Friday, September 28, 2007

Oregon's offense vs Cal's defense

Continuation from previous post. We are taking the Cal vs Oregon preview by Addicted to Quack, a Oregon Duck's blog and responding to Dave's analysis.

Oregon's Offense vs. Cal's Defense

"We all know what Cal's gameplan was last year. Stack the box, shut down the running game, and force Dixon to beat you. And we all know what the result was. Many Cal fans seem to think that the same thing will happen with the same result. There is a lot of reason to believe that won't happen. We all know that Dixon and Stewart are better and Stewart is much healthier. Plus, the dynamics of shutting down our running game are different than they were a year ago."

The Stewart is much healthier statement confuses me. The week before last year's game against Cal, Stewart rushed for 142 yards on 14 carries. The week after last year's game, he rushed for 121 yards on 20 carries. Was the injury only for the Cal game?

Seriously, Stewart is a fantastic running back. He leads the conference in rushing and the key to stopping the Duck's offense is to stop Stewart. Easier said than done but it is possible. Focus on stopping Stewart and force Dixon to beat the defense. If he can do that, than Oregon deserves to win the game.

But Cal's personnel has as much to do with it as anything. They lost three all-conference players from last year--Hughes, Mebane, and Bishop. They lost seven starters overall, so there really is a lot of newer players on this defesnse. Only Matthew Malele returns on the line (he will play this week), and Rulon Davis won't play. And while Cal has great linebackers, their depth is severely limited due to the fact that their best defensive player, Zack Follett, probably won't play. At the pace Oregon plays, the lack of depth on the line and at linebacker are one of the biggest advantages that Oregon has over the California defense.

One thing I do like about Dave is that he knows his stuff. He looks at injury reports and really looks at how that can affect a team. At times this year, Cal's defense has been better than last year's. Even with the big names, last year's defense was not dominating. This year, the squad seems to be playing better together. The injuries worry me but I think Cal can step it up.

In the secondary, Mike Decoud is a very good safety. But Brandon Hampton should not be able to hang with our receivers, and Syd'Quan Thompson is prone to giving up the big play. Cal's secondary gives up a lot of yards, and opponents complete 66% against the Bears. A lot of it is nickel and dime stuff as Cal has the same "bend but don't break mentality." The biggest difference is that our pace will really exploit the injuries in their defense, and cause them to tire. They also have to worry about Dixon's legs as well as his feet. Oregon's offense should get stronger as the game goes on and the Cal defense tires.

The secondary is inexperienced but they keep everything in front of them so big plays are rare. But this Oregon offense is explosive and will severely challenge a new Cal defense with some injury problems.

There is a section on Special Teams but it is laughable.
[Update: Addicted to Quack gives this as partial reasoning for Oregon's advantage in special teams.
"Cal ranks 98th in the nation in covering kickoff returns. Oregon ranks eighth in the country in kickoff returns. This means that the Ducks should be able to start their drives in excellent field position."
He fails to mention that Oregon ranks 96th in covering kicks while Cal ranks 11th in kickoff returns. I guess you can call that an advantage however minor it might be.]

Before last year's game, Addicted To Quack had this post: Oregon's Offense: Simply Amazing

The best part, in reference to Jeremiah Johnson and Jonathan Stewart:
"Has ever a team had not one, but two running backs who have been this dominant? Auburn had Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown a few years back, but their number weren't this insane. And they are only sophomores? Let me wipe the drool from my mouth."
Yes, last year has no bearing on this year. But I think you see why Cal fans are less inclined to be swayed by your pre game "analysis".


Ryan said...

My biggest concern with the Cal defense is our pass rush. This is especially true with Follett out as our best blitzing LB. Also, I think opposing teams and refs are getting wise to Worell Williams' guessing game blitz up the middle, which could lead to some free plays for Oregon's offense.

I think Derrick Hill is going to become a big time player and with Malele still ailing this could be his breakout game.

Can't wait for tomorrow. I live in NYC and there's 90+ alumns locking it down at a bar here.

Go Bears!

Danny said...

I agree with your assessment of Derek Hill and I would have to add that Tyson Alualu is a beast already. Expect him to get to Dixon a couple times.

