#56 California Football 2012 Preview

California Golden Bears

2012 Overall Rank: #56
#7 Pac-12
California College Football 2012 Team Preview
California Team Page


Cal is not a team that is comfortable in the bottom half of the conference standings.  Under Jeff Tedford they have experienced some success and have generated a heck of a lot of NFL talent.  There have been a few years where they are a sleeper team heading into the final weeks of the season.  Though they have not won the Pac-12 in recent years, they would at least like to get back to a level where they compete nose-to-nose with their fellow Californian rivals in Stanford, UCLA, and USC.  They will try to build on a 7-6 record with a lot of quality returnees in 2012.

2011 Record: (7-6)
2011 Bowl: Holiday Bowl (L 10-21)
Coach: Jeff Tedford (79-48 at California, 79-48 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Michalczik
Defensive Coordinator: Clancy Pendergast

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Isi Sofele, RB, 1,322 yards
Passing: Zach Maynard, QB, 2,990 yards
Receiving: Keenan Allen, WR, 1,343 yards
Tackles: Josh Hill, DB, 49
Sacks: David Wilkerson, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: Josh Hill, DB, 2.0

Other Key Returnees: DB Marc Anthony, RB C.J. Anderson

Key Losses: LB Mychal Kendricks, WR Marvin Jones, DL Trevor Guyton, DL Ernest Owusu

Cal is a stronger team on defense than they are on offense.  The Bears were top-40 in the country in most defensive categories.  In total defense, they only gave up 333 yards per game, which ranked them at the top of the Pac-12.  The secondary was strong, giving up only 204 yards per game.  They only gave up 129 on the ground.  That tenacious defense led to a serious pressure game on opposing offenses.  As a team, they had 100 tackles for loss on the season to go with 34 sacks.  They ranked in the top three in the conference in both of those categories.  

The Bears were not terrible on offense, but they were not great either.  They rushed for 155 yards per game and threw for 247 yards per game.  Both stats were middle-of-the-pack.  The biggest problem on offense was not protecting Zach Maynard.  They allowed over two sacks per game.  In a conference with tough defenses like USC and Stanford, you do your offense no favors by allowing defensive penetration.  The other huge problem the Bears had was on special teams.  Their punter, Bryan Anger, was a fantastic punter, but the rest of the unit was terrible.  They were 91st and 92nd respectively in punt and kickoff returns.  With an average offense, the field position game becomes that much more important.  The lack of productivity really cost Cal over the course of the season.

The Bottom Line:
California has an opportunity to improve on their record from last season.  Though their offense was a bit subpar, they return a lot of young players on that side of the ball, including quarterback Zach Maynard.  He will have another year of development under his belt.  The return of Isi Sofele is also huge for this team.  He was a 1,000 yard rusher last year.  He will be relied upon to pace the team until the passing game gets itself sorted out.  Their stout defense will have to keep them in games.  Strong defensive players were lost to graduation this offseason, so hopefully Tedford and his staff have new talent to plug in.  The Pac-12 is going to once again be a difficult conference to win, but Cal has an opportunity to win eight or nine games, including a bowl win.

Projected Bowl:  Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 154.85 (62nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 246.62 (46, 8)
Total Offense: 401.46 (44, 8)
Scoring Offense: 28.31 (53, 8)
Rushing Defense: 128.69 (34, 4)
Pass Defense: 204.23 (37, 1)
Total Defense: 332.92 (25, 1)
Scoring Defense: 24.15 (48, 4)
Turnover Margin: -.08 (T67, 6)
Sacks: 2.62 (19, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.15 (T73, 6)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#13 Keenan Allen

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#42 Zach Kline
#79 Bryce Treggs
#157 Darius Powe
#202 Cedric Dozier
#203 Freddie Tagaloa
#243 Kenny Lawler