What They're Saying: Post Cal Edition

A LACKLUSTER OFFENSE, another stout defensive performance and Washington State's ongoing lack of success on the road were recurring themes in several tabloid recaps of the Cougars' 20-17 fall at Berkeley on Saturday. With quips, quotes and takes on WSU's choice to go for three instead of six late in the contest, Alex Brink's struggles and more; from Tacoma to San Jose, here's what they're saying.

Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, a Washington State graduate, is among a group of logical candidates for the Cougars' head coaching job if Bill Doba is fired, which has been the subject of widespread speculation on the Internet. Gregory's first job interview - a 20-17 win over the Cougars - was nearly flawless. Rusty Simmons, The San Francisco Chroncile

You can debate whether, on fourth-and-seven, the Cougars should have opted for a field goal to cut the deficit to 13-9, but its defense had played well enough in the second half to believe it would get the ball back, needing only a touchdown to shock the Bears. Of course, it didn't work out that way; Cal scored to ice it. But, if you were with the Cougars at Wisconsin, if you were with them at USC, you know that even a debate over a coach's choice in the last six minutes represents progress. Bud Withers, Seattle Times

The moment sat there, waiting for Alex Brink to seize it, to win a game the Washington State Cougars maybe weren't supposed to win, especially in a hostile environment. The opportunity was there to salvage the Cougars' fleeting bowl aspirations with a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter, a situation most quarterbacks have rehearsed in their heads. But they have to do it on the field, too – and WSU did not against California on Saturday night in front of 55,711 at Memorial Stadium. Todd Milles, The (Tacoma) News Tribune

The Cougars wasted a second straight week of sterling play by their much-maligned defense when WSU's highly touted offense sputtered most of the night at historic Memorial Stadium.Howie Stalwick, The Olympian

By scuffling around offensively against a last-place team that is winless on the road the Bears did not regain national prominence and probably did not regain their confidence. The result was more of a relief than an ego builder. Jake Curtis, The San Francisco Chroncile

In a game with fourth-quarter fireworks, the Cougars exploded too late.Craig Smith, Seattle Times

Cal's offense couldn't decide if it liked being on the field or not in the first half. If the Bears weren't compiling their two longest scoring drives of the season, they were going three-and-out or turning it over. Luckily for Cal, the defense made sure it didn't matter what the offense was doing by shutting down the Cougars and their high-powered passing game.Jonathan Okanes, The (San Jose) Mercury News

WSU faced a fourth-and-7 from the 12 with about 6 minutes left, and head coach Bill Doba decided to go with the field goal. "We talked about it and decided to go with the field goal," Doba said. "If it was later in the game, then obviously we would have gone for it, but the field goal got us within four and all we have to do is score (to win)." Vince Grippi, Spokesman-Review

A backup Washington State tight end made himself hard to ignore Saturday night. Devin Frischknecht, a 6-foot-3, 256-pound junior, caught three passes for 31 yards, and they all contributed to field-goal drives. He had a fourth-down catch for 6 yards on one drive and back-to-back catches of 12 and 14 yards on another. Craig Smith, Seattle Times

The Bears have won three consecutive in the series against Washington State, including last year, when Cal won in the Palouse for the first time since 1979. In that win, the Cougars managed just 14 first downs and were 0-for-11 on third-down conversions. It was more of the same this time around. Washington State finished with 17 first downs (five in the first half) and converted just 4-of-16 third downs. Rusty Simmons, The San Francisco Chroncile

But, one week into November of a tepid season, something else has happened to WSU that might be more unlikely. Since an awful 53-7 loss at Oregon three weeks ago, the Cougars (3-6) have looked increasingly like a real football team. Bud Withers, Seattle Times

It's difficult to figure out Brink's struggles against Cal. After debuting against the Bears with a 240-yard, five-TD outing in 2005 (a 42-38 loss), it was almost eight quarters against the Bears before his next scoring pass – an 18-yard strike to Charles Dillon with 19 seconds to go. Todd Milles, The (Tacoma) News Tribune

Big plays were hard to come by for the Cal offense in Saturday's contest. Washington State kept the Bears big play receivers – Lavelle Hawkins, DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan – in check, not allowing a passing plays of longer than 19 yards. Gerald Nicado, Daily Californian

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