Grading the Film: Cal Defense vs. Grambling

How did the Cal defense do on Saturday against Grambling? Our grades may surprise you ...

How important was California's defensive performance last week? According to head coach Sonny Dykes, it was huge. The Bears notched two defensive scores -- one pick six each from Cameron Walker and Devante Downs -- and tallied three sacks -- one from Walker, another from Todd Barr and a third from Marcus Manley. The Bears had 8.0 tackles for loss, led by Manley's 2.0. Cal had three pass breakups on the day, including one from freshman Jaylinn Hawkins, but Hawkins was also burned once for a big gain. There was of course some bad on Saturday for the much-maligned Cal defense, but there was plenty of good, too. “I think it’s important," said Dykes. "At the end of the day, these are kids, and a lot of the stuff that they read on Twitter and message boards and all that stuff, they actually think that stuff is real. It’s really not, but they think it is, and they pay attention to it. Those guys have been criticized a lot, and they’re like everybody else – nobody wants to be criticized. It’s made them hungry and made them more determined than they have been. I think there is a sense of purpose, and any time that you have that sense of purpose, you make some plays, and they made some plays. They scored two defensive touchdowns, got a bunch of turnovers, really played fast, all those things were very encouraging things to build on. What we told our team, before the game, we’re not concerned with our opponent; we just want to play well. For the most part, I thought they did.”

Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman had this to say about grading his units, particularly the secondary:

“I think the biggest thing is grading each guy on what he’s doing, as far as experience and the job we’re asking him to do. I thought, for the most part, the older guys did the things we ask them to do. We had some young guys who made some mistakes that were first-year mistakes, or first-game-in-their-life mistakes, but our older guys, I thought, picked up where I expected them to be.” Top Stories