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CGB Report Card: Grading Cal's Performance Against Maryland

Thanks for the fifty-four readers who took their time to report on the team's performance in the postgame thread! The grading is based on a four-point scale (kind of like a GPA thing). A+ was a 4.3, A was a 4.0, A- was 3 2/3, B+ was 3 1/3, etc. Here are the overall grades.

Quarterback: 3.54 (A-)
Running back: 3.92 (A)
Receivers: 3.65 (A-)
Run blocking: 3.58 (A-)
Pass protection: 3.53 (A-)
Run defense: 3.27 (B+)
Pass rush: 3.72 (A)
Pass defense: 3.47 (B+)
Special teams: 2.43 (C+)
Coaching: 3.79 (A)
Overall: 3.72 (A)

I picked a few comments from each person who submitted them and tried to balance the best. Took a few hours but it seems we got a good cross-section about how people experienced the game. Plus a few funny ones too, which I always appreciate. If I missed any of you, I'm really sorry, I'll try to get you in on the action next week.

Most people agreed on the running backs, with a standard deviation of only about 0.226. The lowest grade handed out was a B+.  Ron Gould teaches well.

Most people disagreed on the special teams, with an SD of 0.74. There were several Ds turned in (which were the lowest grades submitted at any position), but there were also B+s, even an A-. Pete Alamar's inconsistent kickoff coverages strike again.

Immediately after the jump are commenter awards, followed by the grades, plus gameday experiences at the end!

Here's are the inaugural commenter awards for this week's report cards.

Old Blue Award

Commenter/Reader alias
Average score (out of 4)
LovinBlue 2.82
Rollonyoubearsdad 2.92
hrlincon 3.11
Trilogy44 3.14
Haas8388 3.20
oldyeller 3.20


This goes to the commenter with the most dour outlook on the game, and this week it goes to LovinBlue, who handed out only one grade above a B (running back). You know Cal must have turned out a great performance because the comments were still very constructive!  This was the bleakest comment left, regarding special teams.

Do we have a new long snapper?  Anger seemed to be 5 yards too close and was always pressured to kick it away too fast.

Tavecchio has not improved his leg strength on kickoffs, so they consistently returned for what seemed like miles.

Golden Sunglasses Award

Commenter/Reader alias
Average score out of 4
jeffdub 4.07
oaktown123 3.91
rurata 3.88
newporto9 (T-4th) 3.79
Lawrence (T-4th) 3.79


This goes to the biggest homer among all of us, and jeffdub surpassed us all with SIX A+s (quarterback, running back, pass protection, pass rush, pass defense, and overall). I wish I could've taken at least one class at Cal with that kind of grading scale!

Interestingly, the submitters on both ends of the scales tended not to be regular contributors to the site. Which begs the question--does commenting on CGB make you a more moderate Cal fan?

The Steven Chu Award

Commenter/Reader alias Total Standard deviation
katster 0.6664
racsan 0.7349
elpbear 0.7607
cruidzoid 0.7615
highwireact 0.7773


This award goes to the most rational voter, or the person who came closest to the mark of the average grades on the front page. Katster came closest to the mark, nailing the approximate grade on over 50 percent of them and only being half a grade off on everyone else. We might have something special for the overall commenter award winners at the end of the season.

(I have no idea why I used Steven Chu. I'm not sure he even watches football. I was looking for a rational famous Cal alum. Any suggestions would be welcome!)

Onto the grades by position!


via (Photo link)


troatie (A-):  Early on Riley didn't step up when the pocket was collapsing behind him. He definitely stood in there and took a shot when needed, but for a little while he ran when OLine would have pushed the defenders behind him. But this is a small criticism of an otherwise awesome performance. Nice
block by the way. (BTW, Masion, looked, eh)

CaliforniaBone (A-): Riley was pretty accurate throughout, but what really impressed me was his decision-making. Several times, he would roll out of the pocket, only to throw the ball away when he realized there was no one open. Even though it led to a few killed drives, I'd rather go 3 and out than
having a costly turnover or a negative yard loss. 0 Int made my day.

highwireact (A-)Riley started a little slow, but otherwise he played great. Put the ball where only the receivers could get to it, and seemed to do a great job going through his progressions. Also very adept at avoiding the pass rush while staying in the pocket. Looked very much like the team leader we need him to be.

