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Behind Enemy Lines: Colorado Buffaloes vs. California Golden Bears

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The Buffs head to Berkeley.

California v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Rob Hwang of Write for California is an old friend and an expert on the California Golden Bears. Subscribe to their Substack for updates on Cal football, basketball and more. I cannot recommend that you look for football updates on the Colorado Buffaloes or the Bears, but if you are, God bless you. We spoke to Rob to learn a bit more about the Buffs opponent on Saturday.

  1. Cal is 1-5 this year, but they’ve had a lead heading into the 4th quarter for the majority of their games. Why can’t Cal finish games and how much is bad luck versus bad playing?

It’s a little bit of both. The case and point is the Oregon game, a couple of risks on defense and offense that don’t go our way, but also the go-ahead drive by Oregon was a direct cause of the defense not playing up to par in a single drive. The Bears need to score in the second half in order to complete games, but I can’t point to what it is that’s not going right. OC Bill Musgrave has said that their first few drives are not scripted but thats where we score the most points, so the question then becomes: is it an adjustment thing that the team is not doing? Or is it an execution thing? It’s still hard to tell.

2. Justin Wilcox was meant to take a step forward this year, but may be on the hot seat. What’s the mood in Berkeley?

I think its split. No one expected the current season standings to be where they are. In terms of the fan base, my pulse is that its split. Some want him gone with good cause and history of his 5 year tenure, but others want to see if he can rebound with a great crop of recruits that have come in and are coming in. My personal thought is, he won’t be gone after this year and they’ll chalk it up to a Covid hangover. The Berkeley job isn’t an easy one due to academic and financial restrictions and he’s one that understands that and yet wants to be here unlike the last two coaches, who either disregarded the academic side or was constantly looking for a different gig. So having a coach like that who understands and wants to be here? I’d like to see him succeed.

3. Chase Garbers is a fifth-year QB, starting for yet another year. Does he play like a 5th year QB?

He does in moments. He doesn’t in moments. That’s the best way to put it. There are always throws he would want back but also there are times where he is brilliant. It’s really hard to know what Chase we’ll get on a play by play basis, but overall he’s doing what he’s being asked to do, its just the consistency isn’t there.

4. Who are the names to know on offense? What about on defense?

On offense it’s WR Jeremiah Hunter. A former 4-star recruit who didn’t play last year as a true freshman due to injury, but otherwise would have, has come onto the scene. I believe he was averaging close to 20+yards per reception against Oregon and has become a dynamic WR playmaker at all 3 levels. If he’s having a good game, so is the Bears offense in the past few weeks.

On defense it would have to be Marqez Bimage. The grad transfer from Texas was originally just here for school, but wanted to play a bit more football, and he’s turned himself into a bonafide starter. His athleticism, power and tackling ability has not gone unnoticed and he is also forced some turnovers over the last few weeks. The former 4-star recruit has found a new lease on his football career here in Berkeley and it’s been fun to watch.

5. What is your prediction for the game?

I think the defense comes out and plays like the have over the last few weeks. They hold, get the necessary turnovers and get off the field on 3rd downs. The offense will score early, but I just can’t figure out if we can get enough scores early enough to maintain a lead. If they can then Bears win this for their first conference win, 27-17. If they cant then the Bears could lose this 17-24.