Before the start of the season, I was worried about the fullbacks. I thought it would be tough to replace Willie T, whose blocks paved the way for Cal's running backs. After two games I am delighted with the production of Brian Holley and the rest of the O-line who have allowed Cal to run for 586 yards in just two games. Not only is Holley consistently paving the way for Best, Vereen, et. al but he is effectively running and catching too, areas where Ta'ufo'ou couldn't be fully utilized. JO writes about Holley:
Senior Brian Holley made an impact for the second straight week Saturday, exhibiting his strength and athleticism during a 21-yard catch to set up Cal's first touchdown during a 59-7 rout of Eastern Washington.
One week after demonstrating he could be a solid short-yardage back for the Bears, Holley exhibited the ability to make plays out of the backfield. After catching a screen pass from quarterback Kevin Riley on Cal's second play from scrimmage, Holley discarded a strong hit by Eagles cornerback Kevin Hatch, using his hand to help him stay on his feet for a long gain.
Keep up the good work, Holley (and the rest of the fullbacks and O-line too). We're going to need it heading into the tougest five-game stretch of the season.
After the jump we have recaps of the game, ranking updates, ESPN's bowl projections (hint: things look rosy), some great quotes from the post-game press conference, a Minnesota update, an early spread for the Cal-MN game, and coverage of all of the weekend's Cal sports including women's volleyball, men/women's soccer, cross-country, and field hockey. And one last thing: the band ran to a victory of its own just before the start of the game and it was caught by CSNBA's cameras...video after the jump.
- The CCTimes, SFChronicle, and Daily Cal all have recaps of the game. While disappointed with the defense in the first half, Tedford and Gregory seemed pleased with the second half adjustments. Fun fact: the EWU player who tackled Kendricks just short of the goal line was Best's former track rival Taiwan Jones.
- JO has notes from the post-game press conference. He says Sofele was moved to the RB position to make up for a lack of depth. It seems Peter Geurt's return was just for last week. Here's the full list of press conference quotes. Commenting on Sofele's play, Riley said Sofele "made that safety look goofy." EWU had some lofty praise for Cal. Coach Bill Baldwin said "I think back to when we played Texas Tech, and they were their own animal last year, and a few years ago West Virginia. This was the most complete team I have seen as far as being well coached, disciplined and from offense to defense and special teams." QB Matt Nichols said Cal's defense is the "biggest and fastest" they have ever faced and called Syd "the best corner I have ever seen." He also spoke highly of Cal's sportsmanship, calling them "good sports for the entire game. They kept telling us good job and other things like that."
- The win moved Cal up to 8th in the AP poll and tied for 7th in the Coaches' poll. ESPN's most recent bowl projections have Feldman predicting a Cal-Nebraska Holiday Bowl (I don't think he knows that the Alamo Bowl is for the #2 Pac-10 team now) and Schlabach predicting a Cal-Penn St Rose Bowl.
- Minnesota may be 2-0, but they are still a work in progress. They still need to work on running the ball in case they can't rely on Weber and Decker in the passing game. Despite a huge size advantage in the trenches, they barely ran the ball against AFA even though they were successful when they did run. Cal is currently a 14 point favorite for Saturday's game.
- No. 13 women's volleyball earned its first home victory by defeating EWU in a 3-0 sweep.
- Soccer triumped this weekend: No. 11 men's soccer routed George Washington 4-0 to open the Cal Legacy Classic tournament and wrapped things up with a 3-1 victory over Cal Poly. No. 9 women's soccer defeated Portland St 1-0 on Friday and won 4-2 over St Mary's on Sunday.
- Women's field hockey lost to Pacific on a last-minute score.
- At the Sacramento State Jamboree cross country finished second (women) and third (men).
Finally, the band does its best Brian Holley impression.