Zack Follett was recently quoted diagnosing some of the problems Cal faced last year. I do not know if his views represent the entire team – in fact, most of the reports say the team was fractured – but they are troubling never the less. Bud Whithers of The Seattle Times quoted Follett saying, “We’ve been hearing the same thing the past two years . . .when I was a freshman, they promised [the improvements] were going to be here, and they promised it last camp [in 2007]. I’m never going to see it.” Follett also said “We had too many individuals on the team last year” and “You’d see guys walk by on campus [last year], and they wouldn’t even talk to each other. That’s how our team was.”
None of this is that newsworthy but it does point to a growing sense of frustration that surrounded the program last year and continues to dog them today. Most of these guys were promised word class facilities they never came. They endured an epic collapse last year. And, until this year, apparently the offense rarely spoke with the defense. That was a recipe for disaster and the make no mistake, the seeds still exist for similar frustration in 2008.
That is not to say Cal will lose 6 out of their last 7 games and they will probably not finish 7-6. However, while Tedford named Riley the starter against Michigan State, the quarterback situation is still not settled. We still do not know how effective the defense will be against the run. We also have suffered yet another setback in court, continuing the injunction at least well into September.
All of this, I believe, points to a make or break year for Cal football. They don’t need to go to a BCS game, but they do need to improve upon last year’s record, they can’t finish so poorly, they can’t let team chemistry fracture any further, and the SAHPC construction has to begin within the next twelve months if Tedford is to stay and if we have any chance of continuing to put together top notch recruiting classes.