I don’t get CSTV with my Astound cable package. Thus, I went to a local sports bar. I know it sounds like fun but it wasn’t all that great. The bar could not turn on the sound for the game because then all the TVs in the place would have to be on the Cal/CSU game. So, I watched the game with captions - which blocked the top left corner of the screen. Anyways, here are some of my thoughts:
*I was really surprised to see our offense punt on its first two possessions. The team didn’t seem that energetic or motivated. Perhaps the team wasn’t quite as pumped up about this game since so much emotional energy was expended last week? Or it just seemed that way since I was watching the game like it was a silent movie.
*The 12 personnel set (1 back, 2 TEs, 2 WRs) is showing up quite a bit, more than I remember in previous years. As I mentioned before in my 2006 Holiday Bowl analysis, this is a reflection upon Cal’s (JT’s) adherence to a pro-style offense despite additions of spread elements. With Stevens, and now Morrah, both emerging as big time receiving threats, expect to see more and more twin TE personnel sets.
*Oh yes, the air up there. Longshore wasn’t off. Yes, his balls were 1 to 3 feet too far out in front of our WRs on deep balls, but that’s because of the air up there. Cut Longshore some slack. It’s hard to adjust to thinner air. Think about it, Longshore has been practicing in thicker air pretty much ALL HIS LIFE. He has years of muscle memory built into those arms based on thicker air. And then, in a matter of a day he’s supposed to magically adjust to the thinner air, put 1% less power into his deep ball throws, and be expected to put the ball on the money? No. Let’s not complain that Longshore was off. Let’s not say that Longshore doesn’t have any touch either. Cause I know 90% of people reading this have been saying that Longshore has the best touch and deep balls than most quarterbacks in the nation.
*As for Desean Jackson’s rushing touchdown. As I have said before, in a post a long time ago that I cannot find, THA1 will do more than just catch balls. It’s already obvious that he’s going to rush with the ball. But don’t be surprised if he does more than just “catch” and “rush” with the ball either. Hmmm….
*Injuries, Injuries, Injuries. Aside from our starting 3 WRs, we really don’t have any other real threatening WRs (yet). When Robert Jordan went out with an injury, it puts a lot more pressure on all our other receivers to perform. It was nice to see Cunningham in for some snaps – I haven’t forgotten about Cal/WSU in 2005 – but he hasn’t been able to really make much of an impact on the field since then.
*I sort of feel bad saying this because James Montgomery patiently waited during his blue-shirt year last year to get snaps, but Jahvid “The Jet” “Little Bush” Best needs to get more snaps. He really is our super-freshman. Along the lines of Marshawn “Money” Lynch, and Daymeion “Dante” Hughes.
*I love it when big fat defensive guys get the ball. Okay, Derrick Hill isn’t fat – he’s just like really round. Anyways, how ‘bout his interception? The big guy has some hands. Maybe we should plug him in at tight end. I don’t quite remember how he got himself into position to make the interception, perhaps a zone-blitz? Anybody remember?
*No, I wasn’t serious about putting Derrick Hill in at tight end. Let’s get real. Hill shouldn’t be playing tight end just like Reed and Ayoob shouldn’t have been playing WR just because they weren’t living up to expectations.
*Three players on defense really stood out to me.
(1) I’m sure most of you are thinking of Zach Follett, but I’m thinking of Anthony Felder. Yes, Follett is good and he was everywhere. But Felder was excellent last game. And he was everywhere + 1. I’m not just giving him props for that awesome sack and forced fumble on the CSU QB, I’m talking about all the tackles and assists he had throughout the entire game. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Felder is back.
(2) The second player I’m thinking about is Marcus Ezeff. With Hicks out with a concussion (again?), Ezeff stepped in admirably. He was all over the place, plus one. Great nose for the ball, and excellent sure-tackles. Now, I know that he also was the nearest defender when CSU scored one of their two long ball touchdowns towards the end of the game (and I say he was the “nearest defender” to leave open the possibility that the mistake wasn’t his since I couldn’t see the defensive formation and don’t know the defensive play called), but other than that Ezeff deserves a Lee Corso “yo.” And I’m gonna go ahead and give him a HydroTech “yo” too. Back in my hydroteching days, I always thought Ezeff was a solid player and a hard worker. He was a quiet guy. Never talked trash, or talked at all. Seriously, he’d go through the entire practices without saying a word (not like it matters if he talks or not). Anyways, he always worked hard and pushed himself. He never complained about how he wasn’t starting or came to practices moping around. The fact that Ezeff is such a quiet stud shouldn’t be too surprising for Cal fans if you’ve been careful to notice he was a special teams stud last year. He definitely deserves and has earned his playing time.
(3) The third player I’m thinking of is Tyson Alualu. Back in the California round-table discussion I said this: “Another player that I think will quickly develop into a force is Tyson Alualu. He’s pretty quick for a guy his size, and has good strength and technique. Alualu has been moving around between DT and DE throughout the spring and early fall and he could easily play anywhere along the line if needed. Back in my HydroTech-ing days, a lot of the old linemen (who now have graduated) felt that Alualu had potential to be the next great Cal DT.” I think those old DLine guys were right. Alualu was putting fairly consistent pressure on the CSU QB. In one particular instance, I remember it was Alualu who forced the CSU QB to step up into the pocket where he was promptly sacked by another Cal DLineman. While Alualu won’t get credit for that sack, he certainly deserves a share of it.
*Finally, I have to give a big time shout-out to walk-on Jordan Kay. Talk about coming through in the clutch. His two field goals and PATs were the game difference. The young man has worked hard for the past few years, and deserves a scholarship.