What were the negatives from the Cal-WSU game?

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

We looked at the positives, so let's view the other side and see what the negatives were.

Berkelium97: Penalties: I almost feel like this isn't even worth pointing out. Our typical penalties (procedural, holding, etc.) were nonexistent. Instead we suffered through one of the worst-refereed games in recent memory as the secondary was victimized by several bizarre PI penalties. At least once we strung together several penalties on one drive--I always hate to see that.

Run defense: the stats are much better than I remember, but WSU picked up big chunks of yardage when they ran in the second half.

Ohio Bear: Penalties. 8 more of them for 91 yards. And on one play, we had TWO illegal blocks in the back? Sigh. I didn't like the turnovers, obviously, especially when Cal squandered an opportunity in the red zone by throwing the interception on the botched screen. Honestly, I didn't like that play selection down there. Cal had gotten to the 9-yard line exclusively by running the ball. The loss of a yard on 1st-and-goal notwithstanding, I thought it would have been more prudent to keep pounding the ball on the ground there. By throwing down there, I thought we led WSU off the hook a little bit.

Unclesam22: The fact the only 3 passes were caught by people not named Keenan Allen was a little troubling. Obviously he's our number 1 and was open all night, so it's a little nitpicky, but still, I would have liked to have seen some of the younger receivers get some more experience. I was also surprised to see Rodgers only catch one ball after his breakout performance. Definitely would like to see Maynard be more comfortable with the other guys. Penalties always worry me, so that was definitely not good, but some of those calls were really questionable, so I can let that slide.

TwistNHook: I looked at the stats page for a while trying to find negatives. It was not easy to find. Cal seemed to outplay WSU here. The score doesn't quite reflect it as much (partially due to the fact that Cal did turn the ball over right at the goal line seemingly moments before they would score another big TD. And I think WSU's last TD was scored against Cal's 2nd team D. The biggest problem is the penalties. 8 penalties for 91 yards.

I know that a lot of fans grumbled that the penalties were due less to Cal's poor play and more to the Pac-12 refs being, well, Pac-12 refs. However, this has been a problem all season long. Cal generally has had problem with penalties.

Against UCLA, Cal had 10 penalties for 100 yards:


Against ASU, Cal had 12 penalties for 119 yards.

So, even if some of the penalties Cal had against WSU were not really "true" penalties because of bad Pac-12 refs, it is still part of a larger pattern that is disconcerting. This team needs to cut down on the penalties if it wants to beat elite teams like Oregon and (stunningly enough) Oregon State.

Kodiak: Well, I suppose I could quibble that our clock management on that drive before the end of the 1st half was poor. It was not an efficient showing for a senior QB and veteran coaching staff. Mostly, I'm concerned with some of the dings and injuries the guys seem to be picking up considering that we don't have a bye. I'm really worried about Lowe. If we have to play Logan, our defense takes a huge step back.

JahvidKnowsBest: I thought some of the playcalls were a bit perplexing. Specifically the third and short play where we let Bigelow do his shotgun sweep play. It was a good call, except we ran it to the short side of the field. If we run that play the other way, Bigelow has tons of room to work with, almost a guaranteed first. Also the penalties were irksome, even though some of those were bad calls.

NorCalNick: Outside of Steve Williams the play of the secondary was kinda meh. Jeff Tuel was generally able to move the ball down the field and the Bears gave up chunks of yards. I'm not too concerned about it, because even a broken air raid can rack up some numbers and the Bears did an excellent job of stiffening in the red zone. But a more talented team would have potentially scored quite a few points. Let's not forget how many catchable passes WSU receivers dropped.
The only other big negative was the potentially large amounts of nagging injuries. It looks entirely possible that every Bear that left the field in pain on Saturday suffered a minor injury that will be forgotten by the time they take the field against Stanford. But it's also possible that some of our most important players will not be at 100% for the most important game of the year.
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