Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween! I thought I'd share a few pumpkins some creative Beavers carved this year:

One Dirty Martini

Our first sketch was of the Beavers logo, but we decided against it in favor of something simpler, something we could safely carve while drinking.

And one from their friend:

And here's mine from a couple years ago (the OS looks much easier):

I looked for some more but came up empty. Anyone else have any to share?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Beavs win, may lose Yvenson for a bit

That was a good win for the Beavers against Stanford on Saturday. They didn't have any let down from the Cal win and the offense continued to take steps forward to not shoot themselves in the foot. Stat of the day? Zero turnovers. This is how the UCLA game should have went. Unfortunately, losing Yvenson and giving up a bunch of sacks (6?) isn't great for the lead in to the USC game.

I think Clinton Polk and Matt Sieverson are decent as fill ins for Yve running the ball, but all the intangibles that he gives us are going to be missed. The way he can catch the ball out of the backfield and perhaps most importantly his blocking. One play last game was a perfect example of this. Yvenson blocked a hard rushing Cardinal play and knocked him to the ground. Yve was also on the ground and he saw the rusher get up and head towards Canfield. So he got up and blocked the guy a second time about two feet from him getting a sack. Brilliant.

Looks like our special teams are getting back on track. They aren't spectacular, but they aren't hurting us as much anymore. Alexis is making Field Goals and his punts seem to be getting better. Plus, we're catching everything in the return game.

On another note, I've been watching the World Series and Jacoby finally got a championship ring :). Great series by Jacoby. He batted over .400 in the series and was huge in the two games in Colorado. Congrats Jacoby!!!

Oh and with halloween coming up, check out the classic Beavers pumpkin stencil!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Big game today

The Beavers have a huge game today against the Stanford Cardinal to continue and build on all the good will they've created by beating then #2 Cal two weeks ago. It's funny how this season is so similar to the last two seasons at the same point in the season. The question is, do we continue building towards a 2006-esque finish? Or do we stumble against a team we should beat?

Stanford is certainly dangerous. Their defense is apparently the second coming of the Carolina Panthers super bowl team with all their zone blitz schemes. And with Tavita out and possibly Roy or Jeremy not at 100%, it could be tough going for the offense.

On the other hand, their offense is banged up and our defense is healthier and more rested than its been all season. They are down to their 3rd string RB and have at least one O-lineman out as well. So we could be in for a major ears pinned back, rush the passer kind of day.

For some reason this feels a little like the UCLA game. The defenses may keep it close and the turnovers or lack of major turnovers may decide this one.

Some stats on the Cardinal to watch for:

* They may be running the ball with their QB a bit. Tavita Prichard has gained 123 yards in two starts. He's lost 73 as well but those are all sacks. So he may keep the ball moving for them if we don't watch out.

* Stanford is among the conference and national leaders in sacks (3.0 per game, No. 17 nationally, No. 3 Pac-10) and tackles for loss (7.8 per game, No. 19 in NCAA and No. 3 in Pac-10). That's from their press release. Sounds a bit like the Beavers defense, huh? Lets hope we've schemed well for this one.

* They have a RS Freshman, Tyrone McGraw, starting this week at running back. He's carried the ball 22 times for 91 yards and a 3.8 average. Not bad. Jeremy Stewart may play with his bum shoulder. He has 158 yards on the season.

* They have a stud punter. He's averaging 42 yards per punt and set to become their all time punting leader.

* Their stats leader on defense is OLB Clinton Snyder. He has 6 sacks, 8 TFL, and is second of the team in tackles. He's pretty fast and will be blitzing a lot today.

* They got 4 interceptions against USC, but they have 7 total on the season.

* They do give up a ton of sacks and tackles for loss. They gave up 7(!) sacks to ASU. They have 27 on the season for an average of near 4 per game. Nice.

I know we should win this game, but their defense could cause problems. Let's take the advice of Mike84 on PureOrange and get fired up from the get go. Don't let the trees get into the game at all!

Go Beavers! Beavers eat Trees!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How Good will the Beavers be at the End of the Season?

Bye week, time to regroup and review.

After a win like that, everybody is excited in Beaver Nation. Maybe too excited. When you see Rose Bowl possibilities being thrown around on the forums, we may getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

So where are we? Well, we're where we would have been if we held serve at home up to this point. That means we still need to win out at home (UW and Stanford) which is very reasonable. Also, we need to steal one on the road (UO, USC, and WSU). Our best bet is clearly WSU there. So, yea, we should be excited because we're back in the bowl hunt. Plus, USC isn't looking so scary these days so who knows!?!

