Every week Cal Football Blog will look at 5 most intriguing questions before Game Day.
1. Will Maynard have another efficient game?
Maynard is looking much like the quarterbacks at Cal the past five years – inconsistent. One week he has a terrible game and then the next week he has a good/great game. After reviewing the highlights to the game, Maynard looks like a much better passer rolling left. Most importantly, he has much more power and accuracy when his feet are moving and when he is able to throw with this entire body, which is obviously not a trait in pure pocket passers. This Saturday, Cal will face the 2nd best pass defense in the Pac-12, so if Maynard and the rest of the offense have the same kind of game against Oregon State as they did Washington State, Cal should be able to put up the same number of points.
2. How about that defense?
The only time the defense allowed a score was when they had to work with a short field. The young linebackers looked aggressive and athletic all game, as they were able to attack the quarterback on multiple occasions. The secondary did a pretty good job with their one-on-one assignments despite two incredible catches by WR Marquess Wilson. When Cal’s defense had to spread out to nickel, DJ Holt did a great job containing the middle when Washington State decided to run. Overall, Pendergast did a great job with the defensive schemes throughout the game against Washington State. Currently Cal has the #1 pass defense in the conference at 194.3 yards/game and only behind Stanford by 0.6 yards/game for Total Defense.
3. Will injuries at linebacker limit the defense?
Currently Wilkerson is day to day with a bone bruise in the knee and McCain is also day to day with a concussion. This means that linebackers Dan Camporeale, Ryan Davis, and Cecil Whiteside will have to step up to fill those spots if Wilkerson and/or McCain are not available against Oregon State. Wilkerson had done a great job getting to the quarterback in the past game while McCain continued to show promise. If the other outside linebackers do not show up this Saturday, QB Sean Mannion of Oregon State will have an easy time hitting WR James Rodgers all day.
4. Which Cal will show up this Saturday?
Who knows. The first few possessions this Saturday will show us which Cal will be there. As long as Maynard continues to not turn over the ball and to make smart decisions, the offense should be just fine. On the other side, as long as the defense can improve their rushing defense by winning their one-on-one matchups and not over-pursuing, Cal’s defense should only allow at most a couple scores. The game on Saturday will also be the last home game for the seniors, so look for the seniors to have a big game against Oregon State.
5. Can Cal finally defeat Oregon State at home in the Tedford era?
Tedford has never beaten Oregon State at home. However, this year he gets to play them at AT&T instead of Memorial Stadium. Will it make a difference?
Oregon State is already eliminated from bowl eligibility with their only wins coming against a struggling Arizona and a struggling Washington State. This will be Tedford’s best opportunity to finally defeat the Beavers at home.