Sunday, November 12, 2006


Quarterback Play - D Nate Longshore is a sophomore, and he reminded us of that yesterday. The quarterback who dissected UCLA's secondary a week ago was MIA against Arizona. Nate rarely made his full progression, and Arizona's secondary made relatively simple reads and big play after big play. He lacked accuracy, too, often delivering timing routes on the receiver's back hip. We were 3-13 in 3rd down efficiency, which is the most telling stat of the afternoon.

Receiver Play - C- Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins were absent in the first half. DeSean did wonderful things with the ball once he got it, but struggled at times to get open. Craig Stevens had a bad game, with three early drops.

Pass Protection - B+ This is one area where the Bears performed pretty well yesterday. Longshore was not sacked, and he was flushed out of the pocket on only a few occasions. Our blitz pickup was terrific - best of the year. Louis Holmes was hardly heard from, which is a big credit to Andrew Cameron .

Running Backs - D+ Lynch disappeared after his long run in the first half. He also fumbled, though Cal retained possession. Not much from the other Bears.

Run Blocking - D Another lackluster performance by Cal's OL in the run game. We never controlled first down, and as a result Longshore was forced into long-yardage situations. The microcosm of the entire game was our first-and-goal series from Arizona's one, where we lost yardage on successive attempts with Lynch. Credit should go here to Mark Stoops, who called a very good game for Arizona. His run blitzes were extremely effective in the second half. Cal averaged 4.6 yards per carry largely due to Lynch's long run in the 1st half.

Pass Defense - D+ Tuitama helped us by playing very poorly in the 1st half. He had far too many receivers open, especially in the middle of the field. We didn't cover the tight end all day. Hughes had his first less-than-stellar performance.

Pass Rush - B- Cal recorded two sacks (Bishop, Mebane) and put pressure on Tuitama for most of the game. We did get a little gassed in the 4th quarter, but in general this was a fairly solid performance, albeit against a subpar line.

Run Defense - B+ Arizona never established the run game and finished with only 60 yards on the ground. Brandon Mebane played his best game of the year. Tackling was greatly improved from a week ago.

Special Teams - A- It can now be said - DJax is the best collegiate kick returner since Rocket Ismail. I only dock this unit a bit for the truly awful contain on Steptoe's punt return in the 4th quarter.

Coaching - D We weren't prepared emotionally to play four quarters against anyone, let alone an inspired Arizona team. Play calling was a bit of a mystery - the reverse to Jordan was poorly conceived (why Jordan? Jackson had the hot hand, why not use him more on lateral passes and running plays?). On Longshore's pick he was throwing to Byron Storer on an intermediate route - Why? Storer is a blocker and dump receiver if no one else is open. Cal made lots and lots of mistakes - Hawkins' blocking penalties being the most obvious - which reflects back to coaching.

Overall - D+ Cal is still the most explosive team in the nation. But all of our offensive firepower matters naught when we lose the turnover battle, play without intensity, and get seriously substandard quarterback play. Still, we could have won this game if any one of five or six plays had gone the other way. In a word, frustrating.


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