This kid is such a breath of fresh air!
It was hard for me to want to watch this game again. I try to put the emotions aside for these second viewings, but this one was such a roller coaster of a game. Truly heartbreaking for a team trying to turn the corner.
While Will Oliver is doing a great job as the place kicker, neither Oliver nor Justin Castor are getting it done on kickoffs.
Follow the jump to see what I think about Jon Major's beautiful hair!
I know people are talking about Rodney Stewart's load at RB and how nobody else got a carry. This is true, but he was not the only guy to receive any snaps at RB. Tony Jones got one early
I know Tyler Hansen threw for the most yards any CU QB ever has in a game, but he also missed a bunch of guys. He had players open a number of times that he couldn't hit.
Holy cow was that a great catch on the sideline by Kyle Cefalo. It's not hard to see how he earned his scholarship.
Ryan Dannewitz definitely played better this week (we heard in the off-weak about how he hadn't been practicing much on the left side before the Hawaii game because that was Alex Lewis' spot, even though he couldn't make the trip because of his stomach bug), which is a good sign. Who knows how long David Bakhtiari will be out, and it never hurts to get your swing-tackle more game snaps in a season this long.
I hate rugby style punts. I thought we were done with these.
Surprise appearance early by Brady Daigh, who snuck into the backfield and was in position to drop the Cal RB for a loss, but couldn't hold onto him. Good sign that he's in the right place, now he needs to work on his technique and speed. He got lost in the wash on another play because he wasn't fast enough to get outside.
Really Ray Polk? Really? Another, even worse late hit penalty? C'mon, you're old enough to know better.
The interior of Cal's defense is tough. Their ILBs and their interior linemen are very good, and I'm surprised at how well we countered them at times. We couldn't run into them, but we were able to use the screen passes against them. I'm looking forward to see how they play against some of the other big Pac-12 offenses.
The coaches aren't kidding: we really do have two solid centers. They seem pretty even, but if I had to give the edge to one of them, I'd say Daniel Munyer is ever so slightly ahead of Gus Handler. We'll see if they start to give more possessions to one or the other, or they continue to switch off.
Tony Poremba can't anchor against offensive linemen, but boy does he have a motor. Again, it's not hard to see what made the coaches give him and David Goldberg scholarships this offseason. Goldberg had some nice pressure and played big when he got the chance.
Doug Rippy was a beast, and Jon Major had a good game. After that, it's still only okay at linebacker. Derrick Webb made a couple of plays, but he also made a number of mistakes that led to some big gains and the 4th quarter Cal TD that gave them the lead.
The deep middle of our defense is very susceptible to passes. Cal only took advantage of it a couple of times, but they made them count. We need that to improve.
I like the play where we split Ryan Deehan (who is playing fairly well so far this season) out wide and then stack Paul Richardson behind him. They had Hansen throw the quick ball to Richardson while Deehan cleared the way for him. We won't be able to use it often, but it's effective, and now that we've shown it they should be able to use that alignment to spread the defense out.
One of the biggest weaknesses of our defense might be Josh Hartigan in coverage. As the jack backer, he has to occasionally drop back to keep offenses from easily being able to account for him. But he's not great at dropping back and there were a few plays where he had no chance at getting to the area he was supposed to cover in time.
Patrick Mahnke...oh boy. On the play where he was dragged into the endzone by the Cal TE, he had already been late on his coverage, and jeez. He's just not a great option at LB because he doesn't have the size that we need there. It's too bad, because we will all forever remember him for his big hit in the Nebraska game his freshman year.
Jack Harris' injury looked bad. I don't know if it's been announced yet as to what it was, but it looked pretty intense. He was showing flashes of being pretty good before it. Sione Tau was serviceable behind him, but our playcalling after he came in was limited and Bieniemy was forced to call plays that would cover up Tau.
We committed SO MANY penalties! And not just your standard penalties, they were big, momentum killing penalties. They were some of the worst kind: drive killers on the offense, and drive extenders on the defense. Many were stupid, and we need to not be doing that. Embree and the coaches need to figure this out.
Without either starting tackle in the game, there was very little running room for Rodney Stewart.
Greg Henderson is our best cornerback. Teams have been trying to pick on him, but he really does a good job of staying right with the receiver, being very physical, and making it tough to catch any passes thrown his way. And if his guy does make the catch, he doesn't let them get any additional yards. He's going to be good. Heck, he already is pretty good.
We hit Maynard a lot, and we hit him pretty hard, but he kept getting back up and he ended up winning the game. That was a gutsy performance by him.
The Buffs were bad on 3rd down on offense. We need to be converting a higher percentage of those. I hope that's one of the things that they chose to work on this week.
And I can't believe we had a first and goal, inside the five yardline in overtime and couldn't come away with a TD. On the rushing plays, Sione Tau was the culprit. He wasn't able to sustain his first block, and on the second one, he got stood up and Stewart couldn't find a hole around him. Hopefully we can figure out how to score TDs from that close at some point.
Overall, this was a pretty good game from the Buffaloes. We still have a lot to improve on, but the biggest thing was the improvement that we saw from Week 1 to Week 2. If we can see another jump in Week 3, then this is a team that we will be proud of sooner rather than later.