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Cal vs. Weber State Defensive Preview

Go Bears!

California v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Coming off an admittedly impressive shutout victory against FCS opponent Montana-Western, Weber State looks to continue their momentum as they travel to Berkeley for the Bears’ Week 2 matchup. Let’s take a look at the Wildcats’ defense and how Ross Bowers and the surging Cal offense can remain productive atop the high of victory in Chapel Hill.

Week 1 WSU Defensive Highlights

Game Score: 76-0

Opponent Total Offense: 147 yds (124 passing, 23 rushing)

Opponent Turnovers: 1 fumble (WSU recovery), 4 INT (63 return yards)

Opponent 3rd Down Conversions: 3-12 (25%)

With such a dominant win over an extremely outmatched Montana-Western, it is difficult to glean much insight into the true defensive capabilities of Weber State. The Wildcats held their opponent to just 11 yards of total offense in the first half, forcing me to double-check and cross-reference my sources to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. There is little film online chronicling the game, so WSU’s defensive strategy will mainly have to be deduced from the box score and game summary.

Four interceptions in a game is no easy feat for a defense at any level, not to mention that they were returned for a total of 63 yards. After throwing 2 avoidable INT’s last week at UNC, Ross will need to use this game to shore up his receiver option progression.

Keys to Cal Success

If most Cal fans were to be honest, the Bears’ offensive performance in their opening matchup came as a surprise. In retrospect, it is not shocking that we were able to march into Chapel Hill and put up some impressive numbers, given the experience and leadership of several key skilled positions (i.e. Wharton III, Watson, Laird).

Cal should not, by any means, use an FCS game coming off an energizing victory as a de facto off Saturday. The Bears should utilize this game against a smaller program to further refine their running game (which still appears to be feeling the after-effects of the Bear Raid) while addressing and eliminating early-season jitters.

If we may be tempted to not take our FCS matchup with seriousness, we can easily look to Oregon State’s eyebrow-raising squeaker against Portland State last week to find our motivation. Stay focused, don’t look too far ahead to Ole Miss, and enjoy the home opener. If we start deviating from any one of those three points early and often in the game, we might...just in for a heart-attack Cal type game. In years past, I would be one for cynicism this early in the season, but after the showing last week, optimism seems to be winning out. To oversimplify: avoid sloppiness and/or overconfidence and we put ourselves in great position to put the Wildcats away early and begin looking ahead to the Rebels.