The Bears lost Chase Garbers to an "upper body injury" last Friday
Oregon’s defense spent part of the open date completing homework that will never be graded.
The Ducks began studying improved quarterback Chase Garbers last week. Then California’s starter suffered what appeared to be a serious shoulder or clavicle injury during last Friday’s loss to Arizona State.
Cal coach Justin Wilcox announced Monday that Garbers will not play against Oregon due to “an upper body injury.”
So the Ducks (3-1, 1-0) crammed for Devon Modster, the UCLA transfer who will replace Garbers.
No. 13 Oregon hosts Cal on Saturday at Autzen Stadium (5 p.m., Fox).
“It hasn’t changed,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said of the game plan. “We have to prepare for an offense that has a lot of moving parts to it, that has some pieces to it that we have to make sure we know where certain guys are at certain times. And obviously some running backs that are really big and physical.”
Christopher Brown (389 rushing yards, three touchdowns) and Marcel Dancy (217 rushing yards, two touchdowns) balanced Cal’s attack during a 4-0 start.
The Bears (4-1, 1-1), ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press poll before the home defeat to the Sun Devils, fell completely out of the poll this week.
Garbers passed for a career-best 357 yards and four touchdowns in a win at Mississippi on Sept. 21.
"I thought he was really coming into his own," Wilcox said. "Even in that (Arizona State) game, he finished 9 of 12 and two of (the incompletions) were dropped. So you feel for him. He puts a ton of time in this, too.
“But it's part of it. It'll be next man up."
Modster was 5-for-14 passing for 23 yards with an interception coming off the bench after Garbers’ injury.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior played in five games at UCLA over the past two seasons, completing 51 of 79 passes for 671 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
“It’s not like we’re going in and playing a true freshman or a backup that doesn’t get actual playing time,” said cornerback Thomas Graham, who faced Modster in high school. “He’s played in college games, and we’re preparing for him like we prepare for any other quarterback.
“He’s a very smart football player. He can kind of tell what defenses are running pre-snap, he tries to get the ball out of his hand quick and let the receivers do their jobs.”
Cal is 106th nationally in passing yards (198.2 per game).
The Ducks rank 12th in the FBS in passing yards allowed (160.0 per game) with six interceptions and only two receiving touchdowns given up.
“We were definitely preparing for (Garbers),” linebacker Bryson Young said. “Watching the game, when he got hurt, we had to adjust quickly. It’s the same. (Modster’s) the starter for a reason, and we’re going to prepare the best we can.”
Oregon has not allowed a touchdown of any kind since opening night against Auburn.
The Bears, who are 18-point underdogs without Garbers, are averaging 23.0 points per game (100th among FBS teams).
"It's not like you make a wholesale change to the offense, but there's certain things that (Modster) does that maybe we lean a little bit more on," Wilcox said. "But a lot of the structure will look similar."
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