This is just a great picture. What a heckuva game!
I know the Quick Hits didn't come so quickly, but I had to go on a run after this game. Oy! That was a tough, TOUGH loss. Of course, it's much better than last year, but losing to Cal 33-36 in overtime was difficult to swallow.
And because I'm lucky like that, I missed the first quarter due to a DVR issue...so imagine my surprise when I turn on the game and we're ACTUALLY WINNING!!!! Yes...it was 3-0, but this was an offense that exploded all over us last year.
There were quite a few good things to take from this game, though, and I'll see if I can sum them up quickly here.
Follow the jump to see how far I ran out of frustration after the game!
The offensive line: Despite playing without David Bakhtiari the whole game, and without Jack Harris for a good chunk of it on the other side, they kicked some butt! They protected Tyler Hansen MUCH better (how about Steve Marshall now, Cal fans?) and allowed him to get comfortable this week and pass for a CU record amount of yards. They also made a little more space for Rodney Stewart on the ground, though we definitely did still miss David Bakhtiari and later Jack Harris. Daniel Munyer and Gus Handler played much better in the middle today. And remember, this is a pretty darn good front 7 that we faced.
On defense, I want to point to the second to last play of the game to demonstrate one area where we definitely improved. Josh Hartigan's assignment was to keep containment on the backside of the play on what ended up being a QB keeper. He forced Maynard to the outside and prevented him from just walking into the endzone (which didn't matter because they won on the next play), which is exactly what would've (and did) happen last week.
On defense, we held a couple of pretty impressive wideouts in check for most of the game. I think our secondary still has a bunch of work to do (Anthony Perkins really has lost a step...yikes) but they aren't as leaky as many people thought they would be. And Jon Major and Doug Rippy are a pretty awesome LB tandem, and Derrick Webb made a few more plays this week. If he can get to the point where he keeps Patrick Mahnke off of the field (he of the blown coverage and non-tackle on a late Cal TD), that would be a very good thing.
Darragh O'Neill played well again and overcame the blocked(ish) punt and getting hit like a pro. Those snaps are still getting there too slowly (why there were that many Cal players that close to him) but some of the snaps were better. And Will Oliver is awesome. Like, I'm so incredibly happy about him! Seriously, what a recruiting steal.
And what about our boy Paul Richardson? Record setting day, doing everything he could to keep us in this game. I'm telling you guys, he wasn't just making big plays in the spring and summer because it was against our DBs. He is the real deal. Which leads me to my next point...
DON'T LET HIM RETURN PUNTS?!?!?!?!? He takes enough shots as it is, and we need that kid healthy! Jeez, coaches! And Speedy is not a good second option!! Gah!
And the playcalling: I like what both coaches are doing. That is all.
OK, Buff fans, I know we're sitting at 0-2, but I'm actually just fine with where the team is. If we can take care of business next week against Colorado State, I think we actually have a chance now against Ohio State. More on this later!