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California Bears Preview: Part II - Defense and Special Teams

Clancy Pendergrast brought NFL pedigree to the Bears (6 years as NFL DC), and their aggressive defense has already gathered 18 sacks and 54 tackles for loss.  However, the numbers do not seem to add up to the games that I've seen.

Cal's total defensive numbers are skewed somewhat because of the amount of yards given up to Colorado (582, mostly through the air) and Oregon (563, mostly on the ground), and the lack of yards given up to FCS Presbyterian (48 total yards).

Cal also gathered 5 of their against Presbyterian and 6 more against Fresno St.  They also had 21 of their 54 tackles for loss against those two opponents.  That isn't to say that their defense isn't good.  In fact, Cal looked very good in the first half of the Oregon game, and they demolished Utah last week, holding Norm Chow's offense to 178 yards with only 13 rushing yards, as well as gathering 4 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.  Rather, Cal's defense is very talented and plays well with momentum.


Defensive Line

Cal plays with a three man front, and each of the lineman brings very good size.  Nose Aaron Tipoti (6-2, 295, Jr.*) is the key to the line.  Tipoti is very talented, but he has fought injuries his entire career at Cal.  He missed the Presbyterian game, but he has otherwise played in every game.  Kendrick Payne (6-2, 285, Jr.*) backes up Tipoti, but he is oft injured as well.  He fought a shoulder injury during the entire 2010 season, but he does appear healthy this year.

At ends, Trevor Guyton (6-3, 280, Sr.) and Ernest Owusu (6-5, 270, Sr.*) have been very good.  Owusu has already eclipsed last year's production with 3 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, while Guyton is well on his way to exceeding last season's numbers with 3 sacks and 6 tackles for loss.  Mustafa Jalil (6-2, 285, Fr.) and Deandre Coleman (6-5, 315, So.*) will back up Guyton and Owusu.


ILB Mychal Kendricks (6-0, 240, Sr.) is the clear leader of the defense.  He is one of the top overall defenders in the country.  He leads the team with 53 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss.  He will be backed up by J.P. Hurrell (5-11, 220, Jr.*), but don't expect to see Kendricks off the field very often.  He is a true three down linebacker, and is a very good pass defender.

The other ILB spot is manned by D.J. Holt (6-1, 242, Sr.*).  It is easy to overlook Holt because of Kendricks, but Holt is extremely talented as well.  He has 52 tackles, including 5 tackles for loss.  Holt is backed up by Robert Mullins (6-0, 225, Jr.*).

On the outside, Cal starts a pair of freshmen.  Chris McCain (6-6, 233, Fr.) and David Wilkerson (6-2, 240, Fr.*)  beat out Ryan Davis (6-4, 250, Sr.*) and Dan Camporeale (6-3, 240, So.*), but all four will see time on Saturday. 


Safety Sean Cattouse (6-3, 218, Sr.*) is the star of the secondary.  He is third on the team with 32 tackles and adds 2 interceptions on the year.  He's backed up by fellow senior C.J. Moncrease (6-1, 215, Sr.*).

At the other safety spot, D.J. Campbell (6-0, 205, Sr.*) has performed well in his first year starting.  He is fourth on the team with 31 tackles, trailing Cattouse by only a single tackle, and also adds an interception.  He's backed up byMichael Coley (5-11, 202, Fr.*).

At corner, Cal starts Marc Anthony (6-2, 200, Jr.*) and Steve Williams (5-10, 185, So.*) with Josh Hill (5-10, 202, Jr.*) at Nickel.   Stefan McClure (5-11, 188, Fr.) will also see time.  All four corners have good size, and opposing offenses are only completing 55.7% of their passes against the unit.  On the other hand, Cal's aggressive Cover 1/Cover 0 scheme does open itself to big plays, and opponents are averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.

Special Teams

Placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio (5-10, 178, Sr.) is 11/13 on the season on field goal attempts and punter Bryan Anger(6-4, 208, Sr.*) is averaging 44.47 yards per punt.  Cal has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, but they did give up a punt return touchdown to Presbyterian.

Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen handle the punt return duties, and kickoff return duties are split between Coleman Edmond (5-11, 205, Sr.*) and Brendan Bigelow (5-10, 180, Fr.).

That concludes the California Bears preview.  Fire away with any additional comments.