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Know Your Enemy: California

I traded questions with Twist from California Golden  Blogs to discuss the ins and outs of the California Golden Bears.  Hmmmm. A team that doesn't blitz and when they do blitz, they don't get pressure.  Foles is licking his chops!!!

Check out my responses to Golden Blogs Questions Here.

On to the insight!

Jahvid Best has dominated the news this week leading up to the game.  Who is going to take his place and how good are they?

The backup RB for Cal is Shane Vereen

But he is not seen necessarily as 2.  More like 1A.  Best is certainly a great back, but Vereen ain't half bad himself.  He doesn't have the speed of Jahvid Best (really, who does?), but still has a goodly amount of speed, as he was also a high school track star.  So, he is not necessarily tacking Best's place as much as his already heavy role is going to increase.

The man you are going to see a lot more of is the man with the perfectly angular face, Covaugn Deboskie-Johnson:

A man who, I guess, had to come to Cal due to his last name.  De Oski!  Lets take a look at the numbers:

RUSHING              GP-GS  Att Gain Loss  Net   Avg  TD Long Avg/G
Best, Jahvid 9-8 141 930 63 867 6.1 12 93 96.3

Vereen, Shane 9-1 75 402 16 386 5.1 6 42 42.9
DeBoskie-Johnson, C. 5-0 26 197 10 187 7.2 1 30 37.4

So, ya, Best was having a great season there.  And he was clearly getting the bulk of the carries.  But Vereen still has 75 carries on the year and is averaging roughly 5 yards a carry.  Not too bad.  De Oski, in more limited time, has flashed talent.  He is averaging over 7 yards a carry.  Of course, he comes out during big blow outs like Washington State or Eastern Washington.  Basically, the state of Washington, not a fan of De Oski.  But he will really need to step up for Cal to make some hay this weekend against Arizona.

What happened against Oregon State?

We sucked. Our offensive line sucked. Our pass defense sucked. Our pass rush sucked. Then we had a spark on one drive. Then Best got injured at the end of the drive. And then we went right back to sucking. Not as bad as USC or Oregon, but still quite sucktastic.

I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that script repeats itself this Saturday.

Because of the loss of Best, is there a chance that Cal could start throwing the ball as much as Arizona? Who is the leading receiving threat?

I doubt it. Tedford is a guy who very much believes in balancing run and pass and ball control. Even in the past few weeks when it was evident the run was not working the Bears stubbornly insisted about sticking it through the tackles.

This season there is no de facto #1 receiver. Andy Ludwig likes to spread the ball around to make sure everyone gets their own looks. Right now many of our receivers are struggling with execution problems (drops, gaining seperation from defensive backs, sticking with their routes after the quarterback flushes out), so it's hard to say who exactly would take the mantle. Anthony Miller has been doing well, but he's out for this one. Marvin Jones is the most talented guy, but for whatever reason he hasn't been connecting enough.

And of course there's Riley. The man still cannot complete a short read to save his life. There are some throws that go absolutely nowhere. And sometimes he can complete everything in sight. To put it mildly, it's frustrating to watch this passing offense play. At least with Longshore you were guaranteed to put 20+ points on the board, even if he'd throw a pick that'd make us all sick.

How many blitzers are y'all going to bring to try and stop Foles?

Probably not a lot.  Cal does not seem to be the type of team to bring a lot of blitzers.  They seem more likely to sit back and blanket the field in coverage.  This has brought a lot of frustration to fans when we are unable to get a solid amount of pressure on the QB.  However, when Cal has attempted to be more aggressive and bring more blitzers, often times they are still unable to get the pressure.  And then we are down 1 defender in the open field.  So, it is only worse.  Ai! 

Getting QB pressure has been a major concern for the Cal D.  So has stopping the passing game.  So, it's great that we are going up against a team that lacks a strong passing attack.......................

I know this is a tough question for someone who went to school from Berkeley, but, if you could cut Foles' hair, would you? Why?

I think I can handle this one, guys.

Well, the 90s are back in these days, so I would actually tell him to straight his hair and grow it out.  We're doing grunge again, so let's get it very stringy.  Less perfect coif, more bedhead:

If I was forced to cut his hair, as you question demands (DEMANDS!), then I'd do it in the late 90s boyband style.

Because, the cyclical nature of fashion means that we'll be into the late 90s soon enough.  It might take a year or so, but Foles could always say he was so "in" and condescendingly look down on all those late 90s boy band stylers who start popping up in 2011 or so.