Friday, November 10, 2006

Cal vs Arizona Preview

With a big game against USC next week, it will be hard for the Bears not to be looking past Arizona. Also, with Arizona coming off a big win against a ranked Washington St. team, some Cal fans might be worried about the dreaded "trap game". Let's try to put those fears aside.

When Cal has the ball...
The Bear's offense started to click again in the victory over UCLA last week. Longshore appears to be back on track after a couple sub par weeks. Arizona has a very talent DB in Antoine Cason. Expect him and DeSean Jackson to battle it out most of the game. Still, Longshore should be able to find open receivers against a young Arizona secondary. Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins are playing well so expect two Cal receivers to go over the 100 yard receiving mark.
Marshawn Lynch has really kicked things into another gear for the second half of the season. He should rush for over 100 yards against a solid Arizona defense. There is too much balance in the Cal offense for Arizona to load up against one aspect of it.
The offensive line should be able to keep pressure off Longshore as the Arizona defense is not known for sacks. Also, they should be able to push Arizona defensive linemen off the ball and open up some nice holes for Lynch and Forsett.

When Arizona has the ball...
Arizona has a very mobile QB in Willie Tuitama. He is fast and elusive and can also pass the ball with accuracy. It will be important for Cal's defensive line keep Tuitama in the pocket by staying in their rushing lanes. Cal has some very athletic linebackers who can help keep Tuitama from running away with the game.
Since Arizona switched offensive coordinators, they have moved to a power I running offense. This led to the emergence of Chris Henry at running back. Henry is a tough runner that will try to wear down the defense. But, because the Bear have a very deep front seven, they will be able to remain strong later in the game.
Arizona is second to last in the Pac 10 in passing yards above Stanford. With Daymeion Hughes and Syd Thompson manning the corners, the Bears could drop Arizona below Stanford in passing yards. After giving up significant yardage to UCLA, Bob Gregory (Cal defensive coordinator) has probably made some adjustments to plug leaks.

Other Factors...
- Jeff Tedford owns Mike Stoops. He is 3-0 against Arizona while shutting them out the last two games.
- Arizona has punted 55 times this season (second most in the Pac 10). When you are playing against DeSean Jackson, this can not be a good stat.
- Chris Henry originally orally commited to Berkeley, but signed with Arizona after they promised to give him a shot carrying the ball. He should be extra motivated to run well against the Bears. (See: Steve Slaton, WVU vs Maryland).

Final Thoughts
The Bears should easily win this game. This is a revitalized Arizona team that is looking for an upset against a possibly distracted Cal team. But, Tedford will not let his players look past Arizona, so expect the Bears to be focused and win in a rout.

Final Score: 42-17

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