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Season over

Posted by Eric | October 27, 2007 at 10:09 pm | In Games, Quarterback |

Cal 20, Arizona State 31.

Is this 2005? Coach Jeff Tedford stubbornly sticks with a quarterback, despite terrible play and a more than adequate replacement waiting on the bench.

What a disgrace. Tedford begins the game telling us QB Nate Longshore is “65%”. What was he still doing in the game? The three-and-outs, the blown throws, the two interceptions… his ankle was still clearly injured.

This game was hopeless for the Bears the moment Longshore hobbled onto the field in the second half. He didn’t step into throws. His timing was way off. We can’t expect a quarterback to bring us to victory over the #4 team in the nation on one leg. Tedford needs to rethink his philosophy on changing personnel (read: the quarterback) when our players are unable to perform.

I’m at a loss for words… more will come later.

39 Comments »

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  1. what’s wrong with this team? we were doing so well, and now all the wheels have fallen off. the defense SUCKS. Longshore SUCKS.

    1. Comment by JT — October 27, 2007 @ 10:56 pm #

  2. I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I know the defense is crap and the offense stalls at times, but how did we go from defeating Oregon and coming out of the bye week, playing close to OSU, losing to a sorry UCLA team, and now being shutout in the 2nd half against ASU after what looked to be a commanding 1st half (had we punched it in the end zone a few more times, the score could have been 31-14 at the half). I don’t get why the Bears can’t play a full game, come out and command the second half, and just dominate opponents instead of leave games up to 1 or 2 lousy plays/mistakes.

    2. Comment by JC — October 28, 2007 @ 12:27 am #

  3. At the rate we’re going, we’ll be really lucky if we post the 2005 record!

    3. Comment by Jeff — October 28, 2007 @ 3:10 am #

  4. No pass rush Bob Gregory is a big part of the problem. Carpenter has so much time to throw. Longshore should have benched himself. Very poor judgment by Tedford. Guess we will be stuck with Tedford for a while after this abysmal season.

    4. Comment by NC — October 28, 2007 @ 5:15 am #

  5. Disagree with NC regarding “stuck with Tedford”! He has brought the program back from the abyss. Longshore is a problem. He was immobile before the ankle and now is even worse. It’s frustrating to see him over (or under) throw wide open receivers week in and week out. This goes down as an epic collapse (Basically #1 in the nation to unranked in 2 weeks).

    5. Comment by SB — October 28, 2007 @ 7:10 am #

  6. I think coaching is main problem. Tedford is in charge of a bunch of 18 - 22 young men. It is his job, not Longshore’s to decide when enough is enough and make a quaterback change. Starting with OSU, Tedford should not leave the last play of the game in the decision making skills of a redshirt freshman in his first start. I’m no Division I coach and am painfully aware of that fact. Tedford should have kicked the field goal and taken the momentum into overtime. They way things were looking, they probably would have won the game. Riley should have then started both against UCLA and ASU. Longshore is CLEARLY not the same quaterback after his injury. He is tentative, doesn’t step into his throws and lacks confidence at this point. Tedford’s stubbornness has cost Cal any chance at anything other than a visit to the Papa John’s bowl. That being said, I still like Tedford. He just needs to learn from his mistakes before this season totally gets away from him. Plus the defense can’t seem to keep ANYONE under 30ppg!

    6. Comment by NS — October 28, 2007 @ 8:29 am #

  7. I see a number of problems - starting with the poor coaching decisions others have mentioned - Tedford has cost them the season already. Also, the blazing fast / slashing running attack of the first few games is gone. Jackson is no longer pulling it off and “Java Jet” - though fast in the 100 yard dash - is not able to translate that into yardage on the football field. He does not have the power - watch him hit the line and get “bounced back” time and time again. Longshore does not appear to be hungry for the win - low energy and no passion - he always looks lost in the second half - can’t play a full game - and this is not ankle injury issue. The defense is looking worn - that may be due to the offense not producing in the second half.

    What a sad collapse - the team has had brief periods of brilliant play - they just can not put it together for a full game any more.

    Tedford needs to put down that silly PlayChart Grande and start thinking. Longshore needs to be replaced.

    7. Comment by CalRick — October 28, 2007 @ 8:43 am #

  8. To NS and SB. Understood. I should have said that if the coach doesn’t have the common sense to bench the QB, let’s hope the QB does.

