As a Cal fan, we live in abject fear of pretty much everything. Much needed stadium upgrades bring year long battles. Easy victories over a team like Murray State turn horrifyingly close. Nothing comes easy for Cal fans.
Which is why I am in full on panic mode over Arizona. For years, they were a Pac10 punching bag. But those days are over. No longer does it look like Coach Stoops is in dire need of Activia. Former QB Willie Tuitama may be slinging chicken wings, but AirRaid Arizona hasn't stopped slinging the ball all over the field. After the jump take a look at some key Arizona stats and realize that Halloween might be a 2 week long process for Cal this year. GO BEARS!
TwistNHook: Well, let's take a horrifying look through the AirRaid Offense! First, their passing offense
Well, thank god we have a Defense that can shut down opposing QBs with strong amounts of pressure and tight coverage. Oh. wait.
That looks very similar to OSU last week. Nearly 68% completiong percentage. The 135 rating, I think is brought down by the amount of interceptions compared to TDs. 8-13. Not as good a ratio as Arizona probably wants. It is also brought down by a really random 3rd quarter rating of 123.
Like OSU last week, Arizona seems to get offf to a great start, completing nearly 74% of their passes in the 1st quarter. We definitely need to watch out for Nick Foles and their AirRaid Offense.
Avinash: Here is some more information on their passing offense:
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||8||14||9||64.3||86||0||1||139.46||30||7||2||1|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||8||22||16||72.7||175||1||2||160.46||43||12||2||1|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||7||15||8||53.3||57||1||0||71.92||13||3||0||0|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||7||11||10||90.9||125||0||0||186.37||22||4||4||0|
I'm getting a disgusting feeling of deja vu reading these stats.
The only thing that gives me pause is that Foles throws more picks than Canfield, so maybe he'll make a mistake on one of his short reads or thread one into traffic. Other than that, I'm hopelessly glum about this part of the game.
TwistNHook: Here's hoping the rushing stats aren't as deadly as the passing stats:
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?????? 5.46 yards a carry! Ai! Now, Cal has been able to stop the run fairly well, including holding Quizz down. But it tends to come at the expense of the pass D. Which, given everything we've seen so far from Arizona ain't good.
Avinash: Grigsby might not play So that probably means we get to deal with Antolin again. And he slashed through our defense last season when it was actually good!
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||8||25||124||4.96||5||43||16||2||2|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||5||9||92||10.22||0||58||5||3||1|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||3||3||9||3.00||0||5||0||0||0|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||7||9||92||10.22||1||57||3||3||1|
What kind of horrifying stats are these? 5 yards on 1st down, 5 yards on 2nd down, 7 yards on 3rd down? Nearly a first down on 3rd and LONG?
How does this happen to us? I thought we faced all the best offenses. As it turns out we've faced only 3 through 5. The top two are the next two weeks. Arizona 13th, Furd 14th Death.
TwistNHook: Here is the Arizona Pass D.
I'm really getting tired of crying at the sight of stats. Just a few more weeks of this, right? The Arizona Pass D is OK. Giving up nearly 60% completion. But only allowing 119 QB rating against. Notice how their opponents have far more throws in the 4th quarter than the other quarters. Signs of Arizona being up with their opponents just throwing and throwing and throwing? Leading to artificially lower stats for opposing QBs? Except that the worst quarter is the first quarter when the game is still very much in doubt.
So, basically their passing offense is great and their passing D ain't half bad. This is like facing a better version of OSU.
Avinash: Although Arizona's ranked 37th in passing defense, this was before they played inert UCLA and Wazzu. Any team's numbers would look better after playing those two teams. Oh wait, unless you're Cal. Can I dip my face in freshly-poured concrete? Here are more numbers regarding the Arizona pass D.
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||5||12||7||58.3||46||1||0||73.86||20||6||1||0|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||8||26||12||46.2||142||1||0||84.34||29||11||2||1|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||7||9||3||33.3||28||0||1||96.13||12||2||0||0|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||7||25||15||60.0||133||3||2||107.09||25||4||2||1|
These stats could suggest several things. Arizona's defense plays pretty well on the ball and could be tough for Kevin Riley, who seems to excel throwing against weak coverage zones or in the holes as opposed to in traffic. It also suggests they're opportunistic turnover wise and like to prey on the ball when given the chance, especially on 3rd down. These stats could also mean zero since Riley might be running for his life against an Arizona defense that has the third most sacks in the Pac-10 and could make mincemeat of an offensive line that couldn't block the decaying hobos in People's Park.
TwistNHook: Can we get some good news? Some good at all? Let's take a look at these Arizona rush D numbers:
And that's a fat no. Well, it's a skinny no, really. It's an mediocre no. Because these D numbers aren't terrible, but they aren't ASU levels, either. Of course, our running game just took a fairly large hit with that horrific accident to Jahvid Best. That said, I still feel like we can run against this team. I know De Oski is going to have to step up here, but their first half numbers are closer to 4 than 3.5. So, if we can try to establish the running game in the 1st half, hopefully that'll open up for more scoring.
We really don't know what this Best-less running O will look like. Last time we saw that was the ASU game last year. Vereen ran well, but stalled in the 2nd half. Tracy Slocum was in the dog house and never spelled Vereen. Hopefully, De Oski can do what Slocum wasn't allowed to do and keep Vereen fresh. Here's hoping!
Avinash: ASU has the 6th best rushing defense in the country in terms of yards per game. Arizona has the 11th.
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||7||16||51||3.19||0||17||11||1||0|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||6||7||-22||-3.14||0||3||0||0||0|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||4||6||38||6.33||1||56||2||2||1|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||3||4||50||12.50||0||43||1||1||1|
Meh. I guess I'll take those numbers. Those might be enough to let loose Vereen if we can somehow get a passing game going.
Really, I reserve no hope for this game. It was 24-7 after three last week, I can see it being 48-14 after three this week. At least I'll finally get to experience what a Holmoe era crowd was like for half an hour! I got a small sample this week, maybe this'll be the real deal.
TwistNHook: It's not as much fun as you might think.