Cal Coach Sonny Dykes’ first season as the Head Coach of The California Golden Bears has got off to a bad start, as his squad has posted a 1 win, three-loss record. The last loss to The Oregon Ducks, 55-16, came on the heels of a giant loss to Ohio State 52 to 34.
As the losses mount, Cal Coach Sonny Dykes is lining up a rather questionable series of quotes, like “Getting run by, I don’t know if that’s a scheme issue” after the Ohio State game. Against Oregon, Coach Dykes pulled his star freshman Jared Goff in favor of senior Zack Kline, and then told the press “The ball was slipping out of his hand. We’re not quite sure why but it was. So we felt like were having a hard time getting anything done. Couldn’t throw it at all. We needed to make a change and it felt like it gave us a better chance to move the football and score some points.”
Well Coach, it was wet and rainy, for starters. Just the conditions that call for a good running attack. (My friend and fellow Cal Alum Brian Fitzpatrick said “Was he also not sure how he got his hair wet?”)
Vertical Set Run Blocking Not Working
Aside from Cal’s obvious defensive inability to stop the pass or run, and that is due to scheme folks (more on that later in another blog post), but the other problem is the horrible Vertical Set Blocking, and the problems in the running game I discussed in this video after the Northwestern game:
The nature of that style of blocking makes the running game particularly ineffective in the rain, when its needed most. Now the Vertical Set Blocking System is great for passing, as its a cousin of the basic two-point stance used as a part of a “two-minute” offense, but the fact that the offensive line players are upright allows defensive line players to gain the necessary leverage against them, and push them back into the backfield on running plays.
The other problem is that Cal has too few offensive plays, and good defenses have been able to use film study to zero in and stop them.
I know the point of the Tony Franklin System (Franklin is Cal’s Offensive Coordinator) is simplicity, but creating special plays for each opponent will serve to keep the defense honest, thereby making the basic package more effective.
Coach Dykes says that Brandon Bigelow’s not making the breaking runs he should. But the problem is that the holes Bigelow’s used to seeing from a more conventional attack are just not there now.