One thing is clear when talking to the media, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich know’s better than to serve up bulletin board material for the opposition.
When pitched the softball question about Cal’s deficient secondary, Helfrich held the company line praising the positives while certainly knowing there aren’t many.
After 3 games, Cal’s defense currently ranks last in most defensive categories in the Pac-12, including scoring defense ( 42 ppg ), total defense ( 556 ypg ), rushing defense ( 262 ypg ) and pass defense ( 294 ypg ).
Not great news if you’re a Bear fan, considering the Ducks rank 2nd nationally in 3 offensive categories – scoring ( 61 ppg ), rushing offense ( 355 ypg ) and total offense ( 672 ypg ).
As diametrically opposite as those numbers are between the Ducks and the Bears, Helfrich still commended the Bears defense who’ve given up 126 points in three games.
“The teams they’ve played” explained Helfrich when asked about the Bears perceived deficiencies on defense.
“They’ve had some guys injured,..in and out. You don’t sit there and turn on the film and go wow, you can gash them with this and this and this and this,…systematically it’s not anything glaring. They’ve got some inexperienced guys,…they had a very good defense last year and the year before and lost a lot of those guys….maybe just a byproduct of that.”
Up front, the Bears have just 3 quarterback sacks and so far have yet to put a significant amount of pressure on the oppositions signal caller – 2 of those came against Portland State and the other against Northwestern.
In their three games, the Cal defensive front and linebackers have only been able to force the opposing quarterback into 3 hurries which certainly doesn’t bode well for Cal’s secondary who’s facing arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
In his three games, Mariota has tossed 7 touchdowns and is 49 of 82 for 889 yards. More importantly, Mariota is completing 60% of his throws and so far hasn’t been intercepted.
“They’re kind of undisciplined with their eyes a little bit,…they tend to bite on run fakes,..and then get beat over the top a little bit” explained Mariota when asked about Cal’s secondary.
“Obviously, we’ll see…they’ve had two weeks to prepare for us,…they might come out with different looks. We’ve practiced well this week,..we’ll see what they give us and execute the best that we can.”
VIDEO; Watch the Coach Helfrich post practice press briefing by clicking on the arrow in the video box above.