Rating the Bears: Cal at UW Football
Another weekend of "what if"s...
Why must these UW games so often come down to a dramatic final drive of the game? UW’s game-winning 4th and goal in 2010, Cal’s failed 4th and goal in 2011, Goff’s run on 4th and 4 to seal the game in 2015, Cal’s epic 5-minute drive to seal the win in 2018, Cal’s improbable game-winning drive in 2019, and just a few days ago, Damien Moore’s fumble on the goal line in OT.
Rating the Bears
Garbers and the receivers led the way with the highest scores of the week, in what’s becoming a pleasant trend of successful offense. Run defense stepped up to earn the second-highest score of the week. Rush offense, pass defense, coaching, and overall all earned respectable scores due to a mostly solid performance, especially in the second half. Predictably, special teams fared poorly due to another botched snap that took easy points off the board…points that would have been very helpful in preventing that fateful overtime period.
Despite the unfortunate 1-3 records, we’re not too much less optimistic about this weekend’s game against the Cougs. Mostly because they have looked turrible, especially over the last two weeks. We’ll finally get a satisfying win this weekend, right? …right?
It’s been a bizarre series of games against UW in the last eleven meetings. Surprisingly, this one earned the highest scores for pass offense in recent memory. The rest of the categories ranged from average to slightly-above-average compared to recent games against the Huskies. Except special teams, because of course special teams turned in another agonizing performance.
Compared to the rest of the games under Wilcox, this one was pretty average. Except…you guessed it, special teams.
Four of the five worst grades for special teams have occurred within the last year. Can Ragle possibly survive this offseason?
It’s the fourth game of the year, so you know the drill by now. Let’s start with the most optimistic.
Centennial is no doubt handing out 100s in honor of Cal’s 100th game against UW while Calamo is handing out 100s simply because the team showed up on the field.
It wasn’t the best game, but three scores below 25%? Ouch.
The Voice of Reason
I don’t keep track of these awards long-term like I do with the ratings, but I think sacman701 has earned more VoR awards over the years than anyone else. He’s always a mainstay no matter how well or poorly the team plays.
Next up, comments.
Any comments on the gameday experience?
Justbear - The best moment of the game was when Rugbear and GoBears49 were trapped in first half thread.
TD_24 - Shane Vereen wasn't too bad of a commentator. The Pac 12 Network needs to invest in a pylon camera, like every other network to see breaking the plain moments, I hate being out of the loop.
BearsWillEndMyLife - PG&E maintenance took out our power until just 30 minutes before kickoff. Surprised I did not chuck my TV through the window.
BTown85 - Beautiful day in Seattle; glad this hit the schedule before the rainy season!
BearsThatFly - Husky Stadium offers some of the best views in the PAC-12 next to Memorial Stadium.
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
Diasfordays - Chase made mistakes. He also made a lot more positive plays than mistakes. Overall he had a good game. Also, great to see the action with tight ends.
Tangtpt - Good but for some "questionable play calls"
95bears - Musgrave looking better
Old Bear 71 - Seems on the rise. Great catchers, competent throws (mostly) by Garbers, and we got some good gains. Moore’s tiptoe down the sideline was a beauty.
Winebear - Still do NOT understand if the late throws wide out for 5yds on 3rd down are a coaching call or just QB progression - either way, doesn’t work well
GlueAndBold - Garbers, outside of two bad interceptions, was pretty good against a tough Huskies defense. He was under pressure all night due to some very poor blocking but still have it his all.
Texashaterforlife - Cal has shown improvement each week since the home opening dud. Just keep improving to win some games for bowl eligibility and of course the final judgment: BEAT STANFORD.
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
TD_24 - The running game was not that good in my opinion. Garbers was the most dynamic runner by far tonight, which is fine but in theory is actually a problem.
Centennial_Man - It was the 100th time there was a run offense
Goldenone - OK, the most effective rusher was Garbers. Moore was mostly bottled up.
BTown85 - Damien Moore is talented, and I love when he finds an opening; just not enough openings on this night….
Old Bear 71 - Also appears on the upswing. I wish the whole group of backs could get more touches.
BearsThatFly - Garbers key to success but like to see more RB participation and a 60/40 run/pass ratio.
Heyalumnigo - When Chase is your leading rusher (I'm assuming) your run offense isn't great.
