UCLA brings its high-powered defensive line into Berkeley with the hope of shutting down Marshawn Lynch along with beating up quarterback Nate Longshore. Defensive ends Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis are at the top of the Pac-10 sack list and defensive tackle Kevin Brown is a load. That being said, I would expect Cal’s passing game to break out on Saturday. The Bears’ offensive line has shown that it can handle a big time rush, and considering the Bruins will load up against the running attack, we probably will see a lot of short passes to loosen things up.
Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins probably won’t play due to a sprained ankle, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see junior Sam DeSa have a big game. DeSa has been through a lot lately, losing his dad, and I know that everyone in his family and his extended family (the team) is pulling for him. Keep an eye on No. 86.
Cal’s passing game looked very sharp in practice this week and it might be noted that DeSean Jackson hasn’t scored in a couple of games. He is due. Look for a big game from him as well.
Saturday’s story in the Contra Costa Times will deal with special teams since last year’s game was such a nightmare. Of all the coaches on Jeff Tedford’s staff, Pete Alamar has drawn the most criticism. But look at these numbers
Punting Andrew Larson No. 21 in nation at 42.69.
Punt returns DeSean Jackson No. 11 at 14.29.
Punt returns as a team, Cal No. 21 at 13.37
Kickoff returns, Cal third in Pac-10 at 21.9.
Net punting, Cal first in Pac-10 at 38.8
Punt return average, Cal second in Pac-10, 13.37.
Field goals, Cal 7 of 8
Extra Points, Cal 36 of 36