There are some things that happen in a football game that a coach may notice more than a fan. Unfortunately for Cal special teams coach Jeff Genyk, his unit's negative plays this season have been blatant enough for the fan in the cheapest of seats to notice.
There have been some positive developments on Cal special teams, most notably Brendan Bigelow's 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday against Presbyterian. But it's hard to ignore three missed PATs (and two others that just slipped past an upright), a blocked punt allowed and a number of shallow kickoffs.
Genyk says there have been other positives in terms of fundamentals and technique, but the bottom line is the Bears need to clean some things up as they embark on their Pac-12 schedule Saturday at Washington.
"It's very rare that you come away from 35, 40 plays and have it all be perfect," Genyk said. "I think it's kind of the nature of the beast. You're constantly in an improvement mode."
Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio had his first two extra-point attempts of the season blocked during Cal's season-opening win over Fresno State. He had another blocked the following week at Colorado, and two others just squeaked past the right upright. Saturday, Presbyterian's Justin Bethel blocked a punt by Cal's Bryan Anger and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.
Tavecchio also struggled to kick off the infield dirt at AT&T Park and was forced to squib kick for most of the game. On the positive side, Tavecchio made all nine of his PAT attempts Saturday.
Tavecchio has had his share of dark moments at Cal. He missed pivotal fourth-quarter field goals last season against Arizona and Oregon.
"When I think of Giorgio, I think of perseverance," Genyk said. "He's had some difficult things happen, and he's been able to respond. Obviously, last year he had some tough games against Arizona and Oregon and comes back and makes a 53-yarder and (47)-yarder against Washington. What I'm hopeful of is the fact that all those experiences will hopefully assure him that under pressure he can really concentrate on the execution and not all the external environment issues."
Cal (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at Washington (2-1, 0-0), 12:30 p.m. CSNBA