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Golden Nuggets: Lighting the Fire in Cal’s Offense

Only a few articles today, almost as if no one wants to write about Cal right now.

NCAA Football: UCLA at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The longest play by the Bears’ this season was a 52-yard pass from Chase Garbers to Kanawai Noa in Week 2. Cal is one of 19 FBS teams that has yet to have a 60-yard play.

“We have a lot of explosive players,” McIlwain said. “We just have to put ourselves in those positions by executing our plays. The more you can continue to stay consistent, the more those things will pop.”

Cal ranks 103rd among 129 FBS teams at 5.2 yards per play, and its inability to manufacture big gainers has a variety of causes, from turnovers to talent level to coaching.

The Bears have committed 14 turnovers in the past three games. It’s difficult to develop an offensive rhythm when you’re giving away the ball that much, and it’s impossible to make big plays when you don’t have the ball.

  • Here’s more on the Bears lack of explosive plays, and whether maybe Jeremiah Hawkins could be a difference maker.

How can a football team produce more big plays? Recruit more explosive players.

All the schematic ingenuity and imaginative practice drills aren’t going to lead to big plays if you don’t have the personnel.

Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin said Tuesday a creative play call can occasionally lead to a game-changing play. “But,” he said, “for the most part, you look around the country, (a big play) is winning on one-on-one situations.”

Which brings us to Hawkins. He got more playing time against UCLA, partly because of the absence of injured Jordan Duncan. But he might get more after recording a team-high 46 receiving yards on four catches against the Bruins. Those numbers aren’t going to scare anyone, but they offer a hint of what the 5-foot-8 Hawkins might do.

  • Cal Bears Maven answers five questions about the Bears, including what is causing so many turnovers, and whether the team is rising or falling under Year 2 of Wilcox.
  • Cal didn’t do any of the “five things” needed to beat UCLA, what are this week’s 5 Things to beat OSU?
  • Two running backs for Oregon State could be a problem for the defense.

Beat the Beavers!