The statistics tell you that Cal is on its way to eclipsing last season's sack total that placed it in a tie for 14th in the country. The reality is the Bears aren't pressuring the quarterback as well as they did last season.
Cal has 18 sacks through six games, putting it on pace to finish with 36 at the end of the regular season, one more than the 35 the Bears registered last season. But since coming up with six sacks against Maryland's beleaguered offensive line in the season-opener, the Bears have just 12 in five games.
"From time to time we do, probably not enough," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said when asked if his team was getting enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. "We probably need some more of it, but it depends on who we're playing and what they are doing."
The Bears have stressed pass pressure the past few weeks because they faced freshmen quarterbacks, a trend that will continue Saturday when they play against Washington State's Jeff Tuel.
But Cal was only able to get one sack of USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The Bears had three sacks against UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince during their 45-26 victory Saturday, but there were still several plays where Prince had sufficient time to throw. He finished with 311 yards passing.
"That's something that we're working on," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We've got a couple of things that we're going to do to try to create more pressure. We're going to try to get after him."
Linebacker Eddie Young had come off the field with cramps a couple plays earlier, and the Bears had made several substitutions. Young's absence was unaccounted for, and Cal was missing a linebacker for two plays.
On Kendricks' interception return, UCLA tight end Logan Paulsen was wide open down the middle of the field, but Prince made a bad pass.
"You can't allow that to happen," Tedford said. "It's about communication on the sideline between players and coaches and trainers."