Disappointed with the way Cal let up on defense, Jeff Tedford lit into the defense at halftime. His lecture was followed by blistering lecture from freshman linebacker Steve Fanua...wait, who? If you didn't know the name before, you'll definitely know it after reading this.
"I felt like we got sloppy with our fundamentals," [Tedford] said, recalling the final 11:14 of the second quarter when the Bears saw their 35-3 lead whittled to 35-17. "More than anything, I was disappointed in our tackling."
So much so that Tedford lit into the defense at halftime. "I told them," he said with a coy smile, "we needed to tackle better — in so many words."
Giving Tedford's anguish its due, Cal did surrender 299 first-half yards to Washington State — 30 more than the Cougars had been averaging for a full day's work. But the fire and brimstone? Classic. And it evoked a classic response.
"It seemed like it was almost too easy," defensive end Cameron Jordan said of the game's early moments. "Coach definitely let us know we were in a fistfight."
Then came the part no one expected. When Tedford had finished dousing his defenders in lighter fluid, linebacker Steve Fanua set them on fire.
"He's a young buck, a redshirt freshman," Jordan said, smiling. "He has fire in his veins. He gave us a nice little talk."
And this was received how?
"That only amps you up more," Jordan said. "Here's a guy, barely 18 years old, letting us know what this means for him. He's a young kid. He's hungry."
So was Cal's defense when it returned to the field. Jordan recorded two of his two-and-a-half sacks, and three of his six tackles in the second half. One sack defused Washington State's first drive after the intermission. Another, coming on fourth-and-10, ended a Cougars drive at the Cal 18.
Jordan also was credited in the official play-by-play with a handful of hurries on quarterback Jeff Tuel. It's not an official stat, but it's redeemable for a pat on the helmet from the head coach.
"At times we put a little pressure on them," Tedford said. "Even sometimes when we didn't get sacks we forced their quarterback to step up and throw errant passes."
The proof was in the numbers. Cal pitched a shutout in the second half, holding Washington State to a more palatable 141 yards.
After the jump we have the early odds for next week (Cal by 6.5), bowl projections, rankings, post-game quotes, injury updates, Gregory's unhappy reaction to yesterday's performance, some discussion of the wildcat by Tedford, Best, and Vereen, and much more. Tomorrow I'll have recaps of the rest of the weekend in Cal sports.
- Looking ahead to next week, Cal is favored by 6.5 over ASU. I doubt I'm the only one surprised that USC is favored by 4.5 over Oregon. That line will probably move closer to even by the end of the week.
- ESPN's Bowl projections: Schlabach thinks Cal will face Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl (pleeeease not Texas Tech!) and Feldman thinks we'll face Boston College in the Emerald Bowl. Schlabach's pick (Stanford) for the Emerald Bowl is a bit odd, as they'd have to win at least two of their next four, and those are against Oregon, USC, Cal, and Notre Dame. However, I can't blame him for not going over every single bowl projection in great detail.
- Cal is 24th in the BCS standings (thanks BeastMode!), 28th in the AP poll, and 29th in the Coaches' Poll.
- Post-game quotes from Cal and Wazzu coaches and players. My favorite quote came from Jordan "We had some nice fire words in the locker room at halftime. It came from the head coach, and it even came from one of the young bucks. Steven Fanua came in and he fired everybody up. He doesn't like losing; the boy is crazy. We came out strong in the first quarter, and we came out strong in the third quarter."
- JO has a recap of the game. Oddly enough, CCTimes posted the article twice. Rob Calonge recaps the game with quotes from Tedford.
- Best and Vereen talk about variations of the wildcat and what they'd like to see included in it. Tedford says they'll run "some part of it in every game." SFGate talks about the wildcat's success. Vereen says he wouldn't mind throwing out of the wildcat and Best says he's like to see them run an option out of it.
- Ross demonstrates some speed on special teams. Injury updates: Best sat through the fourth with lingering soreness in his foot and Derrick Hill aggravated a shoulder injury that he sustained during the bye week.
- Gregory said the defense had a "very poor day today" and that they need to "keep working with these kids to grow and mature."