With Cal coming to town this weekend, we caught up with the guys from California Golden Blogs and asked them a few questions on their team. Below you'll find our questions, and their answers. Our answers to CGB's questions can be found on their site.
1) Is Jahvid Best the greatest running back to ever play at Cal? More specifically, will he replace Marshawn in that special place in your heart?
That's like asking if the Father is better than the Holy Ghost. And I really hope that my knowledge of Catholic mythology is sufficiently good for that to have made sense.
That said, even if he were to win the Heisman and ride off into the NFL as a National Championship winning back, there's no way he is ever overtaking Marshawn in my heart. Marshawn is Marshawn. He's Marshawn.
That ALSO said, Jahvid Best is big. Gabby Hayes big. He's getting hype that Marshawn never quite did. He's doing it with amazing highlights, the only real currency in college football.
What he needs to do to overtake Marshawn in the minds of the reasonable is to have huge days in the big games. That's always been the critique, not only of Cal, but specifically of Best. If he can lead Cal to victories over Oregon, USC, and/or UCLA, he could really make a name for himself.
2) How has the receiving corp looked this year? While Oregon's secondary is not top notch, it will easily be the best faced by Cal this year. How will your receiving corp (without Nyan Boateng) fare?
HydroTech: HAHAHAHAHA. "While Oregon's secondary is not top notch, it will easily be the best faced by Cal this year." HAHAHAHAHAHA.
TwistNHook: Ya, not doing a great job of respecting the Juju:
jtlight: Let me clarify. It will easily be the best faced by Cal SO FAR this year.
TwistNHook: Seriously, though, each year there is a lot of hype about the Oregon secondary. But each year it seems that they never quite live up to the potential of that hype. I think having a productive passing game is the key to success here. Everyone and their mom (Hi, Mama Ward!) is gonna be on the look out for Best.
If Riley can pass and force the D to be honest towards the pass game, then Best is gonna have a huge game. Losing Nyan Boateng to injury is unfortunate. He is a very talented receiver, no doubt about it. But right now Cal has a lot of good to great receivers, but no amazing ones. There are no DeSeans here (....yet). So, while it is unfortunate to lose Boateng, we do have a variety of other WRs who can step up. WRs like Verran Tucker, Marvin Jones, and Jeremy Ross. Also, let's not forget that Andy Ludwig, noted pinata of the Oregon fandom, likes to put Best and backup RB Vereen out wide. Best scored a TD on a 30 or 40 yard pass play and nearly had a 60+ pass completion in the first game. He can get ahead of all the defenders and then its just up to Riley to heave it to him.
3) On a scale of 1-10, how worried are you that Jeremiah Masoli turns into the quarterback of the end of last season?
10. But thats only because Im an old school "dumbass" Cal fan who has no faith or belief in the success of his team. A more reasonable fan might say that not only has Masoli looked really, really, really, really bad the past couple of games, but the O-Line hasn't done him any favors.
Cal's 3-4 D is designed to suffocate the running game. Notice how Cal is giving up 2.0 yards per rush. They have squelched the running games of all 3 opponents to date completely. Now, Oregon will be the greatest running game they potentially see all year. Their QB can run great and their new starters are great runners also. But Oregon's biggest offensive strength runs right into our greatest defensive strength. We saw last year the same thing. Cal was able to control the Oregon running game (not stop it, mind you, just reign it in) and force Masoli to beat us with his arm. He couldn't.
Will he this year? With a worse O-Line and no more Blount? Oregon does have home field advantage now and it won't be a lake out there, but a better question might be, on a scale of 1-10, how worried are you that Jeremiah Masoli remains the quarterback of the beginning of THIS season?
4) In the ATQ Cal preview, the biggest worry was the Cal D-line. How have they looked this year. Have they been as dominant as expected?
In a word, HELLYESTHEYHAVEZOMGIMNOTSURETHISISONEWORD,BUTOK. In more words, yes. But also, yes. They have 13 sacks already on the year. They were getting pressure against Minn QB Weber last week with 3 rushers at times. Tyson Alualu already has 2.5 sacks.
Plus, they have some great depth. Last year, Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan were great. But they can only play so much. They depth wasn't there last year. Now, we have back ups like Ernest Owusu, Trevor Guyton, and Jarred Price. These guys can come in to spell the Jordans and Alualus of the world.
We just teed off on the Maryland QB. Here is a montage.
5) What's up with your secondary? Against poor competition, it has been far from world beating, as was assumed. Has the over-hype, under-perform curse spread from up north?
I disagree with the main assumption here. For two reasons:
1. What does far from world beating mean? It's so vague as to have minimal value. For example, in the first two games, Cal completely squelched the run, forcing the opponents to pass. And pass and pass and pass. And they were able to complete some short passes over the middle, which is more the purview of the linebackers than say the secondary.
Combining the short pass success with the volume of passing, some of the numbers are inflated. But when push came to shove, Cal held strong. Cal, after all, only gave up 1 passing TD in the first two games. So, I disagree in that sense that it has been far from world beating.
2. Regarding the Minn game, Minn definitely had some passing success. They threw for 3 TDs. One of which was on an impressive trick play. Thrown by Eric Decker. The other two were caught by Eric Decker. Essentially, Eric Decker was killing us out there. And when I say "us" I mean, in specific, Darian Hagan. Hagan certainly did not have a great game, no doubt about that.
But instead of denigrating the Cal passing defense, maybe we should instead credit Eric Decker. He is a top notch player. Easily a NFL talent. Any secondary would have their hands full with him. But I guess that's just how you Oregon fans are. Always so negative. Trying to bring me down. Make me feel bad. Let me live my life in peace, woman! Sorry, sorry, force of habit there, sorry.
Anyway, ya, there have been some break downs in the last 3 games. But I credit them to a defensive game plan that said "we'll give you the short pass over the middle, good luck with all that" and the fact that Eric Decker is just a special player.