Preview 2018: Cal Golden Bears. The Pac-12 Team To Watch Out For

Preview 2018: Cal Golden Bears. The Pac-12 Team To Watch Out For

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Cal Golden Bears. The Pac-12 Team To Watch Out For

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Best Cal Offensive Player

RB Patrick Laird, Sr.
The hope is for one of the quarterbacks – most likely Ross Bowers – or someone else to rise up and become an All-Pac-12 star with the talent to be the team’s No. 1 offensive player, but Laird isn’t a bad veteran to work around. The former walk-on led the team with 1,127 yards and eight scores, averaging close to six yards per carry, and added 45 catches for 322 yards and a score.

The 6-0, 205-pounder isn’t all that big, but he’ll get tough when he has to, is quick enough as a receiver, and he proved he could carry the offense late in the season with 130 yards or more in four of the last five games, highlighted but a 214-yard day against Oregon State.

2. QB Ross Bowers, Jr.
3. OT Patrick Mekari, Sr.
4. WR Vic Wharton, Sr.
5. QB Brandon McIlwain, Jr.

Best Cal Defensive Player

LB Jordan Kunaszyk, Sr.
The 6-3, 235-pound blaster turned into the team’s best tacklers with 74 stops with 3.5 sacks and six tackles for loss. He did it all in eight games, missing three early games after getting injured in the opener against North Carolina, rolling up a run of 41 tackles in a three-game midseason stretch. There isn’t a whole lot of flash in the former JUCO transfer’s game, but he’s a leader who should push past the 100-stop mark if he stays healthy.

2. LB Cameron Goode, Soph.
3. LB Alex Funches, Sr.
4. CB Camryn Bynum, Soph.
5. CB Elijah Hicks, Soph.

Key Player To A Successful Season

QB Ross Bowers, Jr. 
Yeah, the quarterback job is open and other options are talented enough to push hard for the spot, but the team invested a season of experience in Bowers.

With all of the live reps and 461 passes, the game is supposed to slow down for him, and he’s supposed to take command of the veteran offense. If it’s not him, then someone has to step in and complete more than 59% and cut down on the 12 picks Bowers pitched.

Key Game To The Cal Season

Oregon, Sept. 29 
1-8 in the last nine games against the Ducks, including a 45-24 dumping in Eugene. This year, with a week off to prepare, and with Oregon facing Stanford the week before, the Bears have to come up with a win in their Pac-12 opener. They get Washington and Stanford in Berkeley, and if they win this, they could and should be 4-0 – with North Carolina, at BYU, and Idaho State to start – before going to Arizona.

2017 Cal Fun Stats

– 4th Down Conversions: Cal 17-of-25 (68%) – Opponents 8-of-18 (44%)
– Penalties: Opponents 91 for 815 yards – Cal 78 for 658 yards
– Total Plays: Cal 892 – Opponents 888

NEXT: Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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