It’s only one game, but 2016 Cal looks a lot like 2015 Cal — even without quarterback Jared Goff , who went No. 1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
That means the Golden Bears should still put up a lot of points … and give up a lot of points. They’ll be a lot of fun to watch … or completely infuriating, depending on your allegiance.
Cal’s 51-31 win over Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Australia — the first game of the 2016 season — was never in doubt, even through the first 26 minutes when the Golden Bears clung to a tighter-than-expected 20-14 lead. Quarterback Davis Webb , making his debut after transferring from Texas Tech Red Raiders , was 38-of-54 passing for 441 yards and four touchdowns. (He could’ve had another if Khalfani Muhammad had not dropped a would-be score in the fourth quarter.
Yes, it was just Hawaii, which looks like it hasn’t improved much from its 105th-worst scoring defense a season ago, but Cal looks like it will be just fine without Goff behind center. The transition to Webb has started seamlessly.
Webb’s numbers today are downright Goff-esque: 34-of-50 for 417 yards and four touchdowns.
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) August 27, 2016
That’s not the problem. Defense is.
The Rainbow Warriors still have a long way to go before turning things around, but the offensive rushing attack at least looked serviceable, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt and 248 yards overall. And it wasn’t all just garbage time stat padding, either. That’s something on which it can build.
Conversely, that’s troubling for Cal, which was already one of the worst run defenses in college football a year ago.
For as much as the Pac-12 is known for airing things out with great quarterbacks, there are some outstanding running backs in the conference. The Golden Bears face a murder’s row of ’em.
Oregon Ducks ‘s Royce Freeman ? Oct. 21st.
Southern California Trojans ‘s Ronald Jones II ? The following week.
Washington Huskies ‘s Myles Gaskin ? The week after that.
Oh yeah, and then there’s Christian McCaffrey when Cal plays Stanford Cardinal on Nov. 19th. None of this is even including San Diego State Aztecs ‘s Donnel Pumphrey (1,653 yards in 2015) and Texas Longhorns ‘ two-headed monster of D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III . Cal gets those three in remaining nonconference play.
Cal’s offense is going to put plenty of stress on opposing defenses. They’ll put up points and never truly be “out” of a game down three scores. Still, it’s clear already that opponents needin to close out a game in a fourth quarter should be able to do it against the Golden Bears with relative ease.
That looks to be the case, Jared Goff or no Jared Goff.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Despite easy win, Cal shows Jared Goff’s departure is the least of its worries