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Jason A.W.’s Pac 10 Non-Conference Schedule Analysis


Casey Strips Cam

Oregon plays Auburn in the last game for the Pac-10 in during BCS Era

Before embarking on a new era of Pac-12 football, let us take some time and reflect on the Pac-10 non-conference record during the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era (1998-2010). In a three part series, I will first go over the numbers and facts from the Pac-10′s performance in non-conference play from a high level point of view. I will  secondly go over the top 5 toughest losses and then lastly go over the top 5 most important victories for the Pac-10 during the BCS era. Thanks to some help from the writers at http://www.thenationalchampionshipissue.blogspot.com, I have replicated the Pac-10 non-conference schedule during those 13 years below. Apologies for the edit as the original chart did not include the 2010 bowl games in which the Pac-10 went 2-2. Full results for all conference can be found here .

Pac-10 non-conference results during the BCS era (1998-2010)

Notes and Analysis:

- The Pac-10 and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) were the only conferences with winning records against other BCS conferences and Notre Dame.

- The SEC has a winning record against every other conference except the Pac-10 and the Big East believe it or not. However a lot of those wins took place early in the decade when Miami (FL.) and Virginia Tech were still in the Big East.

- While the Pac-10 does own a winning record against the SEC, USC owns four of those wins (4-0). In addition, the last four SEC wins were against Tennessee.

- The Pac-10 accumulated a better than .500 winning percentage against BCS teams while playing more than half of those games as away games (118 vs. 112 home+neutral site).

- Future Pac-12 member Colorado was 4-9 against the Pac-10 members when they represented the Big-12 while Utah was 10-8 against the Pac-10 while in the Mountain West.

- The Pac-10 was 10-5 (.666) winning percentage in BCS bowl games. Even without USC (6-1), the Pac-10 is still .500 (4-4)  in the BCS bowl games. Every other conference aside from the SEC is under .500 in BCS bowl games.

Next up: Five Most Devastating Losses in the Pac-10 Era. 


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Shawn X.T.’s Take on the Current State of Cal Football: Offense Part 2


Isi Sofele Running past a Defender

Part 2 of my take on the Current State of Cal Football:

Tailback:

Our most reliable position on offense, thanks to running back coach Ron Gould. Without the production from these guys, our offense would have gotten rocked even more than we already did last season. Now, Shane Vereen has left for the NFL (drafted by the New England Patriots), and Tedford has named Isi Sofele as our next starting running back. Isi will have to fill in some big shoes as he will be carrying a huge load next season. He may only be 5’7″ and around 190 pounds, but he has shown that he has great acceleration and footwork. The only problem he may have next season is taking lots of hits and trying to run past tackles like both Shane and Jahvid did the past few seasons. However, I still think Isi will become our next 1,000 yard rusher and someone we can count on. The backup to Isi still remains a mystery as there will be a number of contenders for this spot, which include Covaughn-DeBoskie Johnson, Dasarte Yarnway, Mike Manuel, and incoming freshman Brendon Bigelow. The backup running back is a very crucial position in our offense because our backups tend to get a lot of touches and in some games are given the ball more times than the starter. Isi can’t take as many hits as Vereen could, so our backup running back will most likely get more chances to carry the ball then our backups in the past have. Covaughn has the most playing time at of all the backups, but currently does not have the athleticism to prove that he can be our backup running back. Dasarte Yarnway, who just came back from injury, has an amazing physical build, but hasn’t had enough reps during practice, due to injury, to prove himself to the coaches and he has a tendency to hold the ball loosely. Mike Manuel had a great spring practice because of his ability to find the hole and hit it with good acceleration, and he is my dark horse to win the backup spot. There has been a lot of talk about incoming freshman Brendon Bigelow even though he has yet to take single rep in a Cal practice jersey. Bigelow does show great ability in his highlight film but tends to get injured. Whoever, our next backup will be, Coach Ron Gould will make sure that he will produce come Game Day.

