We’ve read much ado about
What’s different? Just three defensive linemen up front supported by four linebackers; two inside and two outside. The 3-4 sacrifices some beef at the line of scrimmage for added speed on the edges. The 3-4 helps Cal put its best athletes in a position to slow down the Ducks’ best athletes.
But scheme alone does not a defense make.
Anthony Felder (#7, 6-3, 241 lbs., Sr., WA) anchors the inside position. He was a Pac-10 honorable mention LB in 2007 and was among the leaders in the conference with 101 total tackles. He’s well on his way to triple digits again in 2008. One of Felder’s career highlights – sorry, this will sting a little – was his fourth quarter interception that set up
Felder’s partner in pain on the inside is Worrell Williams (#1, 6-0, 250 lbs., Sr., CA), a physical three year starter with a proven knack for creating turnovers. Williams had 105 tackles in 2007 and was on the pre-season watch list for the Butkus Award.
Speaking of pain,
Follett’s counterpart at outside linebacker appears to be Mike Mohamed (#18, 6-3, 229 lbs., RS So., CA), who Jonathan Okanes of the Bay Area News Group suggested earlier this week will be getting his first start of 2008. You could say Mohamed earned it in last week’s
These guys are good, no question. They aren’t always dominant.
Attacking the 3-4:
Conventional wisdom suggests running directly at speed. That seems easy enough. Just hand the ball to LaGarrette Blount and watch the trauma unfold. Then again, Chip Kelly is far from conventional, and a staple of
A few other keys:
• Blocking by the wide receivers can result in the Ducks springing big plays.
• Chip’s going to test
• Dropped passes – or hopefully the lack of.
• Blitz pick-up assignments. With four fast LBs, the Bears can and will come from all angles. Masoli has to be protected from a big hit that might cause a turnover, or worse.
If all goes to plan, we’re going to find out how just how well Cal’s fearsome foursome reads, reacts and tackles when the game is on the line and they’re gasping for oxygen.