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Are there any negatives from this game??? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
VincentS: Nothing really on the field. The biggest negative I have is the stuff coming out after the game about team unity (or lack thereof) with either themselves or the coaching staff. Before, I was annoyed, but now I'm just...sad. This is how it goes down? Really?
LeonPowe: Negatives? How long you got? I'll be short here. After looking decent against Ohio State - this entire team has had regressed - not what I wanted to see. When I laid out my definitions of success and failure before the season, I talked more about a feeling about the game and the players - more than wins and loses. Well, I'm not seeing it. Tedford's teams historically hadn't been penalty heavy. Now we are. Tedford used to look prepared for each Saturday. Now we look befuddled. It's mystifying to me. I am sad that its come to this. I want(ed) Tedford to be the one to take us to the Rose Bowl. Now I don't see how that's going to happen - and it makes me sad.
Also, our offensive line is the biggest negative to me. Other people will complain about Maynard looking terrible or Bigelow getting zero touches, or our safeties getting burned in mid or deep level coverage. To me, that's all small potatoes. If the offensive line miraculously got it together - all of those other crappy mistakes and shortcomings would be minimized. A dominant offensive line is football's greatest deodorant. We may have laughed at Harbaugh, but it is clear he knew what he was doing when he stockpiled o-linemen and tight ends. You can win with a crap QB and undistinquished running backs, if you have road graders or pass protection walls up front. But if you don't have that foundation - good players look average and average players look terrible.
Kodiak: Negatives. We're a poorly coached, undisciplined, and unprepared team. From a strategic standpoint, it makes no sense that we're not compensating for our Oline woes with more sprint-outs, roll-outs, or moving pockets. In fact, that's exactly what ASU did to help out their Oline. Coach Graham kept their QB moving around and that really slowed down our pass-rush.
ASU also noticed how Cal likes to sub in/out their defense personnel and stole a 1st down from us by using a well-timed quick no-huddle 3rd down play to catch us in an illegal substitution. That's the type of thing Cal used to do in the early Tedford years. Now, we're an easy mark for other teams.
The time-out we blew after a kickoff when we needed two scores was pretty darn disheartening. That's just inept.
And let's look at how many different ways ASU figured out how to get the ball to their super true frosh RB, DJ Foster:
fly sweep, bubble screen, down the line screen, arrow route from WR, quick out from WR, wheel route from the backfield, swing pass from the backfield, zone-read hand-offs, straight hand-offs.
Let's look at how many different ways Cal figured out how to get the ball to our super soph, Brendan Bigelow:
zone-read decoy, motion decoy, sidelines go route decoy, kickoff blocker
Coach Gould has a proven history with developing running backs. But if he's the one who gets to decide which back gets how many carries, then he's made some serious judgement errors these past couple of games. Whether he's being thrown under the bus, or not, it still speaks to the offensive staff not being on the same page. Or there being a lack of clear vision and leadership from the top.
I really didn't like how Maynard decided to scream at his Oline. If you're going to pull antics like that, then perhaps it'd be better if you didn't airmail easy passes 10 feet over the head of open receivers. I see poor leadership and execution on offense which speaks of chemistry issues.
TwistNHook: Certainly, after a loss like that it is easy to list the negatives. The biggest negative to me was all the penalties. Look at the disparity here.
ASU had 1 penalty for 15 yards. Cal had 12 penalties 119 yards. I know we're in the East Bay, but we can't afford to play Raiders football. We're a talented team, but to beat some of the upcoming teams on our schedule we need to play near perfect football. When we did that in Columbus, we pushed OSU to the limit. When we don't, we lose to ASU. It's not rocket science.
JahvidKnowsBest: Maynard was dismal. I really think it's time to start considering other options at QB. 9-28 is not acceptable, especially when he is surrounded by some of the premier receivers in the country. The guy just isn't a PAC 12 QB. Also, Bigelow had no carries. If Isi and CJ were able to do what they did against ASU, imagine what Bigelow would have done.
NorCalNick: The offensive line. Cal is LAST IN THE NATION in sacks allowed. LAST. The Bears have 28 more yards lost on sacks than any other team in the nation
OhioBear: Negatives? You want negatives? Once we get started down this road, we'll never finish. So I''ll just stick with a few that bother me the most.
* Penalties -- 12 flags for 119 yards. SERIOUSLY? We now have two games this season in which we've committed double digit penalties for triple digit yards. What is going on here? Tedford's teams were once among the least penalized in the Pac-10. But the last couple of years, we've gone completely the other direction. The lack of discipline and attention to detail is frustrating to watch, to say the least.
* The offensive line -- Are we that much better at run blocking than pass blocking or should we just canonize Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson for gaining a substantial amount of yards having to run behind that group? I'm not a film breaker-downer, so I don't know the answer to that question. But it doesn't take a football film geek to know that pass protection isn't strong. Though Zach Maynard is certainly not blameless for the troubles of the Cal offense, it surely doesn't help that he is getting sacked a ton and hit and hurried when he isn't sacked.
* A general "I don't get it" -- Avinash has covered this, but I just don't understand the offensive thinking. We don't seem to be putting Maynard in the best chance to succeed. Yeah, we can lambaste Maynard for his inaccurate passing and his decision making in the pocket, but you know what? By this point, he is what we thought he was in that aspect of the game. He's not a pocket passer. He is a QB who is more effective on the run and he is a decent running quarterback out of the shotgun and zone read. And then there's the Brendan Bigelow question. We've covered his perceived weaknesses ad nauseam (i.e., pass protection, knowledge of playbook), but I have to wonder whether those are enough to keep him off the field and getting ZERO touches. Zero touches for the ultimate change of pace running back on our roster? I know and understand that the coaches want him to be a complete player, but this seems like a drastic disappearance from the offense. Yeah, maybe limit him if he has weaknesses -- but to limit Bigelow to no role at all in the offense? I didn't understand it.
* A feeling of hopelessness -- That's the prevailing feeling I got out of Saturday's game and the aftermath. We're at an all-time low point in the Tedford era and it only feels like it's getting worse.
FrankCohen: Nothing! Just kidding. Just about everything. I think if Cal won this game, and if the team showed a little life, the potential for sunshine pumping could still exist. Not anymore. This team looks lifeless and utterly defeated, both literally and emotionally. Of course, there are still some games remaining that could inspire a little bit of optimism, but if the team maintains the same demeanor, and if the questionable game management decisions persist, that's not looking very likely.