Cal’s inflated offensive statistics aren’t the team’s only staggering numbers.
Here’s another: Forty-one players have made their major-college football debuts for the Bears this season. Compare that to an established program such as Stanford, which has had to introduce just 17 newcomers to game action this fall.
For the Bears, it’s been a matter of necessity after last season, when more than 40 players with potential eligibility departed the program early. That included non-seniors who transferred, entered the NFL draft, retired for medical reasons or were dismissed from the program.
As a result, it’s been hard to tell this season’s players without a scorecard, especially in the defensive secondary. Nine of Cal’s 15 defensive backs are first-timers, which helps explain why the Bears rank last nationally in passing yards allowed.
While the Bears rank second nationally in scoring at 50 points per game, the defense has struggled, allowing 164 points over three Pac-12 games.
“Defensively, we don’t have that depth and experience,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “Some of those guys have played well, that’s the exciting thing. Some others are still learning how to play and gaining experience.”
Dykes isn’t worried he’ll have to wait until next season to see improvement from those young players. “I expect those guys to keep getting better and better every week,” he said.