After having had a chance to process Goff's appointment as Cal's starting quarterback and having watched everyone's post practice comments yesterday, here are a couple of more "digested" thoughts.
The more I think about the move, I can see why it'd seem insane not to appoint Goff the starter from Dykes and Franklin's perspective. Here's a kid who has been the most consistent, accurate, and safe with the football from the beginning. And he's done it as a true freshman beating out two upperclassmen. Why wouldn't you name him the starter? And I go back to the point I made yesterday, if you really wanna talk about upside, think about how good this guy can be a year from now with actual live game reps?
Also, I actually do believe Dykes and Franklin when they say that it was a tough, "gut-wrenching" decision. By all practice report accounts, neither Goff or Kline really ran away with it, and when splitting hairs, you have to ultimately go with who best moves the chains and doesn't shoot the offense in the foot. By accounts, that guy was Goff.
In watching Goff's interview with the media, I continue to think the kid has a little Aaron Rodgers in him. He just exudes a quiet confidence that aligns well with Sonny Dykes' personality. Just really impressive when you consider his age, which apparently both Dykes and Franklin haven't.
As for Zach, I've been nothing but impressed with how well he's handled this situation. I know part of this is coming from my own personal desire to see him succeed, but I've been nothing but impressed with how he's composed himself. Just by watching his interview you can easily tell it was killing him not to be named the starter. Despite appearing relaxed, it's clear how much he wanted the nod and how much it burned him to not have gotten the nod.
Despite that, he's been a great teammate, he still competed hard during practice and answered all the media's questions. I remember back in 2008 when Kevin Riley won the starting job over Nate Longshore, and Longshore hit the locker room immediately after the subsequent practice. And I'm not burying Longshore here, his reaction, given the circumstances was completely understandable. But I do think it speaks to Kline's character and fortitude that he was able to stand in front of a bunch of reporters and answer questions about how he feels about falling short. It's the kind of thing that teammates and coaches notice and respect.
And more than that, he's saying all the right things as well.
"You have a bunch of fans and they think they know what's best for you. I know what's best for myself and I want to be at Cal. This is my school. I love this school. And I'm going to fight to win games for this school and win a Rose Bowl and a national championship because that's what I came here to do.
"This is just a little hurdle I need to get over. It's definitely a big challenge because Jared's a very, very good quarterback, Still, it's something I know I can do because I'm a good quarterback and I know that."
It's just exactly the types of things you want to hear from a player in his situation. You want to make sure he's keeping his confidence up and that his motivation to succeed hasn't dropped at all. He also seems to have the maturity to know that this competition is by no means over.
Anyone who remembers Dykes' last two quarterback decisions at Arizona and Louisiana Tech knows that it could just be a matter of time until the backup gets his chance. (See Nick Foles over Matt Scott in Arizona and Colby Cameron over Nick Isham.)
And from what I'm reading about today's practice, it seems like both candidates are still furiously competing. Goff is reportedly still pretty steady while Kline is looking like he's having the best performance yet.
Goff's numbers: 12-19 for 109 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Kline's: 14-17 for 156 yards and 1 TD.
At this point, I'm actually reeeeeaaallly interested in seeing how this all plays out. I do think there are still a lot more growing pains, but I do believe this so-far entertaining quarterback battle is only going to get better. Who knows? Goff may never skip a beat and end up being the next great college football phenomenon. Or Kline may step in if Goff falters and end up being the savior to the Cal program that many had pegged him to be.
One thing I know for certain, for the first time in a while, I'm pretty confident our quarterback play is going to be the best it's been in years. And for that, I'm stoked.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Posted by Bear with Fangs at 6:01 PM