Friday, September 28, 2007

Cal offense vs Oregon defense - Response

Addicted to Quack, a Oregon Duck's blog, is actually a very good blog and Dave does a good job of analyzing the Cal vs Oregon game. (Though he does call us arrogant. I guess that is why we are all fans of our own schools.) Let's take a look at Dave's analysis and add our take to it. (Part 1)

Cal offense vs Oregon defense
"We all know that Oregon has trouble stopping the run, and I expect a steady dose of Justin Forsett this game. However, Forsett has been a bit banged up himself this year, as has his offensive line. And his fullback, Will Ta'ufo'ou has a torn PCL. He probably will play, but a torn knee ligament has to limit your effectiveness. Try to limit the big plays in the run game, but I would attack the weakness of their offense, and that's the passing game."
I think most people will agree that Cal will get rushing yards in this game. I guess when you can't stop the run you gotta try to stop the pass. But to call the passing game the weakness of the Cal offense is absurd.
"While our offensive line doesn't do great against the run, they have a great pass rush. Longshore isn't the most mobile guy out there, so I would throw a variety of blitzes at him and try to get him to pass under pressure. Our defensive backs are the strength of the defense, and I like their chances against the Cal receivers, especially with DeSean Jackson not at 100%."
My response:

Yeah, I like the chances of Oregon's DB's on Cal's receivers. I hope the Ducks "attack" the passing game with blitzes and go one on one on the corners.
"Cal's depth behind Forsett at RB is limited, as Best and Montgomery have both seen very limited action (13 and 19 carries, respectively). And I don't think that Forsett can do a Mike Hart and run the ball 45 times. That means Cal is going to have to pass, and when they do, I'd try and make Longshore's life a living hell."
I agree that Forsett is not a 45 carry guy. But he can handle 25 carries a game and the depth is solid. Best has limited carries because everytime he touches the ball he takes it to the house. These freshmen need to learn how to kill the clock and not break off a long run everytime.

"Another thing that we have going for us is that the game is at Autzen. Despite the fact that many Cal fans want to downplay the home field advantage, they're only fooling themselves. Longshore has a history of not playing well in hostile venues. And Cal had 14 penalties last week. While most of those were on defense, we know Autzen is always good for a couple of false starts a game."
Definitely agree with this point. Autzen is a difficult place to play and Longshore has struggle on the road. (Although Cal did just start showing the Wildcat formation where Forsett is taking direct snaps, so even this might not be a problem. That is a joke.)
"Forsett will get a ton of yards, no doubt about that. But Cal hasn't yet faced a team that combines a good pass rush and really good secondary. As long as our secondary can keep Lavelle Hawkins from getting open over the middle, we should be able to limit their passing game and put a lot of pressure on their running game to keep up with our offense. Its Aliotti defense. We might bend with the running game, but our secondary should prevent us from breaking. Basically, see the Michigan game."
Dave's makes some good analysis overall and it is true that this is the only hope for the Duck's to slow down the Cal offense. But one of two scenarios is more likely.
- Either Oregon bulks up their weak run defense by stacking the box with safeties and leave their corners in man coverage alone. This will result in Nate and Co having a field day.
- Or, Oregon rolls their safeties over to help in the passing game and get hit by the big running plays. (Forsett and Best both over 100 yards with a couple TD's each)

(The next post is Part II, Oregon's Offense vs Cal's Defense)


jtlight said...

I don't think that Longshore and company will do that great when Oregon stacks the box. Oregon has one of the best secondaries in the nation, and though Cal is good, where Cal's problems in the passing game lie in the QB.

Longshore is below average in road games. Quite below average. Last year, on his road games, his passer ratings were 42 (TN), 133 (OSU), 46 (WSU), 45 (Arizona), and 46 (USC). This year, at CSU his rating was 78. For a reference, Longshore's career rating is 133. Longshore is, by all measures, a poor road QB. He has one good road game in 7 attempts.

Throw Autzen in on top of his poor road results, and I don't think that passing game will be all that.
If Cal can't get a really strong running game going, if I was a Cal fan, I would have very little confidence in Longshore on that road, at Autzen.

Pete Morris said...

I expect Nate to finally "arrive" on Saturday. This will be his national break-out game, much as Aaron Rodgers shocked everyone--Bear fans included--with his performance at the Coliseum in 2004. While obviously not good, let's keep in perspective that three of those four bad road games on Longshore's resume were against outstanding defenses. Against mediocre units like the Ducks' (see OSU, WSU last year, and CSU this year), he's actually looked pretty good. And against A&M in the Holiday Bowl, he was better than "pretty good". If any team has to worry about the consistency of its QB play going into Saturday, it's the Ducks.

Danny said...

I have posted on this blog about Nate's poor performance on the road so I agree with you, jtlight.
But I have no doubt that Cal will be able to run on the Ducks which will set up some nice play action passing situations for Nate to hit open receivers.
I don't think most Cal fans are expecting Longshore to win this game, just protect the ball and hit the open receivers. He has shown he can do that, for the most part.
The Oregon secondary is good and Patrick Chung is a stud. But no secondary can cover all 3 of Cal's WRs one on one.

jtlight said...

I agree that Longshore will be very dependent on the running game. If the running game does well, then play action will open up a lot.

However, I doubt that Longshore will "arrive." I think that's probably being overly optimistic, just as it's probably overly optimistic to Oregon fans to expect Dixon to play as perfectly as he has this season so far. Both quarterbacks are suspect, though in all honestly, I would rather have Dixon at home against the Bears secondary than Longshore on the road against Oregon's secondary. As I said in the first comment, I don't believe that Longshore can win this game on his own.

Danny said...

This is the crux of any arguement, discussion among fans.

Oregon fans think that Dixon has turned the corner and will play a solid game while Longshore implodes on the road and forces Cal into bad situations.

Cal fans think that Longshore will have a breakout type game esp with a solid rushing attack while Dixon will revert to old form, maybe not as bad as last year, but enough to prevent the Ducks from winning.

I guess we will see on the field who is "right".

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