Football: Ducks impressed by Goff, Golden Bears, but not terribly fearful of Cal’s tempo

Oregon is impressed by what Cal has achieved on offense this season, but the Ducks don’t seem concerned about the Bears’ fast pace.

“We’ve seen guys snap the ball fast before, and it’s not going to make our guys instantly uncomfortable,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich told reporters this week.

“You can see in some of these other games there’s teams that aren’t lined up or trying to substitute at the wrong time. Hopefully, that’s not something that throws us off too much.”

Oregon scores at a faster tempo than almost any team in the country, but Helfrich took notice of the Bears’ average of 94.7 plays per game.

“We can’t match that,” he said. “Hopefully our guys are used to playing up-tempo. Our communication, how we do those things different, hopefully pays off in a situation like this.”

One thing the Ducks are doing in practice this week is trying to simulate Cal’s tempo. Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti described as “ridiculous” the frantic pace in practice, where one play ends and a football is placed on the turf immediately for the next snap.

“In practice, you probably don’t even have 10 seconds in order to get ready for the next play,” safety Brian Jackson told the Register-Guard. “I’m pretty sure that a ref would spot it a little bit slower than that. I think we’ll be prepared.”

Aliotti, an East Bay native, believes the Ducks’ defensive depth will help allow them to stay fresh.

“Until the game goes, you don’t know, but if somebody can no-huddle us and tire us out, then more power to them,” Aliotti said. “Then we’re in a world of hurt. Both teams would be tired then.”

Helfrich heaped praise on Cal freshman quarterback Jared Goff during his Tuesday news conference.

“He’s a really good player and he’s in a great system where they complete a lot of short, quick passes,” Helfrich told the Oregonian. “Just getting the ball out of his hands, making it simple, and then they’ve got a couple guys on the end … (WR Bryce) Treggs can go up and get it, and a couple guys can go up and get it and create big plays outside.

“It’s a nice marriage of a really skilled guy who’s well coached.”

Helfrich said Goff’s youth doesn’t change the fact the Ducks know they must pressure the quarterback.

“It’s tough to play quarterback, it’s the toughest position in any sport and just the threat of guys looking like (6-foot-8 defensive tackle) Arik Armstead tackling you,” he said. “Part of that is effort and how we run and if we’re rushing three guys but it seems like four or five that’s great because now you can mess with the coverage a little differently.

“That’s object A of any defense against any player that’s any year in school. If the guy was a fifth-year senior you still want to put pressure on him. But the guy’s done a great job and they do a really good job in their scheme of getting the ball out of their hands.”

Helfrich said the Bears’ scheme keeps defenses guessing just enough.

“You think you have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to do but they always have a little wrinkle that fits their scheme that always presents a little bit of a problem.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    Only two things can stop Oregon: the cops and the NCAA (though latter has gotten soft these days). I’m hoping that there are a lot of laptops lying around Auzten this week. I’m hoping that Helfrich gives some free time to the players so that they can speed down the highway on their way to get some grass. If Oregon makes some news off the gridiron then that only increases our chances.

    Go Bears!

  • Steve W

    Just saw that the guys running ESPN’s PAC 12 blog have Cal ranked12th in their power rankings for the conference. That means they think Cal will finish 1-11 and go down to Colorado and WSU. I never thought I would see this day.

    I keep thinking back to how Jim Mora went to a terrible program at UCLA and turned them around immediately. Like Cal, UCLA had been recruiting well but did not play inspired football under the previous coach. The obvious difference to me is that Sonny inherited a bunch of overrated players along the interior lines – especially the defensive line. That five-star kid from Grant High in Sacto is just one of the many under achievers. It would be great to see some of these kids bust out in Eugene and rough up their quarterback, but I am not expecting that at all.

  • BlueNGold

    Unless the Cal D has had its collective head buried the last few weeks, they must know how disrespected they are and that nobody is giving them a chance to do anything but get steamrolled by the quackers. I really hope they all muster up enough self pride to be competitive and make a game out of it. Anything beyond that will be a big bonus.

  • al

    The baby bears don’t have to work too hard to land recuits to westwood. Every time they get a new coach they get an even bigger spike in recruiting! I wouldn’t say Mora inherited a “terible program.” They have players but, like Cal with Tedford, the coaching got stale & the players soured on their coach.

    Dykes have it much harder. Cal replaced EVERY coach & implemented a new offense & defense. Their schedule is one of the most difficult in the country by playing 9 bowl teams & 3 of the top 5! They also have the 2nd youngest team in the country. It’s harder to qualify at Cal & players MUST do schoolwork. They have also steadily declined over several years. The new coaches had to rebuild relationships with commits & build new connections with future recuits. In a season expected to be BAD it’s not too easy to bring in top recruits.
    Mora has has 2 straight excellent recruiting classes based on his name, NFL experience & winning. Hell, their DB class this year could all start for Cal!
    And for the 2nd straight season injuries have decimated Cal’s team – to the point of it being ridiculous! But this offense shows lots of promise. The present is gloomy but the future is bright! How many seniors start? Exactly.

  • David Swartz

    That’s interesting, Steve. I keep thinking back to how Jim Mora brought UCLA into Berkeley last year and got totally dominated. I also think about how Jim Mora had a full month to prepare for the Holiday Bowl and got totally dominated. Mora is clearly the greatest coach of all-time.

  • Steve W

    Or how Mora beat a ranked Nebraska team two years in a row and kicked the crap out of USC last year. How many consecutive years has Cal been goat roped by the Trojans? And clearly UCLA is even better this year. I have high hopes that Cal will eventually show this kind of progression, but my whole point was that Dykes inherited a bunch of overrated interior linemen that will slow progress until he can bring better players into the system.

  • SteveNtexas

    Just by random odds if there are 12 teams in the conf, we should win every 12 years- every ten until recently.

    Of course Oregon is not going to say “Goff sucks” its the usual sports politics. Ohio State however broke the rule when they let it be known how distressed they were having to play Cal as Marque Game. An angry Cal team then got pumped up by the insults and give OSU a whipping… (Well maybe not)