    8. Comment by NC — October 28, 2007 @ 8:46 am #

  9. I’m simply lost for words but I do know that Cal needs a coach the nation loves to hate. A coach that is willing to take risks, a coach that has enough integrity to bench a an injured player and use his back-up quarterback (at least Riley can scramble. Tedford has had some great players in the past few years and a strong defense but most of those players have either graduated out or went to the pros, now his true coaching is exposed. Tedford is a good coach but good does not win national championships. Cal needs a Les Miles, a Pete Carroll, a great coach who can take you to the nationals. Cal will never go to the Rose Bowl or the BCS Championship with Tedford because he gets out-coached in crunch time. If Cal wants a national title they need to acquire the players and coaching staff to get the job done…period. This is the most horrible football performance I’ve seen in a long time. I bet Grant High School in Sacramento, CA., or De La Salle could give Cal a pretty good fight after what I saw last night against ASU…horrible Cal football, what an embarrassment to U.C. Berkeley.

    9. Comment by Chris Neal — October 28, 2007 @ 9:20 am #

  10. Under normal circumstances, you trust your #1 QB even when they struggle, even if they have thrown two interceptions. When coaches expect players to recover from mistakes, players tend to rise to expectations.

    The problem with Tedford’s recent decisions is that Longshore can’t rise to expectations because it isn’t about effort, it’s a serious injury. Longshore is a good QB, but as a pocket passer, this injury to his ankle is devastating to his ability.

    And I don’t think Longshore should take himself out- every player always wants to play, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Longshore is a competitor- of course he wants to play. It’s the coach’s job to compare options of who should play.

    I hope Tedford gives Riley a start or two to help Longshore recover in time for Big Game, a potential Bowl Game, and maybe against USC in two weeks.

    10. Comment by MikeD — October 28, 2007 @ 10:45 am #

  11. I don’t know if it’s about his injury anymore. Desean was so wide open in the second half, I don’t know how he doesn’t OVERTHROW him, if he just airs that thing out assuming Desean will run under the ball. Last year Longshore cost us the Rose Bowl at Arizona and couldn’t get it done the second half at USC. Then there was last week at UCLA and now the ASU collapse. I’m ready to see Riley in action. Coach just has to realize he’s more inexperienced and will probably need some very clear cut instructions like…..”Make sure you throw the ball away so we get a chance at a field goal!!”

    11. Comment by JC — October 28, 2007 @ 12:02 pm #

  12. JC - on the money - Tedford is the one that has blown the season. He has is head stuck in that stupid oversized play card (and other places) that he is failing to see what is happening in the game. Longshore is not getting it done - come on coach - make adjustments!!!

    12. Comment by CalRick — October 28, 2007 @ 12:12 pm #

  13. Agree with all of the above. How the heck did these guys beat Oregon on the road? I saw multiple shots of Tedford screaming at Longshore on the field like there was miscommunication between the two. What’s going on? Multiple false start penalties hurt and how do you get a substitution penalty on 4th and goal giving the Sun Devils a new set of downs at the 1 foot line. Incredible!!!!!

    13. Comment by SB — October 28, 2007 @ 12:35 pm #

  14. You can’t have it both ways, people. CN calls for a more risky coach, NS calls for a conservative coach to go for that field goal in the OSU game. What would Les Miles or Pete Carroll would have done were they in Tedford’s position in those final minutes against OSU, with no timeouts remaining? The exact same thing.

    That’s not to say Tedford is as risky as either Miles or Carroll; he’s far from it. But he has made efforts in his coaching since UCLA to yesterday’s ASU game.

    A lot of the problems during ASU stemmed from Longshore. I’m not sure how this ankle is affecting him, but something is definitely keeping down his potential. Maybe Tedford should’ve pulled Longshore, but then again he has been starting quarterback for over a season and a half now.

    I personally wouldn’t mind a quarterback rotation a la Urban Meyer (Leak-Tebow) that’s now being copied by Miles (Flynn-Perriloux) and Spurrier. Riley is mobile and seems willing enough to run. Why not?

    14. Comment by JL — October 28, 2007 @ 1:20 pm #

  15. how can you call your selves cal fans. do remember what this program was like before Tedford. We would have killed to be 5-3. Yes its very frustrating. It looked like this was the year but it was not to be. Im only 18 but I remember when a good season was 2 wins just as long as one of them was against Stanford. You people are starting to sound like SEC fans. Yes Im upset but unlike you guys Im sticking with this team no matter what happens. Thats what real fans do. Go Bears!!!!

    15. Comment by poodayou100 — October 28, 2007 @ 2:03 pm #

  16. Longshore underthrew that ball to Jackson precisely because he didn’t plant his feet and basically just flung it with his arm. I’m not an expert on how Longshore was feeling then, but I have to assume that his ankle injury affected him there.

