Cal is eventually overwhelmed on both sides of the ball in a demoralizing defeat in Los Angeles
I keep hearing from just about everyone that Wilcox and co. are a .500 brand, whether it be 6-6, 7-5 or 5-7. I prefer to look at it a different way. He is 14-25 in conference, or just above a 35% winning percentage where it counts. His overall record is padded by some fairly easy non conference match-ups in his first few years. We thought Cal had a tough non-conference schedule this year, and sure enough Cal lost to Nevada and TCU. But we found out that Nevada, predicted in pre-season to win their division, failed to do so. And TCU was bad enough to fire their head coach of 20 or more seasons.
A head coach is expected to establish an identity in years 4 and 5 when he is fielding his own players, and yet Cal has gone backwards with a overall 4-9 record against FBS opponents. So I don't see at 500 coach that can be acceptable to a lot of folks at Cal. I see a guy on a bad downward arc who is going to get shown the door. It's just a matter of when.
What are the stages of grief again? I think we are at acceptance.
Thank you, Nick...great article. Totally agree, esp. w/ the Big Picture.
My goal is to go bowling regularly. We don’t necessarily need to go to the rose bowl, but we should be in the discussion for it every once in a while.
6-6 every year should be attainable with the talent we have.
I understand the ultimate goal is Rose Bowl, but what do we really expect from Cal? 9-10 win seasons every year? I don't know if that is possible anymore. There are multiple universities within even just the Pac-12 that can bankroll way harder than we can, and CFB is increasingly becoming more and more of a money-focused sport.
Even if we were to move on from Wilcox, which is what this post feels like, I don't imagine we'll do much better. Even if we find someone great, they'll just get poached within a year or two by a university that cares more. If we actually want to grow as a program, we're going to have to commit so someone -- whether or not it's Wilcox -- growing with us.
That said, Wilcox/Sirmon/Musgrave have shown flashes even if it's against weaker talent. And most of our losses this year were by one score. Blowing it all up now feels like a bad move even though losing to UCLA is shitty. Just need to remember that they have way more talent in their depth than we do, and it showed.
Really hoping Milner is able to step up next year and our fresh crew of offensive targets are worth the hype.
I watched the game a few times again on the 23 minute Youtube highlight reel. Unfortunately a lot of the plays that came up for CAL started with down and distance situations like 3rd and 7, so I did not get to see much of the 1st and 2nd downs. Our first half was pretty good. We were in the game. In the second half it came down to a number of plays where we just did not execute. We ran the ball successfully between the tackles in the first half, but we went away from that strategy in the 2nd half and our passing game let us down. I could not see many of the routes developing but it seemed that Chase did not do a good job of checking down quickly. He had open receivers but just could not get the ball to them. Part of this is because he was under pressure. Part of this is some of our receivers dropped critical catches. Our schemes were not very good in this game. UCLA's defense always seemed to control the edges, and in the second half on critical downs we would load our players to the boundary side of the field where both our runners and receivers were crowded. I think we could have effectively run traps on the edges. In the end, we just didn't execute well enough to stay with a well coached UCLA team that had great schemes on both sides of the ball. That's on our coaches. (Again).
Great discussions guys! My half a cent, Average coaches = Average team. My vote for head coach is Hardy Nickerson, I would coach for this guy!
Nice write-up. It's unfortunate the way things turned out - Cal definitely could have adjusted the offense to account for the incessant blitzing, maybe relying more on the run game. Also, Garbers rarely had even two seconds to survey the field and find a receiver. UCLA seemed to always be in the backfield.
There has been lots of ink from W4C all season about Wilcox, but much less on Cal's assistant coaches. My take is that their early reviews were very negative. the spurted up dramatically as Cal won three out of four games and then have tumbled recently after the loss to UCLA.
If someone wrote an article about the performance of each assistant coach (though that might be too much work), I think it would generate a lot of comments, considering the small size of the people who write on this blog.
I hope some sort of evaluation of the Cal program would be nice to read after the USC game. Maybe the evaluation of the assistant coaches could be blended into it.
Just a thought.
I agree with you over 90% of the time. But I disagree with your comment below. Not punting then when a whole quarter is left, which could very easily allow for two Cal touchdown if Cal could move the ball, would have been a sign of desperation. I am assuming the ball was on Cal's side of the field when the punt occurred.
"I don’t understand punting on 4th and 4 at the end of the 3rd quarter, when your defense has allowed two straight scoring drives and you’re trailing by 13. That’s a surrender punt, and sure enough UCLA immediately scored the touchdown that iced the game."