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Cal-Hawaii Report Card: Did the Bears Pass the Test Down Under?

Let's see how you all felt about the season-opening win in Sydney.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

Berkelium97: Welcome back to our weekly report card series!  Here we grade the team's performance from the previous game and look ahead to our chance of winning the next game.  In the table below I list the average grade for each of our categories and the standard deviation, which tells us how much variation there was among our grades.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 78.9% 9.1
Rush Offense 70.2% 15.2
Pass Defense 52.5% 18.6
Rush Defense 30.2% 19.7
Special Teams 76.9% 13.4
Coaching 69.5% 14.4
Overall 67.5% 12.2
Win Probability vs. SDSU 59.8% (-9.5) 15.3

As we have seen over and over throughout the Sonny Dykes era, pass offense earns the highest grade of the week.  That's a reassuring result as Davis Webb made his debut for the Golden Bears.  In a surprise to anyone who has watched this team in the 21st century, special teams earned the second-highest grade of the week.  Decent kick returns and a lack of grave errors are good enough for us to be quite satisfied!  The rush offense also earned high marks this week.

Our grades for the defense were less positive.  Pass defense wasn't terrible.  The defensive backs looked pretty good but the pass rush didn't do them any favors.  Run defense was generally terrible, which is a worrying sign heading into a matchup with a San Diego State team than averaged 233 rushing yards per game last season.  We're a little less optimistic about that matchup, as our predictions of a win have dropped about 10% since we did our preseason predictions a few weeks ago.

Now let's move onto our awards.  We have the old familiar triad of highest scores, lowest scores, and scores closest to the community average.

Sonny Delight

First we recognize the sunshine pumpers among us..

Name Grade
1. Uthaithani 7.00 (100.0%)
2. fiatlux 6.50 (92.9%)
3. FuckDavidShaw 5.70 (81.4%)
4. Goldenlikethebear 5.59 (79.9%)
5. BTown85 5.40 (77.1%)

Continuing where we left off with the Air Force report cards, Uthaithani leads the sunshine pumpers with a perfect score.  Our eternal optimist fiatlux follows with a surprisingly low score of 93%.  FuckDavidShaw, Goldenlikethebear, and BTown85 round out the top five.

At the other end of the spectrum we have those who saw nothing but doom down under.

Sonny Yikes!

Name Grade
1. goldenstatetragedy 3.00 (42.9%)
2. Nick White 3.35 (47.9%)
3. puresilence 3.46 (48.6%)
4. tonydaysog 3.48 (49.4%)
5. AlohaBear 3.55 (50.7%)

goldenstatetragedy leads the way this week, followed by Nick White and the DBD's doombringer puresilence.

Finally, we recognize those whose grades across our various categories were closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. alucard .0298
2. San Diego Oski .0465
3. lithium .0538
4. sacman701 .0593
5. Berkelium97 .0600

alucard leads the way with an incredibly low score of .0298.  We rarely see scores below .04 and a .0298 is lower than anything we saw last season.  Well done, alucard!

Now I'll turn things over to GoldenBearsBandwagon who has collected the best and brightest of your comments from the reportcard.

GoldenBearsBandwagon: We posted the report card a few days after the game but we were still able to get a lot of responses. Here’s some of the comments that were left, let’s see what people have to say!

Gameday Experience

Old BEAR 71: FINALLY, we are back in business! Was fun to watch but the Late kickoff was a bear in Florida, game over just before 2 AM. Well, the game was over before that according to the "announcers," but it was still fun to be in front of the screen rooting for the Bears!

fiatlux (why is this box so huge?): It was ABSOLUTELY fantastic. Everything about the event was top notch. The Sydney-siders were phenomenal. I actually spoke with many Australians who flew in from around the country for the event. From an awareness and just general "vibe" thing, it was GREAT for Cal.

There was a buzz throughout the city... the train heading out to Olympic Park was PACKED and just buzzing... people all talking and having fun.

The stadium was perfectly nice. We had "box seats" which were pretty frickin' cool. They were sort of the old fashion definition of box seats, where you had like 8 seats in the stands together in a section, there was a fridge that was constantly reloaded and non stop food service... niiiiiice.

