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Cal Football vs. Grambling State Report Card - Bears whip paper Tigers

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Now THAT is how you start a season. On Saturday the Golden Bears won in all respects. Tons of points, no major injuries, and backups got valuable game reps. So did you all see things the same way or did you find some nits to pick?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Berkelium97: I'm quite happy this weekly series has begun again because this means football season is finally upon us.  I think we started these report cards back in 2009 and it's been a rough several years since then.  2012 and 2013 were particularly ugly, but we found ways to have some fun with gallows humor in these report cards.  Now that the team is on the upswing, I hope we can finally have a season full of excellent report cards and plentiful sunshine pumping.  We're certainly on our way after Saturday's performance.

Many thanks to all of you who participated.  For the uninitiated, we run these report cards after every game.  The process is fairly self-explanatory.  We ask you to rate the performance of each unit on (and off) the field and predict our chances of a win against the next opponent.  I calculate the average score for each category and report the standard deviation.  The standard deviation tells us how much variation there was in the grades.  Larger standard deviations indicate more variation in grades while lower standard deviations suggest we all generally agreed on our grades.  If you don't know what an average is, you may want to consider joining another fanbase.

I've listed the results below and this is as good of a report card as we've seen in years.  Offense was solid. Defense was excellent.  Even special teams were acceptable!

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense .874 .102
Rush Offense .747 .159
Pass Defense .804 .114
Rush Defense .811 .121
Special Teams .731 .182
Coaching .878 .095
Overall .871 .092
Win Chance vs. San Diego St. 86.36% (+2.8%) 10.9

For the first time in as long as I can remember, coaching was the highest rated category last week.  Today is truly a red letter day.

Even without a curve these would be great scores.  Unfortunately, this past Saturday was merely a practice exam.  A more serious warm up lies ahead this Saturday.  And the following Saturday is a major test for the Bears, one that will play a big role in determining our trajectory this year.

Now that we've looked over the results, it's time for some fun.  Well, it's time for more fun. You know you love all those numbers.

Awards

If you've seen our various season predictions posts or our report card series from previous years, you'll be familiar with the three main awards.  I usually give out some editor's choice awards to report cards that have some extra moxie.  Alas, I have none to give out this week.  Maybe next time...

Instead, we turn to the usual triumvirate of awards. The Bears won this week, so we'll first recognize the most optimistic among us.  To determine these awards, I add up all the scores from each category of the report card.  The highest totals earn the coveted Sonny Delight award.

Sonny Delight

Name Grade
1. NEXTDOOR 7.00 (100.0%)
1. dpassage 7.00 (100.0%)
1. Cruzinbears 7.00 (100.0%)
1. Berkelium97 7.00 (100.0%)
1. AlohaBear 7.00 (100.0%)

AW YEAH PUMP THAT SUNSHINE!

Next we recognize those pessimists with the lowest total scores.

Sonny Yikes!

Name Grade
1. Willis Chong 4.35 (62.1%)
2. sacman701 4.80 (68.6%)
3. slims 4.90 (70.0%)
4. Young_bear 4.95 (70.7%)
5. Dantheman007 5.00 (71.4%).

After the last few years, I'm just glad there's no one with all 0s.  In fact, not a single person gave the Bears a failing grade.  Progress!

Finally, we recognize those whose scores are closest to the community average in each category.  I calculate it like you'd calculate a standard deviation.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. ballboy .024
2. lithiumsorbet .027
3. PRD74 .038
4. WhiskeyTangoFurd .053
5. oskiwow1 .055.

These top two are spectacular scores.  Usually anything under .05 earns the award.  On rare occasions we have someone score under .04.  But scoring under .03?  That is phenomenally close to the community average.  Congratuations ballboy and lithiumsorbet--you two have some of the lowest deviations I have ever seen. Well done.

And now I turn it over to Sam who has gathered the best and brightest of the comments in the report cards.  Of course, if we truly wanted to most insightful and entertaining comments, we'd simply look at my report card.

Sam Fielder: So good to be back at it after a looooong off-season. And great to see so many familiar handles back commenting. I was surprised to see a much smaller number of people that filled out report cards, but I suspect you were all out celebrating the big win and doing fun things over the holiday weekend. Thanks to all who took the time to fill out the report card and remember to include a handle if you want your comments to be part of this section. And now, onto the comments:

GameDay Experience

sacman701: I have Pac-12 network this year, so I can watch instead of just hitting the F5 key like a dork.

Mr Gold Sky: The Pac-12 Network is forever sullied in my eyes for cutting away from the field just as the Grambling State Band was taking it. Come on, we all know they're the real reason we scheduled this distant FCS team.

Wyfind: It took five touchdowns for the Rally Committee to start firing the cannons. The card stunts and halftime band show were confusing and all over the place. Damn freshmen!

lithiumsorbet: The mic men were not very good.

1. We believe chant is the worst. We have enough of our own.

2. What is "Honey Mustard"? Why would you attempt to get people to chant that? [Editor’s Note: Honey Mustard is the nickname that the team has given to David Davis and it’s been trending on Cal twitter more and more. More than 1 player tweeted about how cool it was that this chant happened.]

