BERKELEY -- Star Lotulelei would seem to be the last guy Cal's offensive line wants to see.
But one week after being stuffed by Stanford's defensive front, the Bears are prepping to face Utah's 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, who is projected to be one of the first players taken in the 2013 NFL draft.
"He's legit," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford, whose Bears (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) visit Utah (2-5, 0-4) on Saturday night.
How does Cal center Brian Schwenke feel about the assignment?
"I look forward to playing against him," Schwenke said. "I played against him last year. He's good, really fun to play against. I love the challenge -- the whole O-line does."
By the sound of things, it might take the Bears' entire offensive line to contain the native of Tonga, whose full name is Starlite Lotulelei.
USC double- and triple-teamed him three weeks ago, and still Lotulelei made an impression.
"He can take over games if you let him," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said. "You have to deal with him on every play. Even if he's not making plays, he's getting penetration."
Adding to the problem, according to Tedford, is that Lotulelei has substantial and capable accomplices on the Utes' defensive line.
"He's definitely a guy you have to game plan for. When he gets off and plays hard, he's a difficult guy to handle," Tedford said. "He's not the only one. Those other two guys, No. 44 and 99, are physical."
The Utes' defense ranks second in the Pac-12, allowing 333 yards per game. Utah held unbeaten Oregon State to 52 rushing yards last week. Cal is coming off a 21-3 Big Game loss in which it managed 3 rushing yards.
The anchor of Utah's defense is Lotulelei, the 2011 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman and projected before the season as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by CollegeFootballNews.com.
He is not a player who accumulates huge numbers, although he does have seven tackles for loss. But he's a space eater who occupies opposing linemen and can disrupt plays with his push.
"He's a physical player, very quick, very strong," Tedford said. "When he gets off the ball, if you give him a soft edge he's going to run through you. You better get in front of him."
Schwenke played opposite Lotulelei last season while stationed at guard for the Bears. He's at center now, but Lotulelei moves around on the Utes' interior defensive line, providing matchups for various Cal linemen.
The Bears expect he will be over Schwenke as often as not.
"We'll try not to be one-on-one as much as possible," Tedford said. "But any center who has to play with him right over the top of him has a challenge."
Guard Jordan Rigsbee noted the Bears have faced a series of premier defensive linemen, including Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins and Arizona State's Will Sutton.
"We have a lot of different schemes where we run double teams," Rigsbee said. "We're not doing anything different just for him."
Despite last week's result, Schwenke remains confident.
"I'm not nervous or anything," he said. "It's extra incentive. If you play well against someone they're saying is the best in the nation, it makes you feel good about yourself."
The Bears could use a little of that right now.