After the game the queue for the train was MASSIVE so we Uber'd it back downtown. Easy-peezy and we got sort of great tour of the city that way, coming back across the harbor bridge.

It was great staying at the team hotel, players are all so nice and pleasant to everyone. And they were all very happy after the game hanging out in the lobby.

My only regret is I made a total amateur mistake by scheduling my flight back on Monday morning... since you leave Sydney at 11AM and then cross the date line to arrive Monday morning at 7AM you actually end up having two Mondays that week...

All in all a simply fantastic experience.

BearOnAMesa: ESPN had the worst coverage just about ever. Very little attention paid to the game as they used it as basically a promotional spot for ranked teams the next week. No respect. Announcers clearly were from the East Coast too with how many times they referred to $C as "Southern Cal."

Alpha1906: The only thing good about the announcers is that they weren't Dan Fouts.

I missed Fight for California being played by the

Glad we got the money, but I'd like the Memorial experience from this point forward

I wished I was there to test out the two foot long hotdog.

A win is always great

1988goldenbear: Sydney is a great place to visit. The locals are all so pleasant! The stadium ran out of beer by halftime - it sounds like they underestimated the length of the game. Rugby matches go about 2 hours total.

Royrules22: Loved being in Sydney, but honestly it was not a good "gameday" experience. If they had just put Cal fans near each other (and Hawaii fans near others), then it would've been better. It was like watching what Aussies thought American sporting culture is like. Everything just felt off, but it was very fascinating. The "A-N-Zed" stadium is pretty cool for a football game.

LeonPowe: If they do more of these neutral site games, they really need to work with the promoter to build in how to buy a "Cal section" ticket

CoBears: Exciting to start the season; concerning to watch the first part of the game; encouraging to see the offense wake up in the second half; discouraging to see us on what the experts refer to as "defense."’

Hardtobecalfan: late night east coast games are rough when you're sleepy at midnight. and the droning on about upcoming sec and acc games tempted me to turn it off. but i endured to watch my bears.

Azulviejo: ESPN, Bellotti and "what's his name", ruined what should have been an enjoyable 5 hours of TV.

A great setting, fun teams to watch. Both were a surprise in many ways.

Instead we got , 45 minutes of football (sort off) ,2 hours and 15 minutes of selling, beer and Chevy trucks, and 2 hours of SEC commercials, for the next weekend of games.

Pass Offense

Dmoneyfor3: Davis Webb is having trouble reading defenses already and it worries me a lot.

I need a rubric (0.9 is an "A," 0.5 a "C," and 0.2 an "F"): I'm still comparing it to the Goffense,which is a high standard. Some overthrown passes and DWebb was sacked 2(?) so not perfect but pretty good; B+.

FrmrG8r: After a shaky start, Webb found his rhythm. Hudson was unconscious all day which was nice but hopefully we can spread it around a little more in San Diego. Kudos to the O-line for a very nice protection job overall.

Oski Disciple: It was good and will get a lot better. Chad Hansen is an ideal possession receiver and we've got a plethora of young speedy wide outs with talent who will progress rapidly. Davis Webb is the real deal. He's no Goff, but then who is? He'll do just fine.

Sacman701: Webb was iffy on the deeper stuff and took the one bad sack, but otherwise things went well. He was accurate on the short stuff, made good decisions, didn't try to force balls, and kept his head under pressure. Protection was good, Hawaii had to blitz to get much pressure. The new receivers are good enough. 8.2 yards per attempt, 19 first downs, 70% completions, no picks, and 2 sacks in 56 attempts is a good day even against a weak defense.

BearOnAMesa: Webb looked sloppy early but settled in. I'm fine if we use screen passes early to establish a tempo but I'd prefer not to rely on them the whole game, just from an aesthetic perspective. Webb needs to work on making his play action more elaborate and ridiculous. I expect jumping jacks and combat rolls!

Sup_doe_library: The #'s are hard to pick on, but I wonder what happens when we're up against a defense that can defend the outside screen. Webb isn't as accurate as Goff on deep balls, but maybe with our WR corps, he doesn't need to be. Pitch, catch, YAC?

