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Cal @ Minnesota Post-Game Thoughts (With Bonus EWU Thoughts)

Before I get to the Minnesota post-game thoughts, here are a few EWU post-game thoughts that came to mind after I wrote Cal vs. Eastern Washington University Post-Game Thoughts:

... (see link above for the earlier thoughts from Cal vs. EWU) ...

(11) Cal ran the ball using man blocking and a pulling backside guard to the weakside of the offense for the first time ... since at least 2006.  I've only really started to truly analyze and chart Cal's offensive plays since 2006.  Since I've been doing that, I've noticed that one of Cal's biggest tendencies is to run the ball towards the strength of the formation.  Thus, if the tight end is to the right, Cal runs to the right.  If the tight end is to the left, Cal runs to the left.  Cal broke this tendency a bit in 2008 under offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti.  In 2008, Cal began running weakside using its zone blocking scheme, but still would only run its man blocking scheme to the strong side.  However, against EWU, I noticed Cal ran the ball using its man blocking scheme to the weakside of the formation a few times.  This is significant because it breaks a tendency and gives the Cal offense more diversity.  This new addition to the Cal offense is probably an addition implemented by new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.

(12) Cal ran the ball from shotgun using the trap for the first time since 2006!   Note that this statement has a definitiveness to it, as compared to the statement of the previous point.  Under offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar in 2006, Cal implemented a shotgun trap running play which utilized a pulling backside tackle.  Cal used this play quite a bit as since Nate Longshore was the quarterback in 2006 and he did not have the speed to be an adequate zone read threat to run the zone read.  The fact that Ludwig is running this play now doesn't mean that Ludwig thinks Riley doesn't have enough speed, but is probably running this play to show more diversity.  Now, defenses who scout Cal will realize that they have to be aware of the zone read and trap plays - two different running schemes from shotgun and not just one.

(13) Riley's "QB keeper" was a zone read.  Much hooplah has been made of Riley's scamper.  A lot of people are calling it a "QB keeper."  The play was actually a zone read.  I think for accuracy purposes, people should call it a zone read.  By calling it a "QB keeper" it suggests that the play was meant to have Riley run the ball all along.  That is simply not true.  On that play, the QB has the option of handing the ball off, or keeping the ball and running himself.  He has an option.  It is not a predetermined decision.  A true "QB keeper" would be a QB draw, for example.  Cal ran a QB draw against Minnesota to gain a critical 1st down conversion on a 3rd down. 

(14) Ludwig's was probably using "new" plays against EWU to try them out against a live opponent.  I was surprised to see the shotgun trap and man blocking to the weakside of the formation against EWU.  I had figured that most of the wrinkles would have been unveiled against Maryland.  I was wrong.  Clearly, Ludwig is still tinkering with things.  I believe he chose to run those "new" plays against EWU because it represented an opportunity to try them out against a live (non-Cal defense) defense, and because the risk of trying those plays against EWU was much lower against a better opponent.  You don't want to try out new plays against a talented opponent defense when the game is on the line.  But EWU presented an opportunity to try out "new" plays against a somewhat talented opponent defense when the game is somewhat on the line.  That is better than trying the "new" plays against Cal's own 3-4 defense which would be less insightful for Ludwig since the 3-4 is not in use by many opponents that Cal will face.


Here are my Minnesota thoughts.  I apologize for the tardiness of my posts and the lack of analysis this season thus far.  School is keeping a lot busier than I expected this semester.

Now for some Minnesota thoughts:

(1) Minnesota's new stadium is pretty nice.  It's shiny.  It's new.  It is really easy to get in and out of the stadium.  Their replay screen is like the size of Dwinelle.  Their press box is the size of the entire west side of Memorial Stadium.  But the stadium only holds 50,000 people.   My biggest gripe about the stadium is that the fans at the open end of the stadium cannot see the big-ass replay screen.  In fact, Minnesota's stadium is much like U$C's Coliseum in that the visiting fans get shafted with seats where they can't see the replay screen because they're sitting behind the replay screen.


Cal's replay screen: about the size of the red "fan favorites" ad.



But Minnesota did have a small replay screen on the other end of the stadium for those unlucky fans who can't see the big-ass replay screen that they were sitting behind.


The Cal section was just to the right of the replay screen on the upper deck (and behind the replay screen).


Cal players warming up on the field before the game.



Minnesota players coming out of their tunnel with a fireworks display.  Note the pretty empty student section in the endzone (the people all wearing gold).


