Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Time for Change?

Should Kevin Craft get the hook next week? Will Chris Forcier be any better? After a dismal performance tonight against the Bears, including 4 picks and 12 points for the Cal defense, it is hard to imagine Forcier being any worse. Giving C-Force a few more snaps might not be such a bad idea.

I've been a Craft supporter this season. He's been madeningly inconsistant, but at times he puts together some amazing drives. But I think his luck (and my patience) are starting to run out. That's right... luck. He was lucky that he didn't have 4 picks and a blow-out loss against Oregon. Even against Stanford it was feast or famine for Kevin. His tendency to throw interceptions is really hurting this team and this week was another example of that.

I think getting Forcier into the mix is a good idea. He might not be the best QB... he might even be worse than Craft. But we're losing games with Kevin behind center. Trying to dig out of early deficiets and putting our defense in bad field position is killing this team. If Forcier can at least manage the game and use his feet to keep drives alive... then that would be a big improvement. I say we give Chris a few extra snaps during the bye week and get him ready to play against the Beavers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week 7

1. USC. Sanchez and the offense struggled in the second half against ASU. He doesn't look like he is 100% since getting injured against Oregon. The defense is scary good, however. This team isn't unbeatable and I think they could lose one more before the season is over. Maybe in two weeks against Arizona? Up next, a freebe against WSU.

2. Oregon State. The Beavers were the latest squad to put up 60+ points on the Cougs. The offense looks really good and Moevao, Rodgers and Stroughter are a tripple threat. This team is clicking right now and their momentum should continue in Seattle next week.

3. Arizona. Well, the Sun Devils proved once again that they're a Mike Stoops coached team. With everything going well for them this season they lose one to the Cardinal. I think Stanford is a pretty good team this year, so I can't drop Arizona too far. But two fourth quarter drives that end in field goals deep in enemy territory isn't going to get it done. Neither is giving up a long drive on the ground to a 3rd string QB. They host the Bears next week in a game that should help shake out the middle of the conference.

4. Oregon. Not a particularly impressive win against the Bruins... a team that the Ducks should have put away early. Their passing game is not very good with Masoli at the helm. This team runs the risk of being completely one dimensional as quick, athletic defenses can sell out on the run. A bye week should help with all the injuries and maybe get Roper back in the saddle.

5. California. The Bear hibernated this past week, but they're back in action against the Wild Cats. If they can win that game in the Arizona desert then I'll become a believer. Until then, I'm not drinking the Kal-aid.

6. Stanford. Nice win over Arizona. Harbaugh has this team focused each week and playing very solid football. Pritchard going down in the game is problematic for this team. Jason Forcier looked horrible. Loukas is untested but his scrambling ability was the difference yesterday. We'll see what they can do on the road against the Bruins... and if they can get healthy in time. The ground game is very potent and the defense ain't half bad.

7. UCLA. Somethings looked good against the Ducks (Offense second half) and others looked very poor (missed tackles and offense in the first half). The Bruins might be maxing out on potential at this point but if they can find consistancy they could win a few along the way.

8. Arizona State. Carpenter is a warrior... a warrior who has been beaten to a pulp behind a suspect offensive line. This team is on a four game skid and that has to be messing with their confidence. A tough pair of contests against the Oregon schools won't make getting a win any easier. The defense has been solid and 3 picks against USC helped save a rout.

9. Washington. They move up simply by not playing. Can they take the rest of the season off? No? Well, at least they have a new coach... no? They still have Willingham? Why?!? The Beavers are coming to town next. Should be an 0-6 start. Weeeee.

10. Washington State. The defense has given up an average of 55 points per conference game. Now their looking to start the 4th string quarterback against the Trojans. That average could start heading north of 60. Would Wulff's pld 1-AA Eastern Washington squad beat his new Cougars? Me thinks the answer is yes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I think the final score was a bit misleading. UCLA could have and should have tallied up about 5-6 more interceptions in that game. Craft definitely took a step back tonight after putting up two solid efforts against WSU and FSU.

Overall though, I was pretty happy with the defensive play. Two big plays at the end of each half were back breakers. But for 58 minutes in the middle they played fairly well. Good enough for this team to get a win, that's for sure. The big knock was the poor tackling.

The onside kick call was gutsy and, I have to admit, not a good one. A big risk on a play that has a very small chance to succeed. With the momentum going UCLA's way and the defense playing tough, why take that risk? Not a good call, not at all. Neuheisel messed up on that one.

At the end of the day it was too many bad decisions and too many untimely penalties. That offense needs to figure things out. The inconsistency is killing us.

Let's just hope Austin is OK and gets back to the team very soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Which Craft

The improvement of Kevin Craft is undeniable. In the first three games he was pretty bad, behind a bad offensive line. But as the line improved, Craft's numbers have gone from bad to pretty darn good. Here is his NCAA calculated QB ratings:

Tenneesee: 97.8
BYU: 103.4
Arizona: 70.3
Fresno: 134.5
WSU: 134.7

So the question is which Craft will show up in Eugene? Will it be the Kevin Craft from the begining of the season who threw 5 interceptions or the Kevin Craft who has thrown 4 straight touchdowns in two games. The Bruins are going to need another great performance this Saturday and continued improvement from Craft as the season progresses.

PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week 6

1. USC. The Trojans looked like a top-10 team this last week. They absolutely demolished the Ducks and Sanchez was having a field day with their secondary. The only question is will the Trojans loose their focus again? They might in a few weeks when they head to Tuscon.

2. Arizona. They haven't played anyone of note yet, and this week is no exception when they drive up to the Farm. But the Wildcats keep winning and keep putting up big numbers on offense and on defense. They also play some of the better teams in the conference at home. Sure they had that embarrassing loss to New Mexico State. But who in the conference doesn't have an embarrassing loss?

3. Oregon State. The Beavers were 90 seconds away from upsetting another undefeated top-25 team this last week. Mountain West be damned... Uath is a tough opponent and very difficult to beat in Salt Lake City. The OSU offense looked good, but the defense needs to play much stouter.

4. Oregon. Losing to the Trojans on the road is nothing to be ashamed off. But giving up 41 consecutive points and almost 450 passing yards is embarrassing; especially considering that the defense was supposed to be a strength this year. They should rebound this week against the Bruins.

5. California. Beat the Sun Devils, but struggled to move the ball at times in the second half. I'm still not convinced that this team is as good as their record. Having two capable QBs is one big positive for them however. Longshore looked steady at the helm. They have a week off to prepare for Arizona.

6. Stanford. Almost came back against the Irish last week in south bend. They're still a scrappy team that can knock off almost anyone in the conference on any given day. QB play is still inconsistent and the defense got burned by Clausen more than a few times.

7. Arizona State. I thought the Sun Devils would have bounced back this week, but too many mistakes on offense hurt them. The offensive line has to buy Carpenter more time and he has to make better decisions when throwing. They won't catch any breaks at the Coliseum this week... especially with Rudy hurt and likely out for the game.

8. UCLA. A good looking win against Washington State... but let's face it, the Cougs are the free square on the PAC-10 bingo board. Have a lot to prove before they can move up a few slots. A huge test against Oregon awaits.

9. Washington State. Stemmed the bleeding a bit against the Bruins... only losing by 25 points instead of 50+. Stacking against the run helped improve the effectiveness of the defense on the ground. Unfortunately, the secondary was just as bad.

10. Washington. The Locker-less Huskies absolutely ate it on the road against the Wildcats last week. Which team in Washington will win it's first game against a D1-A opponent... the Huskies or the Cougs? It might be the winner of this year's Crapple Cup.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Contributing Early

Before the season began, I put together a blog entry on how the current freshman (both red-shirts and true) would be major contributers this season. Here are some of the details, pulled from the NCAA statistics website, on how the young guys are contributing so far.

Derrick Coleman leads the team in rushing with 110 yards on 17 carries. An interesting fact is that Coleman has no carries for loss. His straight ahead, power running style is one of the reasons he's been seeing a lot of minutes. Raymond Carter has 21 yards on 17 carries and 1 TD. Aundre Dean had one carry before tweaking his ankle, but he should get back into the lineup soon.

Taylor Embree is the 3rd leading receiver on the team with 10 catches for 131 yards. Tight End Corey Harkey as 3 grabs for 27 yards. He's looked good on some of those passing route and he is definately an athletic kid. Nelson Rosario and Derrick Coleman have also had receptions.

When you tally that up for the first four games, freshman have accounted for 305 yards of offense and 1 TD.

On defense Akeem Ayers is one of four Bruin players with a sack and he has also added 12 tackles to the mix. Rahim Moore leads the freshman with 18 tackles and he had that interception against BYU. Courtney Vinney has 14 tackles, Glenn Love has 8, Sean Westgate has 7 tackles including 1 for loss, Steve Sloan has contributed 5 tackles and Anthony Dye pitched in 2 more. The defense has seen a lot of new faces and the freshman are getting bigger chunks of playing time as the season progresses.

The totals for defense are 66 tackles, 2 for loss (1 sack) and an interception.

We all know how Dorrell didn't like playing freshman. So I thought it would be interesting to compare these numbers to the numbers that freshman put up in past seasons. Just so we're comparing apples to apples, the 2008 numbers above are for 4 games while these other numbers are season totals. So I'm going to project out the 2008 numbers (multiply by 3 to match a 12 game season) to get a best-guess estimate


2008: 915 yards, 3 TD

2007: 261 yards, 55 attempts, 23 completions, 5 interceptions, 1 TD *

2006: 135 yards, 5 TD

2005: 616 yards, 4 attemps, 2 completions, 0 interceptions, 4 TD


2008: 198 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sack, 3 intereption, 0 fumble recovered

2007: 17 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 0 interceptions, 0 fumble recovered

2006: 109 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovered

2005: 64 tackle, 7 tackles for loss, 2 sacks

* 2007 offensive numbers include McLeod Bethel-Thompons at quarterback.

It looks like Freshman are playing a much larger role in 2008 then they have in past seasons. Especially on defense, which might explain some of our struggles as of late. If you look at the number of tackles, the freshman are contributing around 21% of the total this season. In 2007 only 3% of the tackles were contributed by freshman, 13% in 2006, 9% in 2005.