just let them score? Your "banged up RB" the Jet could have gotten his first college TD. Jackson, the "banged up QB" was playing well, completing over 70% and leading us to TDs on every drive. You don't think he could have used the reps? It is not like he is a finished product. Besides, if the Jet is "banged up" running him into the pile isn't going to help is it?

If you are set on defending Wilcox just say maybe Wilcox learned something and might the right decision this time.

oski003
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calumnus said:

oski003 said:

calumnus said:

oski003 said:

82gradDLSdad said:

heartofthebear said:

82gradDLSdad said:

One small coaching decision that didn't affect anything but I couldn't figure out (maybe BI can explain it to me like I'm a 3rd grader):
Why did we go for two at the end?
Down 14 after TD. Why not kick PAT and be down 13? What did getting to 12 down do? There was still a minute chance of getting two TDs and winning instead of getting two TDs and tying.
To get the practice. If you miss it. You still tie with 2 TDs. The chances of Cal getting one more, let alone 2 more possessions was not great enough to make the difference between a tie and win be greater than the benefit of practicing the 2 point conversion. The trouble is that OSU didn't really bother to defend it so I'm not sure what was practiced.


So one week we run plays at end of game for practice and in another we take a knee...for practice. I just think it's because...Wilcox.


Last week we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


We beat ASU.

The comparison is the week before against UW we were driving for what would have been the 5th TD in 5 drives with Jackson at QB completing over 70% and potentially Javian Thomas' first career TD, first down on the UW 33 with 40 seconds left…but instead we ran twice into the pile to run out the clock….




Two weeks ago we had a banged up QB and a banged up RB. This week we had a new QB getting some reps in garbage time.


Then why run tempo and go the length of the field to get to the Red Zone before burning clock? Again, the "banged up QB" was leading scoring drives on every possession and completing over 70% he didn't look banged up. The RB was The Jet getting his first meaningful minutes and he was getting 14 yards per carry. If he was "banged up" he wasn't showing it either, and certainly running him into the pile twice wouldn't help that would it?


The running back I am referring to is Ott. We played hard and got some momentum going. When there was less than a minute left, we did a couple runs and the game ended. Simple as that. If this was Madden with injury mode off, we would have kept up the fast pace. Hatters gonna hat.
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