    16. Comment by JT — October 28, 2007 @ 2:43 pm #

  17. I strongly disagree with poodayou100. The years we went 1-11 we were expected to be that bad with zero recruiting and no national rankings. With top recruiting classes and heisman hopefuls, we have different standards. This year’s team has been a big disapointment..especially after the highs of Tennessee and Oregon (a place we haven’t won at since the 1980’s and a team that is now predicted to go to the national title game). And we could only hope that we could have the spirit and dedication of “SEC Fans”. Yes we expect our team to perform to the high standards they set for themselves and expected to set by fans and experts and were set at the beginning of the year. It would be pathetic if fans were not extremely disgruntled after these last few goose eggs.
    Secondly, the pattern of underperforming in big games, especially on the road has been a constant theme since 2004. Cal lost to USC in 2004 by failing to score on 1st and goal from the 7, in 2005 Cal was up to a highly ranked UCLA squad on the road and gave the game away in the last 5 minutes because of a return by Maurice Jones-Drew, in 2006 Cal had a chance to go to the national championship or the rose bowl but lost to Tennessee on the road, USC on the road and Arizona on the road. This year, we seemed to break that streak with a redemption win against Tennessee, by winning @ Oregon but then followed by losing @ UCLA and @ Arizona State. There is something systemically wrong with Cal Football going back four years.

    17. Comment by Miles — October 28, 2007 @ 4:07 pm #

  18. Craig Stevens! What the heck, why doesn’t Cal incorporate the tight end on more plays?!? I KNEW the season was over when they went with four consecutive running plays on first and goal to Justin Forsett vs. Oregon State. For some reason they didn’t seem to remember that Stevens had just gotten them in that position. You can’t just try to heave him one in the corner of the end zone on second down? You can’t get one handoff to the fullback? You can’t run Best on a sweep? Four straight running plays up the gut against a very good run defense? We exposed ourselves right then and there. EVEN IF Riley gets in the end zone on that last play, or we win in OT, we let every other team know we are not creative. The season was over when Oregon State denied us a score on that series…

    18. Comment by Pete Maloney — October 28, 2007 @ 7:06 pm #

  19. I can’t believe you bunch of ingrates. While I can understand the disappointment after the last few weeks (I’ve been riding the same emotional rollercoaster), I think it’s waaay premature to call for Tedford’s head. We are very fortunate that he has turned our program around, and stuck with us despite offers from the NFL and the messy business with the training center. Even if canning Tedford were the right thing to do (and it’s not), we could not attract the Pete Carrolls or the Les Miles’s because of our sub-par facilities and the fact that we are not a traditional power. Football has never been a big deal in Berkeley, and Tedford is solely responsible for its resurrection here. Again, I understand the emotion, but let’s not deteriorate into an angry mob here.

    19. Comment by JJ — October 28, 2007 @ 8:08 pm #

  20. we are always going to get the lesser talents that don’t gravitate towards usc, ucla, or other more prominent programs. as an alum, i love cal to death. but c’mon, we know berkeley chicks don’t compare to la chicks, the weather isn’t as nice, and the academics are tougher. if you were a stud football player, where would you want to go? once in a blue moon we’ll get lucky and sign a guy like desean jackson.

    coach tedford does a tremendous amount with the talent we do manage to recruit. i admit that this year was probably our best shot at a rose bowl berth or even, dream of dreams, a national championship. yes, the last three games have been demoralizing to say the least. but we wouldn’t even be in this position without coach tedford. that a 5-3 season is disappointing is a testament to how coach has revitalized this once moribund program. yeah, it really hurts right now, but you so-called cal “fans” calling for a new coach should live through the gilbertson, mariuci, or holmoe years to truly know pain and disappointment.

    20. Comment by d rock — October 28, 2007 @ 8:49 pm #

  21. going back to the comment from miles. your right the teams with out Tedford and with him are totally different. the standards should be different. But I dont think anyone can call for Tedford’s head. Yes his record in big games is not so great, and it did look like this year with wins against Tennesee, and Oregon. This team just is not a title contender. Shakey defense, but a high powered offense that hasn’t been seen since the 2nd half of the Oregon game. Still even I have to say the season should be going better then it is. Tedford continues to get strong recruting, which keeps them competitive every year. Next year Longshore should be back, the RBs are good and the defense should improve with a full season of experience. One year soon they’ll break through and all of you people that went after Tedford will totally forget what you said and praise him.Like JJ said its not the right thing to can him. Cal can’t get anyone better. He’ll can us before we can him.

    21. Comment by poodayou100 — October 28, 2007 @ 8:49 pm #

  22. It was a mistake getting rid of Mike Dunbar because with him the offense was averaging 30-40 points each game. I know it’s hard seeing CAL lose 3 straight games but if you want to make this a power house football team, the fans should still support them.

    22. Comment by RC — October 28, 2007 @ 9:36 pm #

  23. This whole idea that this was a title contending team came from the #2 ranking. The problem is that Cal only rose to that ranking because other teams lost (otherwise Cal would have remained around 10).

    Cal is rebuilding on defense and returned only one running back. This year Cal was competitive in the Pac 10 but it didn’t work out- in large part because the team couldn’t deal with an injury.