The only way we turn the corner and become an 8-4 team is if the offense and especially Sean Canfield has turned the corner. Why do I think he has turned the corner? Let's review a post from a few months ago before the Idaho St. game.

The QB situation - Saturday, September 15, 2007

Both Matt and Derek had no experience with Riley's offense. Each had prior game experience under different systems with mixed results. But both had a ton of interceptions in their first year under Riley's system.

Moore.... 211-355-19, 11 td, 271 ypg, 123.11 effic
Derek.... 261-510-24, 24 td, 312 ypg, 124.13 effic

By their Senior years both Matt and Derek "broke out". They looked confident, controlled, and much less mistake-proned. But they were both learning on the job in their Junior years and didn't really know Riley's offense completely.

Canfield is also learning on the job. But he played in 10 games last season and went 28-45 with 2 tds, 2 ints, and 335 yards passing. That's basically a game an a half. Add that to his two half games this year and he's about 3-4 games in to his learning year. So at worst he will start to come around in game 7 or 8 and become a good QB.

However, I have this sneaking suspicion that he will come around sooner if given playing time. Mainly because he doesn't really have to learn on the job. He knows the offense in and out. Now he's just getting the game speed down and learning how to read defenses. Tough, yes, but not as tough as doing both at the same time. So I predict (and hope) that he will be a solid QB around the Arizona or UCLA game. That means less mistakes and basically not costing us the game. By the end of the season he could be really contributing a lot. Especially if teams are still stacking up on the run. I really hope Sean starts it in a big way against ISU today.

I think that this is EXACTLY what is happening. He's nearly a season into his career at this point. Plus, he knows the offense well because he's grown up in the system. He may not be John Elway the rest of the way, but I think he has less giveaways and will manage the game better from here on out. He will do that and our D will keep us close in every game. That means we should have a chance to win every game from here on out.

Do I expect we will win out? No. But I feel much better about going down to Eugene and LA now. And after a great game like last week, Beaver Nation deserves to get excited and dream big. What a great week for a bye week, huh?

Go Beavs!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Beavers own Memorial Stadium!

Un-Beav-leavable! In the battle of the QBs, Canfield made fewer mistakes and the Beavers were better for it. But this wasn't a game where the Cal QB imploded. This was a great hard fought game and the Beavers just plain won.

Some great quotes and amazing stats after the game:

Beavers' curse on Bears at Memorial Stadium strikes again -

"I knew the clock was ticking," Laroque said. "I was just trying to hold him down as long as possible. I don't know if that's legal or not."


The Beavers seem to have magic in Berkeley. Cal has lost only four home games since Sept. 6, 2003 - one to USC and three to Oregon State.

Some stats from

                                   OSU      CAL
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD. 1-0-0 2-13-0
Average Per Return.......... 0.0 6.5
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 3-84-0 7-126-0
Average Per Return.......... 28.0 18.0

Possession Time............... 33:13 26:47

Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 5-5 3-5

Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 3-9 1-5

Field Goals................... 3-3 0-1

Passing Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
Canfield, Sean 33-18-0 186 0 26 1

Kevin RILEY 34-20-1 294 2 64 3

The stats that seem to matter most: Turnovers, Time of Possession, and most special teams categories. All won by the Beavs.

Just awesome. A team effort. I can't fault anyone for anything. Tim Clark had a great game. Greg Layborn made two touchdown saving plays (even if one was a penalty). Canfield didn't throw a single pick and only got sacked once. Bernard met still running defense and still gained over 100 yards and 2 TDs. Alexis Serna had three field goals and the best punting day of his life!

Huge win Beavs!!!!

Game reaction from Cal fans:

Cal fans, please be classy. - The California Golden Blogs

Post-Game Thoughts: Oregon State - The California Golden Blogs

Life of Riley (Oregon State 31, Cal 28) - Excuse Me For Me Voice

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The QBs will Determine the Winner

Cal's QB, Nate Longshore, is a game time decision which means the Beavers may see a totally untested QB: Kevin Riley of Beaverton. Riley is the future at Cal, but other than practicing well he hasn't done anything. In fact, one national college football writer says that if Kevin Riley starts, then OSU wins:

Matt Hayes College Football Blog - The Sporting News

9. An injury away. I don't know if Cal can get away with playing backup QB Kevin Riley against Oregon State. But if possible, it has to be done.

Starter Nate Longshore took snaps Thursday with the first team, something he hadn't done since sustaining a high ankle sprain against Oregon two weeks ago. He's a game-time decision (read: the ankle hasn't healed and it's an issue), and really should rest the ankle at least another week.