brownbear (B+)I think I'm a little harsher than most others on Riley tonight. His stats are some of the best from the first weekend - 4 tds, no INTs, 17/26 for 300 yards - but the balls he threw weren't nearly that good. He had decisive moments and made some of the right reads but all too often the plays were spectacular because Marvin Jones or Tucker made a great play on a poorly thrown ball.


via (Images from Monica's Dad)

Running back

GoldBlooded (A): Nothing needs to be said about Jahvid. What REALLY stood out to me was how Covaughn (#28) seems like an every-down back already. He just powers through! Love the attitude. And if Jahvid is Coors, the banquet of touchdowns beer, Shane is the just-as-fast yet more popular Coors Light. You can drink him all night long without getting full. And They all go down smooth! Isi had a good run in that end-around as well. I suspect he will be used for more lightning strikes. Cue Klaus Nomi soundtrack!

carp (A): All backs were excellent; Cal rushed for over 200 yards, Vereen seems to have really improved in all phases, and Debo also looked solid in garbage time.

If there's one criticism, it's that Cal continues to not get it's very best player the rock 20-25 times a game.  While certainly some of this was due to the score, it also seems like he received ample rest at times when other backs would be playing.  One would have to think with Bradford's injury, Best now has entered the top 3 of the very early Heisman race.  Will he get his touches?  Is he durable enough to get his touches?

Kjdsider (A-): Overall, all the backs did good. Best and Vareen did their thing with 4 tds combined. New fullback fit in very well. Backups finished the game off.

jsnell (A): Shameful inability to average 20 yards per carry.


via (Original link)


oldyeller (A-): I'm grading the receivers higher than the running backs and Riley because they have really improved.  These guys are not reminiscent of the mish-mash group we had last season; instead, they seem to have a clear idea of what they're doing, they're catching the ball, and making good blocks on the running plays.  These guys aren't the big three of Jackson, Hawkins, and Jordan, but they played solidly.

Dr. RoosterAndBalls (B+): Marvin Jones is LEGIT. Verran and Nyan are also looking like two very good recievers.  I think that as the season goes on they will continue to grow, what a difference it is to have an  extra year of expeience and development under your belt.   This group could be one of the most underated in the PAC-10

Primo (A+): Marvin Jones. Period. Two R.C.Owens "Alley-Oop" one-handed grabs near the goal,  before the 60-yard, OMG stunner that will make all opponents fear Cal's Passing attack. The rest of the WR's lined up right behind the example set by Jones, with some magic of thier own. Varran Tucker placed the block of the week on a defender trying to catch Best, way downfield, making Best's TD look easy.

Ryku (A-): Things looked they could go either way towards the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Once Marvin and Boateng both beat coverage deep, I knew Tedford was dead on saying that this offense would look like it was a couple years ago. I remember watching MichState last year and thinking that was the only missing piece from that game. That was obviously a problem last year, but our receivers seem much improved. Beating coverage, blowing by coverage and holding on to tough catches. Defenses will have to respect the pass game.


via (original link)

Run blocking

Berkelium97 (A): After seeing the open practice during spring and repeatedly seeing fullbacks fall over near the line of scrimmage I was worried heading into this game. My worries were unfounded as Holley and the O-line continually executed their blocks well. Best and Vereen had some huge holes to work with. Even Tucker and Riley got into it and made some great blocks.

msubeav (A): If the backs get through the line of scrimmage untouched..that tells you the oline was doing its job. If your quarterback is never sacked...that also tells you their pass blocking and protection was solid. I saw lineman running downfield making blocks..another good sign. Great performance by the big guys.

theatrealum (B+): Good on big plays, but not always on every down up the middle

BleedinBlue (A): I have trouble picking up what the O-line is doing during a play (too much madness), but I think RB success is a good indicator of how the O-line played in run blocking.


via (Original image link)

Pass protection

LeonPowe (A): I don't think Riley got sacked until the 3rd quarter. Riley had time almost all day - any time there were rushers in the backfield, I think it was a breakdown from the backs, not the big uglys up front. And this was against what was supposed to be a sell-everything-out, 46-style aggressive defense.