    As for next week, I’ll be there yelling from QQ, and I would like to see Riley. Maybe a 2 QB system would give Longshore enough rest/few enough plays that he can still be effective come the final minutes (unlike what we saw at ASU).

    23. Comment by MikeD — October 28, 2007 @ 9:50 pm #

  24. Are you guys being serious? Yes, Tedford probably should have benched Longshore. Young men, much less starting pitchers in the same situation, will not admit to being gassed and ready to come out.

    There are some good comments on here, but some are completely out of control.

    “Longshore cost us Arizona” How? DJ steps out of bounds and Hawkins trips on the 4 yd line with no one on him.

    “Bring back Mike Dunbar” Dunbar is now the Off Coord for Minnesota. Last time I checked they were 1-8 and dead last in a very mediocre Big 10. Oh yeah, let’s bring back that genius.

    “We have top recruits so we should dominate” In the past four years, we have had recruiting classes ranked between 20-25 according to Rivals.com with no 5-star recruits except DJ, so in ‘05 we were ranked 9th. While being Top 25 sounds good, we are consistently outranked by USC and Oregon and on occasion UCLA, Washington, and Arizona, so let’s get off our high horse about recruiting.

    “Tedford can’t win big games”. I would argue that we have focused too much on big games. Tenn and Oregon I think mentally drained the team. By the end of the year, there is a chance that we are Oregon’s only loss.

    “Tedford should have kicked the FG or told Riley to throw it away vs. OSU”. He had no timeouts, how is he suppsoed to tell him? they just had enough time to call the play. Riley is a Top 15 QB recruit and the player of the year in OR - he should know better. Should he also have told DJ to try and knock down that pass last nt instead of throwing his hands up? Riley just brain cramped - period. Almost every coach in the nation would have done the same thing and tried one shot at winning the game.

    Let’s ground ourselves in reality, this team was overhyped and only got a shot at #1 due to an incredible slew of circumstances not seen in 20 years in college football. Getting this close probably did the team a disservice. They got way ahead of themselves. Tedford could have done a better job in keeping the guys focused, but these are young men who have never been this close to the ultimate prize - of course they are going to look ahead.

    Tedford is not perfect, but he is way better than 95% of the alternatives out there. Check out guys who seemingly had great credentials, but have stunk up the joing at their respective schools - Dennis Franchione, Dave Wannstedt, Walt Harris, Charlie Weis (maybe), etc. We have the same record as the genius Urban Meyer at FLA.

    Please, let’s not become one of those SEC schools that grumbles at 10-3. We absolutely should aspire to be more, but calling for Tedford’s ouster is a huge mistake. We need Tedford more than he needs us and starting over again is most likely going to be horrible.

    Cut Tedford some slack. Send him a nice e-mail. Buy him some cookies.

    24. Comment by t-bone — October 28, 2007 @ 11:43 pm #

  25. Tedford is a GOOD coach but not GREAT (yet). He fails miserably at is second half adjustments. In give 5 years they’ve struggled to maintain leads in the second. He also does a poor job of mixing up the offense mid-season. They are still running all the same plays from week one and two. Defenses study film and know exactly what we’re going to do. Reverse to jackson, pitch to outside to best, standard runs to forsett, go rountes for jackson and crossing routes for robert and hawk with an immobile QB… not hard to game plan. Longshore has failed to impress EVER. He’s proved he can’t mount game winning drives. All season he’s struggled with accuracy and he lack a strong arm. Riley has a cannon arm… let the kid take over… we got nothing else to lose now.

    25. Comment by SJB — October 29, 2007 @ 12:33 am #

  26. Ok that 2nd half thing is just wrong. In 2004, Cal outscored almost everyone in the second half. Maybe it had to do with Rogers’ mobility (not mobile like Vince Young but certainly good).

    Tedford has been a good coach, and fan support should stay with him. We should all be very happy about winning big game 5 years in a row, and things are looking good for #6 with either an injured Longshore or a healthy Riley.

    26. Comment by MikeD — October 29, 2007 @ 5:35 am #

  27. I don’t think anyone commenting on this blog would give Tedford rave reviews for game-time coaching. We all appreciate his bringing the program back from its seemingly permanent moribund state. Expectations have been raised as a result, and expectations are not being met. Criticism is natural and, if you don’t win, warranted.

    Moving to the next level (i.e., not the Holiday Bowl) is much more difficult than moving the program from bad to mediocre. I have concerns that Tedford and his staff have reached their peak. In my view, the last couple of Tedford teams have been better than their results.

    27. Comment by SteveO — October 29, 2007 @ 8:50 am #

  28. I live in LA and hosted about 25-30 of my family and friends at a tailgate at the Rose Bowl 2 weeks ago, and subsequently had my heart ripped out of my chest. A few thoughts…

    There are some issues on defense, but I felt that the defense played well against UCLA and Arizona State. The real issue was our own offense. Against Arizona State, Cal only held the ball for 23 minutes. That’s a 14 minute advantage for Arizona State. The offense kept turning the ball over, and putting the defense in impossible positions.

