Utah vs Cal 2015: How Cal exploited Utah’s Defense

Let’s look at what made Cal successful against Utah’s defense instead of just looking at what went right for Utah.  It was interesting to see how Cal’s offense found success and what other teams may try to expose in the future.


Play action with the TE up the seam worked very well for Cal.

You’ll see that Tevin Carter got burned every time in the middle of the field.  Number 89 for Cal saw a lot of success against the Utes.  You’ll notice every one of these plays was setup with the play action as well, bringing the Linebackers up and then throwing over their heads.


Here’s the presnap look.

1stseam89 presnap


See the linebackers bite on the play action.



It was a heck of a throw, but Carter was a step or two behind 89.



Here is a 2nd route to 89 later in the 3rd quarter.  Again off play action and again in the middle of the field.

2ndseam89 2ndseam89d


Here is the 3rd seam route by 89 in the middle of the field off play action.


Here is the presnap look.



Linebackers again hesitate with the play action and Carter gets beat.





Wide Receiver come back screens.

This was another play that Cal found a lot of sucess with that they ran several times.

You’ll notice they let Utah’s D-line through so they could get more blockers downfield.  They setup a wall while they got the WR the ball.  With leaving the D-line unblocked they’re banking on the WR just out running the D-line and then everyone in the secondary is blocked.

On this particular play the WR just had one D-lineman to juke and then he had a lot of big guys out front to block.





Here is the same play just on the other side of the field.

The side they throw the pass on is the same side they let the D-line get through.



Again they create a nice wall for the WR.  He just has to out-speed D-linemen which will happen all day long.



Here is the last play I want to look at.  Jared Goff made one of the best throws I’ve seen this year.  He was pressured all night long, but watch how quickly he gets rid of this ball.


Here is the presnap look.  You can notice in the top right corner of the picture that Marcus Williams starts heading more toward the middle of the field.  With 3 WR on the bottom of the screen you can see why Williams is paying attention to that side of the field.  Goff recognizes this and knows if he gets rid of the ball quick enough that Marcus Williams won’t have time to recover to the other side of the field.

goff thow1


The WR is left one-on-one.  Butler has great coverage, but Goff understands no one is going to be over the top.  He delivers a beautiful ball where no one but the WR can get it.  Throws like this prove why Goff is a top NFL prospect.

goff throw2goff amazing throw


Utah is doing great ranked #4 in the country, but they still need improvement.  They need to be better about these in-game adjustments and see where they are consistently being beat.  Arizona State is another good test for this Utah defense.