It was no secret that the California Golden Bears needed to move on from Jeff Tedford after the 2012 season. Sonny Dykes who coached previously at Louisiana Tech took over and after three games he has not been impressive.
His major hang up is the inability to get any kind of run game going, which means the team relies on the arm of freshman quarterback Jared Goff way too much. In game one he threw 63 times in a loss to Northwestern, game two against Portland State 51 times and Ohio State 53 times.
Goff has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his three games and is the first quarterback for the Bears to accomplish that feat since Aaron Rodgers did it in 2003 in the final three games of the season.
Yet, with the passing attempts it leads to quick drives allowing no time for the defense to rest. All three opponents took advantage by running the football with great success. In order to negate this Dykes and the Bears offense must become more balanced allowing for running back Brendan Bigelow to get going with a minimum of 20 carries and allowing Daniel Lasco to get the football as well. Also, with one of the toughest schedules in the country it doesn’t mean relying on Goff’s arm throughout the game and trailing early.
There’s no question that at wide receiver Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs are two outstanding targets for Goff, yet by getting Bigelow going it opens up the play action pass and for teams to bite. Twice this season after a turnover forced, Goff went for the home run play and both times the passes got intercepted. If the defenses had been respecting the run those two plays easily could have resulted differently.
Also, noteworthy is that in all three games California has trailed by at least 10 points in the first half leading to the high number passing attempts and have not been able to get any kind of momentum with their largest deficit from an opponent being seven points, which happened twice in the game against PSU with one being the final score.
The good news is the Bears do not play again until September 28th and unfortunately it will come against Oregon on the road. For the team to at least make it competitive keeping the Ducks offense off the field will be key and it all starts with running the football.