(2) Minnesota band sucks and let the terrorists win.  First of all, you couldn't hear them.  Apparently, their band plays with dynamics or something, meaning they play loud some times and soft at other times.  The problem is, when you play sort in an open-ended stadium that doesn't keep in the sound, you can't hear anything.  I could barely hear anything they were playing.  Even the Minnesota fans around me couldn't partake in singing their fight song and clapping because they couldn't hear the music.  Sad.  Second, the Minnesota band sucks because they let the American flag touch the ground.  I don't know a lot about flag bearing stuff, but the one thing I do know is that you're not supposed to let the American flag touch the ground AT ALL.  It's like one of the biggest disgraces you can ever commit.  You might as well kill yourself after such a terrorist-like act.  Minnesota's band let the terrorists win.



(3) Cal fans were pretty quiet.  I get it.  You're outnumbered 1,000 to 50,000.  You don't feel like it's worth it to make noise when there are so few of you.  You don't want to be that loud dude who annoys the home crowd around him because he's making noise for his team's defense.  So, you don't yell on defense.  It was rather pathetic how Cal fans were very content with not making noise.  I was in the Cal section.  Aside from my group, only perhaps 10% of the other Cal fans around me were making noise on Cal defense.  Sad.

(4) Minnesota fans were pretty nice.  They kept to themselves.  Nobody went out of their way to trash talk, but they also didn't go out of their way to say hi either.  Only three Minnesota fans talked to me.  The first guy was the ticket scanner dude as you walked into the stadium.  He asked me how much I thought Cal was going to win by (how dare he assume that just because I'm a Cal fan that I think Cal is going to win!).  I said we'd win by 14.  He said that we'd win by 6.  The second Minnesota fan that talked to me was the middle-aged man sitting in front of me.  He remarked how Minnesota looked slow in the first quarter.  I told him the Pac-10 is just really fast.  Faster than the SEC fast.  He admitted that Jahvid Best is like nothing he's ever seen before.  The third Minnesota fan that talked to me was an older gentleman at a restaurant.  He saw me with my Cal shirt on and asked me if I had taken a bus to Minnesota.  Um, jet planes do exist nowadays....   I politely said that I flew into Minneapolis.  After the game, while my friends and I were waiting in a short line to get carded as we were entering a bar, a U$C fan walks by.  The U$C prick sees the Cal contingent, he takes off his U$C hat, and points to the logo on it and says as he walks by: "This is what it's all about!"  The bouncer checking our IDs said in response to his other bouncer buddy: "I bet you he has absolutely no affiliation with U$C whatsoever."  The bouncer was probably right.  Man, I go to Minnesota and I can't get away from your typical asshat arrogant U$C fan.

(5) It's still a mystery as to whether Cal is signaling in two plays one after another or if Riley is forgetting the signals.  In my Cal vs. EWU Post-Game Thoughts, I discussed whether or not Cal was sending in two plays one after another or if Riley was forgetting signals.  I'm embarrassed to say that I'm still not sure.  Being that I can pick some of our signs, you would think that I would be able to figure this out.  I guess im jus dum.  Well, in my defense, some new signals have been added that I'm still trying to figure out.  However, while at Minnesota, I did notice one instance where numbers were sent in to Riley, he stepped into the huddle for literally one second (not nearly enough time to read out the playcall), then stepped back out of the huddle, looked to the sideline and got more signals from the sidelines.  The thing is, that he got the same signals both times!  I am positive of this as since I was watching the signal QBs, I saw them both send in the same number the first time (for example, they both signaled in the number "34"), and they both sent in the same number the second time.  Jonathan Okanes seemed to disagree with my conclusion that Riley was forgetting the signals.  Tedhead94 on BearInsider reported that:

[Okanes] said he had heard nothing of the sort and had no idea where it came from. He found it implausible that this would be the case.

Well, it is plausible.  It happened against Minnesota.  And it has happened in the past.  In fact, it happens quite often.  When Longshore was the QB in 2006, he'd sometimes, although pretty rarely, would forget signals.  I don't really blame any of the QBs.  A lot goes on in the huddle between plays.  Guys are talking.  They're talking about what the defense is doing.  They're checking things with each other.  Sometimes they're talking to the QB.  The QB is getting signals from the sidelines, making sure the right personnel are in on the play, he's checking ball location (to decide whether the play needs to be flipped or not), he's looking at the playclock.  A lot goes through his mind in those 25 seconds and it's easy to forget the signals that were just sent in to you two seconds earlier. 

