With spring practice in the books, the road to the season opener draws attention to who might be starting for the University of California football team. Currently, no ones position is set in stone for the Golden Bears when it comes to quarterback.
Head coach Sonny Dykes entered Berkeley declaring that no one’s position is safe and that whoever impresses will earn their spot. In Cal’s spring depth chart release, Dykes listed a three-way tie at the position between Zach Kline, Jared Goff and Austin Hinder. Here is my breakdown of the three potential signal callers.
- Zach Kline, freshman (redshirt)
Kline closed spring ball with a good impression, earning praise from his head coach. Every Cal fan knows who Kline is; they compare him to being the next Aaron Rodgers – which puts a lot of weight on the kids shoulders.
He possesses a rocket for an arm with quick release ability. He has also proved that he can throw with effectiveness while on the run and read his progressions. One qualm I have is that he seemed erratic with his accuracy at times.
At the spring game, I noticed on a couple short passes to the wide receiver, he landed the ball at their feet. Despite receiving pressure, those are throws that should be expected to make. Nonetheless, he still looked comfortable running Dykes’ offense.
- Austin Hinder, junior (redshirt)
Easily the fastest of the three quarterback competitors. Hinder showed during Cal’s spring game that he is comfortable handling the ball out of the read-option and toting the ball if he sees the openings. If it wasn’t for Keenan Allen lobbying for his brother Zach Maynard (rumored), than he may have been the starter last year.
He can’t throw the ball deep downfield, can hit his short ranged throws and has good accuracy while on the run. Dykes’ “Bear Raid” offense could be tailored very well to Hinders skill set. Look at what Dykes did with Colby Cameron while at Louisiana Tech — accuracy and mobility is Hinder’s game.
- Jared Goff, freshman
Another highly-rated pro-style passer, four-star recruit Goff enters Cal as a true Freshman coming out of the 2012 class. Goff impressed early on in spring practices and was gaining a higher majority of first-team reps at one point.
If you take a look at Goff’s highlight film, you’ll see he maintains an impressive deep ball with good accuracy. What I witnessed at Cal’s spring scrimmage was an exceptional arm. He has the ability to launch the ball out there and throw it with great loft to where the receiver can reach a high point and snatch the ball.
I also noticed that his passes tended to sail backwards into the receiver, rather than leading him. He seemed to lose accuracy as pressure increased on him.
- My starting quarterback: Zach Kline
Kline possesses all the skill sets to thrive in the “Bear Raid” offense. The system thrives on accuracy, quickness and ability to read defenders. What Kline exhibits is a strong arm, a very fast release and a ball with incredible zip.
If you watch film on Dykes’ offense at LA Tech from last season, you’ll witness many 0-15 yard passes that are primarily wide receiver option type routes. Furthermore, what makes Kline the perfect fit for this offense is his quick decision-making ability.
The Golden Bears have a very young offensive line and could very well find themselves with just one Senior starter. That factor could mean that the person who has the quickest release time, best accuracy, throwing mobility and quickest decision-making ability should be the starter. Kline might be that guy.