After the bye week, the Ducks have a new challenge facing them on the offensive side. This is a Bears offense that can put up some points in a hurry. Led by transfer quarterback Davis Webb, the Bears are averaging 42.33 points per game. The offense is a form of the air raid as they throw the ball nearly 50 times per game. Look for the offense to move fast as well, the grad transfer quarterback has a firm grip on the offense and gets them to the line very quickly. Expect the Bears to spread the Ducks out and take shots down the field consistently.
The Bears have a coordinator in his first year at the school in the new higher Jake Spavital. Spavital comes from Texas A&N where he spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator. He’s also the quarterbacks’ coach at Cal, and with good reason as some of the quarterbacks he’s coached in the past include Johnny Manziel, Case Keenum, Geno Smith and Brandon Weeden. His goal this year at Cal was to employ an offense that moved even faster than last year. Head coach Sonny Dykes certainly still has his hands on this offense too as he still coaches the outside wide receivers.
As mentioned, this is a Bears offense that puts up 42.33 points per game. The high performance on the year came in the opening week in Australia when they put up 51 points against Hawai’i, and the low point coming against Utah when they put up 28 in the upset victory. They strongly rely on the passing game, putting up close to 378 yards per game, while piling up 22 touchdowns on the year. Now, the run game isn’t all that bad either though as they’re averaging 152 yards per game on the ground with a strong average of 4.8 yards per attempt.
With an offense that moves fast, you’re likely to see some turnovers and miscues. In the first half of the season, quarterback Davis Webb has seven interceptions. The team has also combined for nine fumbles, while only losing two of those. It’s imperative for the Ducks to get after Webb and force some miscues and turnovers. One number that really jumped out to me was the Bears fourth down conversion percentage. This season they are 11 for 13 on fourth down for an 84.62% conversion rate, very impressive. Third down’s however haven’t been quite as hot as they are at a 42.57% conversion rate. They’ve made 23 trips to the redzone, scoring touchdowns on 13 of those trips and settling for a field goal on three.
Last year the Ducks held #1 overall pick, Jared Goff in check for 18/41 passing and an interception. The run defense was very strong as well, allowing the Bears just 103 yards on the ground. The Ducks were able to pull that one off 44-28 thanks to the four-touchdown performance from Vernon Adams Jr.
Three players to watch:
Davis Webb, #7, senior QB, 6' 5", 230 lbs.
Webb, the graduate transfer from Texas Tech is off to a strong start in his one and only year in Berkeley. So far this season he’s thrown for over 2,000 yards to go along with his 22 touchdowns. He’s not a bad runner either as he has three touchdowns on the ground. Something to watch though is that under pressure he’ll often times just take a sack instead of throwing it away. After six games he has 113 negative yards.
Chad Hansen, #6, junior wide receiver, 6' 2", 205 lbs.
Hansen is a very solid receiver who quickly became Webb’s go to man. Hansen himself is a former transfer, coming from Idaho State a few years back. With his 770 yards and 8 touchdowns he has more than doubled the yardage of any other receiver on the team. Look for him to target Hansen early and often, in four games this season he has over 10 catches with a high at 14 catches.
Demetris Robertson #8, freshman wide receiver, 6’ 0”, 175 lbs.
Not to take away from the stable of solid running backs from the Bears, but Robertson is the last key player to watch in my eyes. The freshman (former five star) is a burner who has turned into Webb’s second favorite target. He doesn’t necessarily get a lot of receptions (20 on the year), but when he does they’re big plays. So far, each catch is averaging 16.9 yards with a long catch of 59 yards. He’s got five touchdowns on the year and is certainly a player I think the Ducks need to keep a close eye on.