Before the season, I pointed to the Texas game as a test of Cal's physical maturity. With 41 rushes for 280 yards and a victory, they passed the test. Interestingly, the key block on the longest run of the night was not sprung by one of Cal's older, more mature offensive linemen, but by a walk on freshman.
No one, however, would accuse Malik McMorris of lacking physicality. The 5'11'', 300 pound fullback has fast become a fan favorite, and for good reason. This human wrecking ball has already made several key blocks during the season, but none resulted in such an explosive play as Khalfani Muhammad's 74 yard touchdown run against Texas.
Football comes down to fundamentals - making blocks, beating blocks, making tackles, breaking tackles, etc. On this play, Texas won at the point of attack. So much so that I originally thought the play was a wham scheme (for a previous article I've written on the wham scheme, click here). This Texas victory should have led to a defensive win, but as we will see, McMorris managed to block two players at the point of attack, opening a hole in the Texas line that Muhammad would not waste.
With each game this season, Cal has faced steeper competition and new challenges. Against Texas, they faced a traditional power filled with high end talent - exactly the type of team that the younger, less physically mature Golden Bears struggled with the last two seasons. Cal showed their gains in experience and maturity against Texas, running for 6.8 yards per carry and scoring two "big boy" goal line touchdowns against the Longhorns. But it was the efforts of one of the smallest players on the field running behind a true freshman walk on lead blocker that provided the most electric physical statement of the night.
Keegan Dresow is the head coach of the Avedøre Monarchs of the Danish American Football Federation, the author of Offensive Football Systems and Gridiron Cup, 1982, and the operator of totalamericanfootball.com.