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
Diasfordays - Looked straight-up unprepared out there. The Hearns flag for hands *even when he was step for step with the receiver* screams poor coaching. The players are struggling and don't seem to have faith in themselves. I miss Gerald Alexander.
59RoseBowl - The defensive secondary is not good enough to cover receivers for an extended time, which means Cal has to create more pressure from defensive line and linebackers. We aren't getting the sacks/hurry ups we have to have to be an effective defensive team.
Heyalumnigo - I gave the pass defense a 60 overall, averaging 30 for the first half and 90 for the 2nd half.
1988goldenbear - Got gouged - again. And there was nothing special about the UW offense. But the defense tightened things up fairly impressively in the 2nd half, so that's a good thing.
Calfan - At first I was really missing Gerald Alexander. Too many mental mistakes and blown coverages that a GA team wouldn't do. But they tightened up impressively over the course of the game.
Azulviejo - If I was an OC calling plays against us, I'd pass over the middle all day long
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
GlueAndBold - No complaints. Did their best, didn't give up much, and should've forced a 4th down in OT. Why were the refs favoring UW so much when they don't even have a shot at the CFP?
Winebear - Flashes of brilliance
Haasbear - Solid throughout.
TD_24 - It was actually not too bad, it just happened to break at the wrong time.
Old Bear 71 - Looking pretty solid. No looonnggg gainers up the middle. That is a substantial improvement over previous weeks. We obviously miss BRETT JOHNSON, but the young ‘Ins are coming on. Tackling is making a comeback. Go get them!
BearsThatFly - No explosive plays given up and a 3.1 Y/A is outstanding.
Heyalumnigo - I gave the pass defense a 60 overall, averaging 30 for the first half and 90 for the 2nd half.
59RoseBowl - Played a pretty good game.
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
Diasfordays - Seriously, what DOES Ragle do during the week? Is he focusing all his attention on returns or something?
1988goldenbear - Sure wish we made that long snap on the FG try in the first half. It would have been a-OK if Dario made that game winner, but a super long try is a lot to ask. Unless you are a pro putting a dagger through the heart of the Goff-led Detroit Lions.
Old Bear 71 - Are you serious? There is nothing special here. Of all the mistakes and foul ups, ST’s transgressions are the most damaging IMO. If we had not lost three points from a bad snap, overtime would not have been a thing. Grrrrr. I cringe with every long snap now.
Goldenone - Continued area of concern. We should not be mishandling snaps regularly. Unfortunately we missed the long field goal attempt as time expired in regulation.
Texashaterforlife - we ALMOST had a missed PAT, after the missed field goal attempt, due to bad snapper/holder exchange. I order you to work on that. That missed FG could have meant a win.
Justbear - Too many missed opportunities. We would have won in regulation had we just kicked the FG in first half. Our long snappers had been very consistent for decades but this year we are seeing very shaky snaps.
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
Justbear - Second half was so much better, the best football game played this season. What adjustments did they make at half time? And Ragle can be fired.
Haasbear - Sirmon and Ragel should have been gone two weeks ago. The longer they’re employed at Cal the longer we’ll lose.
Texashaterforlife - I am glad the Bears fought back in the 2nd half to go into OT. Coaching has improved and Cal needs to keep improving if the Golden Bears are going to beat Stanford.
Azulviejo - The staff is not on the same page. Management by committee, with no one in charge.
GlueAndBold - Good job adapting in the second half, but some of those leverage situation calls were highly questionable. Makes you wonder what might've happened if we'd played aggressively the whole time at the end of regulation.
Winebear - None printable.
BTown85 - The wildcat and that WR “screen” were used over and over again w enough effectiveness that someone needs to figure that out. My only other issue was time management at the end; couldn’t we have used TOs to get one or two more plays?
Old Bear 71 - Musgrave evidently has figured out how Garbers is most effective. I still wonder why he doesn’t manage the game from the press box where one can see the whole field. Sirmon? Is he a work in progress? or regress? Ragin’ Ragel, put him in charge of recruiting and Nothing Else.
Tangtpt - I am getting tired of "questionable play calls" on offense. It's as if we are trying to make other teams down the road believe that we will throw deep on 3rd and 3 every time, only to spring our trap by actually running the ball once to get a first down. That seems backwards.
