Northwestern @ California: The People Have Spoken! The NU-Cal Report Card

Northwestern @ California, from the Cal Student Section - Stephen Lam

What were YOUR thoughts on Northwestern @ California 2013? Let's take a look at how Cal readership felt about Game 1 of the Sonny Dykes Era.

Firstly, a big, hearty, THANK YOU for those of you who submitted results in the suggested manner. You guys made results tabulation go much more quickly.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense .751 .103
Rush Offense .531 .164
Pass Defense .449 .181
Rush Defense .531 .183
Special Teams .748 .149
Coaching .775 .123
Overall .683 .113
Win Chance vs. Portland State .965 (+.01) .078

Game 1 of the Sonny Dykes Era brings us some of the highest scores I've ever seen for a Cal loss! It remains to be seen whether the notoriously fickle Cal fanbase can be so positive through subsequent losses. Let's move on to the awards.

Awards

Editor's Choice Awards:

The <3 SONNY :D Award goes to the beer, who left the following comment for every question:

the beer: <3 SONNY :D

Heartwarming. Concise. Sonny appears to have won over the heart of one enterprising beer; we'll see if he can win over some more against Portland State!

Berkelium97: Hello, Cal fans. It's great to start the year off with such positive report cards. Last year's started off poorly and throughout the year set multiple records for lowest scores we have ever seen. Now let's hand out our new slate of awards, appropriately renamed after the new coaching staff.

Sonny Delight

Name Score
1. Element 106 Sg 5.75 (82.1%)
2. BTown85 5.68 (81.1%)
3. Goldenbear8933 5.65 (80.7%)
4. Cugel 5.55 (78.6%)
5. ocbeersonme 5.30 (75.7%)

Element 106, are we related? Distant cousins, perhaps? These are some pretty solid scores despite the loss. Keep on pumping that sunshine drinking that Sonny D!

Sonny Yikes!

Name Score
1. Nasal Mucus Goldenbear 3.18 (45.4%)
2. southpaw05 3.30 (47.1%)
3. MJB 3.50 (50.0%)
4. Bearly Legal 3.60 (51.3%)
4. coolingfan 3.60 (51.3%)

Again, these scores aren't so bad for being the worst of the worst.

And finally, the voice of reason, which goes to those whose scores are closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason:

Name Deviation
1. Vincent S. .026
2. WhiskeyTedfordFoxtrot .033
3. CoBears .051
4. Oaklandishbear .067
5. fuzzywuzzy .068

I promise Vincent and I did not conspire together to give him the top Voice of Reason award. He's just that reasonable. WhiskeyTedfordFoxtrot is one of my favorite usernames I have seen in these report cards.

Now let's turn back to Vincent, who gathered the best comments from these report cards.

Vincent S.: And, without further ado, a smorgasbord of your responses:

GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE:

prd74: That was one exciting game. Tons of High FIves with my fellow season ticket holders. The final result was kind of sad, but the overall experience was one of the more fun games of the past five or so seasons. The student section was excellent. The Mic Men were way above average. The crowd was into the game and loud. The concession stands on the west side now serve a pretty nice selection of over priced food. The only negative was the Cal Band. They looked sloppy and under rehearsed. In this game they have eliminated and changed aspects of the pregame show which have been in place for half a century. Why?

Beson: Sat at home and screamed at my tv

RhetoriCal: None that I can say in polite company. Suffice to say, I was displeased by McCain's ejection and the announcers' asinine defense of it and then my ire was further roused when Bigelow was hit helmet-to-helmet with no resulting ejection. My cat actually fled the room.

Pietya: FANTASTIC. Although the student began leaving at 2 minutes left in game time, freaking summertime patriots.

sec119: Great to see many members of the CGB crew, the stadium was electric, etc

Very weird thing happened to me -- I tore out my season tickets and brought them to the game, not realizing I had not removed the barcode, which is perforated separately from the ticket. Many people also removed just the ticket, and guest services was swamped with a long line of people who needed a barcode for their ticket. Eventually a member of the staff just let us all in; why would the barcode be a separate piece of the ticket???

Berliner Bear: I HEREBY DECLARE THE 31ST OF AUGUST TO BE CHRIS MCCAIN DAY, IN HONOR OF A MAN MARTYRED IN THE CRUSADE TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
koalaballa: Stadium looked beautiful at sunset and with the overhead lights. Something out of a movie.
resbear: Beautiful sunset game. Crowd was fired up. Didn't notice rope coach. But there is a guy holding a card that says "10" every time our defense got blown up. Should probably take the 10-play out.