Interesting story time: In my Cal vs. Maryland Post-Game Thoughts, I talked about how the signal QB must make sure that his signals are crisp and clear to the QB on the field.  If the signals aren't clear, the QB on the field might ask for the signals again because he couldn't understand them which burns the playclock and runs the risk of a delay of game.  Or, if the signals aren't clear, the QB on the field can mis-read the signals and run the wrong play completely.  This happened on occasion in 2006 - perhaps as much as once or twice a game.  One day at a 2006 practice, I was working with the QBs.  During this particular period they were having a meeting with the offensive coordinator (in 2006 it was Mike Dunbar).  They would talk about signals, and plays, and practice sending signals to each other.  Dunbar explained to the QBs that sometimes they would run the completely wrong play because Longshore would mis-read the signals being sent into him from the sidelines.  Dunbar described how it was quite the what-the-heck? kind of a moment when he sees the offense line up in a completely different formation than what he called.  Naturally, Longshore would playfully tease the other QBs about being sloppy with their signals, and the other QBs would tease Longshore about not being able to read their signs.  The QBs understood their mistake and despite their playfulness with each other, they'd take the mistake seriously.  So for the rest of the period they'd practice quizzing each other on plays and rendering the appropriate signals to each other.

Bottom line, QBs do forget signals that they just saw two seconds earlier.  It happens.  It's plausible.  But it's also plausible that Riley is BOTH forgetting the signals and receiving two signals (one after the other).  It's also plausible that Cal does not signal in two signals one after the other (if they even do that) in away games because it is harder to implement against a hostile crowd.

(6) Cal uses the signal system to send in plays rather than the number/wristband system because it allows offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to create the perfect play for the situation at hand.  Venerable commentator and movie-maker Danzig and I had a conversation about this in my Cal vs. Maryland Post-Game Thoughts.  It turns out, that there was actually discussion of this on the ESPN broadcast early in the game.  The ESPN talking heads were discussing how Minnesota now signals in the play, instead of using the number/wristband system that former Minnesota offensive coordinator, Mike Dunbar, preferred.  Their explanation was exactly the very conclusion that Danzig and I had theorized:

HydroTech: [Using the signal system instead of the number system] gives the offense coordinator freedom to truly make up a play on the fly that perfectly fits the situation on hand, that isn’t one of the 150 plays on the wristband.

The wristband that QBs use only holds 150 plays (at least, that's what they held back in 2006, perhaps the coaches have squeezed in more).  At first thought, 150 plays sounds like a lot.  But then once you consider that some proportion of those plays are goalline plays, some are short yardage plays, some are medium yardage plays, and some are long yardage plays... you can easily fill up that 150 play wristband and perhaps even two wristbands.  This is why the signal system is superior to the number/wristband system.  I like the signal system for this very reason, but am still concerned about other teams picking our signs.

(7) Decker had a great game against Cal's defense.  Not too surprising.  Cal countered Minnesota's passing attack with its usual zone defense.  Decker would slip behind linebackers and find the seams, and Webber would throw the ball high above the zones and let Decker jump and catch the ball.  Easy.  Not too much Cal can do there but get a faster pass rush and have the over-the-top defenders blow up the Decker.  I'll have to review the game but it looked like Cal put Hagan on Decker in goalline situations where Cal is more likely to play man defense.  That makes sense since Hagan is taller than Syd.

(8) Cal's kickoffs suck.  No explanation needed here.  Oh, there was a slight breeze in the stadium.  It wasn't constant, but it would gust to a modest 10 mph on occasion.  It was going from right to left, for those of you watching things on your TV screen.  Thus, Cal was kicking into the wind quite a bit.  But I still don't think this was the reason for the short kickoffs.

(9) Cal had only 10 players on the field for a punt return.  This error is on Alamar; the coach responsible for assembling players on the launch pad (the blue pad on the Cal sideline where players going in and out of the field congregate TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE ALL THERE), the player who wasn't on the field, and Syd'Quan Thompson for not counting the players in front of him.  I spotted this error from my nosebleed seats about 150 yards away from the action.  I mean, I spotted this error, but two coaches and multiple players didn't spot this error???  (Sigh................)

