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CGB Report Card: Grading Cal's Performance Against Eastern Washington

Here's a list of those who participated (forgot to do this last week, my bad).

rurata, BeastMode, SanMateoBear, hrlincon, California Pete, Swamphunter, solarise, cruidzoid, ohsooso, tonyser, Haas8388, carp, CaliforniaCMB, katster, Berkelium97, chowder, Spazzy Mcgee, Yleexotee, dballisloose, Troatie, Jason Snell, omnizzle, rocksanddirt, LEastCoastBears, Norcalnick, kjdsider, highwireact, thinthen, DrBeeoer

Thanks again for taking the time out to set this stuff up. I'll try to attribute the best comments you made in the post; if I snubbed anyone, it wasn't intentional, and feel free to let me know (

Going from a national telecast to a regional telecast, it was clear we were going to have a dropoff in people who watched the game, and thus peopleinput. Still a good twenty-nine forms were submitted. Hopefully next week with the early kickoff, more Cal fans will be watching, cheering, and grading their Bears!

Best comments as usual picked out from the game.

Quarterback: 3.16 (B)
Running back: 3.93 (A)
Receivers: 2.92 (B)
Run blocking: 3.93 (A)
Pass protection: 3.47 (A-)
Run defense: 3.99 (A)
Pass rush: 3.05 (B)
Pass defense: 2.78 (B)
Special teams: 2.60 (B-)
Coaching: 3.52 (A-)
Overall: 3.39 (B+)

For the second week in a row, people agreed the most on the running backs, with a standard deviation of only about 0.186. I'm sensing a trend.

For the second week in a row, people disagreed the most on the special teams, with an SD of 0.573. I'm sensing ALAMAR.

Commenter awards followed by grades after the jump!

Old Blue Award

Commenter/reader alias Average score out of 4
Haas8388 2.924
SanMateoBear 2.939
California Pete 2.985
Norcalnick 3.121
Berkelium97 3.136

We have plenty of reasonable, pessimistic Bears fans on our suite. Haas8388 was in the top 5 last week, and he rises to the top with giving Cal a little less than a B for their performance. He points out a few things that we should pay attention to in the upcoming weeks.

Pass rush (C-): The Bears had a relatively difficult time getting to the QB, especially against the first stringer. Given that the run game was all but nonexistent, it is surprising to me that our bigger, stronger DL's were consistently bottled up. Even with a three man rush, I would have thought that Cal could apply more pressure.

Pass defense (B-): It seems like Cal has always been vulnerable to the short passing game. TE's and RB's running short curl and crossing routes, in front of the LB's, seem to be open most of the time. An accurate QB, with a little patience, can move the ball through the air.

Coaching (B+): Some interesting offensive wrinkles, especially misdirection plays to Best and Isi. I would have liked to see Riley throw more to the WR's in this game as I think they are still a bit off. Despite only giving up 7 points, the defense still did not look exactly dominant. Considering the level of competition, I would have expected more DL penetration and a more harassed EWU QB.

It's hard to find too many faults in a 52 point win, but the game did not feel as dominating as the final score would indicate, especially in the first half.

Golden Sunglasses Award

Commenter/reader alias Average score out of 4
katster 3.788
Yleexotee 3.667
LEastCoastBears 3.606
Spazzy McGee 3.515
rocksanddirt 3.515
rurata 3.515

Katster was our most rational voter last week; now she's gone all Oski-lovey-dovey on us! Definitely generous with the As here.

Running backs (A): The running backs were on fire. Javid went for nearly 150, Vereen got three touchdowns, and DeBoskie-Johnson nearly went for 100. That's not bad at all. Plus, heads up for Jahvid for turning a very bad play into a really good one. Just imagine if he'd gotten the touchdown. But there was the fumble on the one which cost us a possible touchdown, so that knocks the plus off this grade.

Run defense (A+): Any time a team finishes in single digits in the run game, you have to be happy.

Coaching & Overall (A): All in all, not bad, although I'd like to see the reserves have come in a little earlier...Solid effort. Not spectacular, but we won the game, and won it handily, and yeah, going 111-14 in two games is nothing to sneeze at. Now! Onwards to Minnesota!