Mrjpark: It took a little time to get everything running, but I think that was expected considering we have a brand new QB playing with a new offensive live (for him) and a completely new group of receivers in a time zone that's across the world on a grass field that they're not used to playing on. I don't think Webb is going to be stellar, but I think he'll be good enough to make all the passes we need and lead an offense that's towards the top of the PAC.

1988goldenbear: Webb started out way off target - I'm hoping we can chalk it up to jitters. He looked better as the game went on. He was also lucky on that dropped INT. Our receivers look great though, hopefully we can get them the ball.

Royrules22: Webb looked flustered and off in the 1st quarter but he came through towards the end. Loved watching Chad and Webb's connection. A little surprised Robertson not getting much play

Run Offense

Mallrat92204: Decent, but we should have been able to assert out dominance more considering our Oline and that it was Hawaii

FrmrG8r: Nowhere near a balanced attack yet and the holes just didn't seem to be there most of the day. My guess is that we will see improvement at SDSU.

Oski Disciple: Deep, explosive, experienced, we've got lot of weapons and a good O Line to create holes.

Sacman701: 202 yards at 6.1 a pop for the RBs and no fumbles is a good day. Muhammad showed good vision and footwork.

Cleancutmedia: it was humming. we just didn't run enough

Prd74: Good for a first game.

Kmac: Why didn't we run more?

fiatlux (why is this box so huge?): Khalfani was a STUD. He ran into me on campus on Monday (I flew back from Australia Monday morning and went straight to campus) and said he was still tired but felt fine from the game. I was surprised how he powered through some of those runs because when you see him in person out of pads, he's sort of the football equivalent of Steph Curry.

Mrjpark: I honestly don't think we did much there. And that's not a bad thing. No reason to show people what we don't need to.

Alpha1906: They really didn't get a chance to shine, but Khalfani and Vic did fine.

It seemed like the o-line was bulldozing the Hawaii D-Line

Dbromon: Was expecting to run over Hawaii, didn't really happen.

SuperEQ: Looked good. Hawaii stacked the box after Kal's first house call, but we still had plenty (189?) of yards. Tre's called back TD run and Vic being down a foot short could have made the stats look even better.

Pass Defense

IroniCALly: Secondary coverage looked better than past years, but still lack of a pass rush.

Dmoneyfor3: Poor rush exposes the secondary, yet again.

Blindspot: Gonna be a long season.

Sacman701: Franklin was a pleasant surprise, and it looks like we have a solid pair of corners plus a decent nickel in Walker. The safeties have a long way to go and left a lot of space over the middle. Pass rush was predictably feeble. We will likely have to run a mix of blitzes to keep future opponents guessing.

Cleancutmedia: did it's job, for the most part.

now if they can just tackle...

BearOnAMesa: Pass rush was abysmal and coverage was mostly bad outside of a few nice plays. Sloppy play by Hawaii bailed us out multiple times.

Schmidtty McFunstuff: Pleasantly surprised. Marloshawn Franklin made some great plays.

Goldenone: Secondary played well, absence of a pass rush is disturbing.

GoldenBear 77: If we cannot get pressure, this will be a long season. Pass defense was OK, but not good enough to hang if the QB has all day.

LeonPowe: These guys looked as good as you can, when the QB got that much time to look around. The Hawaii QB wasn't very good, and the wideouts dropped a bunch, but this is the defensive unit I have the least concerns about.

LynchMob-510: Franklin was impressive, Allensworth locking down 1 side! Vanderbilt was everywhere, great PBU by Davis! playing time on D for T. Beck & A. Albert.

Run Defense

Mallrat92204: Pretty terrible. If Hawaii can run up over 200 yards on us (sure some was garbage time against backups), then almost every team we play is going to be licking their chops to face the interior of our front 7.

I need a rubric (0.9 is an "A," 0.5 a "C," and 0.2 an "F"): It was not good but could it have been early game jitters (1st quarter) and the 2s and 3s getting reps (4th quarter)? There were some stops right? Going in to this game Hawaii's offense was a bit of a mystery and DSJ was a wildcard as he didn't play last year. I expect marked improvement (against a better team) in two weeks. D.

Oski Disciple: Like most other Bear fans this is a concern of mine. SDS might totally expose it. Then again it could be ready to take a step up and improve week after week. Let's hope so.