    Our offensive problems, ironically, are the root of the 3-game losing streak. And it’s not a problem with Forsett or with Tedford’s playcalling. The problem is at quarterback. Against Oregon State, I’ll admit that Riley’s final decision was a problem. However, I excuse him since it was his first start. I think his issue on that final play was pure inexperience. He saw open field and thought he could make it to the end zone. And since it was his first start, he completely underestimated the speed of linebackers at the D-1A Pac-10 level. That open field closed a lot faster than he expected by the Oregon State linebackers. What can you say? A guy who’s started for several games estimates linebacker speed more accurately. To me, it’s not Riley’s fault. Other than that, I though Riley played excellently for the rest of the game.

    Against UCLA and Arizona State, I can say with certainty that our problems stem from the ineffective, near tragic play of Nate Longshore. Here is my assessment…

    We need to bench Longshore. Unless the designed play gets everyone open, Longshore cannot create. A few years ago, Bill Walsh was interviewed for a Sportscentury special on his development of QB’s. What he explained as the #1 element necessary for great quarterback play was the ability of the QB to evade that first tackle, which extends the play for another 2-3 seconds. That’s all you need. Doesn’t have to have great downfield running ability, just enough mobility to evade the first possible sack.

    Some players recently in college who have had that innate ability: Matt Leinart (USC), Aaron Rodgers (Cal), Tim Tebow (Florida), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame), Carson Palmer (USC), Dennis Dixon (Oregon), Jason Campbell (Auburn), just to name a few. These guys are not all speed burners, just slightly mobile. It’s not coincidence that each of these guys has gone onto moderate to major success in the NFL (minus Dixon & Tebow who are still in college).

    And here are a few guys who have had that ability at the pro level: John Elway, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Vince Young, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, just to name a few. Oh, and a guy named Montana.

    Some players recently in college who are high profile, but actually do not possess that ability to evade the first tackle: Nate Longshore, Ben Olson (UCLA), John David Booty (USC), Jason White (Oklahoma), Chad Henne (Michigan), just to name a few.

    These guys simply start throwing interceptions when plays don’t go perfectly as designed. They cannot create and extend plays. They are system players. Plain and simple.

    Two things I saw when Kevin Riley played for the Bears. First, a lot of heart. The guy brain lapsed at the end of the game, but he was pretty good for the first start of his career. Second, ability to avoid tackles and make plays. He walked out of a sure safety in the end zone and made a 15 yard completion. Did the same thing from elsewhere on the field several times in the final few minutes, completing nearly impossible passes from within the grasp, or just beyond the grasp of a defender.

    Longshore (like Ben Olson) is a statue. He’s Marino without the ability. Basically, he’s the Stan Humphries of college football. Time to put in Riley and stop retarding our program.

    Thoughts?

    In my mind, it all goes back to Walsh.

    28. Comment by AaronRodgersForPresident — October 29, 2007 @ 10:58 am #

  29. I don’t see Tedford as the big problem here. Kicking the Field Goal against OSU? NO football coach in Divion I football would have done that. You take the shot at the end zone with 14 seconds, maybe 2. You don’t resign yourself to a tie.

    Tedford did need to bench Longshore, but Longshore’s heart is done. He looks tired out there, the body language says “I’m done.” The underthrow on Jackson was horrible but the interception after that, the safety was standing right there. Tedford can’t do anything to stop that.

    The biggest problem is we’re losing the battle at the line of scrimmage. Our offensive line isn;t firing off like they had been. The Defensive line is what we expected, but appears to be getting worse. Gregory needs to press with this defense more than in previous years. They are a risk-reward defense. Apply pressure, they can make things happen, but they don’t have the talent at LB and CB to play conservatively because as we’ve seen every week, QBs will pick the D apart 15 yards at a time.

    The last issue is conditioning. These guys are not up to snuff when it comes to playing 60 minutes. Ijuries are one reason, but Tedford needs to push them harder in Spring next year to make sure they don’t get winded in the 4th quarter.

    Riley needs to see some action against Washington State, but I don’t agree with the idea that Cal football has fallen to pre-Tedford status. Tedford is our guy, he’s brought an air of respectability to Cal, and that’s something other schools don’t have. ASU had to beat a reeling Cal to get legitimate respect nationwide, something Cal already had and still has.

    29. Comment by MR — October 29, 2007 @ 11:49 am #

  30. I’ve been a Cal football fan since the mid-50s and have been thirsting to see Cal return to the Rose Bowl before I die. I thought that this would finally be the year but found myself thinking unfamiliar thoughts about “national championships” and began to forget my real goal. Now that I’ve been brought back down to earth, I’m ready to rethink my goals for the team.

