I didn’t travel all the way to New Mexico to watch Cal spank New Mexico State but I did watch it on ESPN. Here are my comments on the game:
First, I want to start by saying how high the expectations we all have for Cal. We’ve played 4 games and had 4 victories with a combined score of 173 to 53 and there hasn’t been a single game where Cal fans haven’t been disappointed. In many senses this is a good thing as it encourages the team to strive for more and will help them be ready for better teams. On the other hand, nobody should panic. This team is still pretty good.
The two big surprises were the amount of offense, particularly in the running game, that NMSU was able to generate and the amount of miscues on special teams. For the defense, it is clear that Cal still hasn’t figured out how to successfully defend against a spread defense. I’m glad that we’ve had so many recent games against spread offenses because it will help us later in the season when we have to face Oregon and Washington St.. As for the special teams, it has been very strong to date and I’m going to chock it up to a lack of intensity. Hopefully it’ll be a learning experience.
The offense is starting to click better and better and Ayoob is steadily improving. He’s been particularly good on the road which is hopeful for that first big challenge at UCLA in two weeks. The running game we have is just AWESOME and will give our passing game many more opportunities as teams try (and I emphasize try) to shut down the run game.
In summary, I don’t think we learned much from this game. While this was probably a good game for the coaching staff to be able to have more game film to look at as to how to better improve against the spread offense and how to continue to help Ayoob and the offense as a whole improve, I don’t us fans had much to learn from here as to help us understand how we’ll perform in the future. I still expect us to be able to handle Arizona (but don’t let the players know that), making our big first test be UCLA on the road in two weeks.