The problem: Oregon State has won six of the past eight meetings against Cal, and is 13th in total defense. In fact, if the Beavers' offense could hold onto the ball -- 23 turnovers, last in the nation -- they wouldn't be 3-3.

Cal, meanwhile, leads the nation in turnovers lost with four in five games.

Tell me this isn't set up for one of those crazy irony stories.

Look, I'm not sayin' it, but I'm sayin' it: If Riley has to play, the 'Beavs are winning this game. And we can add yet another upset to this wacky season.

We all know where Sean Canfield is at and how the number of mistakes he makes could turn the game to the Bears no matter who is the QB.

After all the talk of the run defense and running games, it will be the team that gets better QB play who will win. If Canfield can have 2 or less interceptions and have an efficient game, then the pressure will be on the Cal QBs.

The question then becomes, will Longshore be mobile enough to avoid OSU's pass rush and keep Cal moving? Or will Riley be able to avoid the Ayoob-esque performance that Cal had in 2005 or Rodgers in 2003?

I know OSU fans don't want to hear this, but it comes down to the QBs. Who can step it up and lead their team to victory? Hopefully its Canfield.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Do the Beavers have a chance against the Bears?

How do the Beavers win this game? Well, we have to follow the same plan as the last two wins at Memorial Stadium. Ball Control on offense, force some turnovers, and not turnover the ball.

Here's what I like going in to the game:

* Nate Longshore has a gimpy ankle. Thus, he's less mobile. Thus, we should get some sacks. Enough sacks, and we may see a UCLA vs. ND situation in our favor.

* Our run D. I think that we will prevent rushing yards and force them to pass. See above.

* Nobody expects us to win.

What I don't like:

* No Keenan Lewis. Tim Clark looks fast enough and seems to tackle well, but he's not making plays on the ball which means he could get burned in this game.

* They're playing well and may actually be the second best team in the nation.

* DeSean Jackson

* A let down is less likely after Stanford beat USC last weekend

I'm hoping to be surprised, but I'm expecting to see how good Cal really is as well. Go Beavs!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Arizona Game: Post-game thoughts

Blackout is in effect.

The black-out by the students was a bit weird, but hey maybe we needed a change. I like the orange, but if students in black and orange jerseys win, let's stick with it.

* The orange jerseys looked less "bra"-like. Or maybe I'm just getting used to them.

* I love our defense.

* I'm concerned about losing 3/4 of our secondary. Hughes injury didn't look bad, but Lewis' looks like it may be a few weeks.

* Yvenson Bernard was a stud again.

* The O-line was huge, especially in the first half. Run-blocking or pass-blocking, they brought it.

* I'm not sure why Riley left Moevao in so long. He looked like a mistake waiting to happen. Canfield simply looks better now than Lyle does.

* The receivers are having a few issues they're working through. The dropped passes can't happen on the road.

* I never thought I'd see Rodgers get caught by a linebacker. Either that guy was fast, or Rodgers got tired. I'm guessing that all those fake flys got to him and he was hitting the wall a bit. Great game by the little guy though.

* We have to figure out a solution to the second half blues. Maybe a trick play or something.

* Better job by Serna. Hopefully that improvement continues. Arizona's punter sure showed us what we're missing.

On to Cal. We seem to play well there. I just watched Stanford upset USC. Maybe we can make a stop in San Jose to get some of that magic.

Oh, and how does Olsen last through our game getting hit all game, but gets knocked out in the first quarter against Notre Dame. Man, I wish our D could have played against the walk-on with two names from UCLA.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Want to help fix the Beavers?

Beaver Nation is in Busy Beaver mode! Maybe its because we're an engineering and "hard" sciences school, but everybody is in full problem solving mode. For some of us it's the special teams mistakes. For others, its the offense and the turnovers. Some say the coaching is too conservative. Not too many people mention the defense, but when they do its about the big plays at the worst times.

The answer is of course its everything. Including the defense. But, unfortunately none of us get a vote.

The OregonLive forums are a flaming mess riddled with opportunistic ducks. Buker is evoking Halo 3 and renaming the Dam Cam to the Damn! Cam. And even the callers on the Joe Beaver Show on KEJO have an idea a minute including some ridiculous ones. Hard times people. At least Pure Orange is still mostly sane. Although there is a good discussion about how evil the CPD is.

I know why you want to fix it. I feel the same way. You think this team should be better at this point. Cut down on the mistakes and were at least 4-1, right? Maybe. Maybe not.

Well, what can we do Beaver Nation? The only thing I know is to bring it again on Saturday. Wear orange, and yell loud. We helped last week with many false starts. And that's all we can do this week.

Go Beavs

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