FONT & AUDIO
Bears look ready for struggling Oregon
California coach Sonny Dykes entered Oregon week believing that both quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Chad Hansen would play against the Ducks, 7:30 p.m. Friday in Memorial Stadium at Berkeley, Calif.
Webb hurt the thumb on his right throwing hand in an overtime loss at Oregon State freak accident, he says, without being specific and threw for only 113 yards on 23-of-44 passing. It was extremely painful, he says.
Im just worried about the day-to-day process, Webb says.
On Webb, the Pac-12s leading passer, Dykes says: Hes going to be fine, we expect him to play. Well see how it plays out. He wouldnt play if we were playing (last Saturday).
Hansen sprained an ankle at Corvallis.
On Hansen, by far the Pac-12s top receiver, Dykes adds: Hell be fine. Well see.
Both players rested last week as the Bears put other players, including backup QBs Ross Bowers and Chase Forrest, through their paces during the bye week.
Before his 113-yard performance, in which he couldnt grip the ball, Webb had averaged 428.6 yards passing per game. The Texas Tech transfer has 2,256 yards passing with 17 TDs in six games, but hes completing only 60.7 percent and has thrown seven interceptions. Hes sixth in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency.
I can throw it as well as anybody in the country when healthy, Webb says.
Hansen, a transfer from Idaho State, has helped fill the void left by Cal losing its top six receivers from last season with 59 receptions for 770 yards leading the Pac-12 and eight touchdowns.
The Bears also run the ball well with Khalfani Muhammad, Tre Watson and Vic Enwere. Needing to help their QB at Oregon State, Muhammad had 166 yards on 21 carries and Watson 134 yards on 16 carries.
In other words, the Bears have plenty of offense to throw at Oregon, which, as has been well-documented, ranks last in the Pac-12 in defense, giving up 41.8 points and 522.3 yards. Cal rates only slightly better, but hasnt suffered the same visible abuse. The Ducks (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12) have given up an average of 588.5 yards and 49.3 points in their four-game losing streak.
Then again, the Bears gave up 474 yards rushing at Oregon and rank last in the Pac-12 in rush defense (283.8 yards), while the Ducks rank first in rush offense (257.8) although the Ducks, unlike in recent years, dont lead in scoring and total offense.
Dykes is very concerned about the rush defense, saying inexperience at safety hurts.
The Bears are 3-3 overall, including 2-0 at Memorial Stadium (beating then-ranked Texas and top-25 Utah) and 1-0 in Australia (beating Hawaii). So, one would think the Bears would enter the Oregon game plenty confident on their home turf against the struggling Ducks.
The Bears are 0-3 on the road but theyve still scored 40-plus points in the losses.
Oregon does hold a seven-game winning streak in the series, which started after Cal had won three in a row from 2006-08.
The Ducks returned to practice Sunday to prepare for Cal, after a bye week of exorcising their minds of the 70-21 drubbing against Washington and the four-game losing streak.
I felt like everybody came back with a good attitude, linebacker Jimmie Swain told goducks.com. Everybodys just trying to work, get better.
True freshman quarterback Justin Herbert continues to settle in as the presumed starter moving forward, ahead of senior transfer Dakota Prukop.
Herbert said he learned much from playing against the Huskies, including the need to have a plan every single play. ... As I rep more, the plays will get more comfortable. ... Im really excited to go out there and play. I just cant wait for Friday.