What Happened To The California Golden Bears Running Game?
When the California Golden Bears took the field today against the Nevada Wolfpack, it was rather shocking that Allan Bridgford and Zach Maynard threw a combined 39 times while there were only 22 runs plays called.
Bridgford had gotten the start due to Jeff Tedford disciplining Maynard for missing a tutoring session over the summer. In the four series he was in, he went 2-9 for six yards. Yet, the Bears only ran the football four times. A dead ball penalty on one of the runs pushed the Bears backwards.
What was interesting was that senior running back C.J. Anderson was in the backfield. He ended the game with just 14 carries for 66 yards, good for a 4.7 yards per carry average, a long of 12 and he fumbled once and he had once catch for 12 yards.
In 2011, he carried the ball 72 times for 345 yards and eight touchdowns and he also had seven catches for 186 yards and a touchdowns.
The question that came to mind is: what was going on with Isi Sofele? He did carry the ball five times for just 21 yards and had a long of five yards and caught three passes for 33 yards, including a long of 17, where he made a spectacular catch against a Nevada linebacker.
Sofele was the Bears starting running back in 2011 and he carried the ball 252 times for 1,322 yards, good for a 5.2 yards per carry average, plus he had a long of 56 and scored 10 touchdowns. In the passing game he was hardly used as he caught six passes for 33 yards.
With an inexperienced quarterback in Bridgford and two experienced running backs, it did not make sense for so many passing plays to be called even if it meant Nevada’s defense was playing for the run. Sofele and Anderson needed to be used more and there is no excuse for Tedford not to get the ball in the hands of a running back who had more than 1,300 yards rushing the season before. It’s not shocking to find out that five out of their first seven possessions with the football resulted in a punt.
It also would have been beneficial to run more so the defense could rest as Nevada’s offense employs a fast pace offense.
Next Saturday, the Bears face Southern Utah and need to make an effort of getting the running game going before their Sept. 15 road meeting with Ohio State.