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Opponent Offense Preview: Cal Golden Bears

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Have you heard about Cal’s Chase Garbers?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Cal at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cal Going Deep?

There is surprisingly a lot to like about Cal’s offense this year. After losses to Nevada and TCU, the Golden Bears rebounded with a victory last week over Sacramento State. The offense lead the way scoring 42 points. Through those three games, they are first in the conference in turnovers, first in rushing yards per attempt (6.1), and are converting nearly half of their 3rd downs. Overall, not too shabby from second year OC Bill Musgrave.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Cal at Stanford
The 6-4 Trevon Clark has been explosive for the Bears this year.
Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Perhaps the biggest change from recent iterations of this Cal attack is the more aggressive vertical passing game. Wide receivers Trevon Clark, Jeremiah Hunter, and Kekoa Crawford have excelled at getting behind defenses this year and Chase Garbers has done well finding them. Clark in particular has produced with 237 yards on just 10 catches. Meanwhile, the experienced Nikko Remigio takes care of things underneath from the slot.

Of course, everything runs through Chase Garbers who is without a doubt the leader of this offense and team. He is by far their highest rated player per PFF (84 pass, 76 run) and has continued to show smart decision making and more than enough mobility in the pocket. He isn’t a dynamic runner per se, but is great at avoiding the blitz and throwing on the move. Most importantly he’s tough as nails and has a strong command of the offense.

Moore Yards on the Ground

Despite going vertical more, Cal is still averaging a healthy 6.1 yards per carry, mostly thanks to Damien Moore’s 237 yards on forty one carries. The sophomore has surprised since arriving in Berkeley with his patience and ability to always get positive yards. He is Cal’s second highest rated player per PFF (79 overall) and already has five touchdowns in just three games. Chris Brooks (formerly Brown) had given UW a lot of trouble in the past with his bruising style, but has only eleven carries this season. That’s six less than quarterback Chase Garbers who is always a threat to take off when he sees green grass in front of him. He will convert many a third down this way.

Stanford v California Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Final Thoughts

Despite the experience leading the Golden Bears, they are an offense that has faded as games have worn on. Against both Nevada and TCU, they did not score a single point in the third quarter. They have typically started games fast with five first quarter touchdowns this year, and did rebound against Sacramento State last week. Expect them to test the Husky safeties early to try and beat them over the top. As terrific as the secondary has been, the safety position isn’t quite settled for the Huskies. If the are stuck patrolling deep all game, Damien Moore could gash the Husky front seven.

Of course all of this is mitigated by getting to Chase Garbers in the backfield, who has proven frustratingly difficult to corral in the past. Cal is not allowing many tackles for loss and Garbers has only been sacked 4 times in three games, so it will be critical to frustrate this offense by not allowing them to complete any deep passes.

Poll

How many points will Cal score?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    0-7
    (6 votes)
  • 11%
    8-15
    (38 votes)
  • 43%
    16-22
    (141 votes)
  • 30%
    23-28
    (97 votes)
  • 6%
    29-35
    (21 votes)
  • 5%
    More than 35
    (18 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now