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Oregon Football

Ultimate Breakdown: Cal Vs Oregon

October 4, 2019

Cal comes into Autzen 4-1 after a tough home loss to Arizona State during which starting QB Chase Garbers was seriously injured. With wins against UC Davis, Washington, North Texas and Ole Miss, coach Justin Wilcox looks to knock off his alma mater and get back on track in the Pac-12 North.

Offensive Scheme

Former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin will bring his spread offense to Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Now in his third season in Berkeley, Baldwin's charges have begun to throw downfield with more effectiveness in 2019.

Normally, Baldwin sends out three receivers in 11 personnel (1 RB and 1 TE). With unproven quarterback Devon Modster (No. 6) getting the start this week, expect Cal will to try to establish the run to start the game. Modster has played in two games this season and is just 6 for 15 for 39 yards, with 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.

From a rushing standpoint, Cal’s is a zone-blocking scheme that utilizes the zone read, RB/QB draw, fly sweep, and inside- and outside-zone plays. The receiving route tree isn’t very complex, but they will look to catch the defense off-guard with run-pass options and play- action fakes.

Baldwin will get Modster out of the pocket with some sprint-out plays, with his receivers overloading one side of the field on their routes. The trick to containing the Golden Bear offense is keeping plays in front of you and tackling as a unit.

Running back Christopher Brown Jr. (34) is the leading rusher with 418 yards and 3 touchdowns on 91 carries, but he also has 10 receptions for 70 yards and another touchdown. The sophomore is a strong ball carrier who has decent breakaway speed.

Brown is a volume rusher who can punish you repeatedly up the middle, but he also has good vision to see the openings his line creates. Change-of-pace back Marcel Dancy (23) has 219 yards on 44 carries and 2 touchdowns, and he has caught 11 balls for 87 yards.

Senior WR Jordan Duncan (2) is having a solid start outside with 123 yards and 1 TD on 9 catches. Sophomore slot receiver Nikko Remigio (4) has become a valuable asset for the receiving corps, amassing 12 catches for 188 yards and 1 score.

The third starter is junior Kekoa Crawford (11), a transfer from Michigan who played his freshman and sophomore seasons in Ann Arbor. He has electric speed, and along with Remigio I can see him getting carries on fly sweeps.

In addition to the three starters, juniors Trevon Clark (80) and Jeremiah Hawkins (10) will see time out wide. Clark is tied for the team lead with 2 touchdown to go along with his 7 catches for 98 yards, while Hawkins has 5 catches for 54 yards.

Cal will shuffle sophomore tight ends Gavin Reinwald (84) and Jake Tonges (85). Tonges is the better receiving target with 4 catches for 119 yards and 1 touchdown, but Reinwald does well in run blocking and often lines up in H-back position.

The Cal offensive line is coached by the one and only Steve Greatwood, who spent most of his career in Eugene. For the most part, the starting lineup has been consistent, but there has been some mixing and matching at left tackle.

The group is anchored by 335-pound right tackle Jake Curhan (71), who has started every game since the beginning of the 2018 season. The group is balanced and plays with great discipline and technique -- but they will not overpower you. They need to keep a clean pocket and create running lanes against a vastly improved Oregon defense if Cal is to move the ball and keep its defense off the field.

Defensive Scheme

Backing its reputation as a stout unit, Cal has held its last 12 opponents to fewer than 25 points. Tim DeRuyter returns as defensive coordinator.

You will see the Golden Bears in their base 3-4 defense as well as a 2-4-5 nickel package – the latter especially when facing “11” personnel. On any given play, the scheme allows anyone in the front seven to be a down lineman or a stand-up rusher. So even though they are showing a 2-4-5 look, two of those linebackers will have a hand on the ground.

When facing 12 personnel, the Bears stick to a base 3-4 with an odd front. They will vary the D-line looks and try to disguise coverage and rushers out of both personnel packages. DeRuyter and Wilcox will bring pressure from all three levels, and they show immense trust in their defensive players to make plays.

The secondary is generally in cover 3 in base packages and cover 4 in nickel. They will mix in cover 1 to vary the look. The coaches have confidence in their elite safeties to help over the top, allowing the corners to play aggressive, pressing man on the outside.

The leader of the defense is standout senior “Mike” linebacker Evan Weaver (89). Weaver has double-digit tackles in each game and leads the nation – by a wide margin – with 78 total tackles.

Weaver also has 4 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble. Seemingly, he is everywhere, and he makes plays at all three levels. The converted defensive lineman drops well into coverage, whether it be zone or man.

Weaver's partner at “Will” linebacker is junior Kuony Deng (8), a JC transfer who was featured on “Last Chance U” last season. He is second on the team in tackles with 43 and is a better pass rusher (2.5 sacks) than he is a run stopper. Deng has shown a propensity to look lost at times as he transitions from the outside to the inside.

Junior OLB Tevin Paul (96) has 1 sack and 2 pass break-ups to go along with his 13 total tackles. Opposite him is junior Cameron Goode (19), primarily a rush linebacker who leads the team with 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. Goode has been a huge addition to this squad after going down last year with an injury.

The Bears' biggest weakness is in the line, where it doesn’t help that they have dealt with injuries. Zeandae Johnson (44) and Luc Bequette (93) have started every game and usually stay on the field regardless of what package DeRuyter is running.

Bequette, who has 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks this season, rotates between end and nose guard depending on the look. Johnson has accumulated 13 tackles. The third starter and rotational guy is Brett Johnson (90). Johnson has 8 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss; he has also recovered a fumble.

The secondary is deep, experienced and very talented. The top 6 all return from last season and play the vast majority of the snaps. They make plays on the ball in the air and try to rip the ball from the runner's grasp in the ground game.

Senior strong safety Jaylinn Hawkins (6) is both a ball hawk and thumper. This season, he is blitzing more often – and he has 1 sack and 2.5 tackles for loss to show for it, to go with his 19 total tackles.

Opposite him at free safety is fellow senior Ashtyn Davis (27). Davis, who plays a good center field, will line up deep pre-snap but shows good awareness to react to the play and makes sure he is in the right spot. Davis leads the secondary in tackles with 27. He has also forced 2 fumbles and recovered 1.

The cornerback position goes four deep, with starters Camryn Bynum (24) and Elijah Hicks (3) on the outside and juniors Traveon Beck (22) and Joshua Drayden (20) splitting time at nickel.

Bynum and Hicks play the ball well. They have 3 pass break-ups apiece. Bynum has 23 tackles and an interception. Hicks is a good tackler who has been used in more rush situations this season; he has a sack to go along with his 16 total tackles. Beck is the only other Cal player to have an interception this season, and he will come off the edge at times.

The versatility of the secondary makes it difficult to recognize who is doing what pre-snap, and Cal uses that to disguise coverages.

Special Teams

Cal is led by placekicker Greg Thomas (39), who is 8 for 9 on field goals and has converted all 13 PATs. He has his from 47 this season against both UC Davis and Arizona State, and he is 4 of 5 from 40-plus.

Cal has punted 25 times in five games. Dario Longhetto (30) has done it 18 times with a 41-yard average.

Remigio fields the punts and has 4 returns for 74 yards. Davis is the Bears' primary kick returner, running back 5 for 101 yards.

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