The Pac-10 Report: Week Two
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This segment allows Cal fans to check in with reports around the blogosphere from various Pac-10 teams and Cal opponents. Let’s start with the Trojans and their tilt with Ohio State.
Conquest Chronicles: [USC has] always had problems defending the spread and dealing with mobile QB’s but that is not what we run so tOSU will be able to play a more standard defensive scheme against SC. If they get some pressure look for a lot of dump passes out of the backfield to Havili or McKnight. Outside of the O line the key players to watch will C.J. Gable for his blocking abilities, Anthony McCoy to stick with his blocking assignments yet still be available for a quick dump pass or neutralizing the LB to give the running back some room to break through and of course Mark Sanchez to see if he maintains his composure and how his knee holds up.
Ducks Attack: Everything about the Oregon running backs was great, well, outside of Jeremiah Johnson’s shoulder injury. The group picked up as an entire unit 312 net yards rushing and four touchdowns. Blount got the most of the work as he ran the ball 18 times for a 132 yards and churned out 7.3 yards a carry for two of the four touchdowns by RBs. Crenshaw and Remene Alston also added 72 and 71 respectively and both did it in surprising fashion. Both produced long runs and also showed they too can provide the power. Very impressed by Alston who showed great poise and great vision. Has surprising speed for a back that’s 200 pounds and 5?8 at the most. If Alston is ever forced into a bigger role this year I’d be comfortable with him in the game. Can’t remember a time when the Ducks have been so deep at running back.
Bears with Fangs: There’s really no other way to say it, Cal’s passing game is still a work in progress. After an efficient performance against MSU opening weekend, Kevin struggled in connecting with his receivers against Washington State. It may have been a combination of imprecise route running, or a Riley putting a bit too much on his passes, but Cal missed out many opportunities in the passing game. It looked as though Riley was constantly overshooting wide open receivers. Riley finished the game 6-14 passing for only 51 yards, and a TD. Riley has yet to throw an interception so far this season, but I don’t think anyone is too pleased with only 51 yards through the air from their starting QB.
House of Sparky: Rudy Carpenter! - Another great game for Rudy. 75% completion, alomost 350 yards passing, 3 TDs. That one interception was not so hot, and he did lose a fumble, but Carpenter is showing how the passing game is going to be one of our biggest strengths this year. He has now thrown for a school record 733 yards in the first two games. The O-line needs some major work before the Georgia game. Stanford was able to put quite a bit of pressure on Rudy throughout the game, sacked him twice, forced him to hurry his throws a few times, and hit him a lot.
Bruins Nation: One of the biggest concerns for UCLA heading into next weekend’s game is to figure out a way to stop Max Hall. He was deadly against the Huskies. He completed 30 of 41 pass attempts for 338 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception. His job was made easier by the running game of a beastly Unga who punished the Husky defensive line for 136 yards in 23 carries. Unga was setting up Hall with short yardage situations all day and he made the Husky defense pay. The BYU offensive converted on 3rd downs 12 out of 14 times (full box score here). So needless to say there is going to be a lot of pressure on our secondary next Saturday.
AZ Starnet: It’s hard to discuss the Arizona Wildcats’ 2-0 start without using the two most deflating words in the English language: Yeah, but … The UA football team is undefeated heading into Week 3 for the first time since 2002. (Yeah, but the Wildcats are playing their softest nonconference schedule in years.) Quarterback Willie Tuitama is smashing passing marks. (Yeah, but he’s playing in an offense that throws more often than it doesn’t.) The defense is playing with Desert Swarm efficiency. (Yeah, but it has yet to face a team with Pac-10 talent.)
Jason’s OSU Beavers Blog: I’m beginning to think this early season slow start thing is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If people (press, fans) are always asking about how you’re going to start fast and why do you start slow, then you start to believe it. And it becomes a wall for the players and maybe worse, the coaches. Conservative game planning may not be the way to break the cycle. Perhaps we need to shake things up a bit. Throw the ball down field. Have a drive where all you do is fly sweep and run sweep. Go for it on 4th down. Fake punt. Blitz like crazy.