Need A Real AD: Team Dykes is a breath of fresh air and a giant step up from Tedford's final couple of years. Jeff Tedford did superhuman work across his decade, resurrecting a program that was dead in the water---below the water, actually---and making it more than respectful again. Dykes comes in, and using the players Jeff left (plus some great additions), and playing in a stadium Tedford built, is bringing exciting Lynch/Rogers- type football to Strawberry. God only knows what Dykes could do if he had a J. Best, but he for sure has himself a QB, a position that Tedford, ironically, couldn't manage to recruit post-Rogers (who was pure serendipity).

abaddon: Fire Brock Huard

Willis Chong: A rowdy Young Alumni section! How about that! I haven't seen one in years!

Also, a note about the booing of the players. I felt bad for the first few and didn't boo any of the players going off the field. I clapped for the later ones not because they were getting up, but rather they had the guts to do this in a hostile territory.

WhiskeyTedfordFoxtrot: Nice to see Memorial so full, especially after alumni bedtime, but the Athletic Dept. needs to figure out some way of filling all the seatback seats. It was nice to know that when the wave started, it was never going to get all the way around as there was no chance of it crossing the barren wasteland of the east side, but still.

Takimoto: TwistNHook didn't punch me in the crotch. So that was good.

42calbear: One of the worst football I have attended in my 50 years of attending football games.
Between the officials total mis-management of the game, phony injuries, and TV time outs and delays the game , in my opinion, was total crap from a fan's perspective.

Each time CAL's offense looked like it was in a rhythm here came the injuries and on top of that the TV delays. Look at what time the game ended !!

Just a shame !!

class of 87: the food choices on the west side sucked! No top dog? The one thing that looked edible was the BBQ pork/ beef sandwiches which were sold out before halftime. I had a regular stadium hot dog which wasn't even warm.

Since I have my crabby old woman hat on...get off of my lawn!...I also don't want to hear the Cal band called "the best damn band in the land" by the mic men. That's Ohio State and they can have it. We have the pacesetter of college marching bands and the Pride of California...the University of California Marching Band! Yay! They sounded great.

kj9: Gates seemed to move a lot slower than usual, but once we got in the stadium the sunset overlaying the northwest side of Memorial Stadium with all the clouds reflecting the light made it all worth it.
DancingBear96: The stadium was louder than it has been since reopening. It felt like we can make it a crazy home field again like 2004-6. But replacing Top Dog and Chicken and Waffles with Asian food trucks and Cal Dining is not ok.

cruidzoid: Definitely feels great to be back in the bay for the game. For any young alum season ticket holders (GOLD), you get free t-shirts when you go in gate 4, by the hospitality area.

PASS OFFENSE:

Ethan0l: Unlucky. Live by the pass, die by the pass

coolingfan: Finally got to see what Bear Raid is really like, and I think the fact that its success depends on "fast tempo" can also be a disadvantage, if there are factors that slow the game down, such as [fake] injuries. Goff needs to work on his read and avoid getting his passes tipped and blocked, but I suppose it can only get better with him being a freshman and this being his first collegiate game.

Berliner Bear: Bob Gregory somewhere was smiling. Too many converted 3rd and longs by NU tonight to suggest that we should be satisfied. The front 4 couldn't generate meaningful pressure, which is disappointing.

puresilence: Tipped balls :(

Willis Chong: Bear Raid! Goff goes off!

Aside from a few unlucky bounces, it's nice to have a QB who won't throw it in the dirt like he's Donovan McNabb. Goff needs to work on his deep ball through, but I'm guessing once everyone gets comfortable, the timing will be better.

resbear: Couple of balls thrown off-target but OMGWTFDOWNFIELDPASSING

southpawo05: The passing offense opened up nicely in the 2nd half. Goff made many nice throws down field. The offensive line is still a work in progress. Tagaloa took a few penalties at there were a few protection break downs. It was nice to see Rodgers worked into the offense.

WhiskeyTedfordFoxtrot: I would have been happy with Goff's performance if he were a second or third year starter. I'm so excited about his performance I've wet myself. Twice.

hardtobecalfan: Treggs and Harper are awesome. If you told me Goff was going to throw 3 INTs, I would have asked to see what Kline has to offer. But Goff just looks like he'll be a good one and I felt way better with him controlling the offense than I ever did with Maynard.

Texashaterforlife: There is this technique called chop-blocking, they need to practice it so D-lineman don't put their hands up and tip passes.

bamboobanga: The o-lone needs to improve to give Jared more time to work with. The pass rush was getting in his face and batting balls, which ended up winning the game for NW.

