Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trojan Football Analysis: Cal Has Top Rushing Unit in Pac-10 Over Past Six Years

Here’s the link.



Normally when Cal Bears head coach Jeff Tedford's name is mentioned in the national press it is done in conjunction with the passing game and the impressive number of successful QB's he has developed at the college level. Trent Dilfer, Billy Volek, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller, and Aaron Rodgers are among his QB's that have gone onto the NFL as early draft picks. True the QB's have not produced much in the NFL as of yet but Coach Tedford and staff have certainly maximized their talents in the collegiate ranks.


Rarely however do I hear the name of Tedford or his staff mentioned in conjunction with their rushing attack in the national news media. Usually the comments center around the QB's and the Cal passing game or some vague comment about Tedford's noted "play calling" ability. Oddly the more credited Cal passing attack is only ranked 7th in the Pac-10 over the same stretch of time averaging around 237 yards per game while the rush attack has ranked consistently near the top position.


What makes the Cal Bears rush attack so successful? Tight Ends Coach Pete Alamar outlined several success factors in a presentation given some time ago to high school coaches. Here are just some of the reasons mentioned.


The Cal rush attack uses angle blocking and power run schemes highly effectively. The coaches believe this provides the best leverage and set of angles for linemen to attack the defense. There is not need to "out athlete" the defender. The blocking scheme makes it easier for technically sound yet not as athletic players to find success.


Also advantageous is the fact that the blocking rules carry over to multiple series of plays. The personnel, formation, and alignment may change however the blocking rules stay fairly constant. This allows for more repetition in practice which helps foster both technique and confidence.


In 2006 Cal went somewhat away from their power game and tried more spread formation sets with new offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar from Northwestern University. The experiment had mixed results and 2007 Cal went back to more 2 back style formations and 2 tight sets in 2007. Mike Dunbar moved onto a new coaching position with the University of Minnesota back in the Big 10 conference.


On the Cal power run plays overall the Bears reportedly averaged an impressive 9 yards per carry over a two season period from 2004-2005. The effectiveness of the play tailed off somewhat the past two years but I still suspect it still probably averaged over 6 yards per carry. Stopping this type of run play is key for any opponent that faces the Cal Bears.

No comments: