It seems that every week, the competition and the pressure steps up on the Oregon defense. Moving from the pillow fight against Nicholls up to the most recent challenge with the stout Tennessee offensive line, Oregon's defense has risen to each challenge. This week, Oregon must face the most prolific passing attack they have seen and likely will see all season.
Sonny Dykes represents a fresh start at California and it's fitting that with him comes a true freshman at quarter back in Jared Goff. Goff is a talented quarter back and seems to be the reason for the Bears success offensively as opposed to recent years when the Bears would win seemingly in spite of their quarter back play. Goff throws the ball accurately and has been able to take advantage of defenses through the air and is on pace to throw for over 5000 yards.
So far on the season, Goff has thrown for 433 yards a game and is leading the conference in passing. He is showing some signs of being a freshman, throwing 4 interceptions to his 7 touchdown throws this season. So, while he is lighting up defenses through the air with yardage, the Bears just haven't consistently found the end zone. On the receiving end of all these yards are primarily Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs.
Both Treggs and Harper have gone over 300 yards and the pair combine for 16 receptions a game. While Treggs is the more prolific pass receiver,Harper has three touchdown scores to Treggs one, that one being a tremendous one hand grab against Portland State.
The Bears are in full blown rebuilding across their offensive line and Oregon may be able to exploit that and put pressure in Goff's face. What the Bears have done to this point in the season is use a variety of quick throws to get the ball out on the edge so they can get the ball out of Goff's hands and into the hands of their dynamic play makers.While the Bears have talented wide receivers, they are going to be going against a stellar secondary from Oregon. The corner back tandem of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell are going to be tested early and often.
The Ducks must find a way to make the Bears one dimensional, either taking away the deep pass or the short pass. From what Nick Aliotti has shown to this point in the season is that he is much more likely to try and take away the short pass and allow his defenders rally to the ball and use their speed to try and string out and defend the short pass.
Expect California to score. This isn't going to be Oregon's first shutout of the season. California has too many x-factors on the field. However, what Oregon can do is minimize what the offense is able to do. Oregon will be able to limit this offense and it will more than likely be enough to help the Ducks cruise to victory.