Any comments about the run offense?

joshp: the first offensive series was AWESOME... a bit lackluster afterwards. There's a huge drop-off beyond Bigelow.

CALiforniALUM: Who cares what I think. What did Mixon think?

Goldenbear8933: Feel like Bigelow should have gotten more carries (especially since Goff threw the ball 60+ times), and absolutely no one can doubt his potential now.

kj9: Every run seemed to go to the outside. Are there no power plays/power backs to run them? All the running plays sort of broke down and involved Biggie trying to outrun the defenders sideline to sideline, but it is hard to expect a wide receiver to hold a block long enough to do that.

Rose Bowl Oski: It didn't seem like the big uglies created many running lanes.

80Bear: Could not break off the long run.

sopibear: Aside from the first series, our running game stalled. I would like us to go north south rather than east west. However it's great to see Bigelow and Lasco let loose and run hard!!

Also liked seeing Khalfani running hard on the very last play, dragging at least 5 defenders with him. We need that grit and determination to play to the last second. I never leave until the game ends and I like seeing our players play until the whistle blows.

yguo: What does it say about Brendan Bigelow if I'm disappointed that not every carry went for twenty yards or more.
Oaklandishbear: Ouch. Looked so promising in the beginning, only to be so ineffective overall. BB needs to get the ball more, Lasco needs to improve, and Muhammed needs more experience. More than anyone else, he looked lost out there on offense.

PASS DEFENSE:

DexterSports: We need much better penetration up front and or DB corps is simply young

Jacobs.: Please stop giving away long passes

BlakeStreetBear: Saw good, saw bad.

Goldenbear8933: considering the injuries, depth, and opponent, not too bad but our pass rush has to improve.

slaphancock: I actually thought it was pretty good. Their guys were, in most cases, covered and the QB just made a bunch of really good back-shoulder throws, broken-play throws, etc.

Takimoto: D-line needs to step up and get more pressure on the QB when rushing 3 or 4. When Cal dropped into coverage, Seimian had all day to throw, and found holes in the 7 or 8 man zone. Multiple long 3rd down conversions were killers.

Willis Chong: Awful. NW has no tight ends, but there was someone catching the ball in space in the middle. Flashes of Ed Dickson few through my head every time this happened. I swear, it's like PTSD.

sup_doe_library: Pass defense gave up big chunks of yards in the 2nd quarter and failed to upset Siemian's rhythm until after half. At times the pass rush from the 4 down lineman failed to generate enough pressure--noticed that break off the snap was sluggish at times. Conditioning? or timing induced stunts? Either way, they did recover to have a pretty good 2nd half.

Lapite did look overmatched in the 2nd quarter on the scoring drive that put NW up 17-10. Kam absolutely needed to finish that interception that bounced off of his hands. Avery looked solid in the game, putting on some good hits.

DancingBear96: McCain was framed, and I hope Avery heals up well.

golden oso: Burned. Getting burned.

Element 106 Sg: Need to cover the middle still.

RUN DEFENSE:

slims: We made Treyvon Green look good. It was not pleasant to watch.

Jacobs.: Please stop people from just running down the middle.

hihi: One of the first plays was Moses parting the red sea as the Northwestern RB easily slipped through, but run defense was clutch late in the game. Not too many questions there I feel.

BTown85: YARRRRRR!!!!!!!

slaphancock: Like Guinness, stout.

prd74: Limiting contact during practice may have led to some difficulties with tackling (which was pretty bad). Avery Sebastian was sorely missed when he left the game.

yguo: Run D also improved, but the last NW TD was inexcusable. When you need a stop at the end of the game, you cannot let the opponents' O-line just slog 7 yards into the end zone. Got to drag the runner down before he gets to the end zone.

cruidzoid: For the most part, pretty solid performance. It seemed like the safeties were out of place when Northwestern was able to rip a long one. Once they got passed the Dline, there weren't any defenders between them and the endzone.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

alpha1906: The Italian connection continues to work for us. Bad couple of out of bounds kickoffs

C98: Flashes of greatness all game long. I have a feeling this team will get better with every game. Ballsy coaching. I'll take it.

minesweeper: For once, I'm not worried about special teams any more.

Coach White: D'Amato solid except for to KOs put of bounds that are rally and momentum killers after a score. Muhammed is going to be a beast on KO returns. Teams may stop kicking to him.