The Gold Standard: Steven Chu Award

Commenter/reader alias Total standard deviation
highwireact 0.7139
kjdsider 0.8071
rocksanddirt 0.8305
solarise 0.8328
rurata 0.8776

This grade goes to the person who came the closest with his or her report card to the final grade. Just like Haas8388 seems like an Old Blue, highwireact has been a fixture in this category the first two weeks, coming close to the mark with logical insights into the way the Bears have performed.

Quarterback (B): Solid, but could have been better. Felt like there were a few throws where Riley was late throwing the ball.

Running backs (A): Would be an A+ except a couple of fumbles. Depth in the backfield is amazing.

Pass Defense (B-): Rough in the first half, but excellent after the break.

Good stuff highwireact, keep us rational on a week-by-week basis following a totally irrational institution like college football.

Note: Someone put up a W instead of a grade. Not cool man. I changed it to an A, since that's what I assume you meant. Don't do that again or I will start deleting Twist's comments, especially the one with exclamation points.

Onto the best of the comments! Photos provided by Cal Bears Online, check out his full album of the game here!




carp (B): Again, these grades are awarded without the stat sheet or game reviews in front of me. They are more like a fan evaluation from the 71st row.

To me, Riley's season and perhaps career will be coming to the proverbial crossroads. Will he become Boller/Rogers-esque or will he be like Ayoob? While he's trending in the right direction, we haven't exactly seen the stiffest defenses. Let's start with the positives:

- He's an experienced junior and a leader. I speculate that he does this very well.

- He doesn't turn the ball over frequently, either with INTs or fumbles.

- His handoffs/PA's look solid - he gives the ball off well, fakes giving it off well, and provides a believable "finish." On Vereen's TD going into the N. End Zone, I didn't even know who had the ball until Vereen was getting high-fived.

- Mechanics are MUCH improved


- At times, he holds onto the ball for DAYS while staring at one side of the field. I get the same feeling when Alex Smith's playing for the niners. At times - and this isn't always - he doesn't know when to use his legs, when to slide, when to throw it away, and when to find the dump off RB.

- Touch/accuracy. I think this will improve with regular game-speed attempts. It takes some time to get into a groove, and Cal had this one well in-hand (relatively) early on.

I would have liked to see Mansion and/or Sweeney through 5-10 passes. Is it possible to put Mansion in AND not hand it off everytime? As KenCraw says, we might need him for a series, a quarter, or a game against a formidable opponent. Getting his cherry popped early would be great.

Sweeney - flag'd for fumbling the handoff although I'm not certain it's all his fault.

chowder (B+): I thought Riley did pretty well after the first couple of passes. Obviously, the passing game was not as potent as it was vrs. Maryland, the shortfall is more of the receivers' responsibility. There were a few drops, and they did a poor job gaining separation. The game annoucers did a good job, pointing out how Boatang's coasting cost Riley a long TD pass, making Riley look bad in the process.

SanMateoBear (B): Last two passes were on the receivers, so his completion percentage is slightly misleading. However, seemed to hold the ball too long, wasn't particularly sharp with passes, didn't seem to look for Marvin Jones - who should be the go to guy... Like his run, though. All in all, didn't look nearly as sharp as against Maryland.

Spazzy McGee (B-): I mean, I can cook eggs as good as anyone and put them on toast as good as anyone. That's what Riley did in this game. He cracked two eggs, threw them in a pan, and put them on some toast. Tasty? Yes. Full? Yes. Does that make him a world class chef? Sadly no. Throws were off, and late. He had some nice ones (Best TD and Ross TD drop) but for the most part, as last year, he and his WR's were just not on the same page. To beat USC he's going to need to make more of a souffle and I just didn't see anything like that in this game.

Running back



Jason Snell (A+): How many running backs can score a touchdown before you get to the center of the Tootsie Pop?

dballisloose (A): Yes the tailbacks get the credit, and it shows on the box score, but the fullback Holley is really blossoming and showed a lot of strength catching and running, not just blocking.

ohsoooso (A): We're four deep now. I was amused that EWU's defense took much better angles to our ball carriers than Maryland's. Still, these guys are terrific.

