UCLA Football vs. Cal 2018: GJB talks to California Golden Blogs

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PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 24: Patrick Laird #28 of the California Golden Bears runs past Adarius Pickett #6 and Keisean Lucier-South #11 of the UCLA Bruins during the third quarter at Rose Bowl on November 24, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

This weekend is the battle of the University of California schools as the Cal and UCLA football teams meet up in Berkeley for a Pac-12 showdown. Go Joe Bruin got the skinny on Big Brother as we chatted with writers of the Cal site, California Golden Blogs.

The UCLA football team is 0-5. You know this. If you are reading this, you are dedicated and we thank you. But today you are in for a special treat as we chatted with the writers of the Cal site, California Golden Blogs.

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These Golden Bear writers went above and beyond and gave us a lot of detailed information on Cal. So if your Bruins expect to get a win soon, this could be the game to do it and CGB tells you why…

Go Joe Bruin: Cal is in the second year of the Justin Wilcox era… what are some of the improvements he has brought to the Bears?

Attila LS Gero: Wilcox brought his past defensive expertise to Cal. He improved the defense by a noticeable margin, especially against the pass.

Berkelium97: The turnaround on defense has been incredible.  We had one of the worst defenses in the nation in 2016 and turned that into an average unit in 2017 with some deficiencies that were problematic, but not fatal.  This year’s defense is on another level: #6 in the nation according to S&P+ ratings.  Even if we finish in the top-25, that will be a tremendous improvement that has occurred much faster than many anticipated.

Joshua Morgan: Defense. Under Sonny Dykes, we consistently had one of the worst defenses in the nation. We hoped bringing in a defensive mind like Wilcox could help change that—and it sure has. We have reverted to a more traditional style of football and even now consider our defense to be stronger than our offense. It sure has been nice to see our defense not only make exciting plays and shut down opposing offenses but also be able to step up when we need them most.

Boomtho: Everyone has said defense already, so I won’t elaborate further here. Two other areas where Wilcox has brought significant improvement are:

  • Game theory and game management: Wilcox is more aggressive than Dykes on 4th down, but not in a foolhardy way. He just consistently makes the right calls on 4th down, such as going for it near the goal line or on short-to-go downs just past midfield. Cal fans were especially frustrated with that part of Dykes’ coaching given our explosive offense in years past
  • Recruiting California: You can spin this multiple ways, but Wilcox’s commitment to recruiting California—and the Bay Area—is definitely a different approach than Coach Dykes took. Dykes, to be fair, secured some commitments from very highly regarded players in Texas and the rest of the South. Wilcox has chosen to focus more on California, which feels like a better long-term strategy for Cal, given our place in the Pac-12 pecking order and strengths as a program and a school.

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