Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Bruins Expose Bears’ Sinistrophobia



Google it!  We’ve got it.   Sinistrophobia:  a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of left-handedness.

This was pointed out to me by my tent mate, Dumpster Muffin, as we watched the game on our Sony Flat Screen from our tent while occupying Oakland.  (As Robert Duvall said in A Pair of Lips Now, “I love the smell of urine in the morning.”)  But I digress. 

How else do you account for the fact that young Zack Maynard, for three quarters, completed every one of his passes while rolling left, but with the exception of the first play of the 4th quarter (a completion to my favorite Bear, Will Kapp)—with the score 17-14—and the Bears driving--the coaches failed to call one (1) Uno (or is it una) ein ROLLOUT and throw LEFT.

And how did Kaperneck sneak away from the Niners and don Bruin Baby Blue?  Didn’t we see that movie last year?  Talk about Deja Vu all over again?  Who teaches a defensive end (no need to mention names as this is clearly a schematic--read coaching--problem), to crash down the line of scrimmage and nail the fullback from the side—while the QB pulls the ball out of the back’s belly, and scampers—untouched and unharassed—around the end?  

Sherlock Holmes had it right:  “Elementary, my Dear Watson.”  Someone has to have outside containment.  Lech Walesa famously answered years ago when asked why he was leading the Gadansk (formerly Lenin Shipyard) strike, “if not me who?”  (or was that John Edwards when asked who knocked up his chick?).
In the second half, Cattouse came up and made a couple of stops on those wide QB keepers, but are we to understand that a safety has containment?  Better change the name of his position.  Replaying the tape (Ok—Tivo) was embarrassing.  Almost every time the defensive end crashed down the line and clobbered the running back from the side.

Trouble is—he didn’t have the ball.  Reno redux.  

Prince romped for 183 yards and we rarely touched him.  Mostly, he just ran out of bounds.  When Cleopatra failed to engage her fleet at Actium, Antony was toast.  By disengaging the strongside defensive end and refusing to key him on the QB (and punish him every play—with or without the ball) we were toast and the poor kid looked bad.

It wasn’t the kid’s fault. 
 
Clearly, he (and his replacement) were doing what they were told to do—just as Maynard was, standing in the pocket and throwing across his body to his right.  Three of his Picks were from the pocket, two throwing right, and one down the middle.

EACH ONE OF HIS PASSES on his rolls to the left was complete.  Here’s what some of us simply can’t understand.  We were taught that when something works, you run it (or pass it) until they stop it.  If off right tackle works—run it till they shut it down.

You take advantage of the adjustments they make to run something else which capitalizes on their adjustments.  We simply never do this.  As Serena might opine, “This is not attractive.”

We were in this game 17-14 (should have been 17 all except—I know you’re going to be shocked to read this—next thing  we know we’ll hear that there’s gambling in Casablanca—but we (the entire team) blew a gimme field goal.  A team that is 23 for 27 on extra points (the easiest play in football) and has failed on three makeable field goals, is not focused—not disciplined—not paying attention to detail.  And that is not on the kids.  It’s not on the kicker.  

Games are not won on Saturday (Thanks, Coach Jim Lemon).

2 minute Offense:  A tall good looking guy wrote last week that we need work on our two minute drill.  Ok.  He said it was embarrassing.  Against the Bruins, we got the ball with 1:55 left in the first half.  We called time out with 1:15 left.  We’d gotten off two plays in 40 seconds.  We then threw incomplete and had to punt with 1:11. 

UCLA took over with 1:00 left.  They ran 10 plays—the last one a punt. 
Someone is wearing big boy pants and someone isn’t.
‘Nuff said.

QB:  Call me Crazy but I think Maynard can do the job.  But a coach’s job is to put a kid in a position where he can succeed.  Maynard should be rolling left on most pass plays.  And before you say something silly like “cutting the field in half”--two words:  Roger Staubach.  Or if you want four:  Fran Tarkington.

These two rarely threw from the pocket in college.  (In the early years, they couldn't throw left either).  They rolled—right most of the time—and (just to keep defenses honest) occasionally left.  Football was different back then, but it was generally understood that few college teams had the amount of linemen necessary to attempt pro-style drop back passing.  It was too hard for the kids to see the field from the QB position, and too hard for the linemen to protect him adequately.

That has changed overtime.  Stanford State’s Andrew Luck does not have to roll out.  He’s a prototype drop back, pocket passer.  Maynard isn’t—at this time.  

No biggie.  Very few are.  So why not go with his strength?  It must be due to Sinistrophobia.

COACHING:  The Chron’s Crumpcracker threw Tedford under the bus after the game.  Of course all the blogs are following suit.  We needn't go there--yet.

(Wish they’d throw the Athletic Department under the bus for those White Helmets.  Forget tradition.  Forget old fuddy-duddies like moi.  How about the expense at a time they’re  cutting sports and demoting Rugby?
This is the height of irresponsibility.  Home and away helmets are enough.  We don’t need a third   (white) set.  Remember:  these things cost $300 to $500 per—and there’s 100 kids on the team (though they all don’t travel).

GRADUATION RATES:  It’s been said here ad naseum:  Jeff Tedford has a lot of entries on the asset side of the ledger.  But if last week’s report is true, that Cal is 11th out of 12 in graduation rates, that makes it awfully hard to stay on the bus.  But we all want to.

Now there has been some noise that those numbers are misleading, but if so, the Athletic Department should come out with a loud, strong, no nonsense statement explaining it.  Absent that with the general dumbing down of the University on the Academic side, and the destruction of our once proud brand though the needless cutting of sports, something has to be done.  

At the time, Coach Tedford earned the right to become the highest paid employee in the State of California.  But with that Salary comes certain responsibilities—and they don’t all have to do with winning. 

Much of it has to do with putting a program together we can all be proud of.  We want kids graduating.  We want a clean program (which he has produced).  We want a disciplined, well coached team that puts out maximum effort—whatever their athletic skills are.

This is what is sorely lacking.  

We understand we will never be a Miami, LSU, Texas or even SC.  But we’d like to be able to play with them once in a while.

THE  BILL OF ATTAINDER:

These kids are better than their record.
 
Maynard is better than his stats.

The D is better than the way they played against UCLA and the second half up in Oregon.
Eleven 20 year olds can kick extra points without them being blocked almost 20% of the time.
Kids should be graduating—or at least progressing towards a sheepskin.

Teams like the Blue Hose should NEVER be on a field with a team with a proud tradition like the Bears.
Opposing teams fans should not be on the 50 at ATT&T.  Bear fans should have the plumb seats.

We now have more coaches, trainers and assistants, (I think it numbers 34) than Andy Smith had on any Wonder Team, or even Pete Eliot’s ’59 Rose Bowl team (OK, I’m exaggerating about Eliot’s squad, but not by much).

No more blaming assistant coaches (like Lopoi) for activities which were known to the entire program.
FROM HERE ON OUT:  We still have a chance for a Bowl.  And Stanford State is beatable.  But we’ve got to get rid of the sweats, the anxiety, the shortness of breath, and the paranoia which all victims of Sinistrophobia deal with.  We need some counseling from Zachery Running Wolf.  (He of the So-Sue-Me tribe)--but at least he understands about the left.

Horace Greely almost got it right “Go Left  young man.”

Roll Maynard left on 7 out of 10 pass plays and the Bears will present a formidable offense.

Sending Cal Students left?  How difficult can it be?

Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ’70.