Ryan Gorcey / Scout.com

Cal defensive coordinator Art Kaufman talks James Looney, linebackers and Hawaii's offense

BERKELEY -- On Thursday, the Cal defense allowed just three runs of more than five yards -- two nine-yard scampers on the first drive to Tre Watson, and one nine-yarder by Khalfani Muhammad -- while tallying two sacks and a hurry. We spoke one-on-one with defensive coordinator Art Kaufman about his improving defense.


BearTerritory: How do you prepare for an opponent that there's not a whole lot on? They may mix in the pistol, maybe not.

California defensive coordinator Art Kaufman: The biggest thing for us is, to have a scheme, take our scheme and try to mold it to everything that we always see, with the ability to adjust during the course of the game. We go through plays, we go through formations, we go through offensive styles with our guys, and simulate everything. To be able to adjust during the game, our kids have got to understand what we're doing, so that we can adjust to what they're doing."

BT: So, first quarter, halftime, you can say, 'This isn't working.'

AK: Let's do this. They're doing this, so let's do this. It's the ability to adjust within a scheme, and within a system, and within a game. It makes a difference.

BT: What are the difficulties defending a pistol when you have two linebackers out there for so much of the time?

AK: It depends on if it's pistol two backs, pistol three backs. It depends on what it is. What we have is, it's not so much the backfield set, but it's the formations and plays that come off of it. That's the biggest thing we look at.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1695940-cal-scrimmage-take...BT: Over the last four practices, really since the scrimmage -- which you said was your evaluation point -- the run defense looks like they're not giving up as many chunk yardage plays. Is that better linebacker fit? Is that better defensive line play?

AK: I think it's better everyone understanding where their fits are. It's a combination of a run fit or a second-level guy or a first-level guy, and athleticism. One thing we've got, we're inexperienced, but we do have some athleticism, and that makes up for a lot.

BT: An athlete like Derron Brown ...

AK: Derron Brown is, woo. He's done a nice job. Guys who have the ability to know where to go, and to be able to get there fast make a lot of difference. Just like our two young ends [Chinedu Udeogu and Evan Weaver], they're a long ways away, but they've got athleticism, and they make up.

BT: Is James Looney having a better fall than a year ago?

AK: Sure. He's a year older, and I think the big thing for him is, he knows what he's doing. He knows how to do it now, so now, he can focus on what the opponent is doing. That makes a lot of difference.

BT: Looney's personality off the field is so playful and goofy. When you first met him, were you skeptical that he could turn the switch off?

AK: One of the things that you learn is that people enjoy their downtime, and people go to work. That's James. When James is on his downtime, he's on relax mode. When it's business time, he flips the switch.

BT: It's a matter of feet -- the width of the sideline?

AK: That's all it is. The bottom line is, it's like walking in the office door. That's what he does. When he walks across this line, he's going into the office. When he comes off there, he's out of the office. That's what it boils down to. That's his office.

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