Ted Miller, ESPN.com: Stanford went 80 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on its first drive against Arizona State. The Cardinal made the Arizona State defense melt in its own hometown heat. Seems that the Sun Devils were too charged up to play. They got winded and made mistakes, victims of their own adrenaline. “We were a little too excited,” defensive end Dexter Davis said. “Once we calmed down, things started going better for us.” Why were they too excited? Apparently some were watching too much television before the game. “A couple announcers on ESPN picked them to beat us,” linebacker Gerald Munns said. “We were a little pumped up for that.” Things got decidedly better thereafter in 15th-ranked ASU’s 41-17 victory. Stanford managed to gain just 153 yards the rest of the game, with the Sun Devils defense forcing three interceptions.
UW Dawg Pound: The local and national media are focusing today on the penalty for unsportmanlike conduct on Jake Locker. It was a questionable call but let’s set that aside and focus on the reality. You need to be able to hit a 34 yard field goal at the end of the game. The PTA never even got up in the air as the try was muffed then snuffed at the line of scrimmage after BYU sent all eleven players after it. It is year four in the tenure of Tyrone Willingham and this team still is a day late and a dollar short at crunch time. The terrible call doesn’t disguise that this team was once again outplayed in the fourth quarter and was deficient on special teams. The Husky defense once again was gassed in the fourth quarter as BYU marched down the field at will. Only a BYU fumble at the goal line kept this game from getting put away earlier. BYU converted yesterday on 12 of 14 third downs opportunities. You can’t win football games playing like that.
WSU Football Blog: We have a QB competition. I have to admit from where I sit, I’m a little surprised this is coming down now. I was more or less expecting Rogers to get the full month to get comfortable. And the offensive breakdowns can’t be laid entirely at the QB’s feet, can they? It’s hard to imagine many QB’s being able to execute with the new offense, new skill guys, overwhelmed offensive line, etc. But then again, we need a spark of some kind right now, and maybe the coaches have been contemplating this situation for a while. As Hooty pointed out yesterday, maybe Rogers is just not a fit for the type of offense we are running right now?
For Cal fans only
Turtle Waxing: This may go down as Friedgen’s Dunkirk. What an awful game. It was a virtual clinic in bad football. Worthless playcalling on offense and defense, unprepared players, no halftime adjustments, horrible play at virtually every position all resulting in an ugly loss to a middle of the road Sun Belt team. I’d say there was not a single facet of the team that did well outside of perhaps the running backs. I’ll give some more analysis of the game later but let us ponder where this team is heading this season.
The Mountain West Conference Connection: The Rams pulled out a close win over I-AA Sacramento State after trailing at the end of the half, and again at the end of the third before Ben DeLine hit his third field goal of the quarter to secure the win as time elapsed. The Rams probably was not moving the ball because Billy Farris passed for over 300 yards and a touchdown, but the Rams who kicked three field goals in the fourth quarter instead of touchdowns. The first two drives that lead to field goals were both within the 20 yard line and that is what made the game seem close, because if Colorado State made both touchdowns they would have won comfortably.
Enlightened Spartan: Well, we didn’t learn much from today’s 42-10 victory over EMU … other than this: 1) the offensive line is having a tough time opening holes to run if our passing game isn’t working (#83 TE Gantt is really having a tough time run blocking). 2) the DL has ZERO pass rush right now. 3) the DBs and LBs are playing GREAT for Michigan State. 4) Brian Hoyer continues to be average (Big Bob once again reiterated: “Brian Hoyer should have his scholarship REVOKED, playing like that as a 5th year senior.”). 5) Otis Wiley is a great punt returner. 6) Our DBs were out of position on a few long balls and would have been burned if not too long, but they also made great plays. 7) our running game is there, but they are slugging away for tough yards (51-231 yards on the ground, 34-133 for Ringer). yes, the wideouts CAN catch if you can get them the ball.
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