Early tests

As Cal prepared for Arizona this week, it struck me that the Bears’ defense has been really tested early on. So far, two of their three opponents have ran the no-huddle against them for the entire game. One of them, Louisiana Tech, threw just about everything an offense can at Cal. Now, with Arizona on Saturday and Oregon next week, the Bears will have to contend with the spread offense in each of the next two games.

I asked a couple of the defensive players about it and they admitted it’s been a grind. But they also say it will help them down the road.

“It shows that our defense is resillient and we know how to adjust on the fly,” free safety Thomas DeCoud said. “To get these kind of tests early in the season to see where we are and to see what we need to do to get better will help us later in the season. We’ll become a better defense because of it.”

Facing these offenses is even more challenging when you consider the Bears have had to plug some key holes on defense. Cal basically has a brand new defensive line and lost other key defensive players like Desmond Bishop, Mickey Pimentel and Daymeion Hughes.

“Especially coming in as a young group, you have teams running the no-huddle and it’s fast paced,” defensive lineman Tad Smith said. “It definitely accelerates the learning experience.”

Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory essentially admitted that more and more teams are getting away from “traditional” offenses and moving more in the direction of what the Bears have seen so far this season.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • CalAlum97

    I, for one, think that the Bears defense has done an outstanding job this season. Sure they’ve given up some sustained drives in each of the games, but they’ve had some outstanding red zone and goal line stands…bend but don’t break defense! And when you stop and consider how new these guys are to their roles and the different styles of offense they’ve faced, you’ve got to give them even more credit. They have some growing to do, but I think they’ll only get better as the season progresses…ending up one of the top-ranked Ds in the nation. Just watch!

  • JBear

    They’ve certainly done a much better job getting into the backfield and disrupting and sacking the QB than last year. Very encouraging for a young line. Even after 2 went down last week, the replacements didn’t miss a beat!

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