SanMateoBear (A-): Would be an A except for the fumble and inability to punch it in from the 5 on first and goal. Also, does Jahvid seem to have lost half a step? He's getting caught in the secondary where last year he was gone. Maybe the weight gain for durability costs a little speed? Debo was awesome in the 4th quarter.




kjdsider (B): The passing game just wasn't there. In terms of catching the ball, the WRs didn't have very many chances. Maybe they weren't getting open or there were just safer options to throw to, but the receivers weren't really part of the game unless they were run blocking for the backs.

Berkelium97 (B): There were some drops. Nyan missed a catchable TD, but that was partially Riley's fault because it was a little overthrown (the announcers, however, said Nyan wasn't going full speed and could have caught it if he did). Fullbacks and tight ends were incorporated well into the passing game.

rurata (B): If only Nyan didn't let up on that route!

Norcalnick (C+): Weren't asked to do much. They were overthrown on a few potential big plays. Meh

Run blocking



Swamphunter (A): This ties in with the RBs. Our OL is something that is really working right now. We're definitely right next to or even better than USCs.

Haas8388 (A-): A lot of big holes, but that is to be expected given the physical advantage Cal's OL had. There were also more than a few rushing attempts that were stuffed at or near the LOS. That should really not happen given the disparity in physical ability between Cal's Ol and EWU's DL.

SanMateoBear (A-): Great, except for inability to push it in from first and goal at the 5.

Pass protection



cruidzoid (A-): one sack was pretty bad. but otherwise they were decent (helps with riley being more mobile than longshore)

solarise (A-): Besides the one sack on Riley, pass protection was stellar. With the way JB, SV, CVDJ, and Isi were running, it was hard to pressure Riley.

Troatie (B): EWU only got to Riley once, and while EWU's front maybe not that great, they put a lot pressure on. I'm worried about when Cal faces a potent pass rush.

Run defense



rurata (A++++, rounded down to an A+ for our purposes): EWU had 9 rushing yards?

kastster (A+): Any time a team finishes in single digits in the run game, you have to be happy.

Berkelium97 (A): 14 yards on 28 carries? Dominance. The Big Sky conference isn't known for running the ball much, but EWU's run game was absolutely shut down. Speedy Taiwan Jones' longest run was when he broke free for a whopping 4 yards.

Pass rush



BeastMode (B): This grade is more a function of not blitzing enough in the first half and utilizing too many 3 man rushes.

Troatie (B+): 4 sacks and ok pressure in general.

EWU avg OL weigt: 283 lbs
Cal avg DL weight: 294 lbs

Add in some speedy linebackers... I don't know, I would have expected more pressure.

Spazzy McGee (B+): They did get through to their veteran QB but often times he had plenty of time to make an easy dump pass. I feel like the Dline got nowhere near the penetration they did vs Maryland. Then again Maryland is a dirty whore.

Pass defense



dballisloose (B+): First time I've seen Syd miss an assignment. Safeties blew assignments on a few occassions and a better QB would have exploited that.

solarise (B): Once again the secondary performed well. EWU revealed questions in Cal's LBs' ability to cover TEs. As EWU's Overbay demonstrated, the LB corp has a slight disadvantage. Gregory will probably study the tapes and remedy this issue before Cal plays the likes of Rob Gronkowski of AZ.

carp (B-): My grade feels harsh considering Cal gave up 1 TD and won by 52 points.

Versus Oregon last year and their spread-option attack, I was particularly concerned with what base defense we'd play. Would we play a 3-3-5, 3-4, 3-2-6, 4-2, 4-1-6, etc? Probably not a 3-4 was my assumption since this would leave a guy like Follett or Young on a WR or result in more man-coverage with Thompson and Hagan as the safeties would have to help out. While Cal stuck to the 3-4, fortunately Masoli was the QB.

