Pregame Analysis — Can the Ducks Stop the “Bear Raid?”

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from Video

The California Bears come to Autzen this weekend with their vaunted ”Bear Raid” offense and test perhaps the best defensive secondary in the entire country, in the Ducks.  Between the two high-powered offenses, it’s possible we could have combined yardage in the 1,400 to 1,600 range.  This is a Pac-12 game and has meaning to both teams – Oregon on its march to the National Championship Game and California in its quest for legitimacy.

The first thing you notice about the new-look Bears is the play of true freshman Jared Goff.  Just look at his video game-type of statistics with 1,306 yards in three games, which averages out to be a hair over 435 yards per game, with all three games over 300 yards.  The Ohio State Buckeyes couldn’t stop him, can the Ducks?  The difference I think is that he hasn’t faced a defensive secondary like the Ducks, and with averaging 56 throws per game, the Ducks could have a pick-off field day if Goff isn’t careful.

Cal is also giving up more than 500 yards per game — ouch!

Let’s look at the Cal Bear Raid offense the Ducks will face.  Note that when it worked against tOSU, it worked quite well, and Cal was able to move the ball for some big plays.

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Look at the two pictures above.  In the first picture against tOSU, notice that all the “down” linemen aren’t down but in a two-point stance.  In this game, the two wideouts always lined up strong side, as did the lone back.  The tight end then lined up on the weak side off the line.  The second picture shows from the front side of what the defense was looking at.  However, I have no fear that the Ducks have already come up with a “fix” for this utilizing their team speed.

Now let’s look at the backside screen which Cal used with success, and which is something the Ducks are going to have to prepare for.

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In this first picture, (above) using that same Bear Raid formation, you can see the target is going to be the wide-out on the left, with blocking help on the right.

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In the above picture, the wide-out has received the ball, and the blocking is beginning to take shape.  From the two-point stance, the offensive linemen can get to their blocks much faster.

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Here the first two blockers have made their blocks (above) and the third lineman is setting up the tunnel for the wideout to jet through.

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In the last picture (above), we can see a little clearer where the block is going to occur and where the wideout is headed for the TD.  This is a very fast play and the design is brilliant, however, the Ducks with their closing speed may be able to get more defenders into the area and disrupt the play.

I was not very impressed with the defensive speed of the Buckeyes and that was the biggest reason the Bears were able to chew up such large chunks of real estate.  If Oregon can contain, like they have been able when they needed to, it could be a very frustrating day for what is probably the best freshman quarterback in the game right now.  I didn’t see Cal use the Diamond formation on offense, so I’ll leave that for another post on another day.

On defense, Cal looked lost at times, in fact they seemed to be lost more often than not, and the Ducks will take advantage of that.  Let’s look at an example of how tOSU was able to take advantage to nickel-and-dime the Bears to death.

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Notice in the top picture how the linebackers clustered around each other.  When the running back moved to the left of the quarterback, the linebackers didn’t adjust.  The end result, as you see in the next picture, was that the RB was able pick up a nice chunk of yardage.  Since Oregon likes to run to the strong side, then it could be De’Anthony Thomas has a monster day.

My thoughts on the upcoming game are this: 1) the Cal defense is more porous than Tennessee’s or even than Nicholls’;  2) Goff could torch the Ducks for 400 yards in the air if Oregon isn’t careful;  3) beating an FCS team by seven points doesn’t impress (beating Portland State 37-30) and;  4) it is entirely possible that Oregon could have 400 yards in the air and 400 yards on the ground (with DAT getting 300).

Consequently, I am thinking that a 71-28 (10 TDs and a 2-point conversion) score sounds just about right.  On the other hand, if Nick Aliotti’s defensive squad decides to take Goff as a challenge, there might be a few picks, which will frustrate Goff to no end.  So it’s possible that the Ducks limit Cal’s scoring ability to a single TD if the defense plays all four quarters.  If they don’t, I expect three TD’s in the fourth quarter for the Bears.

Bob Laws – Flagstaff, Arizona and Charles Fischer – Eugene, Oregon

All photos from video



*Watch for a joint OREGON/EAGLE Video Analysis next Tuesday! For the bye week we have three analysts who are helping me look at the similarities and differences of the Oregon offense and the Philadelphia Offense. This will be fun!

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Bob Laws

Bob Laws

Bob Laws is a 4th generation Oregonian – going back to 1850 - and Duck fan, graduating from South Eugene HS in 1978. Bob went immediately into the Marines and served for the next ten years. After the Marines, Bob met his wife Rena of 26 years. The budding family, moved from Eugene to Kentucky to care for Rena's grandmother, where his wife's family have been since the earliest settling of Kentucky. Finally getting to college, Bob graduated from UK in 1994. Bob had to call up either KPNW or KUGN on Sunday's to find out if the Ducks had won. After ten years, the family moved to Tennessee as business dictated and remained there for eight years. When his two daughters were entering high school, the family moved to Arizona. Interestingly, Bob's oldest daughter was born in Eugene (5th generation Oregonian) and his youngest daughter was born in Kentucky (gazillionith generation Kentuckian), so his family consists of both Pac12 and SEC followers, as his son still lives in Tennessee. Bob has his own blog at where he can do his number crunching with glee. Bob enjoys his fishing and hunting in the high country of Arizona where he lives (elevation 7,000 feet).

  • Jeffrey Neal

    Great article, Bob. Cal does have a very good running back in Bigelow. He came on strong at the end of last season. If it rains, you think we will see more of the run game from the Bears?

  • Stephen Wallner

    1,400 to 1,600 yards? I stopped reading after seeing that. We aren’t giving up any more than 500 (and I don’t think that much), so that would leave us needing 900-1,100 yards. As much as I would love to see that, it might be a bit of a stretch.