Week 2: Cal Football Buy, Hold, Sell
Following a feeling of rage on Saturday afternoon, feeling more neutral after the dust has settled
Let’s face it: this is a less than ideal start. Things could unravel quickly - however let’s remember that Cal has lost by 7 points combined in those two games. It’s been competitive, and if we can get both sides of the ball at their best, this could end up being a pretty good team. Performance in Pac-12 play will primarily dictate the fanbase’s mood, to that end all eyes are on our date with the Huskies September 25th. With that, let’s dive into buy, hold, sell.
Sell: The Offseason Defensive Coaching Staff Shuffle
I have long been a skeptic of the decision to elevate Peter Sirmon to Defensive Coordinator and rolling back the responsibility of Tim DeRuyter. After week 1, I was a holder as Cal’s defense did enough to beat the Wolfpack and DeRuyter looked just ok. After week 2, it doesn’t look like it was the right personnel decision.
TCU moved the ball with ease against Cal, posting over 500 yards of total offense and losing despite a solid offensive performance. The most frustrating play of the day was the 51 yard touchdown run with only 11 seconds left in the first half. Does that happen with DeRuyter? Doubt it. The defensive side of the ball looked poorly coached for the first time in quite a while. Meanwhile DeRuyter posted a win on the road against #3 Ohio State despite missing his two best players.
Buy: Chase Garbers
Chase got a lot of criticism after week 1, and fairly so. However if we’ve learned anything about him it’s that he bounces back quickly and knows how to adjust. Not only did he look more comfortable running the Musgrave offense, he pushed the ball down field and averaged 11.4 yards per pass attempt, well over double week 1. He’ll be fine.
Buy: Damien Moore
This kid is a stud and I think he’s the best Cal running back since the Jeff Tedford era, a great combo of size and speed. Let’s get him MOORE touches.
Hold: A Potentially Lost Season
Cal sits at 0-2 for the first time since 2001 (putting an asterisk on a 4 game 2020), a less than ideal position to be in. Just getting to 6-6 now seems like an uphill battle - Cal hasn’t gone 5-4 in the Pac-12 since 2009.
The most important game of Cal’s season is on the road at Washington September 25th. It will also be Washington’s game of the year given their poor start - whichever team loses looks like they could quickly unravel.
Did the Nevada game change the fanbase’s perception of Wilcox? Definitely yes. Did the loss to TCU have the same effect? Not really. While it made you want to rip your hair out, it was a competitive loss on the road against a good team. Wilcox will be primarily judged by how he performs in conference play. Beat UW and getting to 2-2? Season is back on track. Lose and drop to 1-3? 2021 is a lost cause.