At the fullback position, we have two reliable players in Eric Stevens and Will Kapp. Currently, Tyndall is the backup to Stevens, but I think Kapp will take back that role after August. Eric Stevens will most likely start our first game just because he took much more reps during spring compared to Kapp who was out due to injury. Both players have had relatives play at Cal and in the NFL, Eric Stevens is the younger brother to Tennessee Titans and former Cal tightend Craig Stevens while Will Kapp is son of the famous Joe Kapp, former QB and head coach at Cal and also QB for the Minnesota Vikings. Even if these guys go down, John Tyndall has shown that he can be a reliable fullback.

Wide Receiver:

We have so much potential in position, but there were too many missed opportunities last season. Marvin Jones will be back for his final season at Cal across from Keenan Allen. At their best, these two players are amazing, but they were just never as good as we hoped for. We saw a lot of potential from Keenan Allen in the first couple games of last season, but they weren’t real competition. Maybe it was because we didn’t have a good quarterback or maybe it was because former wide receiver coach Kevin Daft wasn’t that good, but there is no excuses for Jones and Allen this upcoming season. As long as these two can stay healthy, they have the potential of catching 20 touchdowns combined next season. Both Jones and Allen have told reporters that they have all their trust in Maynard and that they believe that Maynard can get them the ball. Let’s hope that this is true because we haven’t seen a great and reliable core of wide receivers since DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins, and Robert Jordan. The backups to both Jones and Allen are currently Michael Calvin and Coleman Edmond. Calvin proved his athletic ability this past spring and I believe he will continue to be the third wide receiver for Cal going into this fall. However, we didn’t see much from Coleman Edmond during spring because of his injury. I think after summer camp, Kaelin Clay will step up to be the fourth wide receiver because he has really good awareness and great speed (supposedly the fastest player on the team), but he is 4 to 5 inches shorter than Calvin and Edmond. I expect to see a lot of production out of this group this coming season, and I expect Keenan Allen to get a lot of looks from his half-brother, Zach Maynard.

Tight End:

Anthony Miller will be back this season to start at tight end. *On a side note* I drank with Miller’s parents at a USC tailgate one time, I don’t remember much because I was so drunk but I think they were really nice haha. Anyways, I really think we didn’t use the tight end to the fullest last season. Early on in the season, Miller and Ladner had trouble blocking rushers and protecting the QB. However, they have shown to have good hands and can make plays. Coach Jeff Genyk, who in my opinion is much more energetic and exciting, comes back for his second season with this group and hopefully he can shape these group up so that they can provide protection and also an extra option for Maynard come September. We like to use two tight ends at a time a lot during the game, so both Miller and Ladner will see a lot of time. Behind them are Jarret Sparks, Spencer Hagan, and Jacob Wark. Ladner tends to get easily injured, so expect Sparks, Hagan, and Wark fight for that spot behind Miller. Spencer Hagan is a wide receiver turned tight end who turned heads this past spring practice with great catches, but his build is not big enough to withstand pass rushers in the Pac-12.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of Jarret Sparks during spring practice so we don’t know if he will be up to the standards of what we expect from our tight ends. There is a lot of potential in Jacob Wark, and if he stays healthy next season he might end up becoming the backup tight end behind Miller at season’s end.

 

Offensive Line:

In my opinion, the offensive line is the most important role in football. Without them there is no passing or rushing whatsoever, and that is probably why our offensive could not do anything last season. Our pockets were collapsing in less than three seconds, our quarterback was getting sacked way too many times, and our guys just couldn’t set up blocks for Shane Vereen. However, with our new (and former) offensive line coach Jim Michalczik back in action I think we will be much better than the last two seasons.

*Just a reminder, these positions could be switched LT to RT and LG to RG due to the fact that Maynard is Left Handed*

At Left Tackle, we have our reliable Mitchell Schwartz going into his senior season. He will need to keep healthy throughout the entire season to maintain his leadership over this group. He does very well during run plays, but has struggled with pass rushers that come off that edge. He is currently on the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch list,  is on the third-team preseason All-American of GoDaddy.com, and also on the Outland Trophy Watch List. Behind Mitchell Schwartz will most likely be Bill Tyndall who helped his case during spring ball when Schwartz was out due to injury.

Brian Schwenke will start at Left Guard this coming season. Lets hope that with a couple seasons under his belt and also starting last season, he has a better understanding of his role and the schemes that we run. He can bench press like crazy in the gym, so lets hope that he can place that strength into his game. Currently, redshirt freshman Alex Crosthwaite is the backup at this position, who was ranked as the 11th-best guard prospect by Scout.com.