Nicholls and his Tx Tech-ish offense appeared, at times, to find the hole in the zone - particularly in the middle of the field. I saw a lot 3-4 with the OLB's on WR. I think I even saw a # 90 on a WR. I'm no HydroTech, but that sounds like a mismatch to me.

Special Teams



(whoops, chose the wrong special team. You go Cal gals!)

yleexotee (B-): Still being tortured by weak kicks. missed fieldgoal leaves me with lack of confidence in kicking game.

norcalnick (B-): Kickoff distance was better if not as good as we hope it can be. The missed FG is something that can't happen against Pac-10 teams. Punt teams continue to be excellent.

thinthen (C): Georgio did get it inside the 10 on occassion. Um, yay?



via (that looks familiar)

Troatie (A): Great defensive adjustments after EWU touchdown drive. I was a little surprised that Cal didn't take a knee on that last touchdown drive. It was cool to see that 5th person (debOSKIE) get a touchdown, of course. Did EWU have lots of timeouts? I don't recall.

kjdsider (A-): Initial gameplan wasn't as solid as it should of been. The Eagles went short all the way down the field on their 2nd drive. They made the adjustments and the team responded well for the rest of the game.

Only thing I wish we did more of was passing to wide receivers. We need more practice in this area of the offense.

Swamphunter (A-): Ludwig continues to really work well as OC... I question some of his choices to do the Shotgun in the redzone, but it works so I can't complain.

The Special Teams has improved coverage-wise... but the minus this week goes to Bob Gregory and his lethargic pass coverage on defense. This WAS the team that was #3 overall in INTs last season... correct?

ohsooso (A-): First string didn't really appear to want to play this game for awhile before perking up late first half. Coaches must have motivated them somehow.




BeastMode (B+): Should not have been that close in the first half but Cal got back to running the ball and playing stiff defense after that. This is what Top 10 teams do to D2 opponents.

chowder (B): We should have won, we did, but we still need to get better.

California Pete (B): Mission accomplished. Dominated the run game. Didn't turn the ball over. Won by a very comfortable score. No significant injuries. Not spectacular, but good for maintaining momentum heading onto the road.

Berkelium97 (C+): Sure, the defense gave up only 40 yards in the second half and 7 points total, but that first-half performance was subpar. I don't know if they didn't study much for EWU or what, but that's not going to get the job done over the next five weeks. At the same time, I'm glad the team was humbled because they were reminded that every opponent has the ability to win if Cal doesn't execute.
Another note: Cal hasn't turned it over once this season, but they also haven't caught a single interception...

Gameday experiences



SanMateoBear: Watched the game on A-Dubble's feed - so did my son. His feed was about 5 seconds ahead of mine (he was in the next room) so success or failure of each play was always telegraphed by his cheers or groans.

cruidzoid: i don't know if any of you guys are in the student section, but rally comm is being a straight up BITCH. Never in my 3 years here have they stood up during the halftime (everybody knows halftime = sit, rest up, and enjoy the show") apparently the logic is that "rally comm shows its respect to the band by standing up during halftime" thereby blocking the view of the rest of the (sitting) student section. the poor freshpeople in rally comm are told to sit down (by the rest of the student section) and stand up by the few senior/non-freshman leaders in rally comm. I wouldn't be surprised if a scuffle happens in the next few games.

also the mic-men took a step down from last year (the one returner is good, the nerdy guy improved from last week, but the other guy was seriously high/was still busy flirting with the cheerleaders)

and the cal band taught us another chant (of course when our offense was on the field)

carp: Spend a $100 and get binoculars - well worth it!

Sarah and the new girl were both cheering next to each other in the 2nd! My wife caught me peepin through the binocs!

dballisloose: Went shopping with the wife. Thank God for Tivo and iPhones

Troatie: The regular Comcast package now carries CSN California. That was nice. Finished up the night with The Killers in Mountain View. Awesome. Was able to flip off the 'Furd while I was down there.

rocksanddirt: Quarts of beer at the Bears lair....

norcalnick: Two idiots a few rows behind us (who booed Longshore last year) ACTUALLY BOOED SYD-QUAN after EWU's only touchdown. Cal fandom revoked! I think I need to move to the young alumni section.