Cal football: Plenty of positives to take from Arizona loss

Cal Bears Online

Cal showed some significant strides in playing it pretty close with Arizona.

What were the biggest positives to take from Cal's loss to Arizona?

Sam Fielder: Improvement and fight. After watching last season's team fall apart down the stretch (I mean the whole season was a disaster but still...) it was nice to see Cal come out and not sleepwalk through this game and actually keep it close (Geez, moral victories really suck). Both sides of the ball showed improvement over what we've seen lately and there was even a lead! Hopefully this is the trajectory that remains, with continued improvement.

TwistNHook: I love our WRs. If we can get consistent QB play, we're going to have the best WRs in the Pac-12 We may already. The Cal offense has been stagnant for several years now, so I'm really enthusiastic about the WR play going forward.

Vincent S: I thought we were going to get destroyed - I honestly did. After what Bishop Sankey did to us, I thought that Ka'deem Carey was going to run wild for at least 5 touchdowns. I was so incredibly pleasantly surprised by our performance that I think we have a shot next week against the Evil Empire.

I also came away thrilled with the crowd. Although it wasn't full, the people who did show up were into the game. From the magical moment when the entire West Side erupted following Kenny Lawler's one-handed TD catch, to the atmosphere after every defensive stand, I was impressed.

Norcalnick: Kenny Lawler will obviously and deservedly get the headlines, and the idea that Cal will have at least four exciting talents returning to catch passes is a wonderful though. But he was hardly the only standout. Khalfani Muhammad had a strong game returning kicks and caught a touchdown. Cameron Walker had another good game and showed improved tackling ability. Hardy Nickerson is reading the game so much better than earlier in the season. Big V Moala has continued his stellar play.

All of these players will be back next season, and will have another four games of experience once September 2014 rolls around. I can't wait.

Ruey Yen: This was the most competitive game in awhile. I think most of us KNOW in our heart that the team has not quit but it is great to have that evidence on the scoreboard. Like Sonny said to Pete Carroll in the latest episode of The Drive, Cal has receivers. It was great to have another guy, Kenny Lawler, step up in such a big way.

LeonPowe: That we haven't given in and this team is still fighting - and the defense is improving.

Leland Wong: We have a run game again! Daniel Lasco has been impressing me since roughly around the Oregon game, so it was great to see him back in the blue and gold and running hard. The ability to run the ball will punish defenses that focus solely on our passing game. I know Sonny got his start from the Air Raid coaching tree, but "Bear Raid" is more than a cute little moniker. Dykes and Franklin are looking to build a balanced attack, not the pass-heavy offense we've seen all year. If defenders don't respect our running game, they can drop more men into coverage and smother our receivers.

Berkelium97: Our run game was actually working, for once. We managed 5 yards per carry, a tremendous accomplishment in a year when we had only once exceeded 4 ypc (and that was skewed by a long Muhammad run in garbage time). Sure, our improved production and efficiency were due to Arizona's pass-focused 3-3-5, which only had 5 or 6 defenders in the box on most plays. But it's good to see some semblance of a running game. We had difficulty converting third and short with the running game, and we did not tally a rushing TD, but I'll take what I can get.

I was also very happy to see a productive red zone offense. We scored 3 TDs in 4 trips, our largest number of red zone TDs against an FBS foe this season. That Goff threw all these TDs is even better, after his recent performances had plenty of yardage and few TDs to show for it.

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