royrules22 (A-): A couple of sucks and pressures but they held up admirably against some all out blitzes. Best wiffed on one block leading to a sack but he did decently otherwise.

carp (B+): A few sacks, but those might have been "coverage sacks." Riley frequently had a lot of time to throw. He didn't look frantic and this, in part, has to be attributed to good pass protection.

norcalnick (A): I think Riley only was sacked once, and Maryland's new defensive coordinator is known for creative blitzing.  Any time a unit has new starters against an unknown defensive scheme and only allows 1 sack and paves the way for almost 300 passing yards, I give them an A.


via (Original photo link)

Run defense

oldyeller (B+): Our corps of linemen and linebackers played a solid 4 quarters of football.  They get a B+ because of the way they cracked down when Maryland was in the red zone and the way they kept Maryland from scoring a touchdown until the third quarter.

Haas8388 (B-): The first unit DL did very well as expected, but whenever the second unit rotated into the game (in mass) the run defense suffered noticably. There were a few times where our run defense looked quite soft on the edges.

Kjdsider (B): Lots of outside the tackle runs were working for Maryland. One long TD run given up.

ohsooso (B): It was good. Maryland has very good RBs (not immortal ones like ours, but very good). They did enough to nullify it.


via (image by Ezra Shaw, Getty Images)

Pass rush

Primo (A-): What was the total? 7 sacks? Well done. There were a few times,  however, when Maryland QB had all day to throw. So, some of that will have to be corrected, to avoid future long pass completions and TD's. Still, Alualu and Cameron applied pressure unless double teamed, and the blitzing LB or DB will, it seems, occur more often as players get more comfortable with new assignments.

katster (A): My name is Ernest Owusu.  You tried to pass on me.  Prepare to die.

Cheesedog (A): They have some athletic beasts in the middle.  And their linebacking corps does not seem to be missing anything from last year.

Goldblooded (B+): 7 sacks! Ernie Owusu is a BEAST! We think the full moon transformed him into the Sackman, a mythical creature of legend that once lived in Strawberry Canyon. And Tyson just absolutely swallowed up the quarterback in his entirety on that one play.


via (Photo by Ezra Shaw, Getty Images)

Pass defense

ohsooso (B): I guess the dump over the middle is what Gregory likes to give up in order to defend everything else, but I find it really tiresome. Stanfurd won Big Game two years ago almost solely on that play. Some great coverage elsewhere.

Berkelium97 (B+): Syd was brilliant again with his pass break-up abilities and unnatural foresight of where the ball will be. We gave up quite a few short passes, but that was acceptable because Maryland was not effective in continually passing as a means to move downfield.

BleedinBlue (A-): Squid was his usual self but D-Hag seemed a bit off; that knee tendonitis is probably really bothering him. Aside from those two notes, our pass D seemed solid against Maryland's corp of talented receivers.

calbear112 (B+): new linebackers still have some work to do in terms of coverage... turner passed over the middle quite a lot, and didnt often get balls off to receivers covered by syd or hagan (who were both great)


via (Photo link here)

Special Teams

TKE Prytanis 79 (B-): Pulled down by the continuation of crap kick-offs...what was with all this pre season talk about Giorgio putting them into the endzone during practice...what goes here??? We might as well try some big ass lineman taking two steps and kicking it straight on with a Blanda style shoe...come on you guys, this should be solveable

Haas8388 (C-):  Other than Little's jarring hit in the first quarter, it looks like kick coverage is in the bottom quartile of the NCAA. Punt coverage was a little better and kick returns were better still. Overall, a weak spot for the Bears.

royrules22 (D): Anger, his backup Theimer and D'Amato all get an A+

Tavechio and Seawright get an F---.
Kickoff and punt coverage get an F--------.

Chris Little gets an A for that fumble.

Trilogy44 (C-):  I dont care how good the team is...when they run up against top-notch, quality teams, kickoffs to the 20 with returns to the 40-45 are going to KILL them. Tavecchio is unfortunately not the answer. He had one kick go a respectable distance but the rest dropped from the 10-20 yard line. We are handing field position away consistently and that will come back to bite the Bears. I'm not sure if it was due to the score, or if it was due to the short kickoffs by Georgio, but Seawright got a few KO attempts and hit line drives. Those kicks seemed to work, but again, against a quality team I wouldnt count on it.

