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Lost in Westwood: The Cal Football vs. UCLA Report Card

Another week, another late game, same result. The defense seemed improved this week, though the offense stalled out. Let's get them both moving together next week! But first, we'll take a look at what you, our valued readers, thought about this week vs UCLA. Thanks to everyone that took the time to fill out a report card. GO BEARS!

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Berkelium97: After several weeks of losses, each worse than the last, Cal football finally stopped digging itself into a hole. Sure, we're still 60 feet below the surface, but at least we have stopped digging...for now.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense .244 .152
Rush Offense .280 .181
Pass Defense .317 .181
Rush Defense .595 .220
Special Teams .622 .216
Coaching .395 .236
Overall .354 .188
Win Chance vs. Oregon State .240 (-.31) .214

The offense earned its worst grades yet, but look at that run defense score! That's good enough to get rounded up to a D-. For the first time all aspect, the defense managed to avoid a failing grade! Sure, the pass defense was terrible (I've seen lobsters shed their exoskeletons faster than our DBs shed blocks from WRs), but the run defense passed! I don't know about you, but I'm going to print this post and put it on my fridge to honor this glorious occasion.

Special teams continues to be pretty good thanks to Vince D'Automatico.

Our win prediction against the Beavers has plummeted thanks to a combination of our own struggles and Sean Mannion's ascension to elite status.


Before we hand out the usual awards, we have another Editor's Choice Award! This week's award, the Count von Count Award for Numerical Literacy goes to rollonyoubears111.


rollon's report card responses were, in order: .1, .2, .3, .4, .5, .6, .12345, .54321. That last one ended up being a pretty optimistic prediction for the Oregon State game!

And now to our usual slate of awards. First, the optimists:

Sonny Delight

1. heckyeah 5.30 (75.7%)
2. CalBear91 5.10 (72.9%)
3. JerseyBear 4.30 (61.4%)
4. the beer 4.20 (60.0%)
5. oskiwowwow 3.85 (55.0%)

heckyeah, indeed! These are some pretty good overall scores. They're certainly better than the Sonny Delight scores from the past two weeks.

Sonny Yikes!

1. CalBandGreat 0.20 (2.9%)
2. schmiddtymcfunstuff 0.81 (11.6%)
3. texashaterforlife 1.70 (24.3%)
4. justbear 1.81 (25.9%)
5. PhilaBear 1.95 (27.9)

What happened, CBG? This game wasn't that bad, was it?

The Voice of Reason

1. the townie 0.85
2. MJB .091
3. chruppel .094
4. PRD74 .095
5. 1988goldenbear .101

the townie leads the way this week, while MJB makes an appearance for the second consecutive week. I must admit, I'm pretty disappointed with these scores. These wouldn't have earned Voice of Reason awards during the past few seasons. The top 5 were usually in the .03 to .06 range. Have you even had 1000 reps of filling out report cards? It certainly doesn't look like it.

Let us cleanse our palates from this disappointment by turning it over to Sam and the comments.

Sam Fielder: I think that we as a fanbase have recalibrated and are now resigned to what this team is this season. The amount and length of the responses has been steadily dropping, but many people are now watching the games and looking for little areas of improvement and silver (golden?) linings, so those are fun to hear about. Keep it up!

GameDay Experience
sec119: I missed the first half of the game b/cI was having dinner at Fusebox, in West Oakland. That place is amazing, it's one of my fave restaurants ever.
Jacobs.:The HD stream from ESPN in Spanish was free!!! Looked awesome on my projector, and the commentators sounded very sympathetic! I would do this again! The Graham's 10 year old tawny was excellent!
schmiddtymcfunstuff : I really enjoyed that wings preview by Kodiak. Can't wait for basketball season...
PRD74: We were beaten by the better team, but it was not the total one-sided affair that I had anticipated. Given our injuries and youth, seeing us play even a little better was great.
Swamphunter: I actually didn't watch this game at all tonight. I went and saw "Captain Philips" with a friend instead. Tom Hanks in an action thriller is a million times more entertaining than watching our poor team. Go see it. Great film with great acting.
justbear: First game to attend this year. Terrible game.
ososdeoro: Also being a Michigan fan, I wish Dykes had taken over the offense for the overtime from Al Borges. Yes, even knowing Dykes called that ridiculous running play for Goff at the goal line.
fuzzywuzzy: My HD flat screen worked flawlessly and my dog patiently waited for his walk until after the game. Surprisingly, he started whining for poop-time immediately after we were down by three touchdowns. He just wants to shield his daddy from pain and suffering.
SoCal Oski: The only thing the Rose Bowl has going for it is that tailgating area.
RhetoriCal: Huh, nihilism works! I went into this game expecting nothing and, getting slightly better than nothing, it felt surprisingly good! Nietzsche is the answer to my Cal fandom woes!
CalBandGreat: I had Twist and Golden Oso over to watch the game and had a great time.
GoldenBoiler aka my two alma maters have combined for 2 wins, both close games against FCS foes. Is it the 90s? : After 10 years on the West Coast, returning to the Eastern time zone as a Pac12 fan is tuff. My dog and some alcohol kept me company as my family slept.