59RoseBowl - I thought Musgraves called a good game. I still have real questions whether Sirmon is up to the task of being the DC.
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
Sacman701 - Almost good enough to win on both sides of the ball.
BearsThatFly - Offense/Defense trade halves of underperformance. Special teams continue to disappoint.
95bears - We're a mediocre team playing with Wilcox's half-baked first recruiting season where he picked up Dykes recruits. It feels like we're going to be this way until the younger classes mature.
Old Bear 71 - Good enough to win if not for silly, sad, badly timed penalties. Good enough to win if not for sad, off target long snaps. Good enough to win if not for a beast of a Husky d-back. Good enough to win if not for a fumble at the…..
Wiata78 - Close losses are better than blowouts, but they’re still hard to take. Harder.
Goldenone - Even though we somewhat outplayed UW in the 2nd half, we made just enough errors to lose the game, so quite frustrating. Bears defense also showed some signs of life in the 2nd half.
BearsWillEndMyLife - Frustrating and undisciplined, with mental mistakes at all levels of the program tonight. Yet another winnable game Wilcox finds new ways to lose. I have nonidea how well win any games this year.
AlohaBear - A lot of people will complain about the result, but the team played hard and never gave up. There are flaws, but we all knew that going in. I'm happy with the team's development so far.
ICYMI, I addressed the media this morning and figured I'd post the transcript here:
WilderThanGene: There's been speculation that I was involved in the 100th Meeting bias that occurred on "Rating the Bears: Cal at UW"
Reporter: I'm sorry, but do you honestly expect us to believe that that was a bodyguard with a username that conveniently appeared, despite the fact that you--
WilderThanGene: I know that it's confusing. It is one thing to question the official story, and another thing entirely to make wild accusations, or insinuate that I'm a superhero.
Reporter: I never said you were a superhero.
WilderThanGene: Didn't? Well, good, because that would be outlandish and fantastic. I'm just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I've made, largely public on W4C.
PryorToRichard: Just stick to the cards, man.
WilderThanGene: Yeah, okay. Yeah. The truth is.. I am Centennial_Man.
Lots of peeps lament coaching (GA) and yet to a person the coaches and players when asked what changed on defense in the 2nd half responded, "we didn't change scheme we just executed better".
My critique of Sirmon is the following: he should either bench Hicks or move him back to corner, Hicks hasn't produced in pass defense although he's been solid in run support. Tattersall, should get less reps. While he leads Cal in tackles, I'm guessing he's also a leader in missed tackles. You can't have that from an ILB. His technique is frankly terrible. He runs full speed to the opposition only to be easily juked out and left flailing with his arms. He has to go in under control and target the mid section of the opponent.
On the flip side, Sirmon and staff have done a good job developing players. I would highlight the play of Saunders and Roberts. Both played great and were disruptive in the interior of the DL. Should McKenzie be healthy (and I hope he is) I would still favor reps to Roberts and Saunders. McKenzie has been consistent but not disruptive like the aforementioned players.
At ILB more reps for Olajedo and Paster in place of Tattersall would serve the defense well, IMO. Hearns and Gamble are both improving although it is too early in their careers to ascertain how good they can be. A thought on Iosefa, incredible talent let's hope he can improve in all aspects of an ILB's responsibilities. He's still young but has enough experience now to become a disruptor game in and game out ~ if that is indeed were he will evolve to, TBD. It's possible (likely) my critique of Tattersall and Iosefa is too harsh given that we are expecting Weaver like production at ILB, but Weaver was a special/unique talent and we got spoiled.
The defense, IMO, will continue to improve each week. This week will be a challenge for the DB's when Wazzu shows up w/ their masked idiot coach. But the lads will be up for the task methinks.
My critique of Wilcox is as follows: 4 years ago, it was reasonable that Wilcox had the mentality/philosophy of, "we will win ugly". I have no problem w/ that for the first few years of his tenure. Where it becomes a problem is if that philosophy then become the teams character and or goal. Well fuck that at some point competitors want to step on the neck of their opponent and fucking annihilate them! So, Wilcox needs to develop a killer mentality for himself and by extension his team. As a former Cal rugger, we never went into games with a mentality of surviving, it was always complete destruction. I feel Wilcox is on the right track overall and that brighter days are just ahead for this team.