BearlyLegal: Punting was good save for one shank. Khalfani scares me with his bobbling of kicks though.

hihi: First touchdown of the Sonny Dykes era is a fake field goal? Yes good stuff. But some trick plays and laterals seemed risky/unnecessary (could be my worrying Cal fan speaking up)

Cugel: What? They can be special again? Why weren't we told this before?

1988goldenbear: Despite the shank, Leininger was great.

D'Amato will be an obscure answer to the question, "Who threw the first touchdown pass in the Sonny Dykes era at Cal?"

Our coverage was pretty good. We cannot keep kicking off out of bounds.

Khalafani is fun to watch. What is the over-under on number of games before he takes one to the house?

SoCal Oski: Perfect on field goals, outstanding punting, and two kickoffs ending up out of bounds. Why can't we ever seem to have a completely nice day?

DancingBear96: I wondered why all our holders are receivers until that first drive. Please get our returners to get farther away from punts and stop catching things on the 9-11 yard line.

fuzzywuzzy: Welcome to the tricky stuff. Now that was worth the price of admission.

BandAlum: d'amato needs to work on his spiral.

mrjpark: DAT PUNTER.

Willis Chong: Ballsy call on the fake. And D'Amato makes his FGs. Would be nice if he didn't kick it out of bounds a couple of times on Kick-Offs.

Cole really knows how to punt that thing.

Khalfani needs to know when to let the ball go and not pin us deep on unreturnable punts.

COACHING:

CoBears: Count me impressed with the new staff. Almost had 'em.

sacman701: Game plan seemed solid. I hope they read the defense the riot act after the last drive, though. There's nothing more pathetic than letting a team score when they're just trying to run out the clock.

ocbeersonme: i still believe

1988goldenbear: This is going to be fun. I enjoyed the heck out of this game, and I think that if we can get and keep our defense healthy we will be tough to play. I no longer have any worries about our offense.

They really did a good job coaching up this REALLY young team. The future looks bright.

DancingBear96: The clock management was iffy late in the game, but not burning TO's gave us a chance until pretty late. It feels like Xbox when I think, "4:58, thats plenty of time".
68 passes and 99 plays is a solid debut. I almost feel bad for Portland State, but somebody needs to test a Death Star to make sure it is fully operational.

fuzzywuzzy: Welcome to the Bear raid...and tricky Dykes and co. Great start to the new era. Go BeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaRrrrrrs

Justbear: Impressed about the second half adjustment both on offense and on defense.
Special teams executed well, Dykes is a serious man, and they prepared Goff well.

Oaklandishbear: High grades from me. Coaching staff looked animated/excited/engaged throughout the game. Love the fake kick-off. Seemed like we had good adjustments. No horrible 3rd-and-long draw plays to give up on a drive. I do question the long pass with 3+ minutes left after we got the ball back on the INT with a chance to tie the game. Plenty of time to sustain a drive and run out the clock. Oh well.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE:

RhetoriCal: Turnovers, I hate them. So much so that I may never be able to eat an apple turnover again. Even when we recovered our own fumbles, it bespeaks all the ills of such a young team.

Good news is, they'll get better. I hope they show better spirit down the stretch than they did in the final drive, though.

BearlyLegal: It's a first step towards becoming a really good team. By the end of this year, we'll be a formidable force. And next season... watch out!

BTown85: Tough game, but Goff was impressive and our receivers played as I hoped. Definitely something to build upon!!!!!

TKE Prytanis 79: Proud of how we showed up, and the potential for better outcomes is great.

sup_doe_library: Disappointing that we couldn't come away with the win. But, also heartening in seeing a young team still put a solid performance together against a good team. Overall outlook is that with a little luck and a couple of breaks, we would have won that game by at least 14 points. All 3 INT's came on drives where Cal had momentum and would have resulted in points, imo. Goff, Treggs, Harper were impressive, and the pieces for a record breaking offense are in place. The OL, the big ? coming into the season, played pretty well--though I think OL coaches need to develop techniques to keep DL hands low and passing lanes clearer.

Defense had their ups and downs, and I feel that the front 4 need to generate more pressure. The secondary was left out to dry sometimes with the lack of significant pressure on some drives, esp in the 2nd Q, but did play better once NW was forced to pass under pressure. Jalen Jefferson had a great game, and Nickerson played well in place of Forbes.

Rose Bowl Oski: Exciting football has finally returned to Strawberry Canyon. Win or lose, this team will be fun to watch.

Goldenboiler: I better understand Oregon's frustration.

Miss the grading form? Is there something you want to respond to? Leave your comments below!

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