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Ask CGB - Forgive and Forget?

You know I just wanted to get that Rutgers highlight in there. From last week:

I inspired the nickname of the kicker who won this game.

The right answer?

Indeed it was! Now for this week's:

A rather prolific writer of short stories, I didn't actually finish my degree at Cal. But I did manage to finish a whole bunch of other stories that were made into big budget Hollywood movies starring the likes of Harrison Ford, the Governator, Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Peter Weller (who?) and Keanu Reeves. WHOA. Who am I?

Probably shouldn't be very difficult for any of you literary buffs out there. Let's get right into it.

FrankBear21 starts us off with a hypothetical:

If we beat Oregon is all forgotten?

Lets be honest.... stranger things have happened.

As for me, I would say yes. I'm a rather forgiving sort, and it's not like I was holding out hope that we were going to win the conference this year anyway. Though it would have been nice. Guys?

Kodiak: Yes. Until we lose a game due to:

a) Special teams errors
b) Porous defense
c) Controversial playcalling
d) Some combination of all of the above.

CBKWit: Yes. And I would change the question to "If we beat Oregon OR $C, is all forgotten?"

LafayetteBear brings the queries.

Is something up with Bigelow?

I watched 90% of last Saturday's game, but I don't recall seeing Bigelow get ANY carries from scrimmage. Or any screen passes.

I believe he was used exclusively as the kick returner. And he seemed remarkably tentative on kick returns. Showed no speed, and was easily tackled for the most part.

Did something happen with him that was not generally publicized? I hope he is still physically ok, and that worries about further injury are not holding him back. (Easy for me to say, harder for him to do, I realize.)

Assuming Bigelow's ready to go, I think JT must USE him.

Kick returns are far more dependent on blocking than you might think, so not showing any speed on a return probably has far more to do with a lack of holes to hit and lack of blocking. (Cue the inevitable special teams question - don't worry, we're getting to it.)

And then of course, with the proper blocking, ANYONE can spring a big return.

As far as how to use him, we already have people clamoring for CJA and Dasarte Yarnway to get carries over Isi. I mean, even those loaded USC teams with six starting-caliber RBs only used a few each game. And we've never been a big screen team to begin with. Besides, there weren't very many carries to go around to begin with - perhaps if we hadn't gone so pass-wacky with the score relatively close in the fourth (again, another discussion), there would have been more carries going his way. And to those other aforementioned RBs.

Kodiak: UW's coverage team was very fast and aggressive. I don't think Bigelow had anywhere to go on his returns.

Considering the weakness of the UW defense was their outside contain due to inexperienced OLBs, his speed might have been useful on pitch or outside zone plays. I think the score dictated his lack of carries. If we had been able to get up by a couple of touchdowns, the coaches would have been more comfortable giving him a series or two. Our relatively poor starting field position on many drives might also have played a role.

Why did we accept the holding penalty?

In the first half, on third and 2, we stopped UW for a 1 yard game for 4-1 on their 40, but there was a holding call. For some reason we accepted the 10 yard penalty, they go on to get the first down and score.

Why the hell did we accept the penalty, Sark wasn't going to go for it then. Am I missing something....

p.s. Maynard is a gamer

I think it's really a close call there - that's more a hunch about how you think the other team will react than anything. I would think Sarkisian, with Polk in his backfield, is more apt than most teams to go for it on fourth and short. At least more likely to do so, than, say, our Bears. With Isi.


Sure, this could happen. But then...

So could this.

Berkelium97: This one is simple math. If we decline the penalty they have 4th and 1. Do you think we prevent a one-yard gain from Chris Polk? I don't. If we accept the penalty, it's 3rd and 12. They now have to average 6 yards per play to convert instead of 1. I have much more confidence that we can prevent 12 yards on two plays than we can prevent 1 yard on one play.

Kodiak: Dice roll. The Cal coaches guessed that it would be harder for UW to make a third and long than a 4th and a foot. I think Sark would have gone - Polk is a bruising runner running behind a big Oline.