    Yes, the last three games have been crushing disappointments, and yes, the Rose Bowl is now out of reach. However, Cal was close to winning all three games and is still a fine team–a much finer team than 90% of the teams Cal has fielded since the ’50s. If Cal wins its remaining games–which it should do–I’ll be more than satisfied. I’ll also go back to hoping for better things next year and be grateful that Jeff Tedford is running the program. He may not be the perfect coach (who really is? take a closer look at the careers of some of the coaches who have won national championships!), but he’s restored excitement, pride, and class to Cal football, and he doesn’t have to win national championships to make me feel pride in the pride in the program. I’ll take class over championships any day.

    30. Comment by Kent Rasmussen — October 29, 2007 @ 5:17 pm #

  31. Cal has a number of problems:

    1. Defense

    Scoring Defense has been progressively getting worst since 2004. We came into this game as #61 behind Ball State and Miami Ohio, where in the last few years, we were top quartile. I saw some solid adjustments in the first quarter vs. Arizona in stopping the run (something we’ve been horrible at this year). But with the pac-10 full of seasoned, healthy tailbacks that move the chains on the ground, the “bend but don’t break” philosophy of defense, which ignores the small gains, will not work nearly as well. The UCLA game had several scoring drives with over 10+ plays. This type of play wears our defense out, and it shows that we need more athletic conditioning and endurance training.

    2. Offense

    The defense is not completely to blame for our three loss meltdown. Compare our first five wins to our lsat three: our defense an average of 24.4 points in the first 5 wins, and 30.33 in the last three losses. When we look at our scoring offense, though, we scored 39.4 points in the first 5 wins versus 23.0 in the last 3 losses. the offense is clearly suffering more than defense, as our run game has been getting shut out, and we are getting too many missed opportunities on our offensive drives.

    Turnovers are key to Cal’s demise–the turnover margin has taken a beating in the last three games. We are not handling the ball correctly, with key interceptions in pressure situation where have allowed our opponets to build on their leads and put away the game.

    Tedford needs to let Longshore rest at QB. We easily have one of the best receiving corps in the nation with Hawkins, Jackson, and Jordan. Morrah and Stevens have been excellent in clutch 3rd and outs getting us to first downs. If the running game isn’t working (Which it hasn’t for a few games now), we need the passing game to open things up adn leave the defense guessing. We looked way to patternistic against UCLA–I think the play calling did get better in the ASU game (particularly in the first half). But the bottom line is that we can’t finish drives, even when we are deep into the red zone. Longshore is clearly injured–he cannot properly step into his throws because of his injury. Not known for his mobility, the situation is worse, and could create a situation where he could get much more seroulsy injured–not a good scenario for a QB that is good, and wants to make good plays, but cannot physically carry the team with his injury.

    With that, Riley should start right away, as it will add depth to our QB spot, and gives the team more options as we approach USC. WSU is a good game to have Riley get good experience against a competitive team. He’s got all the right talent, and despite the obvious, he had a pretty damn good debut against a top 10 Oregon State defense.

    Forsett is looking a little briused and battered, buit I think if our passing can get things going, combined with the added mobility of Riley, we can call some new plays that open up some lanes for Forsett to continue pounding yards on the ground.

    3. Kicking

    Our kicking game is hurting. A friend pointed out our dismal record on kicking: 7/13 on the year (~54%), and 2/5 (40%) in our last three losses. When we miss a field goal, it wastes an entire offensive drive. It’s demoralizing mentally, and it is proving to be a big factor in the games. The real issue might be that we can’t finish our offensive drives to put 7 on the board. But, imagine the potential of an extra 3 points in Oregon State (where we missed one)–it’s very likely that we could have been in position for the game winning field goal instead of the tying field goal–and probably, no messed up time management situations. 3 more points in the UCLA game could diffuse pressure off our QB in the drive, and probably would prevent a pressure throw leading to an interception. 3 more points in ASU kleeps it an 8-point, one possession game. With better kicking, not all the losses would necessarily have become wins, but they would at the very least put Cal in better positions to close out games. This situation needs to be fixed ASAP.

    4. Penalties

    This, I blame on the coaching. Way to many penalties occuring. It was really hard to watch the Cal game without a flag being called every two plays. Too many pass interference calls, too much whining to refs, too many mental mistakes (offsides, late hits, false starts), and too many damn facemasks and illegal holds. What is going on here? This I put on the coaches–because our guys have given up way too many yards on critical plays because of dumb mistakes.

