Bears Bureau: Cougars Vulture the Bears
Bear'in it? Cal'n it? Do we have anything for Coug'in it?
Yuck. In one of the more disappointing performances of the Justin Wilcox era, the California Golden Bears laid an egg in the Palouse, going down to the Washington State Cougars by a final score of 28-9. The defense brought it, the special teams sputtered, and the offense got stuck driving in neutral while going up a hill. Frankly it was a day to forget and something to look past, because Jake Dickert has Cal’s number and deservedly so.
Where to Buy: The Safeties
Outside of the safeties and one other player to be named later, this was a game to forget. However, that doesn’t mean praise for plays made during the game should go unnoticed. Daniel Scott and Craig Woodson both had solid games, each garnering an interception and helping out in the run game. Scott got beat once over the top by Lincoln Victor but when you put a receiver one on one vs a safety, the receiver wins that matchup seven out of ten times so I will cut Scott some slack. They stayed disciplined throughout the day, didn’t commit any major penalties, and generally went about their business compared to every other position group.
The only other person deserving of a buy after this game is Collin Gamble. I’ve been admittedly very critical of him over the last two seasons but against Wazzu he was really solid. In the first half, Gamble was all over the field, making 1 on 1 tackles look easy and helping limit big plays had he missed said tackles. Four yard catches remained four yard receptions for Gamble and like the safeties he also did a solid job in the run game. The secondary as a whole wasn’t that bad throughout the day, but some schematics really didn’t help their cause and left people like Gamble out on an island where he may have succeeded but not the team as a whole.
Coaching Adjustments: Sell
Well right after I said to buy low on the coaching adjustments from Arizona, I’m selling it right back. This was a burrito gone bad. Milk that was spoiled. Or a banana that changed all sorts of colors. What I bought was not what I received and I’m immediately taking coaching adjustments back because they were pitiful against Washington State. The Cougars secondary notably struggled in vertical action so naturally on play action Cal threw checkdowns and 6 yard passes. Surely that formula will work on a defense that prides themselves on rallying to the football and their speed. Surely guys surely. While it is true that the offensive line struggled, that is only part of the blame as there was a deliberate choice to get the short passing game going. It didn’t work. Yet Bill Musgrave and the offensive staff insisted on it and it was ugly.
Defensive line: Sell
Well I think I know what we have from our defensive line for this season. Their effort is great, but there just aren’t enough horses to get the job done. Two straight weeks of giving up 415+ yards of total offense, two straight weeks of giving up 343+ passing yards to an opposing quarterback while not getting consistent pressure, and on that note, simply giving people like Jayden De Laura and Cameron Ward all day to throw. I mean look at the 10:45 mark here, that is just not acceptable on any level from the defensive line. But this is a product of the injuries during the offseason and during the first couple of weeks, this is simply what the Bears have. And while I’m empathetic to the situation, that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about the standard of it.
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Pac 12 Quick hits:
Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Hold
DTR had what was probably his best career college game against the Washington Huskies last Friday. So why isn’t this an easy buy for DTR? Well as we have seen in the past, he will take one step forward then go two steps back so it remains to be seen if he can maintain this consistency. I’m mainly speaking in the sense that DTR will also be facing a ton of adversity these next two games, facing the Utah Utes at home next week then facing Oregon in Eugene in three weeks. After that you’ll get an official buy or sell on the fifth year senior, because we will know if he’s for real or the same quarterback we thought he’s been for the last two seasons.
Robert Ferrel: Buy
The infamous clip that says “I’m sorry I wasn’t really familiar with your game” is currently me with Robert Ferrel. Him, Cam Ward, and Wazzu OC Eric Morris all came from Incarnate Word to the Palouse and boy are they glad to have him. Ferrel put up 6 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown, and essentially played as Ward’s safety valve and best possession receiver. Ward and Morris certainly knew what they had in Ferrel and he showed out several times against Cal and has showed out period this season. He reminds me a lot of Brandon Arconado, Wazzu’s former #1 target during the Anthony Gordon 2019 era, where he would just feast in the intermediate passing game. Robert Ferrel, consider yourself on my radar and I look forward to what he does over the course of the season.
Rome Odunze: Buy
Washington has a special trio of receivers in Ja’Lynn Polk, Jalen McMillan, and Rome Odunze but Odunze will be the focus for this week. He’s been the barnburner for the Huskies offense over the top and has roasted secondaries on the regular so far this season. He has 409 receiving yards through four games (he didn’t play vs Portland State), good for an average of 102.3 receiving yards per game. No matter how you slice that, that’s pretty good. His last two games vs Stanford and UCLA have been unreal, getting a statline of 8 receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown vs the Cardinal and a line of 8 receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns vs the Bruins. He’s simply been tearing it up, and will continue to do so since guarding the Washington receivers is like a pick your poison dilemma.
Clark Phillips III: Buy
Clark Phillips III has already had a ton of stock invested in him from last season and especially from being the highest rated recruit to ever sign with the Utah Utes. Well here’s your last chance to hop on the train before it leaves the station enroute to the NFL. Against Oregon State, he had 3 interceptions on his own. I mean that’s just ridiculous, he’s on his own island and no one dares test him. His matchup vs Jordan Addison in a few weeks is going to be chefs kiss.
Jake Dickert: Buy
I’m all in on Dickert being the future of the Washington State Cougars football program. He’s held the Cal offense to an average of 7.5 points per game through two games on the Cougars staff, good enough for less than a point a quarter. He’s got all the players bought into his culture, makes good in game adjustments, has a good balance of hands on and hands off coaching, and most importantly has the fans support and energy behind him. Should Wisconsin not come calling, Wazzu needs to bring the brinks truck for him because there’s something special brewing on the Palouse. The discipline, the speed, the lack of Coug’in it (Oregon withstanding) signals a new era for Wazzu and something I look forward to observing in the long run.
Well there’s your market report after week 2 of Pac 12 play. Players and teams trending up, some are trending down, and some are just floating. Stay tuned to see where it ends up after week 3 of conference play!
Good thing we have a bye this week to recuperate and hopefully re-charge the batteries as the tougher part of the schedule is coming. That said the egg we laid was very disconcerting. I would guess that DTR will have an opportunity to show whether he is an NFL prospect or merely a very talented collegiate player who is mistake prone. The superior athleticism works in FBS but won't against equally talented guys in the NFL.
I loss this week. Go Bears!!