The California Bears have limped to a 1-4 start, but they've played Ohio St., Southern Cal, and Arizona St. in the young season and are probably much better than their record. They are led by Head Coach Jeff Tedford, the winningest coach in Cal history, and although the rumor mill has been swirling about the possibility of a regime change, it's somewhat doubtful that the program can find someone with Tedford's pedigree.
As mentioned, Jeff Tedford is Cal's winningest head coach of all-time. Tedford's Midas Touch with quarterbacks may not have worked since Aaron Rodgers left for the NFL, but the Bears still have a complex passing game that is capable of a big game at any time.
Defensively, Cal is led by Clancy Pendergast. Pendergast is in his third season at Cal. His 3-4 defense has been inconsistently successful in the past, but the Bears have yet to hold a team to under 27 points this season. In fact, they are currently 86th in the country in points allowed, giving up just over 30 points per game. They're also 83rd in rushing defense, 86th in passing defense, and 82nd in total defense.
The offense is coordinated by Jim Michalczik, who is in his second year as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. The Bears are rushing for over 170 yards per game, but the offensive line is not getting the job done. Cal is currently ranked last in the nation in sacks allowed and tackles for loss allowed with 24 and 44, respectively.
The key to Cal's offense is completing a high percentage of passes, but it's an area where Cal really struggles. Cal starts Zach Maynard (6'2, 190, Sr.) at quarterback, but Maynard is completing 57.6% of his passes for 210.6 ypg. He has thrown 5 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. He is a very athletic quarterback, but his stats don't show it due to the fact that he's been sacked 24 times already this season.
Allan Bridgford (6'3, 212, Jr.) backs up Maynard. Bridgford has a cannon for an arm, but he struggles with accuracy like Maynard. On the season, Bridgford is is only 2 of 9. He played in 4 games last season, but completed only 40.6% of his passes.
Cal has a pretty strong stable of running backs that are all capable of putting up big numbers. The starter is Isi Sofele (5'8, 190, Sr.), who may only be averaging 66 ypg, but he is a very capable runner. He rushed for over 1300 yards last season and scored 10 touchdowns.
C.J. Anderson (5'11, 215, Sr.) will back up Sofele. He has 36 carries to Sofele's 68, but he is averaging 6.53 ypc.
Of course, the defense also has to keep an eye on Brendan Bigelow (5'10, 190, So.). Bigelow didn't touch the ball last week against Arizona St., but some of you may recall his fantastic runs against Ohio St. where he nearly single handedly brought the Bears back. Coach Tedford has indicated that Bigelow will factor into the gameplan this week.
Eric Stevens (6'0, 242, Sr.) starts at FB and is backed up by Dasarte Yarnway (6'0, 220, Jr.). Stevens is primarily used as a lead blocker, but he has carried the ball 6 times and has 3 receptions and cannot be completely ignored.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Keenan Allen (6'3, 205, Jr.) and Bryce Treggs (5'11, 175, Fr.) form the starting pair of receivers. Allen has 33 receptions for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns this season and is a legitimate high first round draft pick. Treggs was one of the top recruits at his position, choosing Cal over UCLA. On the year, he has 12 catches for 167 yards and 1 touchdown. These are not the type of receivers that can be covered one on one, and UCLA will have to adjust, especially with regard to Allen.
Chris Harper (6'0, 170, Fr.) and Darius Powe (6'3, 212, Fr.) are next in line at receiver. Harper has 17 catches for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Powe only has 2 catches for 44 yards.
At tight end, Cal starts Richard Rodgers (6'4, 265, So.) and will also use Jacob Wark (6'4, 255, So.). Wark has 5 catches for 58 yards, while Rodgers has 3 catches for 28 yards. Their real value is in the running game, and both of them are very capable blockers.
As noted above, Cal's offensive line has really struggled at pass blocking this year, having already given up 24 sacks. Simply looking at the statistics do not show if the quarterback is hanging on to the ball too long or whether the line isn't holding their blocks, but a number that high would indicate that it's a little bit of both. The line struggles haven't been limited to the passing game, either. While the team is averaging over 170 yards on the ground, they have also given up 44 tackles for loss.
The only returning starters are Brian Schwenke (6-4, 300, Sr.), who moved from LG to C, and RT Matt Summers-Gavin (6-4, 295, Sr.). Filling out the right side is RG, Chris Adcock (6-3, 300, So.) who backed up Schwenke last season at LG.
On the left side, Cal starts a pair of brothers in LT Tyler Rigsbee (6'5, 290, Sr.) and LG Jordan Rigsbee (6'4, 306, Fr.). The two hail from the same high school as former Bear Aaron Rodgers, Pleasant Valley in Chico, Ca, and except a single playoff game in high school, the two have never played on the same offensive line before this season.
That concludes Part I of the California Golden Bears preview. Fire away with any additional comments, and be sure to check back in tomorrow where we'll preview the Bears' defense and special teams.