Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keys to beating Oregon

Some keys to beating Oregon and why Cal will be able to do it, easily.

- Control the clock by running the ball
Cal has a fantastic trio of running backs led by Justin Forsett. Cal will definitely be able to run the ball against a porous Oregon run defense. Oregon let Houston RB Anthony Alridge run for 205 yards on 22 carries. The guy had almost 300 total yards. Expect more of the same from Cal's running backs with 2 of them breaking the 100 yard yard mark.

- Bend but don't break defense
It seems like most Cal fans hate the bend but don't break defense. But it works well against a spread offense like Oregon's. Keep the ball in front of you and make tackles. Oregon is all about big plays (just take a look at their play logs from previous games) and those need to be minimized.
Cal needs to make Dixon uncomfortable and force him to dink and dunk down the field. Eventually, Dixon will try to force something and that is when turnovers occur. Dixon throw his first two interception of the season against Cal.

- Kill the crowd with a big play
Autzen is a very tough place to play. Oregon fans understand how their voices can really affect the game. So, they need to be neutralized early.
Cal's offense can produce big plays that really deflate a crowd. Whether that is a DeSean Jackson punt return, a Lavelle Hawkins kick off return or an electrifying run by Jahvid Best, these plays can really take a crowd out of the game.

- Limit Jonathon Stewart to under 100 yards and force Dixon to win the game
Honestly, Dixon has yet to prove to me that he is a new player. He got off to a fast start last season and then nothing.
Cal needs to limit Stewart to short runs like they did in 2006. The Bear's run defense, contrary to what people may think, is actually solid. Now that Malele is back, the Bear's should be able to control the trenches. Tackling machines Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder will fill the gaps and stop the run game. Also, Cal has two of the best tackling safeties in the conference in Ezeff and Decoud.

To those that think I am too optimistic, I get it. Cal has yet to play a complete game, the defense gives up too many yards, and so on.
But, this is a great Cal team and rather than looking for reasons why Cal will not win the game, look for reason why Cal will win the game. It is refreshing. Go Bears!!!


TrumanHugh said...

Well said, Danny...a perfectly positive attitude that makes me wonder why we usually let the negativity take hold in the first place.

I have no doubt that Cal is the better team and can pull off what most think is impossible. We have the players, the coaches, the plays, the talent, the ability, the desire and, most important, the attitude to go up there and show the country why Cal is the sixth-ranked team in college football.

I read something today which said that the homefield advantage will be the deciding factor. To that, I say Rocky Top. Sure, we lost playing there, but we've been there and we know what to expect. I agree if we make a few big play early on, the crowd can be controlled.

Another thing I read said that the Ducks could fall into the "GameDay trap," which is allowing itself to get too caught up in the hoopla of a different kind of national spotlight. Whether or not there is any validity to such a phenomenon remains to be seen; I just like the way it sounds.

Oh yeah...I saw on College Football Live where they fired up their EA Sports simulation and played out the Cal/Oregon game. So far, EVERY winner in their simulations has won--including Cal in our season opener against Tennessee--and Cal won 42-35.

That's enough for me.

Go Bears!!

Anonymous said...

Full disclosure: I'm a Duck fan.
I would say that another key for the Bears would be starting with the ball in the 2nd half. Oregon fans are notorious for leaving during halftime and not getting back into the stadium until halfway through the third quarter. If Oregon starts out fast, if Cal gets the ball to start the second half, things could change fast. I thought your keys to a Cal win were right on. Should be a good game.

Anonymous said...

danny... any news on which bars will be showing the cal game in nyc?

looks like we're getting rutgers take one some turtles.

Anonymous said...

FYI guys,

the Arizona@Cal torrent has just been posted:

Danny said...

Cal Alumni party is at MJ Armstrong on 1st ave and 19th.

Standings is also a pro Cal bar that is showing the game. (7th st btw 2nd and 3rd ave)

Pacific Standard in Brooklyn should also be showing the game.

Danny said...

I missed the EA sim, but will try to catch that.
I think the game will be competitive but Cal pulls away in the 2nd half.
To the Duck fan, thanks for stopping by. I did not realize you could leave the stadium at halftime and come back in. That is a pretty cool policy. So you can tailgate at halftime.