After two games and a 1-1 start, it might be too early to say Bakersfield College football has reached the crossroads of its season.
But the Renegades, one season after winning the state championship and then seeing the title vacated, might be in that position.
BC is reeling after the most lopsided loss in head coach Jeff Chudy's 10-season head coaching career, 40-9 in last Saturday's home opener vs. longtime Southern California power Mount San Antonio.
The Renegades face another SoCal power today at 6 p.m. in undefeated Fullerton. The game will be played at Yorba Linda High.
"I've been here 21 years and have to be the guy in charge for the worst performance," Chudy said of last week's game.
"It was absolutely horrible. They came to play. They came in fired up. They'd just got beat (44-20 to Saddleback one week earlier) and we beat them in the deal (last season's postseason, 30-21).
"They were focused and dialed in. We weren't. And it showed."
Mount SAC's domination over BC's highly touted defense was perhaps the most shocking element of last Saturday's game.
The Mounties had 409 total yards, 259 on the ground. They led 27-0 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
BC's offense, meanwhile, struggled to move the ball consistently, something that started in the second half of the Renegades' season opening 24-9 win over Santa Ana a week earlier.
The only Renegade touchdown was a 40-yard drive in the second quarter. BC punted nine times and finished with 178 yards on offense.
The ground game struggled -- only 71 net yards. Freshman quarterback Derrik Martin is completing only 35 percent of his passes this season. He was 8-for-18 passing for 104 yards against Santa Ana and 8 for 28 for 107 yards against Mount SAC. He was also sacked four times and had four other quarterback hurries against the Mounties.
"We're concerned about it," Chudy said of the BC offense. "And we've got to do it against a very good (Fullerton) team. Their front-7 is extremely talented. ... We've got to block and protect. We did a horrible job of that last week."
What the BC coaching staff doesn't want to do is to lay the blame on the offense.
"It was a collective team effort," Chudy said. "We didn't play well. We didn't tackle well and we got beat up in the special teams and that never happens.
"Hopefully we can get back on the right track," Chudy added. "This is going to be a measuring stick to see how much has sunk into our guys and how much fire we've got."
"It's going to be a challenge for us and we've made it a challenge for ourselves."
The offensive line is banged up. Martin was hobbling in practice this week with a knee brace. And defensive lineman Clinton Carter, the heart-and-soul of the defense, is out for the rest of the season after suffering injuries to his medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee that will require surgery
Carter said he was injured against Santa Ana and got the results of an MRI before last Saturday's game. He played against Mount SAC but said he was so ineffective he has chosen season-ending surgery on Sept. 30.
"I just couldn't do anything," Carter said of last week's game.
Any personnel changes are prompted by injuries, not on-the-field struggles.
"These are the players we've got. There isn't anyone coming in off the waiver wire right now," Chudy said.
The coaching staff continues to work with the young squad and isn't panicking, offensive coordinator Carl Dean said.
"The biggest thing is to keep doing what we're doing," he said. "We're not going to re-invent the wheel. We believe in what we're doing. We've been successful with it.
"We have good coaches here and good players, good kids who want to get better.
"We've got to worry about ourselves, not worry about them. Hopefully we'll execute what we're asking them to do and hope we see things get better."
The players are working hard, Dean said. The hope is to see success on the field.
"There's a tradition here and they've got to step up to the plate and continue the tradition," Dean said. "It would be different if they didn't come to work every day and want to get better. But they do. We're proud of that."