    ________

    Cal needs to get out of the dark and put up a win against Washington State. Winning will reinstill confidence on a team that’s been beat up mentally in the press, local and national media, and most aggregiously, by its own supposed fans. This team CAN turnaround and win 9 games–which last time I checked, is pretty damn good. Teams hit stumbling blocks–not everyone wins all the time–look at Carroll at USC, Meyer at Florida, Spurrier at South Carolina–all their teams are struggling with consistent play. Tedford is a great coach, posting two 10-win teams in 5 completed years. Under today’s rules with 5 bowls, we would have gotten the Rose Bowl in 2004 (even though we should have gotten in anyway). Maybe he is too loyal to his starting QB–I agree, it is frustrating at times like it was with Ayoob. But he can right the ship (and I think he will) and incorporate Riley into the QB spot to some degree.

    31. Comment by axbhalla — October 29, 2007 @ 5:32 pm #

  32. I think high risk/high reward is not just the story of Cal’s defense, it’s the story of the whole team. A fragile offense (lose healthy Longshore -> trouble) that needs to score a lot, and a defense that earns its place with turnovers. It meant we really did have a shot to win the big games and maybe make the Rose Bowl. It also meant there was a risk of a collapse like this. I’d rather take the ups and downs to take the chance than coast to the Holiday Bowl.

    32. Comment by MikeD — October 29, 2007 @ 7:56 pm #

  33. It’s nice to see that people are starting to talk. I’ve been this pissed off since last season. Being a former collegiate football player (unfortunately for me not Cal), I can see things in the team that most people cannot. I’ve also had experience on championship teams, and goose egg teams. I think the one common denominator with most all of the comments is coaching. 18-22 year old men are extremely impressionable. They crave discipline and require leadership. I strongly believe that Tedford taking on the role as O-coordinator has done nothing but hurt the team. His is undoubtedly spending hours and hours more every night focusing on putting together his offense. Has anyone else noticed his premature aging from the past year? Too many hours at the tape coach. Like the recent fires in Southern California, an unchecked spot fire will quickly become a raging inferno. Small mistakes that go unchecked (De La Puente false starts every game, keeping Forsett in when he is obviously hurt, not attending to Conte’s mental mistakes) quickly add up and lead to a loss. Watch carefully next time. You can almost feel the team quitting as the time goes by and they get further and further behind. I am by no means calling the whole team a bunch of quitters. I also hope that I am not coming off too harsh. It is a hell of a lot on a young man to attend classes, study, watch tapes, practice, work out, watch tape, and study again day in and day out. A good coach, like Tedford, has the ability to get these men back in the game and keep them motivated to a win. A good coach with too much on his plate cannot attend to the minds of his players and becomes nothing but a play caller. Leave the play calling to the booth Coach and get back to tending to your men. I love Cal Football and always will. Hell, I WANT them to get better and griping about the obvious faults of the team is only going to help people realize what it wrong. Maybe no one is getting to Coach and telling him what is what because he has done so much for the program. It would be a disservice to Cal Football to let this season slide away by not letting Coach know what the hell he obviously can’t see for himself. Either way, we’re still here and rooting for you. Go Bears!!

    33. Comment by fungmunkey — October 29, 2007 @ 8:12 pm #

  34. I appreciate the comment by JL about my reference about needing a Les Miles or a Pete Carroll, and I welcome anyone to criticize me because that is how we mourn as fans. In all actuality good coaches are so hard to find, so maybe I was being a little hard on the Bears and a little too hard on Tedford in my previous comment…sorry guys. Like most you I want to see our Bears go to the Rose Bowl really bad but it just won’t happen this year. I felt pretty bad about saying the team was an embarrassment to U.C. Berkeley that is simply not true, that was emotion talking. In the end even though things didn’t go Cal’s way, they still get to come home to the number one public university in the world…Berkeley! Even with these three, consecutive losses they are still Berkeley and all of these schools they lost to can only wish they had the prestige as U.C. Berkeley. I saw Nate Longshore limping on campus today and he was taking a lot of criticism and it made me feel really awful about what I said in my comment. I know I’m a better Cal fan than this…win loose or tie, Cal fan to the day that I die. It’s just so hard to see our team loose like this with so much talent. Maybe next year…go bears!

    34. Comment by Chris Neal — October 29, 2007 @ 8:42 pm #

  35. I think hearing all these comments is indicative of just how far CAL football has risen. To lose a few games in the past, would not be a big deal. To lose three games this year and end up 9-3, to the disappointment of CAL fans, goes to show just how good a job Tedford has done.

    But for all he has done, it seems like CAL has not been able to elevate to the next level. To be the great offensive play caller that he is dubbed to be and such a wonderful quarterbacks coach, I have a hard time not criticizing Tedford for the offenses foibles the last 3 weeks. After all, he gets paid millions of dollars to do just that!!!!

    1) How do we get 1st and goal against OSU and NOT PUNCH IT IN? Sure, you can credit OSU for their stand, but how do you not call something else other than Forsett up the gut? We get it in and the whole Riley situation never occurs.

