Their TE is talking about running it up on our beloved Cougs in the Apple Cup. A win @ UDub and a quality bowl game performance and things are on the up and up...which should put Cal in line for another highly bloated preseason ranking in 2010.
I realize this is putting the cart before the horse, but they're not that far from that preseason ranking.
Baby carp says "wauuuuuuuuughhhhhhhhhh.........eeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhh.............ploooozzzzzz" or, in adult talk "I just took a dump in your arms."
If anything, Vereen is better as the primary ballcarrier than as the backup, which happens with many backs because they get into a rhythm carrying the ball play after play.
Now, let’s be 1,000% clear:
1. I’m not about to suggest that Vereen is more talented than Best
2. Or that Vereen’s a better playmaker than Best
3. Or a better pro prospect
4. Or that the coaching staff blew it by playing Best instead of Vereen.
Not suggesting any of that in any way.
But after watching two all-Vereen, all-the-time performances, I do wonder if Cal is more effective right now with Vereen than it would be with Best healthy and starting and getting the ball 15-20 times per game.
And I can’t help but wonder if the increased physicality of Cal’s offensive linemen has at least something to do with the fact that they have a more physical runner behind them.
I know: That’s all CRAZY TALK!
But here’s how it looks from the Hotline perspective: Vereen runs straight ahead more often than Best and he runs between the tackles better than Best – he has a little Jacquizz Rodgers in him, in that respect (a small back who runs with power up the middle).
And it sure seems that for the Bears, as currently composed, a steady between-the-tackles runner is what’s needed.
If Cal had a high-precision passing game and could move the ball consistently with five- or seven- or 11-yard passes, maybe I’d feel differently. Then you want the best big-play tailback in the country.
But the Bears’ aerial attack is both high-risk and inconsistent. It’s not like Kevin Riley is a completion machine, or his receivers catch everything thrown to them or the offensive line is a pass protection wall of granite.
All of those things happen sometimes, but not nearly enough for Cal to move the ball effectively against quality defenses.
So without a consistent passing game, the Bears need something to help them in the ball-control department. I mean, an inconsistent aerial attack and an all-or-nothing running game is a recipe for trouble against sound defenses.
And Vereen seems like a better fit than Best in the ball-control department. He almost always runs straight ahead and almost always churns out three or four yards between the tackles — and he can bust one for 20 or 30 or 60 once in a while, too.
That’s how you win conference road games in November – not by hitting one or two long runs each game, but by churning out first downs, dominating the ball and overpowering opponents between the tackles.
Vereen gives Cal a better chance to do that then Best.
I wouldn't mind seeing Vereen getting the rock 20 times a game and watching Best get 20 "touches" in other creative ways. Will we get the chance to see that in 2010?