Football: Bears’ revamped defense in 1st test

After nine months of reinvention in the wake of the worst defensive season in Cal football history, the Golden Bears reboot Saturday at Northwestern.

Here’s what has changed on defense since a gruesome 63-13 loss to Stanford in the Big Game: A new coordinator, two new position coaches, the return of key players who missed last season with injuries, and the arrival of newcomers recruited to fill holes and add depth.

Will the upgrades allow the Bears to be competitive against a schedule that ESPN ranks as the third-toughest in the nation?

“I like what I see,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “I have a lot of confidence in those guys, probably a lot more than I should based on what I saw last year.”

The Bears’ 1-11 season was defined by a defense that allowed 45.9 points per game last season — second-worst in the country and a school record by a significant margin.

Dating back to the end of the 2012 season, Cal has failed to hold an opponent under 30 points for 14 consecutive games. In 11 of those games, the other team scored 40 or more.

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Jeff Faraudo

  • Juancho

    Brethren. Would be great if everyone could confirm their existence for another football season.

    As a reminder this year gobears49 has become my rival. Because he yelled at me for my kline joke.

  • Eric

    I’m here, Brother Juancho, ready to tangle with those who are quick to make snap judgments.

  • Wehofx


    I’m confident the O will score this year. My fear is we’ll have too many games like wsu’s loss to Rutgers last night.

  • 707 Bear

    Presente Juancho

    Three day weekend and Cal football. Life is good.

  • 707 Bear

    OK, I’ll ask: What Kline joke?

  • AAHQ

    I’m here as well, although again more as the consummate consumer of your collective wisdom more than as a contributor of retread opinion.

  • Milo

    If Cal’s new D can hold NU to around 20 pts, that would be really good. They don’t have to be great, just improved, willing and able.

    Go Bears!

  • covinared

    since things went downhill the number of opinions have decreased. its good that you express yours so long as they do not conflict with mine.

  • LA_Ed

    Call me a fool but for the 38th season in a row, I’m optimistic about Cal Football.

  • BlueNGold

    Here again, but cautious about getting too enthusiastic before watching the team play. Am I the only one who found Dykes’ comment about ‘probably being too confident’ a bit troubling?