Pass Offense
schmiddtymcfunstuff: Goff is losing confidence and I don't know if I believe in him.
sacman701: If you count the sacks, we had 4 yards per attempt and a horrible interception. That isn't enough. Pass protection is an ongoing problem.
MJB: Disappointing. O-line was beaten often, and Goff for his part didn't make plays. Maybe we should wait another week or two before we slap a "regressing" label on Goff, but this wasn't improvement.
rollonyoubears111: Looks like they practiced hard on running, but did nothing to improve the offense. There were some bad drops, there were some sh*t-poor throws, and there were some bad blocks. For some reason, the QB looked out of sorts.
fuzzywuzzy: Not good, but it's a moral victory if we don't get any receivers injured, which is easy if you just throw the balls into the turf.. Plus, an interception and a couple of sacks...worst game yet? Pass blocking sucked, although getting into Marsh's head was a great play.
calfootballaddict: Goff seemed a bit flustered in the pocket and missed a few easy throws because he didn't step into them. The more frustrating part was UCLA getting hurries and sacks on Goff while only rushing 3 or 4 guys. Goff was definitely uncomfortable, evidenced by some of his inaccurate throws. I liked seeing Bigelow in the slot. Maybe we could run some of those swing screen UCLA runs with him out of the backfield.
CalBear91: Don't know how much was Goff, the receivers or the UCLA DB's, but we just couldn't get it going reliably.

Run Offense
CoBears: Really unimpressive. I saw holes that my mother could run through that our RBs missed. Why?
SoCalOski: Synonyms: counterproductive, feckless, hamstrung, ineffectual, inefficacious, inefficient, inexpedient
sup_doe_library: We saw some signs of life from the run game this week. Muhammed had a couple of nice runs, and Coprich ran hard, but it wasn't enough to turn the tide of the game. I like the Rogers bone alignment, though the "running" drive was too predictable to be effective. Muhammed doesn't take full advantage of his speed in his identification of the running lanes, and there was too much hesitation when hitting the hole resulting in ineffective runs. Lasco's fumble was ugly and shows just how unprepared our top 2 backs are when it comes to protecting the ball.
CalBear91: Signs of real life, and just as Lasco got going he got hurt!!! He would have scored where Rodgers couldn't because he would have broke it outside.
rollonyoubears111: Lasco showed good fundamentals by holding onto the ball and running north while cutting into holes at the right time. The others waited to long, hesitated, and danced way too much.
Jacobs.: How about we run it earlier on the field, then pass for touchdowns? No?

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Pass Defense
puresilence: almost okay
sacman701: Not enough pass rush, too many freshmen playing like freshmen. The beat goes on.
pyunny: Can we please shed a block and make a tackle on those short flats?
PRD74: Okay, we played better, but what's left of my hair has been pulled out after all of the third and long completions. Freshmen more Rogaine!
thebeer: guys made some nice plays
hundley is pretty good tho
this was a haiku
texashaterforlife: it looked improved from the last couple of weeks
fuzzywuzzy: Typical - but no major injuries! Hard to find a silver lining other than that, and some of the back ups didn't play all that bad. Hundley made Kragen look like he had no arms. Our young secondary really needs to be able to shed those blocks...
calfootballaddict: The fact that the swing screens were working in the first half consistently was very frustrating. I don't play football and don't know much about schemes, but it seems like if we put Lowe or Drew in man coverage vs. their running backs instead of Nickerson or another linebacker, we would have better success stopping that screen. Nickerson is slower and had trouble getting out their before getting blocked. Not sure if a receiver was sent out to block the safety, but Lowe and Drew both played fairly well minus Lowe's blown coverage on the TE touchdown at the end of the 1st half, so I think having one of them on a Bruin RB is a better idea. I though Cameron Walker and Drew played the best games of their Cal careers.

Run Defense
CalBear91: Stout. And remember, we have no real depth. Those young men did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage.
sup_doe_library: The run defense played well. Even with UCLA's #1 RB out, the defense bottled up the run and finished tackles well. Linebackers shed blocks and the defense gang tackled well. I think this was the first game that Fortt, Nickerson, Barton/King asserted themselves physically and stopped reading themselves out of running plays resulting in few runs getting to the second level. Alot of credit to Coleman and Moala for plugging up the holes and occupying blockers. This is a positive and hopefully something they can build on.
RhetoriCal: To live is to suffer, to survive is to find something worthy in that suffering. Props to the d-line for showing up and fighting through it.
rollonyoubears111: This was very encouraging as this is the first time I've seen players swarming for the ball from our team. Many times, I've seen some defensive ends giving up on plays or just watching from a near distance. This time, something was different. This was not, however, seen on our offensive side.
VermontBear: I loved the gang tackling, especially in the second half.