Gotcouth69: 6.7 yards per play to Hawaii??

Sup_doe_library: Whither the field, the players, or the alignment of the stars, the Cal run D was ugly. LB's seemed lost, front 4 didn't get much of any penetration.

Mrjpark: Part of me thinks that we were expecting a pass happy Hawaii offense. Part of me thinks that we didn't want to show any blitz schemes in a game we were expected to win handily. Part of me thinks that we're actually pretty bad here.

Goldenstatetragedy: Not much better than the pass defense. Losing starting d-line and linebackers is going to kill us this year.

GoldenBear 77: Gashed at times. Bad angles and bad tackling on a couple of those runs. Big improvement needed.

SuperEQ: ...again, wasn't great, but I honestly think Hawaii will be much better than advertised. Great coach, new culture, and a STRONG O-Line. That RB was legit in space. Big receivers. Great unexpected test for us.

We also had zero tape on them.

OsoDeOro83: Our tackling and poor positioning was embarrassing. I hope it's game one jitters because we're gonna get run over in the Pac-12 if that happens again.

Holyghost: Terrible could not stop Hawaii first, second and third string running backs. Anybody can run on us. Not very good.

Special Teams

Mallrat92204: No bad errors, good kickoff returns, and great heads up play on the onside.

Blindspot: Omg, what a pleasant surprise. We've got talent!

FrmrG8r: SWEET !!! After last year's debacle, this was the highlight of the game. Kickoff touchbacks, kick coverage and near breakaway returns had the crowd cheering every kick. Nice turnaround, Coach T.

Oski Disciple: One shanked punt aside they were excellent. I nearly swooned when our first kick off went for a touchback. More of that please.

Kmac: They looked like much less of a liability than in prior years.

BearOnAMesa: Surprisingly amazing! I'll try to keep my expectations tempered but the squad looks genuinely improved from previous years.

Mrjpark: Not sure what to do when I'm not able to scream our special teams coach's name in anguish.

Goldenstatetragedy: looked good by not making mistakes

Dbromon: Nice to not that feeling of dread every time special teams comes on the field.


Stopped the Onsides kick, great KO returns, made our FG's.


CoBears: We won that phase of the game handily. First time I've felt confident saying that in what feels like years.

Hardtobecalfan: not to jinx it, but they look to be an advantage for us this year.


Calfanpac: Still on the fence

Mallrat92204: Vanilla playcalling, but was exactly what was needed to beat this team soundly. Also, the announcers were surprised to see starter Davis Webb after like the 3rd quarter and my first thought was, "well he's a new QB and needs game experience with his WRs so keep him in" but also I thought it might be good to get Forrest at least one series with a handful of attempts since there will likely not be any more blowouts from here on out...

Oski Disciple: Difficult circumstances playing any game, let alone your first of the season, on the other side of the world. But for the most part the lads were ready to go. I think the offense was holding back and we'll see more trickery in weeks to come.

Mr. C.: Jury still out

Cleancutmedia: more runs please.

seems like they weren't able to find a way to stop their run all game. something needed to be adjusted.

Gotcouth69: jury is out we won easily mainly because of 5 turn overs against what should have been the weakest team on our schedule. do we use any defensive schemes at all?

1988goldenbear: Decent, especially since they had very little idea what Rolovich might do based on limited film. Decent adjustments at halftime, but we won more due to talent gap and Hawaii mistakes than our coaching.

GoldenBear 77: Played a lot of defensive players, and good to get some experience on that side of the ball. Again, would have like to see more than one quarterback. We need to build a program, and there are very few chances down the road where a quarterback can get experience.

SuperEQ: Fantastic Job.

This was a bit of a trap... ENDLESS distractions with the trip, playing a much improved Hawaii team, breaking in a ton of new players.

Loved the focus and execution. No seemed lost out there. (unlike those hack ESPN announcers... sounded like a PBS podcast.)

OsoDeOro83: Good call by Dykes on getting Webb and Spavital! Play calling vanilla but just fine for week one. Looking forward to the ramp up!