(10) Minnesota played piped in music on 3rd downs to alert the home crowd of the 3rd down and to get them to make more noise - and it worked great.  Maybe Cal should consider doing this.  Honestly, I think the whole hands clapping thing is kinda lame.  It doesn't really alert the home crowd (aside from the students) of an impending third down and it doesn't get the stadium loud enough fast enough.  Often, the noise of the Memorial will not peak before the other team gets the play off.  But when Minnesota played that adrenaline inducing rock music, as soon as the second down play ended short of a first down and it was third down, the crowd got loud VERY FAST.  I urge Cal to consider using this tactic as it is superior to what Cal does right now.  Also, the other beneficial thing about pumping in music on third downs while the opponent's offense is in the huddle, is that the piped in noise does the work for the crowd initially.  The crowd gets tired making noise for 20 straight seconds from when the opponent's offense is in the huddle to when the ball is snapped.  By playing piped in music for the first 10 seconds, not only alerts the fans to be loud, but does the work for the fans and keeps the fans less tired so that when the music does go off, the fans can maintain their loudness until the ball is snapped.

(11) Jahvid Best just might win the Heisman.  In my Cal vs. EWU Post-Game Thoughts post, I explained why I didn't think Best wasn't going to win the Heisman.  My reasons were that he just wasn't getting enough yardage.  Well, ignore that last post because everything has changed.  Against Minnesota, again, he didn't have a spectacular yardage day (131 yards is great by not spectacular), but he did have 5 touchdowns!  Those 5 touchdowns, in a close game, on national TV with the nation watching, really boosted Best's chances at winning the Heisman and made up for his lack of insane yardage gained.  So, yeah, Best is back in the race as a serious top 2 candidate.  If he can't get 2000 rush yards by the end of the regular season, if he has 20 TDs or more (preferably 25-30 TDs) , he'll still be right up there.  Cal needs to not lose more than 1 game too.

(12) Alualu massacred Minnesota's right tackle (#71).  At the game itself, it was hard to tell who was getting to Minnesota's QB so much.  But after seeing the highlight reel, it's plain as day that Alualu was pwning #71 and pwning him bad.  Alualu just had too much speed and quickness to be stopped by the gigantic and largely overweight 365 pound right tackle.  When will the Big-12, and Big-10 learn that just having big fat dudes doesn't always work?  The players need to be athletic too!

There was one play in the game where Alualu got chipped by the Minnesota RT, then got cutblocked by the Minnesota runningback but still made a sack.  That was a beautiful play!  Every single day, the defensive lineman practice shedding cut blocks from the runningbacks.  I can still hear former Cal Defensive Line Coach Delgado saying to the players "violent hands!  Push the back away from you!"  Current Defensive Line Coach Lupoi still says the same thing to the players nowadays.  "Violent hands!"  Alualu's form on shedding that cut block was perfect!  You want to get low, and use your hands and arms to push the RB away and/or into the ground, and keep the RB's cut block from your knees.  Most of the defensive lineman are afraid of getting cut blocked and having their knees hyper-extended backwards.  Even after being taught the technique to defend themselves, they still don't like getting cut blocked and many would rather just sort of give in to getting cut down and not truly defending themselves to get through the cut block and made a tackle.  It's nice to see Alualu shedding those cut blocks.  That was a truly textbook shedding.  Take a look at it again if you have the chance.

(13) 1st Quarter playcalling was incredibly diverse.  I really liked the first quarter playcalling because it featured a wide variety of plays.  As for the very first play of the game being a runningback pass?  Well, I'm okay with it.  I do not necessarily think that it is a "tell" that it was a trick play merely because Jahvid Best wasn't in on the play.  What really did make it a "tell," and I knew it was a halfback pass the moment Vereen went into motion, was because Vereen motioned and maintained his depth in the backfield so as to give himself more buffer room from the defense to throw the ball.  Furthermore, Riley's pass went backwards which is another "tell" of a double pass play because all QB passes are meant to purposely go forward so if they are dropped they are incompletions and not fumbles.  In other words, pretty much the only time a QB pass goes backwards is if the offense is setting up the double pass.  And finally, if you didn't know it was a double pass play from Vereen's motion, his incredible depth, and Riley's backwards pass, it should have been obvious because Vereen was not aggressive in moving the ball forward. 

(14) One of Cal's new goalline running scheme utilizes a pulling playside guard.  This is new.  I have NEVER seen Cal utilize a playside pulling guard since I've been closely studying the Cal Football offense since 2006.  Cal has always used a pulling backside guard.  In 2008, under offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Cal would sometimes use a playside pulling tackle on toss sweeps, however, Cal has never used any sort of pulling playside offensive lineman on non-toss plays since 2006.  So this is another new wrinkle installed by Ludwig.