Special Teams
osodero: It's time we realized that the new 25 yard rule is a gift from the rules makers to offenses and that getting past there by running the ball out on kickoffs is exponentially more difficult than getting past the 20. And in indeed, getting to the 25 is even more easy when one simply takes a knee in the end zone. Other than that, special teams weren't terrible.
MJB: Great punting, and a nice long FG from D'Amato. No good returns on UCLA's punts and kickoffs, however. We could sure use a big play on a kick return every now and then.
pyunny: Perhaps the only "sonny"side to our atrocious, injury-laden team.
sec119: Muhammad is tackled really easily on KO returns.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>We gone have to weather the storm ! Keep moving forward</p>&mdash; Kam Jackson (@Kameron3Jackson) <a href="">October 13, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Jacobs.: Please prepare better for the next match. We still look like we no clue what is going on in the first quarter. Also huddle>check with me.
schmiddymcfunstuff: I thought Tedford was whispering in Franklin's ear... draw play on third and long again??
MJB: We should give Buh some credit because the defense played better. Some dubious play callling on offense, though. Don't get me started on the four straight running plays inside the UCLA 5 yard line.
justbear: they should all be fired
texashaterforlife: It looked like some new wrinkles were tried, but coaching has a long way to go.
42Calbear: BUH is a total disgrace. There are no fundamentals being taught to the defense.
Watch the defensive linemen, they never get off blocks and they never raise their arms on pass plays. Thus, we give every opposing quarterback very clear passing lanes and we next to never tip or block a pass. Tackling, what tackling? I don't care if our players are right out of Pop Warner football or are all walk-ons there is no excuse for the total lack of tackling fundamentals.
CalBear91: Clearly Andy Buh got his boys to play hard and play smart. I loved the aggression I saw and the camaraderie. My only gripe was the Franklin play calling on the goal line, but I believe that may have been more about a statement to his players than about trying to score points.

Overall Performance
CoBears: I feel like the losses to all these ranked teams have left our team feeling a lot like me--sad at where we are and without much hope. We have so much work to do on our running game, our entire defense (recognizing the injuries) and our goal line offensive plays. Using Rodgers as a tailback seems overly desperate, and still didn't work. I know this team has the potential to score some points and get in a shootout that we have a chance at winning with someone, but we need to actually score in the red zone to have a shot at it, and I don't know who that potential win will come against--maybe Colorado? Until then, Saturdays are going to continue to hurt.
GoldenBoiler aka my two alma maters have combined for 2 wins, both close games against FCS foes. Is it the 90s?: Ucla is legit. I think Oregon and Alabama, plus FSU probably, are heads and shoulders above everyone else. Ucla could be anywhere from the 4th to 15th best team in the nation. We fought them hard, moved the ball a little and our defense showed signs of life for the first time since northwestern. We aren't good right now, so everything must be judged based on playing to our potential. I thought our D played to their potential and our offense did not.
sup_doe_library: While the score was bad and Cal failed to cover the spread yet again, I think we played a scrappy game and showed flashes. Had the offense made the trip, I think this could've been a closer game with the potential for an upset. Defense finally found some dignity and made some plays, and I think Lee and Jackson are the solution at CB. I still wonder just how much better our underneath coverage would be were Forbes playing, but Nickerson didn't have as bad of a game as he usually does, so I hope that this is a sign that he's improving. Coleman and Moala were quite productive and that was good to see.
On offense, i think the coaches have found a solution for short yardage in the rogersmegabone, but I think they need to install playaction and more plays out of that set. I think the OL run blocked better, but took two steps back with pass protection.
This is a game that gives cal fans some hope because it shows that if both sides of the ball decide to show up for a game, we have a shot at a win. Against Ore. St or USC it could result in a convincing win.
CalBear91: We did better than I feared we might, and could have won this game with a better offensive performance. This tells me that the team is coming closer, and so I was really encouraged. I mean, given that we should have lost, and did lose, I don't know that we could have lost in a way that I would feel better about.
42Calbear: I finally believe this is completely a 1-11 team. Team character looks very bad, there was a total lack of any emotion against UCLA. Looked like the team just didn't want to be there.Overall, there are progressively getting worse each week.
osodero: No opposing offensive players broke records against us. I'd say it was a relatively good day.