3. Mic men asked student section to make noise while we were on offense multiple times

Seriously the most bizarre mic men I've seen in all my (limited) years of watching Cal football.

cruzinbears: Amazing day in Berkeley. Great football. Great fans. Great bands. Football is back baby!

OskiDisicple: Fabulous. It's always good at Cal home football games and always great when the Bears win. Today was special because of a larger than expected crowd and the Grambling band. They were -- and I do not use this word lightly -- awesome. Also I got to meet Fiat Lux, truly a giant among Cal fans and contrary to what others on this blog have written, well groomed and polite.

heyalumnigo: Stopped by the Drink Squad tailgate and ran into fiat, clapdoc, YWC. Dropped off a special bottle of good hooch.

PRD74: Grambling Band, Top Dogs, clean restrooms, beautiful weather, a nice parking spot, an almost a shutout defense, an unstoppable offense, and meeting my hero, THE fiatlux. I can say, "Best gameday experience EVER!"

dpassage: We knew Grambling's band would win halftime; we just didn't expect to get blown off the field.

Oh, our football team did pretty well, though.

AKBear24:Great experience. Easy to get to seats. Kids enjoyed high fiving players as they headed to locker room after game.

OaklandishBear: Great to get back to Memorial!  Arrived too late to see if the stadium did the Bear Territory chant.  Seemed to be a good crowd!

Many highlights of the day:  mostly smooth performance on both sides of the ball, lots of kids got reps in real contact, and there were no injuries by the Bears.

Have to say, though, that the Grambling band was perhaps the best part of the afternoon.  They were phenomenal.  The sound that put out could be felt viscerally.  What a show.  Glad we stuck around to see the post-game, too.

Pass Offense

goldenlikethebear: Great protection. Great play by both QBs. Minus point for the sole punt (but it was a really good punt), and two tipped interceptions.

Mr. Gold Sky: A shame that Goff can't go for a Mariota-esque run of interception-free games to start the season due to fluky deflections. Receivers seemed a little out of practice to start the game but the real focus should be the O-line, which did just barely enough to give Goff time. Against a real opponent, they could be a problem.

slims: Goff's decision making was not great, Bob. Lots of unnecessary throws into double coverage. I know it's game one and everyone is rusty but I expected a little bit more from a third year starter.

mrjpark: The Goffense is fully operational. We had some first game woes, but I imagine we'll get that all out of our system by the time we head over to Texas.

hardtobecalfan: jared looks awesome, chase looks solid in his first game. a little concerned about how much the QBs got hit and the WR drops/deflected INTs.

justbear: Goff is so good, but there's a big dropoff between him and Forrest.

I know Forrest didn't throw a lot, and he did have some beautiful throws, and I know he didn't have the best WR's that Goff works with, but I don't know if we can win with Forrest if Goff ever goes down.

PortlandBear: We need a new stat for interceptions not creditable to the QB. Goff didn't throw a pick - but that's not what the box score says.

FiatLucks13: Goff looked as sharp as ever. Ball placement on his passes continue to get better and better every year. The drop by Treggs kind of hurt, but still a solid game from our WRs.

WhiskeyTangoFurd: If other HBCs travel that well and bring bands that good, we need to schedule more of them.

Run Offense

Joe Bandsmen: We didn't seem to have the ability to regularly run the ball early in the game because of how they stacked the box. Our offensive line was great at pocket protection, but would like to have seen more of a push from them.

Jacobs.: What happened to Lasco? He seems to have regressed 2 years in the off- season :(

lacenaire: Wanted to see more straight ahead blocking. I'm not convinced o-line is tougher.

Rose Bowl Oski: I was surprised we didn't run the ball more early in the game. Muhammed looked like he finally figured out how to bring his true speed to the football field.

boomtho: Not spectacular, but pretty solid. Would have liked to see the OL get a bit more push.

Willis Chong: Some nice plays, and we didn't have a 100 yard rusher because everyone got a chance to play. Will reserve judgment until SDSU.

slims: Ball security is an issue again? Fumbles in the red zone? This is as glaring a problem as the pass defense.

RhetoriCal: I love all our RBs and I'm glad they all got to play.

justbear: Pretty solid, but Lasco didn't look as good as advertised.

Grambling stacked the box, but he should be able to get more yards.

Khalfani is fast and he looked like Jahvid Best. Good vision.

Bowles Hall: More runs!

Pass Defense

mjpark: I don't think anything meaningful was learned today. It's basically what we knew. We have bodies now, and they're fast and capable of keeping up with lower talent. Our front 4 dominated them hard enough that I don't think the DB's had to work too hard.

Dantheman007: The defense looked sharp I loved the turnovers but still have up a few big passes.

Yorzepol: I had forgotten that interceptions were a thing; I like when our defense gets them.

#drop73: Much improved. A few mistakes, but overall looks improved. Cam's INT was sweet

wiata78: Actually got a sack!

