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Previewing Cal’s “Bear Raid” Offense

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NCAA Football: California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one thing Sonny Dykes knows how to do, it’s put together a high powered passing attack. This year is no different, as Dyke’s Bear Raid offense leads the country in passing yards, is averaging 45.5 points per game and has not scored fewer than 40 points in all four of their games this season. They have the no. 2 offense in the country right now and pose a formidable challenge to Utah’s defense.

Quarterback

Davis Webb, a transfer from Texas Tech, leads the Bear Raid offense and is having a terrific year so far, completing 62% of his passes, leading the nation with 1,837 passing yards and 18 touchdowns through four games. That is an amazing stat line this early in the season, having thrown for almost 700 more yards than the second leading passer in the Pac-12, Josh Rosen. Of course, it makes sense when Webb also leads all quarterbacks with 222 pass attempts this season, 64 more than Washington State’s Luke Falk in Mike Leach’s pass happy offense.

The big numbers are partly a product of the system, but make no mistake, Webb is good. Webb stands 6-5, 230 lbs. and can sling it all over the field. He is good enough to shred Utah’s secondary if they are not on top of their game. The good news for Utah is, after three straight duel threat quarterbacks, Webb is pretty much a drop back passer. This will put less pressure on a defensive front that could be missing Lowell Lotulelei and allow the ends to pin their ears back and go after Webb and allow the linebackers to drop into coverage.

Running back

Vic Enwere is Cal’s feature back and leads the team in with 49 carries, 293 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns and would have 3, if he didn’t do a Kaelin Clay impression and drop the ball at the goal line against Texas. At 6-1, 240 lbs. Enwere is a powerful back that also has the speed to break away if given room to run. Enwere will share carries with two other Cal backs, Khalfani Muhammed and Tre Watson. Muhammend and Watson are both under 6-0 and under 200 lbs. offering a contrasting running style to Enwere.

Cal has run the ball on only 37% of their snaps this season. With Lotulelei questionable, Cal might look to run the ball more than they usually do and create a more balanced attack. USC showed last week running the ball against a Utah defensive line sans Lotulelei and Kylie Fitts can be effective.

Receiver

The name to know at receiver for the Bears is Chad Hansen. Similar to Tim Patrick at Utah, Hansen has seen the bulk of targets for Cal. He has accounted for about 30% of Webb’s completions this season, leading the country with 50 receptions. Hansen also leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (656) and receiving touchdowns (6). Hansen was largely overlooked coming out of high school, spending time at FCS Idaho State before transferring to Cal. Other receivers to be aware of are freshmen Demetrius Robertson with 11 receptions for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns and also former Utah target, Melquise Stovall, with 17 receptions for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Cal has an offense that is capable of putting up a lot of points even against a tough defense like Utah’s. The key for Utah’s defense will be to create turnovers similar to last year’s game against Cal. In each of Cal’s losses this season, Webb has thrown more than one interception. In both wins, Webb has thrown no interceptions. If the Utah secondary can pick off a few Webb passes, Utah’s chances of winning increase significantly.