After Cal's 35-0 loss to Utah on Saturday night, the cry could be heard throughout Berkeley, even in the areas where there was a power outage: When will Chase Garbers be back?
OK, Garbers' presence Saturday night might not have made much difference. The Utes ran through Cal's touted defense more easily than any team in the past two years.
But it's clear Cal needs Garbers back to have any semblance of an offense.
(Correction: In the video I said it was Cal's first shutout loss in a conference game since 1984; it was actually 1994 that the Bears lost to USC 61-0. Oh well, it's been quite a while.)
Garbers' injury should not be an excuse. USC is winning without its No. 1 quarterback, and Stanford was able to tread water for a while with its No. 2 quarterback until he too was injured. But K.J. Costello returned this weekend for the Cardinal, which suddenly looked dangerous again.
Cal's offense is such that, at this point, it needs Garbers to pose a scoring threat. He played the best game of his college career in the win over Mississippi in the fourth game, and was continuing that solid play in the first half against Arizona State until he got hurt.
In the 3 1/2 games since then Cal has totaled 34 points, which is fewer points than three Pac-12 teams average per game.
Maybe Garbers can't do for Cal what Costello can do for Stanford, but he would certainly help.
Spencer Brasch looks like he has potential, and he was placed in a nearly impossible situation Saturday night with a banged-up offensive line and facing one of the best defenses in the country on the road. But he may not be ready to win Pac-12 games.
So when will Chase Garbers be back?
Will it be in two weeks against Washington State following the bye week? Will it be the week after against USC? Will he be ready for the final two games against Stanford and UCLA?
Even if he does return, will he be able to regain his early-season rhythm after a long layoff?
A year ago at this time, Garbers was not such an important commodity. But his play against Mississippi and Arizona State and the Bears' offensive performances in the games after he got hurt show how critical he is this season.
Cal has given no timeline for his return. Maybe he'll be back, maybe he won't. Until then, Cal must hope Devon Modster gets healthy and/or that Brasch matures in a hurry.