As the week moves along, little tidbits of information on the Cal @ Arizona game are coming in. And they all seem to favor Arizona. The biggest news so far is that Cal LB Mike Mohamed is clearly not 100%, and it is now reasonable to question how much if at all he will play Saturday. This is very, very good news for the Wildcats. He has the potential to be a serious headache if healthy. Mohamed still had not practiced Tuesday, instead going to a doctor appointment. The injury, a sprained big toe, seems as though it would be debilitating for a player such as Mohamed that flies across the field.
Cal QB Kevin Riley obviously thinks that the Golden Bears will be passing a lot. "They really pack the box inside. They don't want teams to run the ball on them and teams haven't been running the ball on them. We're going to definitely have to throw the football this week to be able to win." Now, I am not saying that I would trust his analysis completely. He is not the head coach, nor the offensive coordinator. But unless Riley is on super-secret orders to mislead the media, he clearly has some basis for his quote.
I totally expect that Cal will try to win the game with RB Shane Vereen if at all possible. However, if Cal head coach Jeff Tedford gives up on the run too soon, or Arizona shuts down the run, the Wildcats will hold a major advantage.
The Arizona defensive line will be pressuring Kevin Riley all night, forcing him to make quick reads and get rid of the ball fast. That is bad news for Cal. Riley was wildly erratic in his last start, Riley completed 62.2% of his passes. Not shabby. However, he also had 1 TD and 3 INTs. If we were talking about the Golden Bears facing a defense that was stout on the line, but weak at corner, I’d say they would be fine. But the Arizona CBs are very good. Much better than advertised. If Riley is forced to pass as much as Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi was last week, his INT total will definitely be climbing.
Ok, all of that is way too pro-Arizona. That’s against the rules this week. So let us not forget that Shane Vereen is not Iowa RB Adam Robinson. He is much, much better than Robinson. There is every likelihood that this Saturday I will find myself in the stands of Arizona Stadium, purple faced, heroically restraining myself from launching a volley of the vilest imaginable curses at the playing field as Vereen gashes the Arizona defense.
There, that should balance it out.
'Tuesday Presser: Bears Focus on Pac-10'