This Saturday was a chance at redemption for the Golden Bears, and we took full advantage of it...not. USC is clearly a good team, maybe not the dominant Trojans of years past but they aren't missing anybody from last year's defense. Those guys are straight up fast and what we saw against Oregon two weeks ago was apparent again on Saturday, our line is overmatched when we're up against a speedy defense. Jahvid Best was contained for the second straight week, and our once potent running game has all but disappeared. This has forced the Bears to rely upon Kevin Riley's right arm, and that's just a horrible idea.
Riley has really blown his chance at becoming the guy at Cal. He led an impressive first drive only to make a poor decision and throw it into the back of the end-zone to Taylor Mays, and from there it was over. He missed guys by miles, a wide open Shane Vereen on a trick play, and every deep ball was nowhere near our WR. I understand that you can have a bad game, miss some open guys, but this is inexcusable. You're not a Pac-10 QB for a ranked (or once ranked) team if you make the kinds of throws he has in the past two weeks. Riley was 15-40, yes that's not a misprint, for 199 yards and countless missed opportunities. He's been nothing short of horrible the past two weeks and I'm really not sure what to do. My gut reaction is to call for Brock Mansion, but let's be real, we're really not sure what that means and it’s a knee-jerk reaction at best. It reminds me a lot of when we were all calling for Kevin Riley when Nate Longshore decided to go off the deep end. But Riley wasn’t the answer; all we knew was that we didn’t want Longshore anymore. All I know is that Riley proved, again, that he's not a legit QB that we can rely on. Against teams like Oregon and USC, we need more than Jahvid Best, especially when they're stacking the box like they did and he’s a non-factor.
It wasn't all Riley, but he did play a huge role. The defense got carved up by Joe McKnight and we failed to pressure freshman QB Matt Barkley (and let his huge oversized ego continue to inflate). Special teams gave up a punt return for a TD, and we just could not get the ball down the field for the second straight game. Maybe this is the toughest part of our schedule and we'll be able to rebound, but these past two weeks really hurt. UCLA and Stanfurd are good teams, Oregon State is not one to sleep on, and the Arizona schools are no gimmie. Either we pick it up during this bye week or we're done. To say the least I’m very disappointed that we failed to even compete in these past two games. It would be one thing to lose, but these were dominating performances in which we barely put up a fight. Tedford needs to get something going with these guys or it’s going to be 2007 all over again.