Friday, October 23, 2009

Daily Cal: Bears' Defense Hopes Tuel Can't Shed Its Pressure

Matt Kawahara

Facing freshman quarterbacks in each of its last two games, the Cal football defense put an emphasis on creating pressure in the pocket. That isn't going to stop this weekend, with Washington State-and its true freshman quarterback, Jeff Tuel-visiting Memorial Stadium at 1:30 p.m.

"We're going to try to get after him, bring some blitzes and stuff," linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We feel like if we can do that, good things are going to happen."  The outcomes of those last two games were radically different, of course, and it's probably not surprising that the Bears' ability to breach the backfield followed suit. They sacked USC quarterback Matt Barkley only once. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said after the game that, while his unit did pressure Barkley a few times, it wasn't as much as he would have liked.  Last Saturday, Cal got to UCLA's Kevin Prince three times. Trevor Guyton's sack in the first quarter doubled as a forced fumble, which the Bears recovered and which led directly to Kevin Riley's 43-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones that put Cal ahead 14-0.

Mohamed brought up a good point about how the fact that these quarterbacks are freshmen might have an impact on opposing sack numbers: Offenses create easier decisions for them in the pocket, which means quicker throws, which means less time for the rush to break through.

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