The short but absolutely bulldozing ball of meat, Dominic Galas, will start at Center. He showed that he can take down any lineman last season but he tends to lack a sense of self-control of his energy and toughness that causes him to lose his awareness of the game. Lets hope that he can control his strengths this coming season. Mark Brazinski (who wears a polo and cargo shorts every single day at Berkeley) will back up Galas at center, even though he struggled a bit near the end of spring ball.

Veteran Justin Cheadle will start at Right Guard again this season. He has shown some improvement but needs to increase his strength and agility against bull rushing attacks. He will be backed up by 339 pound Geoff Gibson. Gibson is huge and needs to lose a few pounds to increase his agility but still maintain his physical strength.

Matt Summers-Gavin (MSG) will take on the position of Right Tackle. He had way too many injuries or concussions last season and he had a lot of trouble with pass rushers as a tackle. He was really dominant as a freshman at left guard (earning him All-Freshman Pac-10 honors); however, our lack of depth has forced us to place him at tackle. We will need Coach M to fix up MSG in time for next season. Tyler Rigsbee will play backup to MSG. Rigsbee received a lot of reps during spring and proved to the coaches that he can play. He just needs to be consistent and understand his position better.


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Shawn X.T.’s Take on the Current State of Cal Football: Offense Part 1


Keenan Allen as he tries to avoid a a tackle

Overview:

2010 just plain sucked. Blame it on Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig, Kevin Riley, Brock Mansion, our offensive line, or whomever, but really the blame has to be on Coach Tedford. This is his offense and Tedford is supposed to be this offensive genius. Our offensive was pretty much non existent last season even with Shane Vereen and Keenan Allen. Three years ago when Riley and Nate Longshore was going at it for the starting spot, most of the fans were rooting for Riley and hoping that he could be our savior, but boy were we wrong. Riley has been so inconsistent his entire career at Cal. His own fans were booing him during games and some idiot Cal students were yelling for Brock Mansion to start. Little did people know that, both Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney were just plain bad (made me miss Riley last season). However, there is reason for hope this upcoming season. Tedford has brought back both the WR coach Eric Kiesau and OL coach Jim Michalczik, brought in a new QB coach Marcus Arroyo, and most importantly Tedford has taken back the reigns as the offensive coordinator and has become very involved with the QBs.

Zach Maynard, half-brother of Keenan Allen, will take over as the new starting QB for the 2011 season. Let’s hope that his running skills brings a new and greater dimension to our offense and that he can connect with Keenan Allen like he did in high school. Isi Sofele comes in as our new starting RB hoping to continue the tradition of becoming a 1,000 yard rusher. Many people are already doubting him, but give him a chance and he will surprise you. Most sports analyst have a very bleak view of our new offense, ranking us near the bottom of the Pac-12. There will be a lot of new faces, but with a veteran offensive line and Tedford back in control of the offense, you never know what can happen.

Quarterback:

My head is still shaking from the disastrous season both Riley and Mansion had last season, but I am going to move on and hoping to God that Zach Maynard will deliver us to the Holy Land that we call the Rose Bowl. With Ludwig gone, Coach Marcus Arroyo is the new QB coach with a lot of help from Tedford. Lets hope that Tedford hasn’t produced a great quarterback since Aaron Rodgers, but that may change because of his renewed involvement with this position. During spring practice, Zach Maynard has shown much speed and ability to think and throw on the run, which something the last few QBs lacked. Maynard brings a new dimension with his ability to run, but his stats at Buffalo shows that he does have a tendency to throw a lot of interceptions. For the 18 touchdowns he threw last season, he also threw 15 interceptions. That is absolutely unacceptable in this level of football. It will be all about discipline and getting that ball out of his hands this upcoming season. Allen Bridgeford is the most likely candidate to be the backup (he showed that he has a great arm during spring practice), even though Tedford has yet to name whether it will be Mansion or Bridgeford. Let’s hope Tedford can bring back his magic.

Other positions will be reviewed tomorrow because I am tired and sleepy…


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Shawn X.T.’s Weekday Links!


Take a Break, get lunch, and read up on some Cal Football!
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