Originally Posted by LethalFang
In 2008, if I remember the stat correctly, Cal had 26th ranked defense in the nation. Nothing to write home about.
Correct. That same year, Cal was 47th ranked in offense.
Gregory's defense (when working), by design, traded yards and FGs for TDs. So it's misleading to look at overall defensive ranking, without considering scoring rank. (I don't think it's reasonable to look JUST at scoring defense, but it should certainly be considered).
Here's the team rankings for Total Offense, Total Defense, and Scoring Defense for 2004-2008 (2009 isn't not available and the D was awful last year anyway) from http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/natlRank....rdef&site=org:
2004 5th, 24th, 8th
2005 26th, 46th, 26th
2006 12th, 91st, 32nd
2007 50th, 58th, 58th
2008 47th, 26th, 23rd
In 2004, in Cal's only regular season loss to USC, Cal gave up only one TD and three FG through three quarters, with the final tally being 23 points. That USC team scored an average of 38 points a game while giving up an average of 13 points a game, finished the year undefeated, and is considered one of the best teams of the last 20-30 years. Cal's offense scored 17 points. I'd be hard pressed to pin this loss on the defense.
Obviously, the Texas Tech loss stung. We were badly undermotivated and outcoached in that game, and the D looked slow and befuddled pretty much the entire second half. I'd call this Gregory's worst game, until...
In 2006, there was the Tennessee game. Well, the whole team melted down there, and we never had any shot of winning the game. Who knows what might have happened if the D hadn't given up those three quick TD's to start the 3rd quarter, though. Losing Mixon and putting a green Syd with cast in his place was devastating.
We then lost to Arizona 24-17, with the defense giving up 17 points. NL was 17/36 1TD 3INT including a pick six for the winning margin. The offense scored a grand total of 10 points (DJ scored a PR TD). Yeah, I can't really pin that loss on the defense.
Then there's the USC game. Cal held USC (who averaged just over 30 points a game that year) to 9 points through three quarters, and 23 for the game. We scored a measly 7 points on offense; the defense had a safety for the final tally of 9. Can't really pin that loss on the defense either.
I'm not going to try and defend 2007-2009. For one, particularly toward the end of that timespan, I can't. 2008 was a blip in the middle of a bad and awful year, respectively. For two, I don't have enough time to keep going. And frankly, it's too depressing, because even with better defense the offense wasn't good enough to get us a shot at a Rose Bowl (unlike 2004 and 2006 where we came within a you-know-what hair of going).
Gregory had some pretty good defenses over the years, despite all of the hand-wringing on the board. I wish him well, and I look forward to what Clancy Pendergast does with the defense moving forward.