Pac-12: Bears hope better defense, experience will lead to more wins

Pac-12: Bears hope better defense, experience will lead to more wins
California quarterback Jared Goff throws a deep pass against UCLA on Oct. 12, 2013. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

There is nowhere to go but up California this season … unless the Bears plan to lose to a lower-level team this season.

Players came with no bold predictions Wednesday for Pac-12 media, only promises that should be easy to keep.

"I know we're going to be aligned right and we'll be flying around the field," cornerback Stefan McClure said.

The Bears allowed 45.9 points per game last season.


"We are going to better than we were last year," quarterback Jared Goff said.

The Bears were 1-11, beating only Portland State. California has the NCAA Football Championship Division team Sacramento State on the schedule this season. A word of caution, Sacramento State shocked Oregon State in 2011.

But Goff said that things are changing fast in Berkeley.

"We have new coaches, we know who is going to be on the team," said Goff, who threw for 3,508 yards and 18 touchdowns as a freshman in 2013. "It's going to be completely different. Last year was a lot of things. I was a freshman. Our receivers were mostly sophomores. We had a lot of young guys."

Injuries, too, contributed to the defensive implosion.

Among the losses were defensive end Brennan Scarlett (illness), defensive tackle Mastafa Jalil (knee) and linebacker Nathan Broussard (knee). All missed the entire season. Safety Avery Sebastian (torn Achilles') played one game and McClure (knee) five.

"We're a different defense now," McClure said.

They need to be.

"Everybody can score," Dykes said. "What you need to do is play defense."

Which, the Bears hope, will lead to at least victory over a Football Bowl Division team.

"Obviously, we had a bad taste in our mouth after last season," Dykes said. "We want to get that taste out of our mouth as quick as we can."