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California Golden Bears vs. Washington Huskies

In-game threads (click on each quarter thread at the appropriate time)
First quarter thread | Second quarter thread | Third quarter thread | Fourth quarter thread

This is the pregame thread for Cal football discussion only. To talk about other games, check out the early games thread by scrolling down or clicking here.

Doesn't feel like a football weekend for the California Golden Bears, does it? Cal will wrap up its 2010 regular season today, and for the third straight year they play the Washington Huskies. The last two years, the home team has issued the blowout, and the Golden Bears can only hope the trend continues this season.

However, there's a lot more at stake this year. Cal is 5-6 and needs a win to assure themselves of bowl eligibility, but Washington is 4-6 and could move a step closer themselves to making it to the postseason. With Jake Locker in his final season and Steve Sarkisian needing to show to Washington fans that progress is being made, winning the final two games will be a strong step in that direction. Jeff Tedford's Golden Bears just need the win to ensure the season doesn't slip from complete disappointment to total disaster.

Game info

Time: 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET
Weather: 52 to 56 degrees Fahreneheit, winds 7 to 9 miles per hour from the west, 93% chance of rain, chance of thunderstorms.
TV: CSN California/FSN Northwest
Radio: KGO 810 AM (San Francisco), need All-Access to stream online, KESP 970 AM (Modesto), KGIL 1260 AM (Los Angeles), KPRZ 1210 AM (San Diego), KTKZ 1380 AM (Sacramento), KALX 90.7 FM (Cal Student radio, which has an online stream), Sirius XM Channels 215 (official Cal feed) and 194.
Gametracker: Click here
Streams: Post in the quarter threads

Unofficial injury report

Washington: Punter Will Mahan, DL Cameron Elisara, RB Johri Fogerson (out), OL Ryan Tolar, DE Talia Crichton, WR Jordan Polk, S Justin Glenn (questionable)

Cal: Kevin Riley, Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson, Dasarte Yarnway (out for season), Jeremy Ross, Darian Hagan, Marc Anthony (questionable)

With Brock Mansion's inability to move the ball stifling Cal's offense, the Golden Bears are likely going to have to try to establish the run. The Huskies are not a good road team, and their defense especially suffers.

Split G Att Yards Avg. TD Att/G Yards/G
All Games 10 419 2084 4.97 31 41.90 208.40
at Home 6 249 1127 4.53 17 41.50 187.83
on Road/Neutral Site 4 170 957 5.63 14 42.50 239.25

TwistNHook: Dude, they give up HELLA yards on the road. Look at the difference between yardage at home and yardage given up ont he road despite the fact that there are almost similar amounts of attempts (41.5 to 42.5).

Here are the passing defense numbers.

Split G Att Comp Pct. Yards Yards/Att TD Int Rating Att/G Yards/G
All Games 10 279 169 60.6 2039 7.3 11 9 128.52 27.9 203.9
at Home 6 164 89 54.3 1115 6.8 6 9 112.47 27.3 185.8
on Road/Neutral Site 4 115 80 69.6 924 8.0 5 0 151.41 28.8 231.0
Split G Rec. Yards Avg. TD Rec./G Yards/G
All Games 10 169 2039 12.07 11 16.9 203.9
at Home 6 89 1115 12.53 6 14.8 185.8
on Road/Neutral Site 4 80 924 11.55 5 20.0 231.0

I honestly don't know what to make of this, because our passing offense is in shambles. Giving up 230 yards a game on the road bodes well for Cal. But just because the fruit is ripe doesn't mean we will pick it.

Mansion has shown some flashes of having a great arm and being able to make things happen with his feet. However, he doesn't seem particularly accurate and his WRs continue to have a case of the dropsies, as they had for Riley before him. Even against a rather porous WSU D, Cal didn't have a ridic passing day. So, take these numbers for what they are worth.

Avinash: That being said, the teams they've played on the road have been Oregon, USC, Arizona, and BYU, and the first three have some of the most prolific offenses in the country.

Cal's run attack has dipped to record-low numbers, and all of that is due to NO ONE respecting the pass and our offensive line continuing to play flawed football. It's hard to get anything going for Shane Vereen and Isi Sofele if guys are getting blown up in front of them and Mansion can't get the ball moving downfield.

I'd like to see some wide receiver direct handoffs or reverses to Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. Both the Furd and the Ducks had some trouble defending them, and it'll ensure they get touches regardless of the success of the passing game. That could open up other things for Mansion and make his job easier to find open receivers.

It's a little sad, because this is supposed to be Riley's final game at Memorial. If he was in charge, we would have rolled. As it is, I'd be happy to eek a few touchdowns and hope the defense does its job of shutting things down.

