Five Things We Learned This Week: Arizona-Cal

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent INovember 16, 2009

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Adam Hall #12 of the Arizona Wildcats looks on near the end of the game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

1. Fluke Play

Let's just get this out of the way.

Say what you want but it needs to be put this way. It never should have come down to that.

The play was one-in-a-million. Sure, Foles should have known not throw the ball a second time, but how many times does something like that come up in a game. Once in a career, maybe.

The simple fact is: Foles played his worst game as a Wildcat and it has nothing to do with him throwing the ball twice on the same down.

If you want to place blame, put it on the 58 minutes before that play happened. The 58 minutes where Arizona struggled to move the ball.

That play is not the reason for an Arizona loss in Berkeley, the first 58 minutes of the game are.

2. Red Zone Stops

Before I make this article seem like me criticizing Arizona's offense, the defense in the red zone was good.

Once they were done letting Cal get into the red zone, they did their job in making sure the ball did not go into the end zone.

They made Cal kick field goals every time they entered the red zone and safety Joe Perkins intercepted a pass in the end zone.

The two touchdowns came from outside of the red zone (28-yard touchdown pass and 62-yard touchdown run)

Stopping a team in the red zone is key for keeping points down and was a huge reason that Arizona was able to remain in this game.

3. Shut The Screen Down

Arizona has been one of the best teams in the country at running the screen.

Whether it was the running back screen or the wide receiver screen, it seemed that no one could stop what the Wildcats threw at them.

The came to a screeching stop at Cal. The Bears were the fastest, most athletic team that Arizona has played all season and it showed.

The Bears were the first that seemed to come prepared knowing that Arizona would run an exorbitant amount of screen plays to move the ball down the field.

Cal preparation made them able to stop Arizona in its tracks.

4. Worst Offensive Game of the Year

No Wildcat fan will be able to disagree with me on that statement. The last time the Wildcat offense looked that ineffective was against Iowa when Matt Scott was starting for Arizona.

The play-calling was awful. Sonny Dykes has stuck to the same script of plays for the past four games.

Screen, run up the middle, repeat.

Dykes made no adjustments during the first half when Cal was stopping the screen and Keola Antolin getting stuffed up the middle every time he ran the ball.

He also made little to no adjustment until Arizona's final two drives. For all of the praise that Sonny Dykes is getting for making this a powerhouse offense, he didn't make the changes needed in order to win the game.

5. Wildcats Struggle With Wildcat

The "Wildcat" offense that has become so popular in the past two years was effective last night against Arizona.

Cal did a great job of using the misdirection that the Wildcat causes to confuse the Arizona defense.

For the most part the Cats did a good job of letting Cal use the offense to create big plays. Most plays were only for gains of six-eight yards. There were no real big breakaways.

The six and seven-yard gains though were effective enough to ensure that Cal got down the field in order to get the points that helped lead to an Arizona loss.

For an Arizona team that has struggled against run option teams, they need to figure it out to have a chance against Oregon.


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