As Cal prepares to face Oregon State on Saturday in search of its first Pac-12 win this season, we caught up with Angie Machado from BeaverBlitz.com who gives us insight on the Beavs.
1. How much pressure do you expect OSU to bring against a true freshman QB?
Machado: I expect we see Oregon State try to bring some pressure to Goff, but that then leaves some pretty talented wide receivers open. The Beavers have done a pretty good job disguising blitz packages so far this season, especially when they throw in a safety blitz with Oakland native Ryan Murphy.
That said, the Beaver defense has struggled at times this season and the first order of business against Cal ought to be playing sound defense and wrapping up on their tackles.
2. If Cal doesn't get any pressure on Mannion, is there any chance he doesn't throw for 500 yards?
Machado: Mannion has had monster numbers this season for two reasons. First, he has so many options in the passing game from wide receivers, running backs and tight ends. Second, and maybe more importantly he has had to.
The Beavers have not been able to find much of a run game to speak of, putting the burden squarely on Mannion's shoulders. Yes, Cal fans have all heard of Brandin Cooks, but double team Cooks and that will leave Richard Mullaney, Kevin Cummings, or one of the tight ends open. Over the past two games, the Beavers have been able to open things up a bit more by using the fly sweep and the screen game as well.
3. How did you guys lose to an FCS team???
Machado: Vernon Adams. The quarterback from Eastern Washington was unstoppable all day for the Beaver defense. Seriouslyâ€¦the Beaver defense forced one punt from the Eagles all game, and that came on the series that Adams was out of the game with cramping.
The Oregon State defense truly struggled to do anything right. They took poor angles, they didn't wrap up their tackles, and they were in the wrong lanes. It was a recipe for disaster and really hurt momentum.
4. Do you know where the closest In-n-Out is to Berkeley?
Machado: I asked Siri and it looks like there is an In-n-Out Burger right on the way to Oakland Airport on Oakport St., should the Beavers escape Memorial Stadium with a win.
5. Do both your tight ends play on Saturday? How much might that affect this offense, if at all?
Machado: I only expect Connor Hamlett to sit out this weekend. Caleb Smith has been suiting up and there wasn't a lot of concern. Hamlett is a loss as he has very sure hands and is tough to bring down. Besides Smith, watch for Dustin Stanton to receive reps at tight end too.
6. Steven Nelson's 5 INTs, how legit are they? Right place right time, or real-man takeaways?
Machado: Steven Nelson's interceptions have been legit. He's a junior college transfer originally committed to Georgia and after struggling some during the first game or two has really stepped up as a ball hawk. Teams throw to his side of the field often to stay away from senior Rashaad Reynolds, but since Nelson has been making them pay, quarterbacks have been spreading things out more, leading to Reynolds intercepting two passes against Washington State last week.
7. Brandin Cooks -- I'm assuming some teams have shadowed him and some have played him straight up. Has anything worked against him thus far?
Machado: Teams have tried everything to cover Cooks, and nothing has really worked. He has an uncanny ability to get open or make the tough catch even in double teams. He is a very gifted athlete who has blossomed this year for the Beavers.