Coach V’s Grades: Cal

Connor Williams. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Connor Williams. (Will Gallagher/IT)

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Always take the more pleasant report first so here you are. We are still far from consistent and still managed to rack up over 40 points and probably would have scored more if we had eliminated the pass. They couldn’t stop the run one ounce. They used 7 and 8 in the box frequently and baited us into throwing cause the numbers said we were supposed to—well, we threw low, high, inside and outside with mixed results. We caught a few but weren’t able to actually advance those we caught because of location. The QB’s took the pickle and the receivers batted about .500.

We completely abandoned the tempo strategy early despite our two game success making it a priority. I assume we will blame wanting to rest the defense was the main reason but the question should be why because that bunch wasn’t pissing a drop rested or not. We needed to recognize that it might take a bunch more than half a hundred to win this game but then again your depending on this staff to actually have a clue and that dog hasn’t been hunting.

Here are the grades:

good td throw to 11. failed to recognize blitz caused a big hit. threw a interception on a wounded duck deep. had too many low throws. last series he ran from a clean pocket into big hit tackles for minimal gains. had bell rung early and wasn’t crisp after sitting out to clear the cobwebs.

very good in the ground game. off target in the passing game. underthrew a wide open Foreman. terrific stiff arm in red zone. high throw tipped for interception. low throw to Oliver. good decisions with the ground game.

if D could pass block he would be a super star. terrific td run in 4th quarter. several good runs where he punished defenders. playing at a very high level.

two outstanding td runs where he blasted defenders that got in the way. good tackle on interception. still has shuffling feet issues when defenders gain penetration. played winning football.

had two good diving catches saving QB’s bacon. had two drops on easy catches. poor effort blocking on screens and hitches. lacks consistency.

good kickoff returns. had one catch. easing him into the flow—he needs more.

good catch and run on slant. good catch on low throw. drop an easy one. good catch late.

good catch on low throw. good 3rd down catch. good block on screen. one of the best surprises this year. kickoff tackle.

two catches on hitches. tipped pass turned into int. but blame goes to QB. good catch low throw.

good punt return. good td catch. didn’t finish game.

drop throw. good catch and run on hitch. blocking is below par.

still our best blocker but can’t play TE and lead blocker at the same time. outstanding block on 33’s long td run.

holding penalty. BPB. BRB on GL. missed contact on three leads. beat inside on a tackle pull.

he had one bad play when he allowed the DE to slam QB1 to the ground on passing attempt. pancake block on GL. good pull block (2). good zone block (15).

two late snaps causing false starts. lost LOS twice while being driven deep into the backfield. good block on 33’s long td run.

too slow on pull blocks (3). good zone block. slow off ball. good pass blocking.

good pull block (2). good zone block (4). good pass blocking.

good pull block (3). good zone block (5). better pass blocking this week.

We missed two long FG’s and still scored 41 on offense. We played well enough to win on this side of the ball. The biggest disappointment was our braking the tempo aspect of our new offense. We are much better playing with quick intensity and pace. I think the constant staring (for the play) had an affect on our QB’s—just an opinion.

We didn’t play good defense last night. We have better personnel than our efforts are providing. Sure, we missed tackles. We had trouble getting off too many blocks. We made physical mistakes and sadly, not all of them were busting our butts to make a play. It may be time to read the riot act to those that appear to be more concerned with themselves than a team first attitude.

It’s pretty easy to identify confused players. We bust way too many assignments to be properly prepared. Watching two DB’s chase the same receiver while allowing another to run free has been a common occurrence. Slowing down or even stopping is another habit of confusion. It really doesn’t matter if we are getting them aligned correctly if they aren’t going to honor the correct responsibility. It’s time to drop the DBU tag line with this bunch—they don’t belong in that conversation because they aren’t making plays regardless of athletic ability or potential.

