Because we know you were wondering: Yes, Cal coach Jeff Tedford did break down the tape from Saturday's 42-3 loss at Oregon. And no, it did not break him.
"We got beat pretty soundly," Tedford said after putting his players through a light workout Sunday evening. "I don't think it's a reflection of who we are as a whole. It's that day, that environment, a very difficult place to play. It just seemed like we couldn't put anything together. You left there kind of shaking your head."
There are no secrets in the college football jungle. When one team has success against you, your next opponent is sure to notice. Among the many things Oregon did extremely well was crowd the line of scrimmage.
The Ducks overcommitted resources at the line to smother Jahvid Best, Cal's breakaway tailback. This, of course, left them vulnerable downfield, with cornerbacks playing man-to-man coverage and one safety to do the work of two. In effect, Oregon dared Cal to pass. Cal couldn't.
Quarterback Kevin Riley, who completed 64.7 percent of his passes for an average of 233 yards in the Bears' first three games, was held to 123 yards on 12-of-31 passing. With no reason to quit crowding the box, Oregon didn't. Thus Best, who averaged 137 yards, three touchdowns and 7.8 yards per carry in Cal's first three games, was held to 55, zero and 3.4.
Not to be an alarmist or anything, but next up: USC.
"I think everyone is going to do that just because of who we are and what we do," Tedford said of opponents' inclinations to crowd the line of scrimmage. "(But) you're always looking no matter who you play to say hey, they had a hard time with that. How do we do that?"
Tedford is probably scouring his 10th tape of USC as we speak. He shouldn't expect to like what he sees. USC is the No. 6-ranked defense in the FBS division — fifth against the run (59 yards per game, 1.7 per carry) and 29th against the pass (167 yards per game). Even with its stellar effort against Cal, Oregon is ranked a modest 42nd overall by comparison.
But one of the positives Tedford took from Saturday's debacle — which knocked Cal 18 rungs down the top 25 by the way — is that what ailed his team is fixable.
"There (were) so many opportunities and typically it's one (mistake), one guy," he said. "It really becomes evident (that) it's so important that 11 guys play together. You look at the tape and you can see it's about us."
That's good news, because tactically speaking, there's a limit to what Cal can do to force other teams to release their death grip on the point of attack. Completing a few passes about covers it.
The problems against Oregon were many. Blocking broke down, forcing Riley to either eat the football or release it earlier than he wanted. Receivers failed to gain separation from their defenders, giving Riley nowhere to throw even when he had time. And on those few occasions when the Bears' offensive stars aligned, poor execution scuttled the play.
It was in contrast to the previous weekend at Minnesota, when Riley broke open a close game with two big gainers to Jeremy Ross en route to a decisive touchdown.
That's the sort of thing that'll have to happen against USC, because the hot breath of eight angry defenders isn't something a quarterback can simply wish away.
"You can do different formation(s) and things like that," Tedford said. "But they can still always outnumber you in the box. So yes, it's important to have a balanced game. It's all about execution."
Absent that, it's tough to see how Best wins the Heisman. And that's just for starters.
Contact Gary Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.