Anger seemed to have a blah game as well. I read in the paper that the Maryland punter and him are two of the best in the nation, but neither had any breath-taking punts. He did have one punt pinned at the 8 (landed at the 8 and bounced sideways out of bounds). Irnoically enough, Theimer had the nicest punt of the night--glad to have him back on the team. I can see why D'Amato won the PK job. His kicks were high and accurate and it looks like he has a pretty decent leg. Long snaps were good by Rios all night as well.


Swamphunter (A-): Andy Ludwig in his first game was lights out. Completely perfect. Any of the Oregon fans complaining are wrong, and this game is solid proof.

The minus was simply due to ALAMAAAAARs slight Special Teams mishaps.

racsan (A): We didn't run many trick plays, which is good considering we didn't need them and are keeping them (and Isi) pretty much a secret. Riley's mechanics look better. The team didn't really take any penalties.

Ryku (A): 50% rush/pass plays; Tedford and crew had the gameplan down to a science. This is important because Cal probably would've had a good game even with parts were sloppy here and there. This is how you separate wins like this over wins that Texas or U$C had. Cal executed the gameplan all four quarters. While MD might not have been the best opponent, this did not look like a team merely overpowering a weaker opponent, this is looked good on practically all fronts.

jsnell (A): Just pull down your pants and slide on the ice.


rurata (A): Got my hopes up for the rest of the year.  Which makes it all the worse when the inevitable crash comes.

GoldBlooded (A-): I wanted 70 points. Screw manners.

norcalnick (A-): I gave them a Jeff Tedford grade.  A spectacular performance, especially on opening day with all of the jitters and potential execution problems to think about.  But there's always room for improvement, right?

Rollonyoubearsdad (B-): I think the Terps were better than they played and we will have to see if this team is the team that Cal fans will be talking about for years to come. I am guardly optomistic. GO BEARS!


via (Image link)

Best of the gameday experiences

BleedinBlue: I saw the coolest shirt EVAR. Some dude in the Cal band alumni section was wearing a shirt with a graphic displaying Marshawn Lynch stiff arming Patrick Chung ("holy shit, he's black!??") with "BEASTMODE" underneath. That shirt was teh sexay.

TKE Prytanis 79: We are out of town with family, and it was my Granddaughters birthday dear family rescheduled the entire evening to ensure the old man got to see the whole game... love

LeonPowe: 10 Cal fans at 10 in the morning in Big Bamboo Sports bar in Shanghai. Voice gave out at halftime (really!) Text messages and tweets were flying between the US, Hong Kong, Beijing and Taipei as the Cal game became a shared experience amongst Greater China based Cal alums. Met some cool people, too bad we don't have any evening games coming up. Noon/Afternoon games tend to be a solo experience in glasses and in the dark of my living room at 4:30am.

marlinbooga: Shashimi and other goodies at our campus picnic area. My buddy that brought me to Cal Bear Football many years ago having a great 67th. birthday. A few people complaining  that we don't always sell out, but they probably don't remember not far back when we used to go to home games with for instance the Oregon Ducks, and there would be more Green in the stadium than Blue and Gold!!!!

Trilogy44: Maybe I'm a wet towel for saying this, but the blue-out didn't go that well on the alumni side. A majority of people were wearing blue, but it didn't have the effect I thought it would (maybe because it was a night game?).

I'm bitter about the radio sitaution. For those who don't know, the AD made a deal with some radio company to sell radios at the game. They cost $20 and work for all home and away games. But, the real gipp is that they delayed the radio feed by 10-15, if you brought your own radio from home (which I did), you couldn't use it. That's lame. They make you buy one of these to be able to hear the radio feed in "real time".

rollonubears: I was sitting next to a CGBer. I don't know who, but they did say 'Bring on the Party Yacht' at one point.

rocksanddirt: The cocktail waitress told an interesting story about getting burned while camping.  girls making out, whiskey, naked hippies, etc.

troatie: With Comcast picking up ESPN360, we had two TVs and three laptops giving us our own sports bar at home.  Mix in some US Open upsets, Australian Rules Football, U.S. winning a World Cup Qualifying game, and no fewer than 10 college games.