Dylan Haines. (Justin Wells/IT)
Dylan Haines. (Justin Wells/IT)

Whether we are being too complicated is secondary to our lack of execution at the second and third levels. We are definitely getting hammered with calls and checkoffs due to predictability from our DC. We can’t find the happy median between a strong rush and anticipation at the second level for screen or draw. We are either not being taught situation awareness or we aren’t capable of retaining those teachings—either way this is one poor performing defense or coaching staff. Take your pick.

Here are the grades:

not a good night. MT on zone. less than effective pass rush. not a very good 4 technique.

not a good game. MT zone. MT space. caused fumble on rush. disappeared in the blocking scheme.

QB hurry. good pursuit tackle. good tackle zone.

sack on good effort. hustle tackle on flare pass. good tackle zone. blocked on several edge stunts but when that’s all you do…

didn’t look as quick tonight. good sack. MT on screen. good tackle zone.

played well. good tackle short yardage (2). good pursuit tackle.

QB hurry. good tackle zone. good tackle on scramble. played well.

good hustle tackle on screen. good tackle zone. played well.

hustle tackle screen. good tackle GL. good edge stunt tackle. good tackle zone (3). caught up in trash too often. chased well. bad reads (3)

good play short yardage. MT zone. good tackle screen. bad reads (3).

wrong gap (2). pursuit slow. cautious.

bright spot. good tackle zone. GOFT on zone.

GOFT. blown coverage td. PBU. MT screen. beat deep. hustle tackle.

bad angle screen. MT zone. good tackle screen. good tackle jet. beat coverage. injured.

good PBU. blown coverage. beat td. beat deep.

good tackle space. good tackle screen. beat in space. MT screen. wasn’t very active in coverage.

MT hitch. poor kickoff return. beat deep. beat inside (slant) td. MT.

good tackle GL. kickoff tackle. not active enough in coverage.

MT screen.

good punt block for safety. needs to play right now.

blocked on screen. MT hitch. kickoff tackle. good tackle zone.

lost contain on GL. MT screen. MT screen. MT deep middle pass. not very active in coverage or run support (still injured?).


My grading system is based on total points earned against number of plays played. The points are awarded individually on each and every separate play. There are five different possible grades for each play. Players may earn a plus three (3) for a five star type play—-plus two (2) for above average execution—-plus one (1) for doing their job successfully—-zero (0) for getting beat but knowing and attempting their assignment—-and minus 3 (-3) for a missed assignment.

Each player has a total number of points and a total number of his own individual plays. You divide the total number of plays into the total number of points which gives you scale. The grading scale is as follows:

Any player averaging one point per play (1.0) grades out a B which is winning football. If a player plays 60 plays with 60 total points he would earn a passing grade—each point he goes over the total number of plays raises his grade accordingly. The system is built around rewarding any player that doesn’t beat himself or his team with mental mistakes.

The system also punishes any player that knows what to do but loses too many individual battles. If a player plays 60 plays but loses 10 of those with zero special plays (60 plays—50 points) he falls below the 1.0 needed for a passing grade of B.

I use the plus/minus (A-, B+, etc,) when the numbers indicate a partial add or subtract from the grade. This system was used by my first coaching staff and I kinda carried it with me for thirty years—it’s not perfect but it gives the position coach a measuring stick for his individual players.

The only way to earn the highest grade of A is to play a perfect game. I’ve had exactly zero up to right now so great games still can be better so A- is a very popular second best. This system and my grades will always be subjective filled with agree and disagree opinions. It’s entirely fair for disagreement (without it we might not have horse races) but it’s important to remember that each play only counts once instead of allowing a big mistake to have major influence on an individual’s final grade.

Shortcuts to reduce typing overload.

BRB—beat on a run block.

BPB—beat on a pass block.

GL—goal line.

SY—short yardage.

MT—missed tackle.

MA—missed assignment.

GFT—good fill tackle.

GOFT—good open field tackle.

PBU—pass break up.

tfl—tackle for loss.

5 star—play that most can’t make.