If the sight of former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford at USC‘s practice this week wasn’t a strong enough reminder that 2013 is the start of a new era in Berkeley, new Bears coach Sonny Dykes made it clear with the announcement that true freshman Jared Goff is the team’s new starting quarterback.
Goff, an early enrollee from Marin Catholic High School, won the starting role over junior Austin Hinder and redshirt freshman Zach Kline. Goff threw for 3,692 yards and 40 touchdowns in his senior season in high school, where he ran a similar style of offense to the one Dykes introduced at Cal, and he was able to pick up the new system more quickly than the other contenders.
Under Tedford, Kline was widely regarded as the quarterback of the future; he traveled to every away game as a third-stringer in 2012, presumably because he was being groomed to take over.
With Dykes running the show — the “Bear Raid” spread offense show — the future is Goff. And that future starts right now.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora made a similar move a year ago, when he made the surprising — and smart — decision to start redshirt freshman Brett Hundley over veterans Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. With Hundley, who emerged as one of the top young quarterbacks in the country, Mora transformed the Bruins from a sluggish 6-8 to an energized team on the rise.
Dykes could do the same at Cal this season, and Goff gives him the best opportunity.
Many felt Tedford’s best days were behind him, while Dykes was one of the offseason’s hottest coaching commodities after leading the nation’s No. 1 offense at Louisiana Tech in 2012.
The new coach embraces a more uptempo spread offense that will immediately make the Bears a more exciting team to watch, and by naming a true freshman as his starter, Dykes set the tone for the team for several years to come.