Holyghost: Play Muhammad he is by far the best running back. He proves it every game with the few garage reps they give him. Stop taking opportunities away from Muhammad and play him. Keep Muhammad in the game because he is a home run hitters and game changers. The other backs don't provide the same chemistry as Muhammad to the offense. Muhammad sustain drIves and provides a certain chemistry to the offense than the other backs who need to wait there turn when Muhammad is tried. There is a reason Muhammad out performs all the backs in the game when he is given opportunity. Muhammad is fast, runs over defenders, a good pass blocker, elusive, tough, physical, and unselfish. Muhammad has the most biggest plays on the field for a reason because he is explosives. Like who you like but film and stats don't lie and opinion doesn't matter. Unleash Muhammad

Overall Performance

IroniCALly: Webb and the offense demonstrated they can be successful. If Webb gets more protection than Goff did from the O-line, than maybe the offense will be more productive than last year. (although I like to think Goff is still a better player).

Mostly worried about defense. Only the secondary coverage seems improved. I understand the issue when Dykes first arrived, but by the fourth season, we should at least finally have a mediocre defense,

Old BEAR 71: A win is a win and smells just as sweet ugly, or beautiful, vs a dog or elite program. I love it when Cal wins.

Mallrat92204: Exactly what was needed given the situation. I'm glad the team didn't come out flat given the travel schedule. Outside of rush defense high marks for pretty much every other part of the game.

I need a rubric (0.9 is an "A," 0.5 a "C," and 0.2 an "F"): Overall performance was brought down by the defense but the outcome was never in doubt. Solid B/B- (at Stanfurd that's an "A").

Blindspot: Obviously not in mid-season form, but considering everything it was an acceptable, and maybe even promising performance.

FrmrG8r: Looks like a carbon copy of last season but with a better O-line and better special teams. While a porous defense is clearly a concern, doom is not a certainty. If we can stay healthy, there are no "unwinnable" games on the schedule. Bowl eligibility would be a very good year.

Sacman701: This was about what I expected. The offense was competent and does not appear to have any major weaknesses. We lost 6 of the top 7 players off our below-average 2015 defense, and we played like it. The front 7 was worse against the run than I expected, and will have to shape up quickly with two run-first teams next on the schedule.

fiatlux (why is this box so huge?): First game of the season. Seriously, think about this... We lost our starting QB who was the #1 Draft Pick in the NFL. We lost almost our entire receiving group, almost all of whom will be making NFL rosters. We lost a stud RB who will also be playing on Sundays. AND we didn't have our massive starting LT playing! And with ALL of that lost, we barely missed a beat on offense. Granted it may not be the most powerful defense we play, but for a first game that is saying something.

As for the defense, eh, chill. Let's see what develops.

Schmidtty McFunstuff: Trying to stay optimistic...

Goldenone: A nice win, but it doesn't really prove anything.

1988goldenbear: Good to get a win. Lots of room for improvement, and I hope we see that in 2 weeks. I think our offense is going to be really good this season.

GoldenBear 77: Concerned. Looking forward to improvement or this will be a long year. San Diego State will be telling.

SuperEQ: Overall, about what we expected and hoped for. Offense looks good, Defense needs some improvement. Good young play makers who will get better as season progresses and the gain experience.

I feel confident that Hawaii is a good team, and if that's true, I won't be surprised if we start conference play 3-0.

Go Bears

OsoDeOro83: I thought Cal was the perfect situation for Davis Webb and Webb was the perfect solution for Cal. He played the position very well and replaced G*ff as good as G*ff could have done. QB looks very comfortable and most importantly the offense looks comfortable with Webb. Scariest part of Webb's comparison to G*ff is the inability to just throw the ball away instead of taking the sack. Our defense is a concern in the tackling department and lack of QB pressure, Would a blitz once in a while kill us? Hawaii defense showed more variety and effort against a superior Cal offense...we need to work on that..

2004-present: That team that took the field on Friday is a 4-8 team. What's worried me the last year+ about Sonny Dykes in general is I fear he doesn't appreciate the importance of winning the line of scrimmage battles. And this game appeared to validate my concerns. Last year showed us you can have some of the best skill position players in the country going for you, but if you want to seriously compete with the best of them, you have to be able to beat them IN THE TRENCHES

That’s all for this week. Thanks to everyone that filled out the report card and hope to get some more responses from you next week.