Rated for the whole game, though maybe the second stringers should get graded on a curve.

stanford sux 2015: Seems to be getting better. Not to sure what to make of the secondary against an FBS team. The positive was we looked great against sub-par competition, so now lets move the dial up and see how they handle a MWC team. Jury is still out, but so far so good.

georgebjones: Some big plays given up, we have to lock those down

NEXTDOOR: This team is a winner in all aspects

nedbear: Ah yeah!

sup_doe_library: SO. GLORIOUS.

Run Defense

Willis Chong: Good tackles in space and filling most holes. Let's see them do it against other people before we say that this is great.

georgebjones: Overall very solid. Although a 90 yard td, even in garbage time should not happen

JustBear: Good.

Not sure why Coleman was in as nickel when we were defending 4th and 1. We still did stop them though.

hartobecalfan: outside of that ridiculous uncontested 90 yard TD, it was great!

mrjpark: Solid is usual, but we can't be giving up 90 yard TDs to Grambling State.

ballboy: Solid job.We finally learned how to tackle.

oskigodumb: fine, as it goes

Mr. Gold Sky: Outside of one blown play by the second string defense, stellar.

Special Teams

slaphancock: Really REALLY disappointed that we had to punt. Kickoff coverage was suspect.

Goldenlikethebear: Generally good, but some breakdowns in coverage later on with the second/third team.

LeonPowe: Some coverage mistakes to clean up but punters and kickers looked good

hardtobecalfan: why is their kickoff return consistently better than ours? it's so frustrating. saw some whiffed tackles. leininger did a good job.

Stanford sux 2015: Punt return team seemed fine. Didn't see much of the punt team, the one punt Leninger did have the crowd seemed pleased. kickoff return team was ok. Kickoff team needs major retooling. Grambling seemed to get 30-40 yard returns every kickoff. Not sure of the actual yards, but it seemed like they were going to bust a TD every time we kicked off to them, and that was often.

Joe Bandsmen: BLOCK THAT PUNT?! We need to work on our kick coverage (for kick offs), but seeing that effort to get the hands on that punt was great. I saw that we went on fourth down early in the game while we were around 50 yards out for a field goal, so that is unfortunate we don't have that much confidence in our kicker. We had a booming punt later in the game, but hopefully we do not need such services on a regular basis.

Coaching

Willis Chong: Acceptable. No real bad decisions, but again, will reserve judgment until we play someone more substantial.

Oaklandish Bear: I have to give Coach and the staff credit, but this was just about the perfect day from their perspective. The game plan went smoothly with the offense not having to punt until the 3rd Quarter and the defense not giving up a 1st down (non-penalty aided) until the 2nd quarter.

They got to play probably the entire roster, and no one got hurt. They must be ecstatic!

I'll trust them that it was necessary to play so many true freshmen. I hope they all truly contribute this year and we don't waste their eligibility.

FiatLucks13: Good decision by Dykes to give Goff a rest and see what Forest can do as well. Glad he made that decision

OskiDisciple: Dykes had the team ready physically and mentally. Once the rout was on he got playing time for back ups and he refrained from doing anything that would constitute pouring it on.

mrjpark: Some good offensive game planning, we hard-countered what they wanted to do. That said, I don't think much coaching had to be done. Grambling was willing to take on our offense one on one, and they paid for it. Defensively, we just owned them from a man to man perspective. I think next week will let us see how much Dykes has grown as a HC.

Overall Performance

sacman701: You can't draw too many conclusions from a game like this, but apart from a few hitches the Bears did what they needed to do and quickly put the Tigers away. The backups got some reps, and no one got hurt.

ChocolateWasted: It's a nice win, and Cal did what any solid FBS team should do against a team like Grambling, but I won't take much from it. I feel kind of sad, though, when records are broken against teams like Grambling; I think it does a disservice to the kids who worked hard to make those records against decent competition.

Oski Disicple: You can't learn a lot from playing a vastly inferior opponent. Then again we proved we were far far and away the better team. Two years ago in playing Portland State we saw signs of struggles ahead just as the Southern Utah game in '12 was an ominous sign. Maybe some of the performances today were previews of more to come. Let's hope

RhetoriCal: If the Cal Student Store and La Burrita are still doing touchdown Mondays than Monday is going to be a fantastic day for the Cal Student body. Man it feels good to be a Cal Bear. . .

Calinative UMstudent: Goff or God?

iwastherefortheplay: What we should do since we are a contender. Taking care of business.

Yorzepol: I know that this was an FCS foe but, I am more exited for the rest of the season than I have been in a long time.

wiata78: So great to have a win! I like this one as much as last year's opener against Northwestern. Which surely inspired them to beat LSJU yesterday.

lacenaire: In a 12 -game season it's great when you meet expectations. At times it was sloppy, especially with teams 2 and 3. But they should have won like this and they did. Next game will be a different test. The Texas another type of test. This is a very intelligent non-conference schedule that will prepare it for Washington and Washington State. Cal conceivably could be 5-0 at the Utah game.

Calbear91: The best possible outcome for a first game of the season.

Thanks again for all of your input this week and GO BEARS!