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Cal coaching decisions not the best against Washington

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What coaching decisions left you scratching your heads on Saturday?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Avinash Kunnath: Two stand out in my mind.

Why, why, why do you let Jared Goff try a quarterback sneak at the goal-line?
Goff hasn't taken maybe more than one snap under center since he's gotten to Cal. At all the practices, the Bears are running shotgun exclusively. There are simply not enough reps to think this is a good idea.

Punting on 4th and 4 at Washington's 41 down 7-0.
Cal has been excellent at converting 4th downs this season (75% coming into the game, and they'd go 2-4 on the game), and you need to put some points on the board right now to overcome the fumble recovery.  It's such an obvious decision to go for it that I'm disappointed Dykes and Franklin went conservative at a point where aggressiveness was probably the best course of action.

(Don't have any strong feelings on the late 4th and 11 punt down 24, our chances of winning were smaller than our chances of Jared Goff getting hurt on another Hau'oli Kikaha pressure.)

Ruey Yen: The choice of a QB sneak with Goff was rather baffling. If we are going to use 2 QBs, we should have run that play for Rubenzer. Then again, maybe Dykes and the coaching staff are going for the surprise element by using Goff there. Ultimately, I'm more disappointed by the lack of execution on that play (why just one hand rather than two hands for more ball security?) than the call.

Overall for the game, the Bears obviously took fewer down the field shots than last week. While credit has to go to the UW defense to not give Goff as much time or allow the Cal receivers to get open down the field, the Bears somehow showed the ability to have a long, time-consuming drive, which is something that we doubt that the Bears are able to do given the blown leads earlier in the year, when they should not be doing that. So the reliance on run plays when trailing by more than 2 possessions was a rather curious decision.

boomtho: Like everyone before me, the choice of a QB sneak was odd to me, especially given how well we ran on that drive and how successful Lasco had been in short yardage this year. I also disagreed with some of the punting decisions, but those were probably not material in the outcome of the game. I mostly agree with Ruey's point about us not taking shots down field, though it looked like UW was consistently playing two deep safeties to make us win through intermediate routes.

Nick Kranz: I agree with both of Avi's choices. Regarding the goalline sneak: If it's 4th down, maybe you make that call. But Cal has been great at the goalline this year in part because of Daniel Lasco and in part because of great endzone receivers like Kenny Lawler. When you have options like that, why go away from them? My sense is that Giving Goff the ball on a sneak (particularly against UW's line) is both a lower percentage option in terms of success and a riskier option in terms of the chance of disaster.

The punt . . . well, when that happened in the stadium, I yelled out to nobody in particular, "Sonny, we hired you so that you would go for it in these types of situations!" By now most of us are familiar with game theory that states that coaches should go for it much more often, particularly in situations exactly like 4th and 4 from the 41. Even worse, Cal's particular reality dictate going for it. We all know that the Cal defense isn't going to be shutting anybody out. As a result, Cal's offense needs to take advantage of every opportunity to score.

True, Cal's defense ended up holding up pretty well, but so early in the game nobody knew that would happen. Oddly, it turned out that Cal punted away one of the few chances they had to score when the game was still in doubt.

There weren't any glaring issues the rest of the game - just the down by down evidence of a really well-prepared team taking on a team that was less well-prepared. Being out-prepared by Chris Petersen with a bye-week (I'm not convinced that bye-weeks typically matter, but I suppose this is strong anecdotal evidence) is hardly grounds for dismissal, but it's not great either.