Bumped. Anyone else want to discuss their trip to the Farm and what you saw in person? This would be the thread. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
Saturday morning began fairly uneventfully at a Bay Area coffee-torium around 7 am. I don't drink coffee, but my wife's been away on biz all week and agreed to go to the 'Furd game, so a shot of java for her was the least I could do. This would set the tone for the day.
I awaited my turn among the jumpy, jonesing masses of jittery bikers, joggers, loners and douchy tree fans (sorry for the redundancy), and learned that it was Homecoming for our elitist Pen-insulary foes. Traffic in the area would be worse for this game because of the 12:30 starting time, combined with the typical alumni B.S. you find at away games that are actually played on the campus of the opponent. The lead tree fan (looking very much the snooty $UC fan, differing only in perceived integrity) suggested to his tree posse that they take Embarcadero to the venue because standard Furdian traffic control protocol apparently is designed to provide the most efficient ingress to the House that Luck Built. Well, for any of you who were there, the traffic plan and campus streets must have been layed out by Berkeley civil engineers to intentionally stymie their enemies, because by the time we navigated through the morasse of cones, illegally parked and scurried to the Stadium, the first quarter had ended and we had missed one of the only two productive drives of the game.
Embittered for being late, but feeling reasonably well with an 0-3 deficit (not having seen how we completely choked the first drive away and, in turn, gave Stanford those 3 points), I settled into my StubHub seats in Section 118 (the other side of the end zone from where our boisterous, and tremendously supportive brethren - who I understand from tWWL and other media outlets are bad "travelers" - were collected) and witnessed first-hand the following veritable cornucopia of epic failures from the bottom to the top, to wit:
1. First, the Equipment Manager failed – Can anyone recall the last time our guys either tripped or fell untouched by the opposition on so many occasions? When your team kicks up more divots than Seabiscuit or Phil Mickelson playing right-handed for charity, someone needs to make the call to change cleats/equipment at the half . . . if you can't cut, you can't block or run, and you open up greater injury potential for the guys in the trenches (all of which played out). FAIL
2. Second, the players didnt execute – I dont want to harp on the D, because they played solidly but for the missed pic-6 and the failure on this week’s "greatest catch in history." Hundley was his undecided self (even his major is listed as "Undeclared" but I digress). I also understand there were key injuries on the O-Line, where I thought we were "so deep." I really like Brendel, but he needs to meet with Steve Sax on how to make that simple throw to first base. If he can’t do it, bring in Hulik, Quessenberry, Marsh (since he goes both ways), Fox71, or our guy who gets a scholie solely for long-snapping . . . I don’t care who it is, but you can’t run an up-tempo offense with bad footing and an inability to snap the ball cleanly. FAIL
3. The playcalling was . . . well . . . offensive – In Mazzone’s defense, his son is a decent receiver . . . I wonder if he rooms with Bryce Alford . . . but Grayson's dad has proven to be more stubborn than Ben Howland on Father’s Day. Mazzone, you over-paid milquetoast, when the game plan is to establish the run, but its not happening, open the effing playbook . . . this isn’t Nevada, and you don’t need to save the plays (and players) for future opponents. If the offense isn’t scoring, maybe try a different scheme during the game just for shits and giggles . . . you could at least consider putting Westbrook on Rose. But again, with bad cleats, awful execution and constant false starts, it must be pretty difficult to run Mazzone's "no huddle" brilliance when there is absolutely no flow to a stagnant offense. FAIL
4. Mora was asleep at the wheel – After
Mazzone’s playcalling Hundley’s scrambling willed us to the promised land to cut the lead to 7, Mora gathered the entire team together for a Q4 pep talk that seemed to fire everyone up. Thereafter, Hundley gets chased from the pocket, fails to run, and gets bailed out because Shaq is open 4 yards in front of him (and right in front of us). There was nothing crisp about that play, whether or not it worked as intended, but, nonetheless, its 17-10 with 14+ minutes to go. Our defense stops them, and we’ve got both the ball and Big Mo on our side. Things are looking up . . . well, at least I was looking up to pray for a TD. What happened thereafter is a blur . . . we had a First and 71 that went nowhere because Hundley either would not or could not throw the ball down the field. Defense holds again after Gaffney burns a ton of clock. We get the ball back with 3:45 or so to go . . . First and 79 this time . . . Duarte trips/falls/picks a dandelion at a bad time/whatever, the pass sails into the waiting hands of a lucky DB, and the rest really doesn’t matter. FAIL
I’m looking forward to the Oregon game . . . it will be much easier getting coffee for my wife, because she's a duck alum. In fact, I’m glad Oregon finished business and won a game with nearly 200 offensive plays because I’d rather not hear all week about how hungry they’ll be after a loss when UCLA comes to town battered, bruised and simply embarrassed.