After another disappointing end to the football season in 2022, the California Golden Bears made some changes in hopes that they will boost the offense and bring some improvement into 2023.
The Pac-12 had four teams finish in the top 10 in total offense last season and scoring in USC, Washington, Oregon, and UCLA, and with all of those on the schedule for the Golden Bears in 2023. That could pose a problem if they don’t show progress.
That’s where offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who returns for his second stint with the team, comes into play. Spavital was last with Cal in 2016, when he led the Bears to a top 10 finish in total offense. Cal averaged 513.2 yards a game, with its passing offense averaging 358.8 yards a game, which ranked fourth in the nation, creating 37.1 points a game.
God is good! After a great camp & conversation with Coach @JakeSpavital, I’m blessed to receive an offer from my mom’s alma mater the University of California, Berkeley! #AG2G #GoBears @CalFootball @MWCherrington @CoachDanny10 @CoachAdhir @KTPrepElite @BrandonHuffman @adamgorney pic.twitter.com/mFllT7AjkN
— Michael Mitchell Jr. (@MikeMitche11Jr) June 26, 2023
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Spavital should be a welcome return to the coaching staff, as though Cal’s defense was troublesome last season, its offense was inconsistent as well. The Golden Bears were ninth in total yards and 10th in points in the Pac-12, leading them to finish ninth in the conference last year.
Despite a rough 2022 that saw the Bears finish 4-8, California had some positives. Running back JadynOtt was a standout with a strong freshman campaign, finishing with 897 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while adding 321 yards and three touchdowns receptions.
The Golden Bears also landed TCU quarterback transfer Sam Jackson, who appeared in seven games for the Horned Frogs as a third stringer over the past two seasons. Jackson’s speed and arm strength made him a four-star out of high school, and Cal will hope his dual-threat presence will help it compete with some of the stronger offenses of the Pac-12.
Spavital leads a fast offense, and Jackson will be a welcome addition under center, while the return of wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter, who led the team with 965 yards while adding five touchdowns, and receiver Marvin Anderson and Ott should help him thrive.
Jackson and the offense will have to be quick, however, as California’s offensive line gave up 31 sacks last year, something the group will have to work on to help both Ott’s production and Jackson’s development.
Although California made some changes offensively and returned a number of players, the history speaks for itself, as the Bears have not had a winning season since 2019, which explains college football picks having them finishing eighth in the conference.
Spavital should help bring some improvement to a suffering California offense, but change doesn’t happen overnight. With some bumps in the road likely with a new quarterback and playbook and another tough conference slate, college football predictions believe the Golden Bears will win five games.
With a little over a month to go until the season opener, there’s still plenty of time to make predictions on California and the rest of the Pac-12 conference. Head to the sportsbook to see all the college football odds and make your picks.
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