For the first time since August, there’s an “OR” on the Cal Bears‘ depth chart at the quarterback position. True freshman Jared Goff, who posted phenomenal numbers in the team’s first three games, and redshirt freshman Zach Kline, who replaced Goff in last weekend’s ugly loss to Oregon, shared reps at practice this week, stirring rumors that Goff’s lost fumbles against the Ducks might have helped him lose his job.
Kline played much better in messy conditions last Saturday, but Goff’s body of work this season speaks for itself. Even after an unbelievably poor performance against Oregon, when he completed just three of six pass attempts for 11 yards, Goff is still seventh in the nation in passing yards per game.
Head coach Sonny Dykes indicated that Goff will “likely” start again this Saturday against Washington State, but that the coaching staff was taking another look after Kline’s performance this weekend.
Goff was ineffective against the Oregon defense in monsoon-like conditions; in addition to his abysmal passing stats, he was also sacked twice, and he lost two fumbles during Cal’s first four possessions in the game.
Kline came into the game for the first time this season with 2:47 left in the first half and handled the slippery weather conditions better than Goff, finishing 18 of 37 for 165 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Being outplayed by the backup and then being listed as possible co-starters would make many starting quarterbacks more than a little nervous, but Goff doesn’t have anything to worry about — yet.
The weather conditions during the Oregon game weren’t typical; even Kline, who spent most of the first half on the sidelines, compared the downpours to standing under a shower head.
He told the media that playing well in “the worst conditions possible” boosted his confidence in his ability to play well under any circumstances, but in normal — or just less severe — weather, Goff still has more upside. That’s why Dykes chose him as the starter, and until last Saturday, it worked well.
Unless there’s another storm in the forecast for the Pacific Northwest, expect Goff to remain the Cal Bears’ starting quarterback.
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