    2) So the Riley situation is here. Before #13 goes on the field to lead CAL on that drive, how does the coach not grab him by the collar and tell him something like, “Great job getting us to this point. On your game winning drive, remember we need to take shots at the end zone if you get close enough. Remind the guys not to get caught in the middle of the field since we don’t have timeoouts.” (And maybe he actually did say something like this and Riley forgot).

    3) At UCLA, how do you call those 2 running plays when we haven’t been able to run all game? You can argue execution, but why not keep going with the pass. It worked all game, and maybe you get another PI call from these DB’s who seemed to be afraid of our receivers all 1st half. Instead, you leave your self in a 3rd down passing situation, that the D was able to read perfectly.

    4) So we need a pass at UCLA, but why in the heck do you force Nate to throw an out? Does Arizona 2006-Antoine Cason ring a bell? Have him throw a wheel to Desean and try to get the PI. We only need five so why not try to hit Stevens? Why not line up four or five receivers instead of what seems to be our obligatory 2-3 receiver sets?

    5) ASU- 4 downs again and we can’t get it in the endzone from 1st and goal. Couple more times in the red and we settle for field goals because again we can’t punch it in. If we score those few times we are the redzone, it could have been something like 31-14 at the half. Our D “high-risk/reward” could have then taken more chances in the second half.

    Once again, Tedford has done a great job revitalizing a once dead CAL program. I am much happier that we are here now instead of where we were with Holmoe and Gilbertson. But if heexpects to fill the seats, which have risen in price now, then I expect to see my team win. And when they don’t, he will have to expect to take some heat.

    35. Comment by JC — October 29, 2007 @ 9:35 pm #

  36. Agree with JC! As I said in #18, Stevens is way too under-utilized; 12.6 yds per catch average. We have become too reliant on Forsett, and need to incorporate the tight ends and fullback more. We have other weapons besides Forsett and DJ.

    That being said, I put on my Cal sweatshirt and wore it with pride when I walked my son to school today, because they still are my team. I’m just getting tired of the fast starts every year followed by the Fall fades.

    36. Comment by Pete Maloney — October 30, 2007 @ 9:03 am #

  37. I agree with #36 that we need to throw to the TE’s more. Stevens will drop the ball sometimes so we need to see more of Morrah also.

    37. Comment by Marrese — October 30, 2007 @ 3:43 pm #

  38. I think we can use one word to describe Longshore: undependable! When you are a 3rd year quarterback, you have to be able to focus and execute on critical plays and unfortunately Longshare fell incredibly short against a USC team, that CAL was totatlly capable of beating. It seemed that CAL was controlling the pace of the first and second quarter. Then after halftime, it was hit-n-miss. I applaud Justin Forsett, he made some huge plays, but CAL should have won this game hands down. If I was a scout I wouldn’t give Longshore a second look. In the NFL if you have an ability to logically execute plays and make big things happen in crunch time. So then, what is the point of drafting a player like Longshore? His performance reminds me of American Idol. You either have it or you don’t. I know talent when I see it. Marshawn Lynch has it, Aaron Rodgers has it, Reggie Bush has it, Desean Jackson has it and Justin Forsett has it. Longshore does not have that ‘IT’ factor. The team cannot depend on him to come off big and finish games. I trully believe that Riley should of been utilized tonight. Longshore has made way more mistakes than Riley has. I know he had a mental breakdown vs. Oregon St., but Tedford can’t keep holding grudges against the guy. I’m willing to bet if Tedford put Riley in there, CAL would of won the USC game tonight. Think about it, what did Tedford have to loose? What were his options? You can guarantee that Longshore is going to throw a couple of interceptions a game. I love CAL, I’m a huge fan and a University of California student as well, but there isn’t room for anymore excuses. We have to admit that Longshore is just not a good fit for our California team. Our team has so much talent, its unreal, but we have a mediocre quarterback. We need another Aaron Rodgers. Someone who isn’t afraid to run, comfortable in the pocket, awsome communicator, stays calm under pressure, can anticipate opportunities, has common sense, quick on the draw and play fakes and can FINISH GAMES. The University of California, Davis had a quarterback named Ryan Flanigan a few years ago. Davis had a great team while he was there, but he reminds me of Nate Longshore. A couple of picks were guaranteed and he had a tough time finishing games. Longshore is done. I hope he is doing well academically because that should be his focus. He is not NFL quality, I hate to say it. He has to gain the trust of his team, fans and the scouts to make an impact on the minds of NFL recruiters.

    38. Comment by C. Neal — November 10, 2007 @ 9:31 pm #

  39. I wish these guys would just stop trying to play football this season. It’s a wash…stop the pain please!Loosing to the Huskies…Wow?????

    39. Comment by C.Neal — November 17, 2007 @ 9:04 pm #

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