(15) Sofele's hit was legal and Tepper's "hold" was legal.  Defenders must give the punt returner an opportunity to catch the ball.  Sofele gave the punt returner that opportunity - for about .1 seconds - then blew him up.  Perfectly legal.  I know that .1 seconds isn't a lot of time and that's why the refs probably threw the flag, but that was a legal hit.  .1 seconds is opportunity.  It's .1 seconds of opportunity.  Unless the NCAA rules committee wants to put in a definition for "opportunity," then any opportunity should qualify as opportunity.  And as for Tepper's "hold," there was definitely holding in the layman non-football sense, but no holding in the football sense.

(16) Syd'Quan Thompson anticipated some run plays very well and perhaps had figured out a tell.  When players scout their opponents, they look for team tendencies, playcalling tendencies, and player tendencies.  Player tendencies can be things such as tipping off whether the play is a run or pass.  Based on how Syd seemed to anticipate run plays a few times during the game, it's possible he had figured out a tell either prior to the game or during the game.

(17) Cal has diversified their running schemes.  In the past, Cal has utilized about 3 different basic running schemes (zone running, two different types of man blocking).  Cal rarely ran its man schemes weakside.  But now, after seeing three games under Ludwig we've seen new additions such as: (a) pulling playside guards to the strong side; (b) pulling playside tackles to the strong side; (c) pulling playside guards to the weak side; and (d) shotgun traps with a backside pulling tackle.  Not to mention that it looks like the zone read, and QB draw will be seeing more reps in Cal's playcalling.  Of course, Cal's zone running is seeing heavy use.  While off the top of my head I can't remember Cal running its zone weakside this year (and I've been so busy with school I haven't had much time to chart the games), this is something Cal did a lot last year, and I'm sure it still remains in the playbook and will be used.  Let's not forget these end arounds and fly sweeps too.  So in other words, in prior years Cal's running schemes were fairly few (although potent).  Now Cal has many more running schemes - and perhaps just as potent. 

Let's just list them out right now: (1) backside pulling guards pulling strongside; (2) playside pulling guards pulling strongside; (3) playside pulling tackles pulling strongside; (4) backside pulling guards pulling weakside; (5) outside/stretch zone strongside; (6) outside/stretch zone weakside; (7) shotgun zone read; (8) QB draw; (9) shotgun trap with backside pulling tackle; (10) end arounds; (11) fly sweeps; (12) under center draws; and (13) shotgun draws; and (14) toss sweeps.

I've never seen such a diverse Cal rushing attack before.  Not under Dunbar.  Not under Tedford.  And not under Cignetti.  Plain and simple, Ludwig has really diversified Cal's rushing attack.

(18) Riley played pretty well.  He made a number of great throws.  Off the top of my head I can only remember two really bad throws - both of which were almost INTed.  The most egregious was when the offense was driving from left to right (on the TV screen) at 0:24 in the 3rd quarter.  Riley faked playaction left, stumbled on the fake, then threw a late pass on a crossing route against zones.  I remember this play pretty well, and being that I was in the endzone behind the offense I had a great view of what was going on.  The intended receiver was very open over the middle right when Riley stumbled.  Had Riley not stumbled, and had been looking at the intended WR, Marvin Jones, he might have had the time to throw to Marvin Jones and that probably would have been a big gain.  But Riley stumbled, he was looking at the split end, Cal's Z wide receiver although for most teams that's the X, and threw a late ball that shouldn't have been thrown.  I remember seeing this play unfold, and I knew Riley was going to pass it to Jones and knew it was a high-interception type of pass that shouldn't have been thrown.  Riley probably should have thrown the ball away.  There were only two receivers on the play (Cal kept the RB, FB, and TE in on max protect playaction), so Riley did only have two options.  But still, either throw the ball away or start running.  The defense wasn't that fooled.  Minnesota players on the sideline are screaming "PASS!!!"  And Riley probably could have run to his left for a 10 yard gain. 

But aside from that play, Riley managed the game well.  There were no delay of games.  He made some great throws.  He's a very inspiring and competitive guy.  Also, I'm not seeing his ugly footwork from 2008.  He's definitely improved.

