Headed into Saturday’s game on the Pac-12 Network we got the inside scoop on Cal Football from Rob Hwang over at Write for Cal . The Golden Bears have the talent to compete with anyone in the conference (see the USC game this past weekend), but injuries and a sputtering offense at times have limited their upside. Unlike last week the forecast is looking surprisingly pleasant for a November game in Corvallis. It should be a fun one!
1. Coming off 4 straight losses, Cal gave USC everything they could handle last week. How is this team doing morale-wise?
I think overall it was a really good game for the bears. They struggled offensively and a little bit defensively (because the offense got off the field so quickly). Ultimately the game showed that we have the talent to compete against top tier competition. The hardest part about the game is that it’s frustrating that the team couldn't execute at this level the last 4 weeks. Some of that has to do with OL play, some with Jack Plummer’s injury, and some with play-calling. It all compounded for consecutive weeks. The highlight from this game though was that Justin Wilcox took some risks knowing that they had to take them to stay competitive in the game, which you saw from the 4th down attempts, 2-pt conversion and onside kick.
2. This seems like a talented Cal team. Jack Plummer, Jaydn Ott and Cal almost always play solid defense. So how did they lose to lowly Colorado?!
Honestly? It’s basically what we said above. The OL play is crucial for a West Coast Offense that we run under Musgrave but we haven't gotten any decent time for Jack to throw or any running lanes for Ott to run through. Adding Jack’s injury from Washington State which limited his mobility to keep plays alive ultimately led to the loss.
3. Any glaring weaknesses the Beavs will look to exploit? Oregon State is always going to try and establish their running game early and often.
We’ve done decently well against the run, but the pass rush has been an issue. We’ve done well early in the play with our secondary covering receivers well, but since the DL cant get to the QB in that time, either plays develop enough or you see WRs work back to the QB to get a good chunk of yards. Just need to look at the Arizona tape and the Washington tape, and that will get you the formula to win if you don’t have a running QB.
4. How does the fanbase feel about Justin Wilcox so far? Any hot seat potential next season?
I’d say more than half is out on Justin Wilcox. He has to win a lot more games to win back their trust. You have to think a change at OC is coming this offseason, and added with Wilcox’s contract extension from last season? We just don’t have the finances to swallow a 20+ million dollar buyout. As my co-host on the pod Andy says, “the offense is fixable, and you don’t need to overturn the entire house to do so.” That’s where I feel as well, but the frustrations of the fanbase who are upset at the current state of the program are just as justified as well.
5. Prediction for Saturday’s game?
Heart pick: Cal wins 35-21. Head pick: Cal loses 38-27.
Huge thank you to Rob Hwang & everyone over at Write for Cal for answering a few of our questions! Get to Reser Stadium on Saturday and be loud. Oregon State will need the energy playing a physical Cal team that is starting to gain confidence and put it together on offense.