Cal rediscovers a downfield passing game, but the defense fades in the Texas heat.
I especially enjoy the Coaching/Game Theory section of this column and I'm typically in agreement with your thoughts. But I'm surprised you didn't mention the decision to pass on 3rd and 2 with 40 seconds left in the first half. By that time TCU looked content to let the Bears run out the clock due to the favorable down and distance even though TCU still had one remaining timeout. As Wilcox is a coach who likes to limit the opponents' possessions, it seemed odd not to try to deny TCU another possession, particularly because they would start the 2nd half with the ball.
Consolation prize: Cal (71) ranks as the best 0-2 team in The Athletic's comprehensive CFB rankings, ahead of Florida State (80) and UW (87).
It's a disappointing start to the season to be sure but two close losses to borderline Top 25 teams isn't the end of the world.
I was really bummed with Coach Wilcox's decision making in this game. Sometimes you have to stop being aggressive and take the easy points. Sometimes, when you are up by 12 points with 40 seconds to go until the half, you should take the lead to the locker room instead of going for the killshot. Sometimes, with 40 seconds to go until the half it's better to play prevent than get beat on a running play while your 2nd level is blitzing or fitting the wrong gaps, which allows the opposing team to score on a long run. Opposing coordinators are realizing that Coach Wilcox goes for the aggressive play, and they factor that into their play calling....and we lost as a result. It all started with getting sideways about a bad snap and missing a PAT. We were chasing that damn point for the rest of the game, even when we were leading.
Weekly Pac-12 QB ratings for last Saturday
Jayden de LauraWSU
I thought Cal played significantly better in week 2. I liked that Wilcox took more risks even if it meant losing points that could have won the game.
Garbers finally remembered how to throw a football and did a decent job. The pass protection was much improved, too.
So, I’m less frustrated after this game.
Still want to see a different QB (what do we have to lose?), more deep passing plays, and more aggressive defense.
That said, better job Bears.
All the TCU loss means is that we're going 10-2 in the regular season. Am I right, people? Show of hands, who says we run the table the rest of the way? And while you're at it gimme a C!
Tighten up the D, continue with the O demonstrated in this game, and we may win some games. I'm thinking 6-6 is probably the ceiling for the team this year.
1 - The offense gets credit for 4 tds, and the defense gets negated for giving up 5 tds, but what about the td the defense scored? Should that not show up on the defensive stats?
2 - "Chasing that point ultimately didn’t make a difference" is a hindsight is 20/20 statement. If they kick the PATs throughout, they have 2 more points, which was the difference of the game. Granted tcU went for 2 at one point and failed. That was an attempt to go up by 3, so if the TD tied the game, they probably kick the XP. There are an expected points per attempt for both kicking for 1 and going for 2. The stats favor kicking. Chasing points, particularly from early on, rarely seems to work. I think we should at least attempt to understand that college football games result in statistical data, and game theory is built upon that, but the game isn't played by mechanistic robots; it is played by emotional young men. They need repetition to build confidence. Being consistently successful may be more important than the coach nailing the game theory. And at the end of the day, I suppose I might rather lose by 1 than by 2.
The game was in Fort Worth, not Dallas
Interesting, Peyton Manning on MNF just now said that on 3rd & 2 he liked to throw a 20yd or a 40yd pattern, NOT 2 - 5 yard patterns that the defense is expecting.
I see a theme here on WFC that our defense is not as good due to the departure of TDR. I think it is more likely that ~ currently ~ we don't have two future League playas at ILB or 3 future League playas at DB. These playas that are now in the League were playin for TDR and yes coached up by him. But currently Sirmon does not have 5 League players at ILB / DB. He may have them at some point ~ perhaps this year or subsequent years ~ but for now we need to allow time for young players to get experience and develop. Our ILB are young ~ give them a chance. I do feel that Iosefa appears to be a bit lost, he has all the physical tools but seems to miss assignments and isn't tackling all that well. A young Oladejo played some snaps and did reasonably well ~ heck, he's a true freshman playing against TCU. So talent is being developed. Hey even Gamble improved his play.
In short, I don't feel Sirmon is all that bad and is working with a young defense at all 3 levels. He may not be as an aggressive play caller as TDR, but that may be a function of youth and not opening up the play book too early.
Granted TDR was good and he had considerable talent to work with and mold.
I do feel that the defense will be solid this year despite several key season ending injuries at DL, OLB & S. And that doesn't include Deng, what's his status?