CBKWit: This was a tough one to swallow. We had just stuffed Polk on 3rd and 1, and the Huskies were around their 40 yard line in the second quarter. Have to figure they will punt in that situation.

shawnxt asks something that I really don't like to bother thinking about.

Does loss @ UW have any effect on recruiting?

I heard that some of our recruits were at the Cal-UW (ie Shaq Thompson). Is that true? And will this be one of the deciding factors of whether they choose UW or Cal or some other school?

I'm going to say that while it probably has an effect, its likely to be so small it doesn't matter much. If a guy is really basing his decision on which school to go to based on how they performed during a campus visit, well, he's probably kinda flaky. There's so much more that goes into it that I can't believe that a loss would turn the tide. So while it probably doesn't help, I wouldn't lose much sleep over it either. Or you could just listen to what Kod says.

Kodiak: No. Last year's strong recruiting class despite the subpar on-the-field product suggests that there are more factors going into recruiting than just W's and L's. If anything, recruits might look at the number of young players who were getting a lot of snaps and see an opportunity for early playing time.

It feels like the more people learn about football, the less than they know, oobay.

Why are we passing to our RB's so much?

in critical situations? We're overthinking things. Just throw the rock up for KA and MJ.

Maybe because they're the ones that are open? Sounds like you're the one who's overthinking things. For a less vicious response, let's go to Kodiak.

Kodiak: UW switched up their coverages in the 2nd half to make it tougher to get to KA and Jones. On one side, they would play tight press coverage which made it harder to complete anything quick. On the other, they had their CB in zone and rolled either a safety over the top or a linebacker underneath. In theory, Maynard could still try to force a throw to the covered receiver.

The 3rd down go route to Deboskie-Johnson had been run successfully earlier in the game for a 3rd down conversion. I think the Cal coaches liked the mis-match of a RB covered by a slower or less experienced OLB. In this case, it was unsuccessful because it was UW's best LB (Dennison) who was in coverage. I don't know if this was an adjustment by UW or not. Perhaps a more experienced QB would have noted that this was no longer a mismatch and gone to a different receiver or tried to audible. Maynard has already admitted that he runs what the coaches tell him.

The fourth down throw to Sofele was a solid playcall and not as bad a decision as I had initially thought. Looking at the replay, the UW defender was playing well off the line and Sofele was open. The other Cal receivers were either tightly covered or double covered. KA might have eventually gotten free, but his route took longer to develop. Maynard might have throw that ball a tick sooner, but it bounced off Sofele's shoulder before the defender made contact. Should have been a pitch and catch for a first down.

It's a judgement call - go with the open receiver, or keep throwing to your best playmakers despite being doubled. With a more accurate QB, we probably could have gotten away with continuing to feed the ball to KA/Jones no matter the coverage. We had a 3 and out where we tried to force it to Jones/KA. The next couple of series we tried to exploit mismatches or looser coverage on the backs. And on the last drive we went back to throwing to our WRs.

Though if there's one guy you can force it to...

Is there a way to not let a loss ruin your day?

See, every time we enter a Saturday with a losable game on schedule, I say to myself, "hey, a loss is practically expected here. We're not a great team, and this is a tough road environment..." or whatever the case may be. And I make peace with potentially losing...

...Then the game starts.

I don't know if it's the way we lose or if its that, at some point in the game, I get my hopes up.

If you know the secret to this, also let me know how you enjoy a round of golf after that first quad bogey.
Realize you have more going on in your life. Things happen. Move on. I mean, letting myself get down after every Nets loss during their epic 12-70 season would have killed me. So I made sport out of it. I inventing drinking games. (To play by myself. Since god knows no one else was going to the games with me.) I openly booed our own team. I embraced losing. I texted during games. I cheered for the t-shirt cannon. I became everything I hated about the sporting experience.

But losing doesn't bother me as much as it once did. So there's that. Move on, son. Move on.