(19) Magic Numbers reviewed.  Remember my season outlook post?  Back in that post I made a prediction on Cal's season based on a few assumptions and Riley's completion percentage.  Right now, Riley has completed 64.8% of his passes.  In my post, that number was predicted to be a 10 win season (11 wins if you want to round 64.8% up to 65%).  But not so fast my friend!  One of the assumptions I based my model on was that Riley's yards per attempt would be less than 8 yards per pass attempt.  The number of 8 yards per pass attempt was a measuring stick because that was Longshore's yards per pass attempt in 2006 - a year whose team is comparable to this year's team.  I thought that Riley's yards per pass attempt would be less than Longshore's 8.0 yards per pass attempt because Cal lacked a true deep threat this year and I figured Riley would be completing a lot of short underneath passes.  But it turns out, my assumption was wrong.  Verran Tucker and Nyan Boateng have both proven to be good deep WRs and are functioning in a similar manner like Desean Jackson did for the 2006 team.  Right now, Riley's yards per pass attempt is a sick 9.8 yards per attempt!!!  Do you remember some of the other measuring sticks I gave in my season outlook post? 

In 2002, Kyle Boller threw for 6.68 yards per attempt.

In 2004, Aaron Rodgers threw for 8.2 yards per attempt (!!!)

In 2005, Joe Ayoob threw for 6.72 yards per attempt.

In 2006, Nate Longshore threw for 8.01 yards per attempt (thank you Desean "deep threat" Jackson!)

In 2007, from the start of the season through the Oregon game, Nate Longshore was throwing at 6.98 yards per attempt. 

In 2008, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford threw for 9.8 yards per attempt (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Right now, Riley's yards per pass attempt are superior to that of Longshore's in 2006, and verging on Sam Bradford type sickness. 

As for Riley's completion percentage of 64.5%, here are the other comparisons:

In 2002, Kyle Boller threw 53.6% (although perhaps a good 5% of those passes were drops by Ward). 

In 2004, Aaron Rodgers threw for 66.1% (!!!). 

In 2005, Joe Ayoob threw for 49.2%.

In 2006, Nate Longshore threw for 60.2%.

In 2007, from the start of the season through the Oregon game, Nate Longshore was throwing at 63.8%.

In 2008, Texas' Colt McCoy threw for 76.7% (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Right now, Riley is performing just about equal to Aaron Rodgers in 2004. 

As for Riley's interception percentage of 0.00%.... Well, no comparison needed here.  To be accurate, a few of Riley's passes could have been INTed, but the same can be said of all QBs. 

So, I'm not saying that Riley is going to be Cal's next Aaron Rodgers in terms of NFL talent.  But Riley's numbers are equivalent to Rodgers, and actually even better.  But it's only been three games.  Cal has yet to hit the meat of its schedule.  But if Cal's deep threat WRs continue to keep defenses somewhat honest and prevent defenses from focusing solely on Jahvid Best, Riley may only need a 60% completion percentage to get Cal BCS bowling.

(20) Linebackers in zone could use some work.  I think I talked about this after the EWU game.  The linebackers need to tighten up their coverages while in zone.  By that I mean guard the receivers more, as opposed to just dropping into coverage without any awareness of the receivers.  The linebackers should be getting up close to the receivers to defend the pass and not just standing around waiting until the pass is completed to the receiver to make the tackle.  In other words, guard the receivers in your zone, don't just stand in your zone. 





Post-game greetings.



50,000 disappointed fans!

(21) Ludwig is still unveiling new wrinkles.  I want to end on a good note, instead of point #20.  I really want to emphasize the diversity that Ludwig has brought to our offense.  I'm not a football guru or genius by any means (seriously, I'm not), but I've noticed sooo many new things which Ludwig has added to the Cal offense.  I already touched upon them above in point #17, but there's more!   Ludiwg is also bringing back the half-rolls!  Those pretty much disappeared under Cignetti in 2008.  And all the pre-snap shifting and motion.  And putting two RBs on the field.  And passing to the RBs.  I really really like the diversity that Ludwig is showing us right now.  I cannot remember the Cal offense ever being so diverse.  I love it.  It's really a joy to watch.  I mean, just today I took 10 minutes to watch some of the game for a break, and Cal ran to the weakside with a trap block by the backside guard from a bunch formation with the QB under center.  The play didn't work because a defender got by Boateng, but the play itself was so nifty and new! I saw even more new stuff when Cal was using 22 personnel with TEs in a two point stance. It's like Christmas.  There's just new cool things everywhere.  With Dunbar and Cignetti, I felt like I had seen the entire Cal offense by game two.  I didn't really see anything incredibly new after the first two games.  But this is the third game and I'm seeing new stuff still - and not just a little bit, but a lot.  I don't think Ludwig is done either.  I think he might still have even more to add.  I'm truly amazed by the new wrinkles I'm seeing in the offense and am very impressed with Ludwig thus far.