I'm not going to bother rehashing this game too much--as Red from Shawshank said, "Same shit, different day." Let's talk about Jeff Tedford instead. Because to be frank, I haven't been really impressed with our coaching the past few seasons.
You can see all the symptoms in our losses of bad coaching. Players getting faked out, playing awfully weak on coverage (rushing 3 and still ending up with a wide open post route for a touchdown), head-scratching playcalling (running into an 8-9 man box until the last drive of the first half, when Utah knows the pass is coming), the abysmal special teams (if Pete Alamar is still special teams coach next year, I'm going to investigate him personally for extortion), bad blocking, poor quarterback play, receivers failing to make catches, and playing not to lose football (the USC field goal, the centering the ball in the Big Game, the punt on 4th and short in Utah territory in the 4th quarter down 9 which netted a grand 15 yards). These symptoms have been around every season since 2004, but only this year did they become raging cancers.
Emblematic of this was the final possession, where the Bears scored their final touchdown, needed to go for two down ten, Riley tried to get the two point conversion ready, Tedford didn't recognize that they needed to go for two and sent the kicking team out there, and Cal burned their final timeout. Pretty horrific to watch.
But big-picture wise, when I hear postgame quotes from Tepper and Holley that this team demands perfection and that they can go toe-to-toe with Florida and Alabama...I mean, what do I say to that? I'm sorry, but has team ever played like they had the ability to go undefeated? That the guys are talking like this when the playing makes me feel Tedford projected delusions of grandeur on a group that wasn't ready for it. Totally unacceptable.
What are your thoughts on Jeff Tedford? Leave your thoughts and/or vote in the poll.
It feels like Tedford is still figuring out how to deal with his team outside Xs and Os (he is still only two seasons removed from the epic Cal-lapse). Right now he's at a crossroads: He did well getting these guys out of the ruts in UCLA and the Big Game, but submitted some pretty epic fails the other way. So I guess the grade for this season is a D+, maybe a C- if you're generous.
Let's be frank: This is Tedford's EIGHTH season. It's hard to imagine him changing his style that much from the person he was years ago. So like guys who've lasted this long in the college football ranks, it'll come down to how well he recruits. Until he finds that right balance between strategist and Jedi Master, Cal is always going to struggle with weaker recruiting classes, especially with the Pac-10 getting better year-by-year and fresh coaches coming in with a history to work with against the Golden Bears. The talent level for this team has to get better, because without that talent, the flaws of coaching can be and have been exposed.
For the past three seasons and four of the last five, Cal fans have ended their season in some form of disappointment, expectations or no expectations. While we're far away from drastic measures, SOMETHING has to change to really make Tedford's Bears roar once again. Right now, they're lost in the forest.