10 by 10: California Golden Bears Unable to Connect vs. Washington State Cougars – by Christopher Zheng


My week off came early this season as I couldn’t watch the game last week and post my ten thoughts at 10pm. Did I deserve it? Probably not, but of course I appreciated not having to deal with the heartache of seeing Damien Moore fumbling in overtime. But, in the wise words of trainer Ted Lasso, “be a goldfish.” We could have three losses so far this season, but there is still a ton of football to play and I’m excited.

So despite a rough start to the season, here I am with my ten thoughts as I watch the California Golden Bears take on the Washington State Cougars:

  1. Washington State’s first touchdown The Cougars got the ball first after Cal won the toss and chose to rely on the second half. I generally prefer this choice, but there is a basic assumption that the defense is good to go. Based on the fact that Washington State scored on the first disc with no incompleteness or negative plays, it’s pretty safe to say the defense wasn’t ready. Laura’s Jayden was passing to wide open receivers both in the middle and in the flats and their receivers were racking up many more yards after the catch with a number of missed tackles by Cal’s defense. Under Wilcox I always felt the fundamentals were solid, but at the moment I find it hard to believe it’s the same team.

  1. 2 first games of special teams After an impressive 44-yard connection between Chase Garbers and Kekoa Crawford and an 11-yard physical touchdown from Christopher Brooks, we barely had a chance to celebrate. A bad snap on the extra point attempt cost the Bears a point, which immediately makes me think Cal will go for two at some point in this game and botch it. Cal’s defense forced a quick three-and-out, but found itself on the field a game later with a blocked punt recovered by Washington State for a first down. Obviously there are a number of luck factors in a game like this, but I generally believe that good teams make luck that benefits themselves. Instead, Laura guided the Cougars into the red zone for another touchdown, albeit on an impressive capture from Calvin Jackson Jr.

  1. 3 success attempts So far in the game (11:17 to play in the 2nd quarter), Cal’s offense hasn’t done much. Besides Crawford’s aforementioned completion and Brooks’ touchdown, Garbers had two more passing attempts (both incomplete) and the Bears rushed for 19 yards. There is no rhythm. The Washington state defense seems to be under whatever pressure it wants against Cal’s offensive line. For what it’s worth, Garbers generally looks more poised and improved as a quarterback this year, but it was fun to watch him improvise. I just want the fire of indoor competition to be more exposed.

  1. 4th & 14 ?????? I am speechless…. Did I think Cal was going to convert the 4th and 14th? No. Did I think Cal could convert a cart? Definitely not. Did I think they could pin with a punt? Probably not. But, on the 4th and 14th, Garbers threw an interception. I would have preferred to watch those kicks from Jared Goff or Davis Webb because at least it’s entertaining. I already had to readjust my expectations for this Cal team, but I’m about to turn off my TV and enjoy my fall without football.

  1. 5 first half-time attempts I’m getting a little repetitive, but it’s clear this isn’t a good Cal team. Cal’s offense has averaged 440 yards so far this season, good for the 2nd in the Pac-12 and also the highest under Wilcox. For the most part, the Bears did it mostly in the first half against teams. With 2 interceptions and a turnover on tries, Cal still closes the first half with only 6 points and only 5 first downs. I threw away my phone in frustration too many times this afternoon. The Bears get the ball back to start the second half, but I’m not optimistic that we’ll find some offensive flurries.

  1. More of the same It’s getting harder and harder to have new and interesting thoughts as we watch this Cal game. There has been a general inability to perform and as a result there are hardly any positives you would be able to report for this competition. Even the two interceptions are hard to get excited about as Cal’s offense hasn’t been able to capitalize on them at all.

  1. Chris Street I’ve always heard Chris Street as a name to be excited for, but so far he hasn’t really seen much of the pitch. With Damien Moore possibly on the bench after his ball safety issues and a relatively ineffective Marcel Dancy, Street was injected into the offensive in the second half. The sophomore in his first couple had an interesting mix of burst and elusive that was certainly intriguing, but it wasn’t enough to mask the ineffectiveness so far in the game. , his performance in the second half indicates that he deserves a few more looks for the remainder of the season.

  1. Beaten down As a Cal fan, this was as depressed as I felt (at least watching football, basketball is another topic I’m not ready to write or discuss). I haven’t been a fan for a long time, but we haven’t really hit extreme low points. Of course, we’ve had several pretty demoralizing losses over the past 7 seasons, including a 35-0 loss to Utah in 2019. But, despite the final score, Washington State controlled the whole game and that. just shouldn’t happen. Perhaps that is why this loss hits harder than the 24 other losses of the Wilcox era. It certainly sounds like the time of the season when quotes like this from Ted Lasso, “For me, success isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about helping these young guys be the best versions of themselves on and off the pitch.

  1. Depth You almost wonder if Cal had more depth if the coaching staff would have put Garbers on the bench in the second half. It’s obvious the offense just couldn’t do much against the Washington state defense, but the wrinkles Cal tried to throw in the second half were just as ineffective. I don’t think it’s the game that gets called as much as this lack of pace (mostly caused by pushing the offensive line) on the offensive side of the ball. Just as we’ve seen with Chris Street being just enough change for the defense of Washington State, I’d at least like to know what our back-up quarterbacks could do even if it wouldn’t have been much better. than Garbers. I understand that technically the game was close at hand and a change in quarterback could ruin a player’s confidence, but it was clear to anyone watching that offense couldn’t connect to anything.

  1. And after Cal has a bye before facing Oregon in 13 days. Oregon, which lost to Stanford earlier this afternoon, will also have a pass. I don’t think we’re going to correct all of the bad habits this team has apparently displayed this season, but it’s clear the Bears need a mental reset. I started this episode of my series with Ted Lasso’s reminder of being a goldfish, but I leave you all with the joy and excitement of Dani Rojas chanting “football is life”, which I’m very aware of is not the kind of football Cal played today.

As Ted Lasso says, “Damn you can fill two Internets with what I don’t know about football.” Again, I realize that he refers to a completely different sport, but I agree with that feeling that I don’t know much about football. There’s plenty of tape for anyone to break down the X’s and O’s in this game, but my focus is entirely on unforced errors like the pop-up flags that Cal seems to have in every game. Perfection is certainly a high standard for any team, but it’s quite clear that the Bears need to perform cleanly and at a high standard to give themselves every chance of winning a ball game.


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