Week 5 of the college football season opened up conference play and certain things were exposed in the Pac-12. Colorado had to take a step back from being the “surprise” team in the Pac, Arizona found out they have a long way to go to the top of the South, USC finally admitted they needed a new head coach NOW and Washington State had to come back to Earth and see there’s a lot of work to be done, still.
Week 6 for Washington State is a defining week. They travel to Berkeley to take on the California Golden Bears. Wazzu and Cal have an interesting history, Cal holds a 44-25-5 record over all in the series but something the Cougars have to overcome is losing 8 straight years to this school. Last year the Cougars lost to the bears in Pullman 31-17.
You might be asking yourself, if the Cougars lost so badly last year how can they hope to win this year? A few points even out this game as a completely different match up then it was last year. The guys who made most of the big plays for cal last year have moved on.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen single handedly destroyed WSU’s defensive backfield last year has moved on to the NFL. How big of a deal is that? Last year Allen tallied 11 Catches for 166 yards against the Cougs, including a 69 yard reception for a TD.
Next up, running back C.J. Anderson is gone. Anderson carried the ball 15 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Last impact player from last year that has moved on, Quarterback Zach Maynard. Maynard went 14-23 for 189 yards and a TD then he ran for a career high of 79 yards and 1 TD.
The only player left on Cal’s roster who accounted for any points against the Cougars last year is Kickers Vincenzo D’Amato who hit a 52 yard field goal. So yeah, I’d say the playing field has leveled. The other point I’d like to make is while the Bears appear to have taken a step back, the Cougs look to have taken a huge step forward this year.
So what does Cal bring?:
Freshman QB Jared Goff has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears. Goff is having a great premier year so far going 106-175 for 1,317 yards and 7 TD’s. Jared Goff has proven himself a leader and even though he got pulled last week against Oregon I think he will step up in a big way for Cal.
Cal also has a decent running game behind Brendan Bigelow, although the numbers don’t really reflect well for Brendan he is still a huge threat in the backfield. Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs are the two WR’s leading Cal right now in receiving, what a tough duo to defend.
So what are the Cougar Trends this Week?
Back to Defense. The most important thing for the Cougars this week is not letting Cal post huge numbers with their explosive offense. Last week the defense played it’s worse game by far. I will give them a little slack however considering the giants they faced. No matter, this week they must get back to being the tough defense they had come to be known as.
I know things are tight between Daquawn Brown and Nolan Washington for a starting job, but in my opinion Daquawn needs to start or at least take most of the snaps. I feel he does a much better job in man to man coverage and is quicker than Nolan, that will help because he will be matched up most the game with Bryce Treggs who is a very quick and elusive wideout for Cal.
Also we need to get some pride back in the front 7. Last week we were humiliated by Stanford’s overpowering line and we in turn got absolutely no pressure on the QB. This week we have to get pressure on Jared Goff. Our blitz and pressure packages were laughable to a dominant Stanford blocking game, that has to change this week to force a young quarterback (who has only thrown 4 ints in 175 attempts) into mistakes.
Second is on offense, the exact opposite. We have to protect Connor back there and give him time to throw like we did the last 2 weeks leading up to Stanford. I think we will be more successful this week as we aren’t facing the same monster in the pass rush.
Last all we have to do is catch the ball. I promise you Cal’s secondary isn’t close to Stanford’s and Kristoff Williams, Dom Williams and Gabe Marks will be open early and often. We just have to be sure-handed and take care of business and we will win this one, most likely close.
I’ll be at the new Memorial Stadium this week taking in the new stadium and I’ll be comparing it to what’s happening at Martin since I was there just two weeks ago, really looking forward to this one. Go Cougs!