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U.C. Berkeley Golden Bear Preview: The Two Keys To Defeating Cal's Coaching Strategies

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The Bruins will need to stop UC Berkeley's short, quick passing game and to establish the running game on offense if UCLA hopes to beat the Golden Bears.

The Bear Raid offense relies on short, quick passes and very little rushing.
The Bear Raid offense relies on short, quick passes and very little rushing.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

As the Bruins prepare to play the Golden Bears tonight at the Rose Bowl, let's look at UC Berkeley's Coaching Staff and Special Teams.

Coaching

The head coach of UC Berkeley is Sonny Dykes, who is in his third season with the Golden Bears. Dykes is in his sixth season as a head coach, having turned around Louisiana Tech prior to taking the Berkeley job. Before taking the reins at Louisiana Tech, Dykes was the offensive coordinator for Mike Stoops at Arizona and for Mike Leach at Texas Tech.

Dykes brings Leach's Air Raid offense with him, having renamed it the Bear Raid offense after the team's mascot. But, the name isn't the only innovative thing in this offense. It employs a blocking technique called "Vertical Set Pass Blocking" which moves the line of scrimmage back from the original line of scrimmage almost like a draw play.

The result is quick developing pass plays, meaning that the UCLA pass defense will need to play much tighter as opposed to lining up off the ball. UCLA's defense will have to stop the short, quick passes.

This type of blocking scheme doesn't result in a lot of rushing yards. The Golden Bears gained on 79 rushing yards against Washington State, which is good considering that the UCLA defense has been beaten the past two games by the running game. Hopefully, the linebackers and secondary will be able to stop the Cal passing game.

The Golden Bear offensive coordinator is Tony Franklin. Franklin has been running the same offensive system as Dykes since he became Dykes' offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech in 2010.

The Golden Bear defense is led by Art Kaufman who is in his second year at Berkeley. Kaufman runs a 4-2-5 defense with four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs. Looking at the stats from Cal's other games this season, it looks like the key to beating Cal is running the ball. Utah ran for 265 yards against the Cal defense and handed the Golden Bears their only loss so far, but Texas almost beat Cal and, not surprisingly, racked up almost 300 yards on the ground.

So, it will come down to the offensive line effectively allowing Paul Perkins to move the ball on the ground. If UCLA can control the line of scrimmage and run the ball well, look for a Bruin victory. If the game turns into a shootout between Cal QB Jared Goff and Josh Rosen, I expect Cal to win because the depleted UCLA defense could have a tough time stopping the Cal offense.

Special Teams

On special teams, sophomore kicker Matt Anderson looks like a typical college kicker who is starting for the first time. He is 6 for 9 on field goal attempts with a long of 41 yards and 26 for 27 on PATs.

The UC Berkeley punter is senior Cole Leininger, a four-year starter. He is averaging 41.5 yards per punt this season and 41.1 yards per punt over his college career. His long this season is 60 yards and his career long is 70 yards. Eleven of his seventeen punts this season have been fair catches and he has 1 touchback.

Trevor Davis is the Golden Bears' main kick returner. He doesn't appear to be much of a return threat due to the fact that his longest return of the season is only 28 yards against Washington State.

And, that wraps up our look at the Golden Bear coaching staff and special teams.

Go Bruins!!!

(This article was corrected to reflect the correct number of rushing yards Cal had against Washington State. It was 79, not 14.)