The California Golden Blogs has a nice post and subsequent discussion thread about Coach Tedford's play calling. I started to write a short comment and ended up throwing in a few more thoughts. Head on over there to check it out.
[edit: Actually I'll throw in my comments here as well. Still you guys should check out the write up.]
A few things to add/consider:
If we’re using our annual matchup against USC to highlight our offense and playcalling, I think it’s important to look at last year’s game to illustrate why play calling was not the primary reason we lost.
Was play calling a factor? Absolutely. Having Jahvid run the direct snap (much to the ire of Ken Crawford) on 3rd down on our opening drive after successfully running the ball previously was unnecessarily risky, and killed the drive.
Lofting the ball over the middle knowing full well that our receivers were getting their heads nearly knocked off by Taylor Mays and company didn’t do much to build any offensive cohesion.
But if anything, I think last year’s game served to validate Tedford’s offensive philosophy, which I sincerely think is about getting down to the basics, and executing on the fundamentals. We really should not have won the game (obviously we didn’t), but we absolutely could have with our defense holding the Trojans to 10 points going into the 4th (even with Turner’s bs “TD” catch). I believe he walked away knowing that he and his staff had for the most part game planned well enough for the game, but saw the team was hurt by a lack of execution.
8 penalties for 50 yards. A game-tying TD called back on a penalty. A beat up offensive line. 3 trips into Trojan territory in the 3rd quarter alone that resulted in 0 points.
I don’t think Tedford walked away thinking, “man, we should have tried a few more creative or trick plays. I could have gotten in Cignetti’s ear about getting more agressive with the play calling.”
Rather, I think it was more of "You can’t beat yourself in situations, have penalties, get a touchdown called back, especially when you play a defense like that." And that’s an exact quote.
In sum, I’m in agreement about not needing to rely on creative play calling. Stick in there when it makes sense (if that statement even makes sense), but I believe that we can beat the cream of the conference’s crop if we’re healthy and we execute.