No, this is not a porn film starring Yellow Fever (possibly pictured above) and the bored but blogging housewife living next door to him. We've gone a full week without acknowledging the rest of the Cal blogosphere and their observations and opinions of last week's Cal-Maryland game. Since SBNation is all about attracting outside opinions, let's go find them, shall we?
There are so many different viewpoints taken that some of them just need to be shared, discussed, dissected, Maharged within the CGB community. (I'm still not sure what a Maharg is, although I'll venture that it's something close to a lifeless Rick Roll).
We start with our team's most famous blogger, our coach. All be silent.
Last weekend at Maryland was very disappointing for us, but what you need to do after a loss is study it, learn from it, and move on. Football’s football. If you don’t win the red zone; if you score only six points when you’re on the 10, the eight and the four; when you have more penalties than the other team; and when your third-down conversions are not very good, then you won’t be successful in the game. Those are areas to improve on. I feel very confident that the team is focused on moving forward. While there has been a lot of talk about the time difference, I’m not sure that had as much of an effect on us as the humidity did. That’s something very hard to simulate and to get used to. But we’re not making excuses, we need to take advantage of our opportunities, and we didn’t do that last week. On a positive note, it gave us a great opportunity to get a lot of experience in our passing game, get all of our receivers involved and get Kevin a lot of reps throwing the football. That will be beneficial for us down the road.
The Bear Will Not Quit seems to be fairly levelheaded in his assessment of the team's performance, and he looks optimistic about games to come.
I have read a lot of criticism that the Cal o-line was "dominated." This is simply untrue. Yeah, they got beat a few times, but their problem was missing blocks and blocking the wrong guys most of the time. In my pregame write-up, I predicted this very thing would present problems for the Bears vs. Maryland, because I noticed Wazzu have some moderate "success" with it when their linebackers played aggressively, rather than passively. I was worried that with the odd numbers, pre-snap shifts, and overloads, Cal's blocking schemes would be frustrated. The following quote by Best after the Maryland game confirms my suspicion:
"They loaded up the box. They came with a lot of blitzes. They overloaded on the strong side. It was just hard to pick up the right guys and make a read so we just got to go in there and watch the film and get better at it."
The good news is this is easy to fix. The coaches just need to show the players how to recognize the various fronts, read their keys, and make the right blocks. And give credit to Maryland. It is one thing to load up and send guys in the gaps; it's another to actually make plays. Their linebackers played very well when they filled. Not a lot of teams will be able to do that.
Also, eventually Riley is going to be sharp enough with his throws to kill teams over the middle when they stack the box.
Sporting Contrarian has a similar rosy sentiment. Happy bloggers they be.
Bears With Fangs is slightly harsher in his assessment, albeit colored from seeing glimpses of how the team fell apart last season.
Again, Cal’s zone coverage on 3rd down was absolutely wretched. If there was any aspect of yesterday’s game that reminded me of last year’s version of the Cal squad during the 1-6 slide, it was Cal’s 3rd down defense. I may not be astute enough to understand defense to the extent that Bob Gregory does, but I know enough that when your defense is unable to get off the field because they are constantly allowing the opposing team to convert on 3rd and 16, then something isn’t quite right.
I’m not sure if it’s an issue of execution or game planning. My guess is that it’s a little bit of both. I haven’t been a fan of the soft zone coverage on 3rd downs for a while, and there was definitely a little hitch in the defense’s getup as they were very late on closing in on the ball and left too many receivers (particular at TE) open on critical conversions. I don’t believe they forced a three-an-out until midway through the second quarter.
Actually, Cal was only 57th on 3rd down conversion defense in 2007 (middle of the pack, but hardly wretched). Still way below where we want to be though.
Some fool decided it would be wise to correlate Cal's historical performances in humidity. What he found out was that the Bears have not done well in humid climates in year's past, although it could be argued that they are okay. The spreadsheet and graph are here if you want to skip the article.
However, this is pretty base stuff. Let's get some controversy in here.
Oski Talk takes a more alarmist viewpoint (although to be fair, this is his first post in months, and it appears to be written five minutes after the game ended). And he brings up a name some Cal fans do not want to hear ever again.
What the offense needed, frankly, was Nate Longshore. Yes, I am bringing that out. It has been clear to me that Riley does not have what it takes to lead a team in the regular season. So far, in games that he has started, he is 2-2. One win was probably against the worst team the Bears have ever faced, Washington State last week. Even in that game, the Bears struggled until Longshore came in during passing situations. In the other win, Riley looked pretty bad until Nate came in (and blew it to say the least). But Riley needed something to get him in the game.
I know, I know, Kevin Riley is god. But it is one thing to have all of the physical talents, and the playmaking ability - which he does have. It is quite another to put it together on game day, week in and week out when the team is counting on you. You frankly do not have that down yet as a sophomore. Teams who win National Championships do it with senior QBs. Not sophomores.
That is very true. Sophomore quarterbacks don't win many national championships. I guess I didn't realize that Cal was competing for a national championship this year. But panic is fun. I'm down for this.
Panic! Head for the hills! Hang onto bridges!
And finally, someone needs to be fired. Although I generally don't link to such posts, this article has statistical evidence to back it up, so it deserves linkage. I have a feeling this link will generate the most discussion.
Some Cal fans, myself included, have called for [Pete Alamar's] head on more than one occasion through the last few seasons. Alamar began his tenure at Cal in 2003, year 2 of the Tedford era. In each of his first 3 seasons, his special teams units failed in spectacular fashion in Los Angeles, costing Cal a rivalry game win in each occasion along with at least one long awaited Rose Bowl appearance and possibly a national championship. Those kinds of failures tend to get fans’ attention, especially when they’re in an area as seemingly mundane as special teams. Of the 3 phases of football, special teams is often treated as the redheaded stepchild. Fans tend to want special teams to never get in the way and occasionally help them win. Fans can understand occasional offensive and defensive lapses much more than they can a shanked 30 yard field goal or a kickoff coverage screw-up that leads to a huge return.
So discuss Pete Alamar, Nate Longshore, improvements that need to be made, or which Roman senator Yellow Fever is trying to bang adorning that getup. Or you can dump away!
PS: Twist told me to warn him if I was going to do a DBD. So before I forget, hey, Twist, I think I'll do today's DBD. Klolthxbrb!