I will see you at MJ Armstrong tomorrow. Go Bears.

lilbambina said...

im so mad i have to work this saturday but i really wanted to catch this game! there's a duck that's been talking smack and i really want to watch this game so that i can see us kick their asses!

Billy said...

Wait..."Mike" Decoud? Is that some kind of a new nickname for Decoud, or is AtQ really that misinformed about the Pac-10 Defensive Player of last week?

jtlight said...

If Cal doesn't get Oregon off the field early, it's gonna be a long day for the Cal D, just because of the pace Oregon plays at. Go watch the pace in any of the games. With the injuries Cal has, I will be surprised if they can keep up, especially because of how well Oregon rotates its players and defenses don't get a chance to do that.

Pete Morris said...

Zack Follett is great, and he will be missed on Saturday. But make no mistake: "Mike" DeCoud is the best player on Cal's defense. While many eyes will be on Cal's #1 (on both sides of the ball), it will be the Bears' #4 (on both sides of the ball) that carries them to victory.

Anonymous said...

You want to criticize Dave's analysis? Why don't you make your own analyzation? At least Dave respects the other team and tries to make as unbiased an opinion as possible. (We can agree that everyone is overly optimistic about their own team's chances) All you do is talk up your team and talk down the opponent without respect Well you had better respect the Ducks. Yeah this is the same situation as last year--but that's the point. Oregon has already experienced that, and is focusing on this year to not let that slide happen again. You fail to realize that. I've been to Autzen & Memorial Stadium as a SoCal fan and Autzen is way more difficult to play. And let me tell you from the stanpoint of someone who hates Oregon and Cal the same, I am way more scared of Oregon than Cal so far. Now that could change, but do me a favor--look at this game as a nail-biter, down-to-the-wire classic, not the blowout so seem to think its going to be, based on last year.

Go Troy!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous Troy Fan--


That's about as bad as "Mike Decoud." It's one thing to get the first name COMPLETELY wrong, but then they can't even get the last name capitalzation down??

I think you were trying to slam him by suggesting he "make [his] own" ANALYSIS. Say it with me: Analysis.

Danny said...

The point was not to criticize Dave's analysis which I stated was solid and good many time in the entry. The post was more humorous blog to blog, fan base to fan base ribbing with analysis mixed in.
The only talking down I do is in regards to Dixon. And it is really no less respect than Duck fans have shown Longshore.
Also, I don't know why I have to genuflect to opposing teams when we are the higher ranked team.
I read my fair share of SC blogs and I can't remember the last time USC bloggers picked SC to lose.
In the end, this is a blog and not a news site. There is going to be homerish comments and posts that hopefully Cal fans enjoy.

Pete Morris said...

According to my "analyzation", nobody here has predicted a Cal blowout on Saturday. Some of us, myself included, have boldly predicted a Cal win, in the expected homerish way. But I, for one, have the utmost respect for the Ducks and expect a much closer game than last year. Look: I'm now working on my third decade as a Cal alum, and I can count the number of Bears wins in Eugene on one hand, so I'm not exactly taking a 5-0 record for granted.

billy said...

Analyzation...Wow. Awesome.

tdawg said...

Good luck today Cal, best of luck the rest of the season.

And no matter what was said all week, Cal still has the respect of Oregon fans.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to end up having a heart attack with games like that - but I'll take it.


The Pac-10 doesn't play defense?

WVU lost, OK lost. We are #4. Depending on how Florida does tonight, maybe #3.


Anonymous said...


Hey everyone... I propose we don't post on the Oregon blogs with gloating comments, trash talk etc... We don't need any of that... they played hard and kept themselves in the game... they deserve our respect for hanging in there and actually scaring the #6 team in the nation... we won, but I was actually impressed by the "new" dixon... he really has changed.

tdawg said...

Great game.

Beat SC and get that Rose Bowl berth Cal deserves. Maybe sending Oregon to the Holiday Bowl?

Great game.

my-cal said...

Wow, now Florida went down.
What a crazy friggin day!
This is why I love College Football.

Anonymous said...

hey everyone... go to ESPNU's website and vote for CalvsORE as the "Game of the Week"... the GOW is re-played nationally on monday night 8pm (primetime!)

Everyone on the east coast got the Reuters game and not Cal this Sat.

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