Intricate Colorado State Passing Game Has Williams Gunning for Quarterback
By Andrew Kim
During the Cal football team's 35-27 loss to Maryland, quarterback Kevin Riley often missed his targets early in the game. Whatever the case may have been--off throws, blown routes or simple miscommunication--Riley said during Tuesday's media luncheon that he and the wideouts have used the bye week to key in on their timing issues. Asked whether there have been improvements in those facets of the game, Riley answered: "Definitely." "You knew it was going to come more in games, like game situational things, and going live last week helps," he continued. "You know, you've got to go full speed or else it's not going to work live. Plus, going live against our defense is different than going against the scout team. I think we improved last week, and we just have to continue." Receiver LaReylle Cunningham, who led all Bears with seven receptions for 138 yards against the Terrapins, remained relatively mum when asked to reflect on his performance, saying he "really couldn't glorify (himself)" after a loss. But he also asserted that Riley and the wideouts have dedicated themselves to working out the kinks in their on-field chemistry. "That's what we've been out here practicing all week throughout this bye-week-just the timing, route running, getting everything fine-tuned," Cunningham said.
Rams' Offensive Scheme Has Cal Salivating
Coach Jeff Tedford and middle linebacker Worrell Williams agreed on at least one thing upon reviewing film of Colorado State: When the Rams do pass the ball, their wideouts tend to run intricate routes. "They look good," Tedford said about the Colorado State offense. "They stretch the defense very, very well. They double move you a lot, they keep you off-balance and the quarterback throws the ball down the field well." Tedford partially attributed that to the system brought on by new coach Steve Fairchild, who spent seven years in the NFL--mostly as an offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills--prior to joining the collegiate Rams in the offseason. "I think the (St. Louis) Rams were that type of team where they're down the field with deep digs, deep comebacks," Tedford said. "They run some routes that take a long time--switch routes, where they're switching stems and coming back in and quite a bit of that. You can see where there's some carryover from what he's done in the NFL." Williams, meanwhile, sees the thought-out Colorado State offense as a prime opportunity to get to the quarterback. He said he feels comfortable with the secondary and particularly cornerback Darian Hagan--who has returned a different player in 2008 after getting absolutely torched on a couple late plays during last year's 34-28 win over the Rams--and is looking forward to attacking the pocket. "We're gonna apply some pressure to him, that's what we're hoping," Williams said. "I don't know how we're gonna get there, or how that's going to come about, but definitely as a front seven, we're gonna try to apply a little bit of pressure. So if they tend to go downfield, we're gonna try to get after the quarterback a little bit."