Saturday, September 12, 2009

Some Quick Thoughts

Kendricks led the conference in tackles with 12 after week one. He got 14 more today for a total of 26 (along with a fumble recovery). For some perspective, Eddie Young had 40 tackles all season last year and he was a starter.

Some quick impressions, more to come later.

1. EWU only ended drives in Cal territory twice all game - 1 TD and 1 missed FG on the 22. The rest of the game, they never crossed the 50 (correction: they crossed the 50 a third time, but that drive ended when Kendricks picked up the fumble behind the 50 and ran it back). While I was not happy with the defensive softness early on, I don't care who you are playing, that is ridiculous.

2. EWU deserves a ton of credit. They came ready to play, were not intimidated, and played pretty smoothly in the first quarter. They executed their passing game to near perfection on the second drive, showing they were not going to let the bad first drive rattle them.

They made Cal's offensive line look bad a few times in pass rush, and their offensive line prevented Cal from getting to the QB for the most part until Cal went to the blitz. For an FCS team to do that to a top 10 team, on the road, is impressive. Good for the Eagles. They came to play.

3. Cal has yet to turn the ball over this season.

4. Cal's offensive line blocked the run pretty darn well, but they got pushed around in pass pro a bit more than they should have, especially up the middle. Cheadle almost got knocked clean off his feet at one point. And EWU definitely blew up some plays with pressure without sending the house. This needs to get fixed.

5. Brett Johnson has no regard for his personal safety when he hits. That is why he is my new favorite player of the week on this defense.

6. Mychal Kendricks is a tackling machine, with 26 after two games, 12 solo. The guy is all over the field, and he is in on, or imminently near, virtually every tackle when he is on the field. You can't coach that. He's a long way off of Willard or Nickerson-type numbers as of now, but he's showing that kind of potential. When he learns to tackle better and play in control, he's going to be a bona fide star.

7. Brian Holley looks like he might make the fullback position a weapon again for this offense, rather than just a blocker. That hand plant to break a tackle was sick.

Overall, Cal did what they needed to do. They started off a little soft defensively, but once they locked in, they did what they wanted to at will, which is what a top 10 team is supposed to do. Onto Minnesota and getting the road monkey off their back.


Bear with Fangs said...

I noticed the play where Cheadle got bulldozed as well. In all fairness, the defender got Cheadle pretty good with shot right to the face mask that may have thrown him off balance. Just a thought.

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