Twist: This is Washington's rush offense:

e Yr Pos G Att Yards Avg. TD Att/G Yards/G
1 Chris Polk SO RB 10 179 868 4.85 5 17.90 86.80
2 Jesse Callier FR RB 10 65 402 6.18 0 6.50 40.20
3 Jake Locker SR QB 9 80 262 3.28 4 8.89 29.11

Rushing Locker 9 times a game seems insane to me. This is especially true with his broken rib(s). I don't believe we'll see as many rushes from him this weekend. However, Sark is desperate for a bowl to show progress. I believe he has rushed Locker back from a severe injury and has no problem exacerbating that problem with additional rush attempts.

Last week against UCLA, Locker only rushed 4 times:

Locker, Jake 4 15 6 9 1 11 2.2

Minimal success there despite the TD.

So, Polk is the one to keep aneye on. He doesn't appear to be having a particularly strong year, rushing for less than 100 yards a game on average. If there is one part of the Cal D I have faith in, it is the rush D.

Locker's numbers have been below average this season.

Name Yr Pos G Att Comp Pct. Yards Yards/Att TD Int Rating Att/G Yards/G
1 Jake Locker SR QB 9 267 148 55.4 1746 6.5 14 7 122.42 29.7 194.0

Locker does not appear to be having the season he was hoping for to wow NFL Scouts. For example, let's look at his 55% completion percentage. He only has 14 TD to 7 interceptions. This comes out to a QB rating of 122, which is OK. Not terrible, but under the college metric it is not great. UW fans were hoping for great.

This is Locker's last chance for greatness. He'll definitely want to go to a bowl and get the opportunity to put an exclamation out for those NFL scouts. After how Andrew Luck just carved up the Cal secondary, I am living in constant fear of that. I hope that the D was sufficiently embarrassed that they come out and just lock this one down.

Here are Washington's Receiving Stats.

Yr Pos G Rec. Yards Avg. TD Rec./G Yards/G
1 Jermaine Kearse JR WR 10 50 746 14.92 10 5.0 74.6
2 D'Andre Goodwin SR WR 10 34 345 10.15 3 3.4 34.5
3 Devin Aguilar JR WR 8 25 331 13.24 2 3.1 41.4
4 Chris Polk SO RB 10 16 133 8.31 0 1.6 13.3
5 Cody Bruns JR WR 10 7 102 14.57 0 0.7 10.2
6 Jordan Polk JR WR 7 7 94 13.43 0 1.0 13.4
7 Jesse Callier FR RB 10 15 81 5.40 0 1.5 8.1

Kearse is the clear #1 star of this squad. He has double the receptions of the #3 receiver. He is averaging a very impressive 14.92 yards a reception. Honestly, having 3 WRs averaging over 10 yards a reception has caused my heart to jump in my throat.

If we can contain Kearse, hopefully we can keep this passing offense under wraps. Goodwin and Aguilar are not as talented and have not been as successful this year. However, I am not entirely certain that we will be able to contain this passing offense, given how Cal played last week against Stanford.

The difference between Stanford and pretty much every other team in the Pac10 is that offensive line. Stanford's offensive line is clearly the best. Cal was unable to get any pressure against Luck compared to just a week prior when they were harassing Darron Thomas pretty well.

Avinash: Having watched a few of the Husky games, I'd have to say a lot of their problems stem from execution. Receivers have not caught a lot of Locker's passes and that has stalled drives. The offensive line is youthful and underdeveloped. Locker has had some bad games (the Nebraska game might have dropped his draft stock five to ten places on its own), but his offense isn't doing him any favors. He's probably gotten himself injured more than necessary because of his issues.

Locker himself, despite all the miscues, still has plenty of potential to be a good quarterback. But it's clear he's still trying to shake off the cobwebs of trying to be a dual-threat quarterback now that he's focusing purely on improving his abilities in a pro-style attack. His mechanics need work. In terms of accomplishments, other than being the Trojan slayer (and USC's pass defense has hardly been its strength), he has yet to notch a signature victory against a big opponent, and sometimes . But one man can't really be counted on to beat 11.

So can Cal win its one-on-one assignments? I think someone will be spying Locker while the cornerbacks play man coverage for most of the game as we try to contain the quarterback. Last year Locker burned us over and over by making plays of all sorts. That cannot happen again.

I do agree that the Cal front seven should have a much easier time with Washington's offensive line after dealing with the bruising and battering Stanford blockers. What we hope unfolds? The defense makes life difficult for Locker by putting him in long-down situations and forcing him to make tough decisions rather than letting Polk run lose.