What are the positives to take from Cal-Grambling State? What makes you more confident in this team going forward?
LeonPowe: Most importantly an easy win with no injuries. We've seen (especially today) that FCS teams can give FBS teams fits or even L's so getting out of Memorial with a W and no injuries is huge. Also got some wins for the defense - defensive touchdowns, a pass rush - I'm not going to discount the effects of confidence and the momentum of good plays. Lastly - lots of playing time for back ups. Good to get game experience for guys like Forrest, Enwere, all the freshmen who got in.
Trace Travers: This game gave a preview of how our offense can move when running on full bore. During that first drive, which took almost no time off the clock, Jared and company looked like a machine. Receivers were open, RBs got solid gains, and so on. On defense, I think hearing how much everybody thought they sucked got to them. That was an excellent performance, with the line providing some solid pressure and the defensive backs cleaning up. It helps the collective confidence of the defense.
Keegan Dresow: The major positive was that the defense looked like a solid Pac-12 unit. The players looked faster, more physically mature, and more confident. That being said, they still need to prove it against an opponent who is not so overmatched.
boomtho: My biggest positive, like Keegan said, was that our defense looks like a legitimate Pac-12 defense. They showed great ability to swarm to the ball, and a really nice ability to make plays on the ball, even on deflections. While the offense looked great as well, that was expected, so I'm not taking a ton of new learnings from that. Third, I agree with LeonPowe that it's a big positive that there were no injuries (Jack Austin excepted, hope he is doing well). Last, I love that a lot of our players got playing time, including both players that should provide depth for this year, as well as players like Forrest that should hopefully only have to contribute in the future.
Nik Jam: It's always good to blowout a FCS team, as the close wins in 2012 and 2013 foreshadowed a very bad year. At least we'll be another fun team, if we still wind up mediocre.
The Cal defense made a lot of great plays, but there were a lot of bad routes and drops by the Tigers too.
KWBears: Jared Goff was Jared Goff, so that was nice to see. But, Chase Forrest getting all that playing time is going to be huge for him and the team. Football is all about depth and you can only build depth in real game situations, not practice (unless you're Pete Carroll @ $C). We'll need a decent QB if anything happens to Goff this season and definitely next year when Goff is in the League.
A.W Johnston: Experience. What a difference from year one to year three under Sonny Dykes. The portland state game feels like fifty years ago with the offense executing on all cylinders and defense playing better than we expected. If our defensive line can continue to get pressure as we move on to bigger opponents, we can compete with any team.
What are the negatives to take from Cal-Grambling State? How does this make you more worried about the team going into the future?
LeonPowe: Grambling created a lot of chaos up front with their sell out scheme and Goff was under some pressure. Sure handled it well, but what happens when the athletes get bigger and faster?
Trace Travers: There were a few drops that ended up as interceptions. Those need to be cleaned up, as well as keeping the pressure off of Jared. That was a little troubling, but there isn't too much to complain about.
Keegan Dresow: I did not see many negatives. The offense had a few miscues early on, but that is common (and expected) early in any season. Cal did exactly what they needed to do on both sides of the ball, and got many players game experience.
boomtho: The only potential negative is that special teams didn't look great. We didn't have good depth on our kickoffs and the coverage was thoroughly mediocre.
Nik Jam: As everyone else has noted, the shuffled offensive line looked very raw against an albeit Tigers defense. Hopefully they will gel as the season goes on, but that's what we said about the Cal secondary after the early season struggles the last two seasons, and that wound up never going away. I admit I'm a little bit of a panic mode, which will erupt if San Diego State does a number on the Cal offense.
The Cal receivers had some drops too, including the tipped ball that resulted in a Tigers interception. I have more faith that will not happen in later games though.
KWBears: I don't see any negatives from this first game. No one got hurt and that's all that really matters. We played lower competition - even the best teams play down to lower competition - so I'm not worried about us looking shaky in some parts.
A.W Johnston: The offensive line. My second biggest concern heading into camp was offensive line and after Saturday, it has been thrust into the number one spot. The defensive line showed up and made some big plays, but the offensive line looked vulnerable against an opponent that should generally look overwhelmed. I have faith in Brandon Jones and his body of work at East Carolina however that first game performance woke up my nervousness.